How to Help an Unemployed Friend: Jayme Albin, Ph.D. Advises

Alongside all the restrictions and regulations set in place to curb the spread of corona, many people are looking for constructive ways to help and support those affected by the virus. As the economic fallout of the past few months unfolds, more and more people are facing unemployment (or underemployment). We spoke to Dr. Jayme Albin, a New York psychologist, to hear about how friends or family can support their jobless loved ones right now.

1) Be Present. True friends don’t shy away from awkward situations. It can be uncomfortable to reach out to an unemployed friend when your job is still in tact, but that is what you need to do. Even if you can’t be physically present, set a time to chat, share a good joke, and be their source of strength. You may not necessarily be able to help them with their job search, but you can help them with your positivity and friendship.

2) Offer Concrete Advice. Looking for a new job can be overwhelming. Albin cautions against extending platitudes and vague advice. Instead, she suggests, looking at their online profiles, (like LinkedIn) and making tangible suggestions. Offer assistance in professionalizing their digital presence; recommend employment websites you have tried.

3) Be a Connector. Unemployed friends don’t only need a job. They also need connections to the right people who can lead to the job interviews and network building. Think about the people in your immediate and extended circles who might be able to help your friend. Think about the skills and experience your friend has, Albin recommends, and then consult your contact list to see who might be able to help.

4) Don’t Judge or Blame. Nobody could have predicted the current economic turmoil; nobody should be blamed for being laid off or out of work. Avoid drudging up a friend’s past mistakes and stay focused on the future. Don’t worry or nag when it seems that your friend isn’t taking job searching seriously. Be consistently supportive by reminding them of all their good traits and skills and sending them relevant job opportunities.

Bringing a meal is a practical and easy way to help an unemployed friend, says Dr. Jayme Albin.

5) Do Them a Favor. The job search can seem like a full-time job itself. With all the worries your friend might be facing now, they can always use some help. You can make their lives easier be sending over dinner, taking their young children for a few hours, or stocking up their pantry with supplies. Dr. Albin says that most people find it hard to ask for help, even if they really need it, so just decide what you can do to help and do it.

Jayme Albin reminds us that this is a challenging time for everyone. The best way to show an unemployed friend or family member you care is to be a source of support, not a source of stress. Be the person who boosts confidence, stays positive, and follows through. This will not only help your friend right now, according to Dr. Albin, but it will also strengthen your friendship in the long run.

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Allergies Only to Male Dogs?

In a fascinating recent article, CNN explained that your dog allergy might not actually NEED to be a thing. Come again? Yes, that’s right. As Dr. Lakiea Wright, an allergist in Boston explains, as much as 30% of people are allergic to dogs are actually only allergic to male dogs. Why? Because they are actually allergic to a protein that is produced in the dog’s prostate. So you might be able to enjoy having a female or neutered dog.

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The way that allergies work is that the proteins in the urine, saliva and dander are actually what trigger an oversensitive system to react. There are six specific dog allergens in total, and it’s possible to be allergic to one type but not the other. So, how would you find out if you’re only allergic to male dogs? Read the whole article for more tips and ideas. It’s quite a fascinating new look at pet ownership.

Women: Financial Trauma of Divorce/Widowhood

Aside from the emotional pain of getting divorced, the financial strain – statistically experienced more by women – can be devastating.  With one in two couples heading for the family law courts, it is shocking that even in the 21st century, a disproportionate amount of women have little or no idea about the financial status of the couple/family.  When faced with separation – by way of divorce or widowhood – these individuals find themselves completely overwhelmed and shocked at their new fiscal reality.

Industry experts are therefore advising women to at least develop a clear understanding of three main areas:

  1. their monthly expenses
  2. their current debt/income
  3. potential/expected future expenses. 

Consulting with a financial advisor is very strongly recommended too.

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Michelle Smith, Source Financial Advisors CEO and founder, has been a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst for the past decade-and-a-half.  As an RIA, Smith has used her expertise specifically in divorce/widow cases that have been brought to her firm.  Over the years she has found that getting divorced or becoming a widow is a bit like being in the middle of a medical crisis, in which you are “thrown in the ICU and it’s all this new language and it’s all these fast decisions that have to be made.”

For those contemplating divorce it is advisable to become educated before filing where possible.  When getting divorced people are so emotionally invested that they cannot think straight. But planning is crucial.  Smith added that it often feels like a situation of “life or death…because you’ve  got one shot at getting this pile of money.”  For women without an income that chunk of money could need to last for five decades!

