Here are two questions never to ask the unemployed:
Don’t ask, “How are you doing?” unless you are willing to sit and listen for a while. There’s no easy answer to it.
We’re doing about as you might expect. We’re doing poorly because we don’t have work but still have all the usual bills. We’re alternately feeling good because we sense a wide open door to try new things and bad because so many doors seem to be closed. We’re struggling with feelings of low self esteem because we cannot provide for our families and are always seeking help. We’re happy to see more of our families (though the feeling might not always be reciprocated).
Don’t ask, “Is there anything I can do?” Of course there is; we’re unemployed. We don’t want to be a burden, and we feel embarrassed about our situation, and so you may have to draw the information out of us. We need prayer, job leads, assistance navigating government aid programs, money, help with the kids, someone to listen.
Instead of asking this question, ascertain what our needs are and ask, “May I help you with … ?” Be specific, persistent, and gentle. Our lips may at first say “No,” but chances are our hearts are saying “Yes.”