While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On what to say to someone struggling with unemployment:
As far as I'm concerned, the only thing one doesn't want to say to a person in distress is what someone said to me: "What I try and do is be open to all that life brings, whatever comes."
OK, I thought. When I get out of this mess I'll drive into the desert and run out of gas. I won't bring water. I'll shoot out my tires. Just think of all I'll get to experience then!
The only thing worse than trying to fix someone with words is not feeling some small piece of what they're feeling.
ANONYMOUS (I GUESS)
From someone who is living the unemployment nightmare, give the gift of respite - a few minutes or a couple of hours.
Unemployed people cut out luxuries to make ends meet. If they're married or have children, give them tickets for a movie, water park, zoo, restaurant gift certificate, etc. Something they can share with their families. If they're single, take them to a game, restaurant, shave and a haircut, etc.
If someone wants to talk, just LISTEN. Don't judge, answer back with suggestions or cut him off. Having someone who can listen is truly a rare gift.
Show them that your love for them is totally outside of their employment problem. My guess is they will remember it forever.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.