I like to think people have good intentions. Sometimes we do not realize we are doing it, but we piss people off. In this situation, your friend(s) or colleague(s) just got laid off or fired.

They are feeling really down; self-esteem is at all-time low. Saying nothing makes you feel like you don’t care.

You might be struggling for the right words and hope that saying something more general will help them feel better.

Guess what…usually it is a recipe for disaster. Let’s look at these three comments that will only send your friend(s) into deeper despair:

  1. Enjoy your time off. We all dream of having time to clean the house, go on a trip or finish that project that has been sitting in the closet for eons. Even with time off, there is a good chance those things don’t get done. If they do find the time to tackle those chores, they are probably tired of doing them. Bottom line – they would rather be productive, working and bringing home a paycheck.
  2. Don’t worry things happen for a reason. This plays in into the fatalist attitude. They will be thinking – why are bad things about fate and positive things are about being lucky? Why me? What possibly could be the reason? It is hard to correct something that was because of fate. Maybe that is why we say it, we don’t want them to feel like they did something wrong. When fate intervenes it only serves to render them feeling helpless.
  3. Just be patient, your time will come, things will be better for you. Here is what they are probably thinking: When is it my time – tomorrow or a year from now? How do you know things will be better? Right now I am feeling unappreciated, lonely and struggling to get through each day. It is hard to see how things will get better. Maybe you want to trade places?

How do you know when you might have said something that was not well received? Their response is silence, a stare or even a laugh to let off some steam.

If you have been fired, what well intentioned comments piss you off? Why?