It’s easy to fall into the trap of offering idioms like, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” when a friend faces an obstacle. But when said obstacle is a devastating layoff, all she’s really gonna want is some vodka for that lemonade...and some advice from you that doesn’t suck. Whatever wisdom you choose to dispense in this scenario, avoid these four commonly used (yet totally useless) consolation phrases at all costs.
“Do you have any leads yet?”
It may feel like you’re helping, but this is an all-around stress-inducing comment. Give the kid a second to breathe, would ya? Chances are she’s either A) still processing the turn of events, or B) job hunting literally 24/7. Bottom line: If she has something in the works, she’ll tell you on her own time. Until then, no need to drill the point home when the pressure’s already on.
“I know [insert trendy company] is hiring. Would you be interested in interviewing?”
Of course your heart is in the right place here, but if the tip-off isn’t a step forward, or in line with her professional goals, it’s basically highlighting her tricky situation. (No, your lawyer BFF does not want a job in digital ad sales.) Instead, offer to comb your Rolodex for helpful, relevant connections and make a connection on her behalf.
“It’ll be great to have some time off!”
It can be tempting to paint her newfound freedom in a positive light, but let’s be clear about something: Being unemployed (when you very much need a salary) is no leisurely staycation. Her next few weeks are going to involve endless LinkedIn scouring, cover letting writing, reference requesting and super draining networking—not reading blogs and rewatching Big Little Lies. If your pal has bills to pay, this is a crunch-time situation.
“Everything happens for a reason.”
No matter how earnest you intend to come across, this tired cliché is probably the last thing your friend wants to hear right now. Maybe she was laid off because of a subpar performance (and is beating herself up about it). Or maybe her manager is just a total psychopath (and the departure is super unfair). Whatever the reason for the layoff, we promise she doesn’t want to dwell on it.