Marge K. Mercurio
We are living in a time when people are struggling in a quiet desperation. Whether they've lost their job, vehicle, health, home, marriage or something else they value - they are dealing with their troubles in silence.
It's embarrassing to lose your job and yet, there is the hope that another one is available. When resources, job possibilities and hope evaporates... people turn inward. Their dreams and plans for themselves, their family and the future disappear and fear sets in.
5 Magical Words:
When you encounter friends, colleagues or family members who are dealing with hard times, use these magic words to break down barriers and get the other person talking... "I've been thinking about you." Then become quiet.
These words could open the door to a conversation. They may have to be said a few more times over weeks or even months. But they will open doors because they are genuine and non-threatening. Unlike the question, "How are you doing?" which often leads to the quick reply - "Fine" when in reality nothing can be further from the truth.
When you let the other person know you've been thinking about them, you're not expecting a reply, report or update, instead you're stating a fact. People in distress try to stay under the radar so a simple acknowledgment from you can offer a glimmer of hope that they matter.
Should the person decide to talk about their life, issues or struggles, do NOT try to fix the situation or assist them in anyway. Sometimes, it's good to just unload and share your problems without worrying that you're putting someone on the spot to help you find a job, mend a friendship, meet people, pay your rent... That can come later. For now, let the person talk.
Make contact with that person and be a good listener. People in distress are good at concealing their situation. They stop attending events that cost money; they avoid any sort of entertainment such as dinners, going to the movies, attending plays or theater, sporting events, visiting museums, accepting party invitations or places where money is required.
The majority of unemployed people have never been in this situation before. They're used to earning a paycheck, paying their bills, making their rent or mortgage, buying their groceries with money (not food stamps) and having a future.
What they need is a job. Until that comes along, be a good friend and just listen.