Five things to tell a friend who's just been laid off

I got the call this afternoon.

"Guess who just lost their job."

Since my friend Dawn and I had been talking just yesterday about the fact that her company had been bought six months earlier by some faceless conglomerate, and that her boss is never in the office anymore, I jumped to the wrong conclusion.

"They canned your boss!"

A sickening silence on her end of the line suggested the other possibility.

Then she started crying.

This has happened half a dozen times to me in the last year, as friends, neighbors, even my boyfriend have gotten the ax. Over time, I've developed a five-prong approach to talking them off the ledge.