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Monday question: Supporting laid-off friends (emotionally, that is)

Posted by Robin Abrahams  April 19, 2010 06:15 AM

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Back to all-too-normal social dilemmas this week, my dears!

We've talked about recession etiquette before on this blog, but while the stock market may have rallied, unemployment remains high -- which is, after all, what most of us in the non-investor class are concerned about. I'm sure the letter writer isn't the only person who has friends facing long-term unemployment -- what's your advice?

Here's a timely issue that I could use your advice on. In our woeful current economic condition, I am finding that more and more of my friends and acquaintances are reporting that they've lost their jobs. But the problem for me is, what do I say to all these people as the bad news piles up? I know they need to "network" and tell me they're out of work, and I'll be the first to share job info with anyone and everyone. But I'm running out of nice things to say, supportive things to say, when the response to my "how are things?" emails are coming back more often than not with negative and sad news. I just don't know what to say back. Not responding is terrible, but I've got several such emails sitting in my inbox waiting for me to respond and I just don't know what to say. "Wow, that's too bad" does not cut it.

As usual, I'll post my response on Friday, and we'll have an online chat this Wednesday. (Also, I'm doing a reading at the Watertown Public Library this Wednesday at 7pm -- hope to see you there!)
This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at missconduct@globe.com.
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Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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