I recently ran into a friend who I know has been fired from his job. I was very uncomfortable and had no idea what to say, which made things even worse and awkward. What should I have said or done? – Jane

In these economic times most Canadians know of a friend, family member and/or neighbour who has had to deal with unemployment.

Don’t judge or lecture. These days, job loss is due to the economic times rather than the person’s fault. So how do we deal with this? Be kind, gracious and don’t draw unnecessary attention to the uncomfortable situation.

Personally, what I have done in these cases is to either not bring it up and focus on something else like, “How are the kids doing?” or, “I know you love football, what did you think of the game last Sunday?”


However, if you do feel it appropriate to bring up the situation, I would much rather say something like “How are you doing since you left your job?” We all know the person may have been let go, but you don’t need to add salt to the wound, and this shows that you care and are being sensitive.

Remember that etiquette is how you make others feel. Making others feel comfortable by being kind and gracious is always the right thing to do.

• Got a question? Send an Email to askcharlesthebutler@metronews.ca

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