Your friend’s out of work. But while she scrambles to make ends meet and worries about the future, you’re heading into a stable workplace every day and collecting a steady paycheck.Her predicament puts your cranky boss and overloaded inbox in perspective, and you’re doing everything you can to provide her with leads. You also try to mind your manners when she opens up about the details of her search process.
Here are a few things it’s probably better not to say so you don’t compound her feelings of frustration and isolation:
1. “How’s the job search going?” (again, and again)“
It’s fine to make conversation and inquire into your friend’s well-being — but don’t ask incessantly.
Some job search days are better than others, but your friend will be on the market every day until she isn’t anymore. If she hasn’t told you she has a job and is starting next week, don’t expect to be provided with updates every hour. In fact, only ask if you have something to offer.
2. “Here’s what you’re doing wrong…”
If your friend asks you for advice, feel free to offer tips and critique her strategy. If she doesn’t ask, don’t attempt to tell her what she’s doing wrong — because you might add to her annoyance or, worse yet, give her misleading advice.
3. “I know a guy who does the same thing you do. He can hardly tie his shoes, but he was hired within a week of graduation for a six-figure salary. You should think about doing that.”
This story can be inspiring if you end it by handing your friend the name and phone number of the manager who hired the guy. But if you aren’t planning to do that, it’s not a good story.
4. “That’s the problem with kids in this economy today. They always...”
People don’t love being handed a list of everything that’s wrong with them. They also don’t like lists of everything wrong with their generation.
5. “On the plus side, you have all this free time now!”
Your friend knows exactly how much free time she has. No need to rub it in.