Slap her on the back or crack a joke? What to do when a woman is crying

Ladies and Gentleman, the cat is out of the bag — it appears that Enrique Iglesias is just about the only man who loves to see women cry. Most other men are, in fact, quite terrified of a weeping women; the moment they see one of us tearing up, they are seized by terror and act almost as though it’s scorpions running down the said woman’s face rather than innocent tears. Immediately, a sort of stiffness takes over and the moment becomes indelibly awkward. Silence as heavy as iron sets in and the soft sniffs are as loud as a lion’s roar.

Over the years, I have witnessed various male-response to tears (yes, I am emotional, I can’t help it!). My husband pretends that nothing at all has happened. Sometimes, he’ll crack a joke and when he gets no response, or worse, more tears, he just stares. In fact, a few weeks ago, my sister had a baby. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be with her, but on seeing a picture of my baby niece, I began to sob; cue my husband’s bewilderment. After staring at me for a bit, he very meekly proceeded to clarify,

“These are happy tears, right?”

On receiving a nod from he, he heaved a sigh of relief and returned to YouTube where he was, no doubt, looking at videos of cars — my other nemesis.

Later on, when he got a cold shoulder from me, he was completely stupefied.

“But you said you were happy, so I didn’t think I needed to console you.”


While it is true that tears can be due to happiness, relief, loneliness, misery, and sometimes even for no reason at all, the fact is that although all woman are different, most of them, when crying, expect a certain sort of behaviour – regardless of the reason behind her tears – and ignoring her is definitely not on the list! Neither is a slap on the back, turning off the offending movie (The Notebook) or offering a bite of your Kit Kat (yes, all of these have happened to me).

So, what exactly do you do when the water-works start?

Let me start by saying that the last thing you want to do — unless, of course, you have a death wish — is to utter the alphabets P, M and S together. This will surely spell doom. Stay as far away from this combination of words as humanly possible.

Moving on, unless a woman has given you firm orders to ignore her when she is crying, never ever go down this route. Pretending that the tears do not exist and that everything is bright and dandy is a very bad idea. What you want to do is to lower your voice, and in the most soothing tone you can bring forth, ask her why she is upset.

Sometimes the answer may not make sense at all, but never question the logic. Go with the words ‘I understand’ — this is probably your safest bet.

Proceed to hug and hold. The tears might accelerate at this moment in time, but don’t worry, the end is near. Just keep saying ‘I understand’ and when the tide dies down, secure your position in the ‘Hit List’ by offering to do something that you know the crying-woman loves to do. This could be going to the movies, eating ice cream or even watching The Bachelor. Just suck it up and do it — its better than the wrath you will secure if you don’t.

Sometimes, a follow-up is a good idea, depending on how emotionally in touch the woman in question is. If she appears embarrassed, don’t bring the subject up again unless she initiates the conversation herself. If, however, she appears to have no qualms about her outburst,  it could work in your favour to ask her the next day if she is feeling any better and if there is anything else you can do for her. Don’t make a joke about her behaviour, no matter how enticing this may seem. Furthermore, do not imitate her howls or sniffles regardless of how well you feel you can copy her.

Just go with acting concerned, but always with the demeanour that tears are very normal and that its really ok to have an emotional moment. This is the winning formula.

You can thank me later.

Note: All women are not the same and what works for one may not work for the other. Take this as a general guideline – a 101 🙂 

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