12 ways to help your unemployed friends and family

There are lot of people right now without a job throughout the USA and other parts of world.  California where we live is one of the place that was hit hard in form of unemployment and foreclosures.   According to the LA times, California’s unemployment rate is in the double digits, in some regions it is as high as 12%.  Click here for the LA times article .  It is tough and scary with no prospects of the economy improving anytime soon and foreclosures seem to be rising rapidly.  As if, this was not bad enough, many necessary goods are getting expensive during this recession,  I wrote about it earlier, please check out, Irony of Recession .  Being kind and compassionate with your unemployed friends may help a lot, even if it is hard for you to relate to them.  You can help in many ways even if you can not help financially. So, let’s look at a few ways to help them.

I have been in both sides of world, making 6 figure income once upon a time and being unemployed and at home with kids now. Being on rich and poor sides, now I understand both sides a little better. There are many hard working and motivated people, who are without a job for months, or worse lot longer. We know a few of them in our lives and I am sure you do too. How do you help? What do you say and how to be supportive without hurting your relationship in long term.

1. First and foremost it is  important to listen to them, and be there for them, if they want to talk.  Call them periodically.

2. Offer leads and project ideas to them, do not keep asking if they got a job yet. When the get it, they will be sure to share the good news.

3. You can give/drop off cooked meals, groceries sometimes.

4. Sometimes, instead of just asking them for help ideas, just do it.  Many times, most people do not like to bother anyone with their issues nor can think in this situation what to ask for.

5. Babysit kids at your place or take them out. Money troubles can be often hard on couple, so it may give them time to talk out issues and kids may like the change/outing to be welcoming.

6. If you must help with money, make sure it is money you do not need in near future, as unemployment effects linger on for a long time even after one gets a job. Usually unpaid money can bring resentful feelings among close friends and family or avoid giving money in on most cases. Relationships are more important than any money that may cause issue.

7. Just because they seem fine and do not talk about issues, do not assume they are doing fine.  Many people are not comfortable talking about money or personal problems to even family members.

8. Gift in form of basic necessities is always good such as shelter (if situation arises, and they lose a house/rental), Food/water, basic clothing needs, medicine and basic kids education.

9. Occasional outing to restaurant, museum for kids can bring relief, as they must not be doing any activities that cost money living on little entertainment.

10. Be supportive, do not criticize if you do not see aggressiveness in pursuing a job/project. It might be that someone is working hard behind scenes and he/she may seem to have a laid back attitude on the surface, which might not be the case.

11. Do not ignore them, thinking they may need some time alone.  Do not feel bad, if they are not calling you sometimes, as sometimes private life can be much harder and draining to leave time for social calls, although most people will keep basic sanity outwards usually.

12. You can be supportive in many ways by just being there. You do not have to spend money or give money to them. Some of our best memories of friends and family’ help is being there with no money involved.

Here are some related articles in addition that may give you some ideas on how to help your unemployed friends or family members.

10 ways improve yourself while broke

How can you help unemployed today


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  1. Angela Artemis says:

    Hi Zengirl,
    This is a very informative article. I especially like the point you made in saying to just do it. I agree most people don’t want to ask for help and if you call and ask – they’ll say no, that’s okay out of a feeling of shame, or embarrassment. I remember when my father died and all these people asked me if I needed anything and I kept saying no, but in truth I could barely function. I felt uncomfortable asking for help. So, I think this is a terrific point – if you think someone needs help – JUST DO IT!

    Thanks for the great post!
    .-= Angela Artemis´s last blog ..Intuition: You Don’t Have to Scare The **** Out of Yourself! =-.

  2. ZenGirl says:


    Thank you for your comment. I am sorry for your father’s passing. I know I too have sometimes problem asking or saying yes for help as many of us do not want to burden anyone. True friends do not ask, they just show up and start helping. Wish we all had at least one friend like that.

  3. Betsy Bargain says:

    This is a great post, Zengirl. Lots of practical and thoughtful ways to help our unemployed friends and family, many of which do not involve money, which many of us do not have either right now!
    .-= Betsy Bargain´s last blog ..Home Green Home =-.

  4. ZenGirl says:


    I can only imagine those of you are about to graduate with down economy as it is for finding a first job. I really wish, things improves for little people like us, because there are no bail out for us, only big banks and corporations! Wish you good luck, and keep positive.

  5. ZenGirl says:


    True, many of us who might have job but hurting bad for extra cash flow. Many people’s credit card limit has decreased and so is ease of borrowing. It is not fun. We have 2 foreclosures in our middle class neighborhood, so I see it first hand. We can still help a little bit, it may help just enough the last them till they get a job or some project.

  6. Kamal says:


    This is a good post. This is a very timely post for our society. We see so many people affected by the current economic conditions. I think this title reflects on Compassion during the Recession. When I was a child I was taught to be thankful for what we have, and share a little with those in need. This post reflects that very eloquently.

  7. ZenGirl says:


    Thank you for your comment as usual. I think your parents have taught you well when you were child. I found that when we help others, our joys increases too. having compassion is very important any time in our life so I am glad you are showing and giving help to others in your life.

  8. Vaishali says:

    Hi Zengirl, I’m returning after a long time because of problems you’re familiar with, and I want to say that your blog has really blossomed! I love the look, and I love this article for how detailed and sensitive it is. These are difficult times and we all need some zen– so keep up the good work!
    .-= Vaishali´s last blog ..Mints’ Khandeshi-Style Methichi Bhaji =-.

  9. ZenGirl says:


    Thank you for kind words and visit. I know you are going through a rough patch and you are amazingly strong person.

    I am glad you liked the new changes and look of the site.

    Our economy has hit many people hard right now, it is so sad to see them going through so much, every little bit we can do to help is improvement on nothing. I have been there so I have written from personal perspective. Hopefully things will improve soon for all of us, that will be our bail out.

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