In addition, given that about 80% of divorces are initiated by women, it is time women started becoming not only aware, but an expert on those three crucial points mentioned above.  Truthfully though, all married women need this knowledge; there is no preparation time for becoming a widow and those individuals face many of the same hardships and strains that divorced women do.

Last Minute Mother’s Day Ideas

You’re just waking up on Mother’s Day and realizing you’re in trouble. What can you get that mom at the very last minute? Here are some great ideas that will keep you from sweating – or being in trouble today.

Reading moms: If your mom loves to read then you can grab a gift certificate to her favorite book store or to Amazon. If you want to buy a specific book for your special role model, here is a great list.

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Foodie moms: If you have the time right now, you can whip together some delicious food and invite your mom over for breakfast. Here are great recipes that will guide you through the process and offer a wonderful meal today!

On the go moms: Finally, here is a great and refreshing list of things to do today with mom. You’ve got to find something in this extensive list!

Enjoy the moms in your life today!

4 Steps to Better Communication

Have you heard of couples who get into fights, scream at each other and don’t really listen to each other? Why do people fight like this? The fight may start out innocently enough.
Let’s say that a wife asks her husband to do something, he forgets and she gets angry. She may not even know why she is so angry.

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Then she may explode at him and he doesn’t know why. They may start screaming at each other without listening to each other. There’s definately a better way to handle these situations.

At first this technique may seem artificial, but with practice it will become natural and will increase understanding in your relationships.  

The person who feels hurt begins to speak. The second person listens without interrupting. When the first person has finished, the second person hopefully will have a deeper understanding of what is really bothering the first person.   

The person with the complaint should speak in a sequence of four steps.

First step: Talk only about facts, about what actually happened. For example, “I asked you to take out the garbage, you said that you would but you didn’t do it.” The statement should focus only on one incident, not what happened in the past or what always happens. There should be very little to argue about step one.

Second step: Talk about about your values and/or how you interpret the situation. For example, you might say ”I believe that if a person says that he will do something, he must do it. Not doing what one commits to shows lack of responsibility.”  This stage explains to the other person why you are upset.

Third step: Talk about your feelings and how your interpretation makes you feel. How do his acts affect you emotionally? For example,  you might say “When you don’t do what you commit to, I feel that I can’t trust you and then I feel panicked because I don’t know what to expect. That undercuts my sense of security and makes me feel scared.” This step explains what is happening to you emotionally, which probably was not clear to the other person.

Fourth step: Request the behavior change that you want. You should be clear about what you want the other person to do. For example, “In the future, if you don’t want to do something, say so. If you say you will do it, then please do it.”

This kind of conversation shows the person that it’s not just about taking out the garbage, it’s about deep emotions, expectations, disappointments and maybe even fears. This understanding deepens the relationship and brings people closer to each other.

After the first person is finished explaining what bothers her, the second person should empathize with her. Ask about and discuss things that are unclear. Discuss how her values, emotions, and desires fit together as a whole picture and try to relate to what the person went through and why.

The second person can discuss how she relates to the situation with her values, emotions, and desires and see where the discussion flows to. The discussion can continue on and off for days and weeks, whatever fits, until the problem is resolved. If there are underlying issues that continue to bother either of them, they may consider seeking professional help. People want to learn to resolve issues and have ongoing give and take with each other for more harmony between them.

Communicating Better With Your Loved Ones

Communication with others is something that we take for granted, but there are really many elements involved and many processes occurring behind our words.

Research shows that the words we say are only 20% of what we communicate. What comprises the other 80%? It includes body language, tone, and the listener’s interpretation. We are aware of body language and tone and can partially control them; however the listener’s interpretation is totally out of our control. In addition, the speaker assumes that the listener will understand what he or she means.

Additionally, people use the same words but with different meanings . For example, when the slang expression “shut up” first came out, the literal meaning seemed like “be quiet” which was insulting. However from the tone and body language, the listener might have understood that the speaker meant something other than be quiet, something very positive.  

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Many people don’t speak accurately and listeners need to interpret what is said and its proper context. Some people tend to exaggerate when they speak and the listener has to adjust accordingly. Alternatively, many understate their messages which forces the listener to read between the lines.

What can we do to avoid these potential misunderstanding? When you are talking with someone and things don’t feel right, pay attention to that feeling. Ask the speaker, “from what you said, I understood “abc”. Is that what you meant?” In addition, when you say something and the other person reacts differently than expected, ask them, “How did you understand what I just said?”  Clarify interpretations to ensure better understanding and better relationships.

One more thing. The deeper the relationship, the more vulnerable you and the other person are. Therefore, you should work at improving understanding with your close friends and family members.

Next week, we will continue with more techniques for improving communications.