When someone you’re close with falls out of favor at work and suddenly ends up losing their job, you want to do everything in your power to ease their pain.
Here’s how to help them move forward.
Treat them like a human being
Don’t gawk at them like an object under display. These things happen to people every day, and no one likes to feel “other.”
Think about it: Would you want people staring at you with pity, freezing up or avoiding you at such a painful time? Probably not.
That’s not the kind of attention they need right now.
Listen, listen, listen
Strategic communications expert Paolina Milana provides tips in The Muse, and one of them is “stick around, but say nothing.”
“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. 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,” she writes. “So, stick around, and if you aren’t sure what to say, just say nothing. What this person really needs is to talk it out and for you to listen with both ears. So give him or her a hug, look into his or her eyes, and nod with understanding and validation. It’ll do a great deal of good and be more than enough to ease your colleague’s transition.”
Don’t suddenly leave them in the dark
Fast Company’s Nikita Richardson features advice from Dr. Ron Friedman, a social psychologist specializing in human motivation and the author of The Best Place To Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, in an article about steps to take when “your work best friend is fired.”
“As for your now unfortunately unemployed friend, just because you don’t work together anymore doesn’t mean you can’t maintain the relationship. But Friedman suggests that you avoid venting with them about your former shared workplace. Instead, if you feel comfortable and the reason for their firing wasn’t too egregious, see if you can assist them with their job hunt, referring them to others in your network or writing a recommendation,” Richardson writes. “And now that your friendship can grow outside of the office, your conversations can expand beyond work woes.”
Remove yourself from the equation
HuffPost Senior Writer/Columnist Ann Brenoff writes, “don’t make it about you,” in HuffPost.
“Don’t even try B.S. lines like, ‘I hate my job so much that I wish they would have canned me,’ or ‘Damn, you get to sleep late and stay in your pajamas all day.'”
“If you really hate your job so much or want to sleep late, all you have to do is raise your hand, and you too can enjoy the ‘freedom’ that unemployment offers,” she writes. “That may include the freedom to lose health insurance, the freedom to not be able to pay your rent on time, and the freedom to spend hours a day sending your resume into the internet’s black hole without so much as an acknowledgement that it was received.”