How do you react when someone cries?
Imagine this: while visiting a friend and while chatting about this and that they tell you about something that’s upset them, and you see the tears welling up in their eyes.
What do you do when someone cries?
I’ll tell you...
So your friend starts to cry - how does that feel for you?
- All of the above?
It's really difficult to see someone you care about cry, and especially for us people pleasers because we want others to always be happy, so when someone cries it has a big impact on you.
You want to make things better, you want to make the pain go away and you’ll do whatever you can to make the crying stop. You want to cheer that person up and tell them everything will be okay, or try and solve the problem for them.
Resist this urge.
There's great benefit to crying.
You’ll know yourself that a good cry is cathartic. Tears come, then they pass and we feel clear and unburdened afterwards. Crying acknowledges pain and sadness, and is healing.
Take a look at this blog 'Why Crying Means You're Mentally Tough'.
What happens if you interrupt the process?
Crying makes us feel very vulnerable, which is why most people prefer to do their crying alone.
If you've seen Grease (and if you haven't - where have you been??!) who could forget the heart wrenching song by the feisty Rizzo, who states that 'to cry in front of you, that's the worst thing I can do.
I know how she feels, and I bet you do too. We generally prefer to do our crying in private, but sometimes we just can't hold it in.
So if your awkwardness hampers their tears, and you fuss and start trying to cheer them up or fix problems, then it gives the message that:
- It's not okay to cry
- They aren't accepted if they cry
- It's not safe to become upset
- That you need protecting from painful emotions
- That they're a burden
They learn that it’s not okay to cry, so they bottle those emotions up.
What should I do when someone cries?
Nothing! I mean, really! Don't try to fix them or cheer them up.
If you want to help someone that's crying, do nothing. Just be there for them.
Crying is a process that needs to happen to help wounds heal, so allow the process to happen. It will heal – on its own. Just give the person some space and if appropriate some physical contact: a hug, or a hand placed on their arm can help enormously.
Give them your warmth while the rain falls.
So the next time you're there when someone cries, resist the urge to jump in and rescue them and allow them some time and space. They will really appreciate it – I promise!
p.s. Do you know someone that could do with a little help dealing with tears? Be a friend and share this post with them.