Rumors had been spreading around the factory floor, people were being laid-off. Then I saw him coming from the office with red eyes and a tremble in his lips. He told me he was gone and had been laid-off. Then I saw others coming toward him and I quickly whispered in his ear that I would be praying for him. I felt bad for him, knowing that I was once under him and he had seniority over me. But I did not feel guilty, I had worked hard to be where I was without stabbing him or anyone else in the back. The main hurt in my heart came from the knowledge that I really did know what he was going through. I had been in his shoes many times and it was not pleasant. Even when I confessed my trust in God rather than men, I was always afraid. So I knew my friend was going through a really bad time.
Even with my feeble attempt to comfort him, I felt I could have done more. Remembering back to my days of lay-offs, I remembered those who tried to comfort me. So here is some advice to help you help them, not listed in order of importance:
1. Don't ask them if they had applied for unemployment benefits. It is insulting.
2. Prayer is needful but not as a cure all when you don't know what to say. If you believe in prayer, reassure them by praying with them face-to-face.
3. Pass on any resources that you feel they could use. I informed my friend that because he had been laid-off, there may be funds from the State that could help him further his education. He had expressed his desire to further it in previous conversations.
4. Remain their friend on social media and wherever you socialize with them away from work. It is hard to know what to say to friends in this situation and easy to just let them slid out of friendship. Stay in contact but don't feed them information about work that would make things worse.
I am sure there are many other ways to help your friend and maybe resources to guide you. But the most important thing to do is to treat them the way you would want to be treated. Love them and give them hope. Let them know they are not alone. Pass their info to others in your network that could use their experience. In closing, if you can't do it for the love of a friend, do it because one day it might be you.