After college graduation, life hits you fast and hard.
You're pressured to find a job, pay more bills and take on a load of responsibility. Hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions), of Millennials are graduating at the same time in your area and looking to start their careers.
You're competing with so many comparable graduates and worrying about drowning in the sea of candidates.
What happens when your friends are stampeding into adulthood, while one is struggling to get on their horse?
It's not easy to be there for someone you can't relate with. You can't tell them you know how it feels, and you don't know the right things to say.
You blindly type encouraging texts and avoid talking about your accomplishments at work in fear of making them feel inadequate.
It's important to be conscious of your friend's feelings, but you shouldn't hold back from getting excited about your life, either.
When your friend feels lost, it's easier to be there for them than you think.
Here are five ways you, an employed Millennial, can be a supportive friend to your friend who's still looking for a full-time job:
1. Think of free or inexpensive ways to spend time as a group.
It's embarrassing when you have to turn down plans because you can't afford it. When it's something as simple as dinner, those with a job may think it's no big deal.
But couple of appetizers for the table, an entrée and a few drinks can add up for someone without a full-time job.
Be aware of the costs and make sure your friend will feel comfortable accepting the invitation.
2. Talk about your accomplishments and goals.
There's nothing worse than feeling a friend tip-toe around a subject to avoid hurting your feelings. Even if you think you're being casual and subtle, it's very easy to spot when someone is holding back.
Contrary to popular belief, it can make your friend feel worse knowing you won't celebrate your accomplishments just because they can't find a job. With or without a job, your friends want to celebrate with you.
Did you only celebrate scoring a goal in the big game if your friend scored, too?
Did you only celebrate getting your license if your friends got theirs, too? If you didn't hold back then, why are you holding back now?
3. Wish them luck/send words of encouragement for an interview.
It seems like common sense, but many people don't reach out to their friends before a big interview.
Let your friend know you're thinking of them, and follow up to ask how it went.
Even if the interview turns out to be a bust, it's a great feeling when your friends are showing you their support.
4. If you see a job opening that might appeal to them, send it their way.
You don't need to preach to your friend about how important it is to get a job. They get enough crap from their parents and don't need their friends harping on them, too.
Send them a link or information with a message about how you thought of them when you saw the opening.
It's hard to sit and look through hundreds of job openings. After a while, they all start to look and sound the same. It's an exhausting process that everyone hates.
Maybe it's something they already applied for, or maybe they already saw it and skipped over it.
No matter the outcome (whether they apply or not), it's best to let them know you're thinking of them.
5. Remind them they aren't alone.
Whether you had trouble finding a job or not, I can guarantee you know more than one person who has struggled or is struggling. If you don't, bless your souls.
It's not easy to find a job, even with a degree from a fancy university. When your friend starts to feel defeated, remind them they aren't alone.
It's easy to feel discouraged when every job rejects your resume (or you as a person, if you go in for an interview). Let them know there is a job out there for them, and they will find it when the time is right.
It's difficult to apply for hundreds (yes, I mean hundreds) of jobs and to be rejected from every single one of them.
It's difficult to watch your friend try so hard to find a full-time job with no luck.
It's difficult to realize that with or without a job, the world and life goes on around you.
It's easy, though, to remind someone how amazing they really are. It's easy to send an encouraging message to a friend when they're feeling down.
What's even easier? Sitting on the couch with a friend and a bottle of wine and just forgetting about life for a while.