Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Unemployed Friend Needs Support

DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend got fired from her job last week, and she is flipping out. She says she doesn’t have enough money to pay her rent and to take care of her basic bills. She was working a job that had low pay because she had been out of work for nearly a year when she was laid off the first time. I don’t have any extra money to help her, and I also don’t have space for her to live with me. I am worried she could end up homeless. Right now she is in no state to go on a job interview. She is way too upset. What can I do to support her? I would like to be there for her, but I don’t know what to do. -- Help a Friend, Detroit

DEAR HELP A FRIEND: Be honest and clear with your friend. Tell her you want to help her. Let her know you can’t offer money or shelter, but you can offer a listening ear. You can also ask important questions. If she got laid off, she should be able to collect unemployment insurance. Suggest that she apply immediately so she can get some income to help her during this transition period. Encourage her to get her papers in order and contact any creditors to ask for mercy. Many will offer a grace period for payments if they know what’s going on. Suggest she brush up her resume and think about what skills she can put to work. Through this process, she may calm down enough to begin thinking about next steps.

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