Etiquette Questions, Answered: Tricky Conversations
Q. My close friend, a married mother of two, was laid off late last year and is on unemployment. And yet this friend has told me that she has gone shopping for new clothes or items for her home with the unemployment funds. She is looking for a job but not in earnest, and it bothers me that she would abuse a system that we all pay into. I haven’t said anything to her, but her dishonesty is off-putting. What should I do?
A. First, give your friend the benefit of the doubt. How do you know that she’s acting dishonestly? Remember—you don’t know all the reasons for her actions. (Is she buying new clothes for job interviews? Is she neatening up her house to boost morale?) She might be normalizing a stressful situation by talking about everyday activities, like shopping, or she might be trying to mask her anxiety with a blithe attitude about her job search.
Your job as a friend is to show kindness to her in this dark moment. Ask her if there is anything that you can do to help. Beyond that, drop the subject. Your friend is receiving money she is legally entitled to.
- Should Every Job Applicant Get a Response?
- Can I Give Money to a Recently Unemployed Friend?
- Is Hiring My Friends Always a Bad Idea?
Want to Ask Your Own Etiquette Question?
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