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. (Editor’s note: It really is a fabulous spoof on wikiHow!)
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 males they can cry on as potentially viable mates. If the 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,
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 to less than 50 percent of normal speed. 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.
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 act thoroughly bewildered 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 make a panicked expression and mouth the words “I don’t know where this woman came from or why she is crying on me” and 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 would have been very impolite to deny the stranger woman your shoulder to cry on.
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 your girlfriend’s wrath zone.
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. To let her wade in a sea of tears and an unsightly runny nose would be very un-gentlemanly.
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 breast-restraint devices 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. Also be prepared to be known as a pervert by everyone in this woman’s social circle. If you touch any of these “no-zones”, even accidentally, you deserve the punishment.
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 “Shhh, it’s alright.” or something more close like “It’s okay, I’m here for you baby.”, if you two are a couple.
When the crying stops, offer up any sort of wiping device, such as a 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.
If the woman is still so incapacitated from the emotional effort of crying that she cannot wipe her own nose, it is most often acceptable to dab at her eyes gently. This will usually rouse her enough from her emotional fugue to take over.
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.
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.
Always have 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.
Always respect women, regardless of how irrational they may seem by your standards; remember that it’s possible they view you as being irrational too, for not “getting” it.
Silk handkerchiefs are the most gentlemanly thing you can offer a lady to blow her nose with. Have a large supply at the ready at all times if women are prone to crying on you.
If the female who is crying on you is in a romantic relationship with you, it may be acceptable to kiss her on the forehead lightly and murmur quiet reassurances into her ear. You may also hug her a bit more tightly when her tears start to ease up. Girlfriends usually have more tears than strangers, and helping her expel these tears may be beneficial to your relationship. Hugging her also shows that you care about her.
If she tells you to go away, stay with her. She is testing your loyalty, and if you go she will be even more hurt and may find some other male to cry on. If you stay, you are telling her that you care about her and her emotions. However, as women age and feel more confident in themselves, go away can really mean go away, so learn the tone and heed it. You’ll get the idea if she says something along the lines of “Crying makes me feel better, I need to do it by myself, and I’ll call you when it’s done. Now leave me alone please.”
After the tears have passed, offer her something. If she is a coworker, it may just be a cup of coffee and a doughnut. If she is your girlfriend, it may be a shoulder massage, bubble bath with all the aromatherapy oils she wants, or even just a quiet cuddling session. If she’s a coworker you’d like to turn into a girlfriend, use discretion.
When all else fails, offer a woman chocolate. Try to ascertain if she likes dark or milk chocolate, but if all you have is Hersheys, she won’t hate you for trying.
When you tell a woman you’re going to do something (wash the dishes, replace the faucet, squash the saucer-sized spider that tried to crawl across her pillow), do it as soon as humanly possible. Women prefer promises to be filled sooner, rather than later. Crying resulting from your lack of doing something around the house will result in tears of frustration and you risk outbursts when you ask what’s wrong.
If she admits to needing feminine hygiene supplies, do not under any circumstances run away. Follow her instructions as to how to get them and do so promptly. This is a test of your bravery and ability to follow instructions under duress.
Apologize, even if you have no idea how you could be related to the cause of her crying. This shows that you are sympathetic of her plight.
If you ever disrespect a woman intentionally, be prepared to be shunned by her entire social circle. Women are incredibly complex social beings, and their finely honed gossip skills mean that you’ll never get a date in your town again.
If you wouldn’t use it to wipe your own nose, don’t offer it to her as a tissue substitute. Industrial grade paper towels are an especially bad choice. If you have to use them, you’re better off offering up your sleeve. It’s a sacrifice well worth it.
Do not, under any circumstance, touch a woman in any way that could be construed as even remotely sexual. This is a very, very un-gentlemanly thing to do, and you deserve whatever punishment you get.
Never express exasperation with a crying woman. She will hate you for not caring about her emotions. If you can’t handle it, bite your tongue and just sit next to her patiently working through next quarter’s figures in your head.
If the woman crying on you is a coworker, address her by her formal name and try not to move too much while she cries on you. Keep any patting or hand contact above the shoulders and try to look bewildered.
Never, ever leave a crying woman. This is a mortal sin in female eyes, and it tells them that you’re a cold-hearted person who doesn’t care about them. You have a flight to catch? Too bad. To a woman, especially a woman you know well, their emotions are more important than that flight (naturally, with the exception of farewell tears as you get on the flight).
If your girlfriend sees you with a crying female, she has every right to be angry, because in her eyes you are her territory and that other female is an intruder. Be prepared to separate and gently subdue the two females if your girlfriend attacks the stranger.
Also get a few responses ready for when you girlfriend inevitably becomes angry with you for letting another female touch you. Be sure to include the fact that you are a gentleman, and that providing a shoulder to cry on was the chivalrous thing to do for a woman so obviously in distress. Tell her you will do the same and more for her, and follow through.
Things You’ll Need
Handkerchief, tissue (Kleenex), your shirt sleeve
How to Comfort the Dying
How to Encourage a Sad Friend
How to Hug
How to Stop Crying
How to Hold Back Tears