In a perfect world, we would obviously all love our jobs. We would jump out of bed every morning 鈥 no snooze button necessary 鈥 ready to put on our best business casual and be the first one to hit the office. We would gel easily with our colleagues and supervisors and never get into an awkward spat with other people on our teams. We would rise seamlessly through the ranks at our current organization, too pleased with the company鈥檚 mission and too fulfilled by our work to ever consider circling back to our resumes and applying to other jobs.

Sadly, this isn鈥檛 always the situation. Unless you鈥檙e the rare lucky case, you鈥檝e had imperfect moments on the job 鈥 and your friends have too. As a result, you may be the one your BFF comes to after an especially tough workday. It鈥檚 not always easy to know what to say when someone is struggling, especially when it comes to something as vital as their source of support. We checked in with experts for advice on what not to say to a pal who鈥檚 habitually unhappy in their work. Keep scrolling for their anti-recommendations.

A woman gestures as she speaks with a friend

1. 鈥淚t will probably blow over.鈥 If your friend is miserable at the office, don鈥檛 minimize their feelings or brush off their concerns as temporary. Instead, counselor, coach, and healer Anahid Lisa Derbabian encourages you to take the time to listen and to understand what they鈥檙e going through. When you tell someone that their worries are bound to pass, what they might hear is that you don鈥檛 think that what they鈥檙e dealing with is substantial enough to merit a thoughtful conversation in the here and now. And we know that鈥檚 not how you actually feel!

2. 鈥淚鈥檝e been there! Here鈥檚 what happened to me鈥︹ Your first instinct might be to try to draw from your own experiences with a less-than-ideal job or to share an anecdote with your friend that will remind them that there鈥檚 a light at the end of the tunnel, but coach and consultant Jane Scudder advises against it. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e probably doing this in an effort to normalize the situation or empathize with your friend, but what it can actually do is make this about you, when it needs to be about [them].鈥 There may come a time when your friend asks you to share your personal journey out of a crummy gig 鈥 but in the meantime keep it to yourself.

3. 鈥淚f I were you, I would stay for the benefits.鈥 Naturally, a reliable health insurance plan or 401(k) is nothing to take lightly, but suggesting your unhappy pal stick around in a potentially unhealthy workplace simply because you find the benefits attractive may come off as judgmental. It鈥檚 up to them to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons in their current job. Plus, as author and coach Bernard Charles points out, benefits can change with political or other shifts. 鈥淐omments like these keep your friends and loved ones playing small,鈥 Charles reminds us. 鈥淎ny job that exhausts you, sucks the life out of you, or expects you to hand over your proverbial kidney isn鈥檛 worth it.鈥

A woman has coffee with a friend

4. 鈥淗ow is the job search going?鈥 Assuming your friend has been unhappy with their current employment situation for a while, you might find yourself tempted to regularly touch base about their prospects. While that could be read as genuine concern, it could also strike a nerve in your likely stressed loved one. 鈥淚f they had a [new] job, they would have told you,鈥 says Maple Holistics HR manager Nate Masterson. 鈥淭hey don鈥檛 need a reminder that they鈥檙e still unemployed [or searching for alternatives]. This conversation is at the bottom of their chat-with-my-friend list.鈥

5. 鈥淵ou should just be grateful for the job you have.鈥 Gratitude is important, but it doesn鈥檛 have to come at the expense of your daily happiness. 鈥淏eing grateful doesn鈥檛 mean ignoring pain and unhappiness,鈥 adviser Candice Thomas notes. 鈥淚t doesn鈥檛 matter if your friend鈥檚 job seems like the greatest job on Earth. That鈥檚 your perspective, not theirs. If they are unhappy, there鈥檚 a reason for it.鈥 Your role should be to listen openly to their frustrations and to encourage them in whatever steps they want to take next.

When you were unhappy at work, what did you want to hear? Tweet us @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)