It is a tricky situation. What do you tell a friend who has been laid off? “People mean well, but especially in times of crisis or grief, they say some pretty nonsensical things,” notes Paolina Milana in The Daily Muse (via Forbes).
Your friend is mourning the loss of her job, so like with a death, tread carefully when dealing with her.
Don’t try and “fix” things with unsolicited advice. “People need time to get used to the concept of moving on. When you’re let go, you suddenly no longer belong, you’re no longer part of a team, and you no longer have a place to go from Monday through Friday. Replacing this comfortable routine with suggestions of the unknown doesn’t really help,” notes Milana.
Instead, give your friend some concrete examples of successful people who have been let go from jobs but when on to make it big, such as Walt Disney who was fired from the Kansas City Star for not being “creative “enough or Oprah Winfrey, who was pulled off the air and labeled as unfit for television” by a Baltimore producer. “Reminding your colleague of people we all respect and admire who triumphed in spite of their dismissals can help him or her focus on possibilities without having to look inward at the current circumstances. It gives a bit of perspective, helping this person to realize that he or she is not to blame for the layoff—and that this, too, shall pass,” Milana points out.
Give quiet support to your friends. You don’t always have to fill up dead air with saying how sorry you are for them. Let them vent without saying anything. According to Milana, when a person loses a loved job they will go through five stages of emotions: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Also, they will have worry about their finances, societal standings, and self-worth. “During such times, your co-worker, your friend, or your family member needs you to be there, but he or she doesn’t necessarily need you to say anything,” explains Milana. “Remember: While the worst thing you can do is disappear from someone’s life and shun him or her (which often does happen), the second worst thing is to say something that creates an even deeper wound.”
Give a hug, listen and offer advice when asked.
Have you had to console a friend who was fired? What did you do?