With nearly 700,000 job losses reported in February, more and more people are being affected by layoffs. Whether you know someone who has lost their job, or are now unemployed yourself, dealing with a layoff is difficult. It’s normal to turn to your friends for support, advice, and guidance during difficult times. But, where do you draw the line when your friend is your co-worker and you’re the one that was laid off? Can you still be friends after a layoff? Yes, you can, but chances are, it won’t be easy. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you sustain your friendships, even after you’ve been laid off.
Be Careful Who You Reach Out To.
After you’ve been laid off, it’s in your best interest not to reach out to your former co-workers for support. Those who are still employed may fear losing their own jobs and be unable to sympathize with your loss. Instead, talk with your other friends or family members for the support you need.
Be Mindful of Your Conversations.
If you choose to talk with a former co-worker after you’ve been laid off, be mindful about your conversations. Since friendship is based on many commonalities besides work, find something else to talk about. If the conversation heads back toward your current job situation, talk about the positive aspects of your job search, but avoid talking about your former workplace or the circumstances surrounding your layoff.
Avoid Group Gatherings.
Avoid spending time with a group of your former co-workers, because the topic of work is bound to come up. You’ll feel out of place and be reminded that your former co-workers still have a job and you don’t. So, decline any offers to attend group events when only former co-workers will be in attendance. Instead, ask each of your closest friends to meet you one-on-one so you can continue your relationship outside of the workplace in a comfortable setting.
Some friendships don’t make it through a lay off because of the stress, embarrassment, and the lack of communication that can occur. No one likes the strain that a job loss can place on a friendship, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. To make your friendships last through your layoff, make sure you reach out to the right people, are careful of your conversations, and avoid large groups of former co-workers.