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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why Women Cry: Dear Men, How to Comfort a Crying Woman

Men can be baffled by women's explanations of how they should react to something they see as a simple problem that will eventually solve itself without their intervention. Yet, how wrong this assumption is!

If you're a man who desperately needs to be told how to handle your girlfriend when the floodgates open with no warning, follow these instructions. Keep in mind that you may need to omit or repeat some steps, and no matter what else, always be courteous. If you're a man who simply wants to be prepared in the event of a crying female coworker or friend flinging herself at you with apparent intent to drown, then you will also find help from these steps. And finally, but not least, if you're a woman, you might want to show this to all the men in your life on whom you may end up crying at some point. They will thank you.

Keep in mind that this article is not intended to be sexist in any way; rather, it seeks to demystify one of life's often poorly understood realities by providing a lighthearted but sensible explanation of how you can help when a woman is crying on you.

STEP 1: If a woman decides to cry on you, let it happen. If she's not already your girlfriend, be aware that this means you may have a chance with this particular woman, since women tend to select men they can cry on as potentially viable mates. If this woman is comfortable enough with touching you to bury her face in your shoulder or chest and pour out all of her emotions on you, then she may be comfortable enough to touch you under other circumstances. Eventually.
  • Whatever you do, do not try to stop her from crying. She will just divert the tears to storage for later. Let her cry as long as she wants. Be aware that when a woman is crying on your shoulder or chest, time slows down by over 50 percent. It may seem like she is crying on you for an hour, but many women do not have the stamina to actually do so, because they avoid crying as much as they can. If you look at any clock, you will notice that very few women are capable of crying for more than 20 to 30 minutes.

STEP 2: If the woman crying on you is not your girlfriend and your girlfriend is watching another woman cry on you:
  • Pat the crying female awkwardly on one shoulder, and do not in any circumstance embrace her. You may still let her cry on you, but do not give any indication that you are enjoying this or are experiencing any emotions other than surprise and bewilderment. Act thoroughly confused at this uninvited gesture.
  • If your girlfriend is watching you or the other female with narrowed eyes, raised hackles, or her tail is thrashing from side to side, it is recommended that you take action to avert her (perfectly justified) jealousy. Make a panicked expression and communicate to her that you don’t know where this woman came from or why she is crying on you. Make some small effort to dislodge the errant female. If the small effort does not work, resign yourself to being cried upon by the stranger and get your side of an argument ready about how you are a gentleman, and it is impolite to push someone away when they are in a state of distress. Tell her that offering a shoulder to cry on is one of the most gentlemanly things a guy can do.
  • Also, tell your girlfriend that you will do the same for her if she ever needs to cry, with the addition of back rubs and chocolate. That should get you out of her wrath zone.
STEP 3:If the woman is your girlfriend, first think back through the past few minutes and try to determine what you did/said/thought to upset her. If you find it, apologize and embrace her. Stop doing that behavior immediately and never do it again. If not, think back through the past day. If you still can’t find anything you may have done, said, or thought to upset her, then you may, in fact, not be the problem. But you can be part of the solution! This is where the real technique comes in.


Have a handkerchief ready, but do not use it until the woman has stopped crying, unless she appears to be drowning in her tears/messing up her makeup. To simply stand by while her makeup is ruined and not do anything would be very un-gentlemanly. A clean, white handkerchief is the most chivalrous item a man can offer a lady to blow her nose on.


If you are somewhat familiar with this woman, it is usually acceptable to pat or rub her upper back a few times during her crying attack. Always rub between the shoulder blades, and never, ever let your hand stray within snapping distance of any bras or other lingerie she may be wearing. If you are very, very familiar with the woman, you may rub her lower back. Never, ever, ever go lower than her waist. If you grab a buttock accidentally, prepare to be slapped very hard and then ostracized by everyone in this woman's social circle. If you touch any of these "no-zones", even accidentally, you deserve the punishment.

STEP 6: Hug. When the woman appears to be running out of tears, it is acceptable to either embrace her gently and quickly around the shoulders if you are familiar, or gather her to your chest if you two are intimate. This helps to squeeze out any leftover tears, and you may experience a temporary increase in crying from the woman. This is completely normal, and nothing to be worried about. If this happens, it is acceptable to murmur something to the line of “There there,” or “Shh, it’s okay.” or something more close like “It’s okay, I’m here for you sweetheart.”, if you two are a couple.

STEP 7: When the crying stops, offer up any sort of wiping device, such as handkerchief, Kleenex, or even toilet paper, as long as it is sufficiently soft for her nose. To test this, rub a bit of it between your fingers, if it’s not two-ply or you can see through the sheets, or it makes a crinkling sound when crushed, don’t offer it to her. Women have an extraordinary sense of touch, and what feels okay to you can feel like sandpaper on a lady's face.
  • If the woman is still so incapacitated from the emotional out-pour of crying that she cannot or will not wipe her own face, it is most often acceptable to dab at her eyes gently. This will usually rouse her enough from her fugue to take over. If she reaches for the kerchief, give it to her at once. She has had enough of your ministrations.

STEP 8:Once she has had time to wipe her eyes and nose, ask her what is wrong in a soft voice, and don’t expect a coherent answer. She may simply burst into tears again, and you may repeat all of the above steps of this procedure in the knowledge that either whatever made her cry was really, really important, or it's "that time of the month" and she will cry again as soon as her tear-reserves replenish. Women’s tear-producing organs work at 300 percent of their normal capacity when they are menstruating. Keep this in mind.
  • If you don't understand something she says, don't shrug it off. Tell her that you don't understand or didn't quite catch it.
  • If what is wrong is evident, such as a funeral, just be a strong and supportive listening post. Have more handkerchiefs ready. In fact, it is a good idea to pack a supply of them if you are going to an event where there will be a lot of crying.
If the woman tells you what is wrong, first determine if you can help her to fix the problem. Show her that you are a gentleman, or at least a decent guy. If you can help her fix the problem, tell her so and ask her if she wants you to help her fix it. This is especially effective with girlfriends. Then, actually help her fix it. However, be very, very careful offering unsolicited advice - offering to fix things is a world apart from offering advice that can only lead to more tears, often tears of frustration.
  • If you see no way that you are able to help her fix the problem, then apologize and tell her that you cannot help her fix the problem. If you know anyone whom you think can help her fix the problem, recommend that she talk to them and enlist their help. Tell her you hope she gets her problem fixed, and if the woman seems not to be too wrapped up in the situation (or scary), tell her she can talk to you again if she ever needs a shoulder to cry on.
  • There is a school of thought that goes something like this: If a man comes to a man with a problem, he wants a solution/fix. If a woman comes to a man with a problem then generally she wants to feel supported and safe. Assuming that a woman needs a fix to the problem can lead to difficulties with "not understanding" or criticisms of "it's not that simple". In general, it may be safer to quietly and calmly say "Is there anything I can do to help?"; an answer of "no", often, can be taken as a sign that now is not the time for fixing, an answer of "I don't think so" or similarly vague response can be seen as potentially something that needs helping. If so, proceed as suggested above.

STEP 10:Always have handkerchiefs and a spare shirt or jacket handy in case of a crying woman attack. You never know when women will cry, but if you do the right things and help them through careful support and comforting, you will be known as a true gentleman. Keep in mind that sometimes women will cry on you just because they need to cry at that time. The woman who does this will sometimes tell you so after she has gotten rid of her excess tears. Tell this woman that you are very glad to be of service, and that you hope she had a satisfactory crying experience. Then go find a new shirt or walk in the sun to dry your current one.

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