Etiquette In This Economy

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Bruce Mccord knows that talking about his job hunt with friends doesn't make for fun conversation, but he feels it's important to reach out to others.

"Some of my friends are in the industry, so I like to talk to them to see if they possibly have any contacts or know of anything," says McCord who is unemployed.

Whether you're doing the talking or listening, unemployment can be an uncomfortable subject. Peggy Post with the Emily Post Institute says the etiquette of this economy is creating a difficult dance for many.

"The principles of etiquette are being considerate, being respectful and being honest. Those principles are more important than ever these days," says Post.

If you're out of work, before asking a friend for help, feel out the situation.  Filter what you say about your layoff and make sure any anger is gone. If you have an acquaintance on the job market, it's okay to acknowledge it, and assist in any way you feel comfortable.

"Maybe you could help that person with a resume, or do some role playing with interviewing," adds Post.

What if the issue is eating out? Not everyone can afford to split a big bill.  Post says try postponing plans until your finances are fixed or try saying something like this...

"No, I can't really go to that expensive restaurant with you tonight but how about going to the more moderate restaurant?"

Another sticky situation: donating to a group gift or fundraiser.

"Be honest and say I just can't do it right now, but thanks for asking."

Maybe you have an invite to an out of town event like a wedding or graduation that's not going to fit into the budget?

"Just RSVP and say 'I can't make it, sorry, have a great time."

Either way, Post says it's appropriate to still try to send a token gift in your absence. No matter what the issue, this economy can make things more critical.

"Many of these problems are old problems, but we're seeing them more and more," Post says.

Bruce agrees and says the caring from friends helps him through. "It's always important, but yeah, especially now in hard times."