General Etiquette > Life...in general

Crocodile Tears

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SPuck:
So after reading some of the other threads posted on the board about dealing with people who blow small problems out of proportion, I was wondering what is the best way to deal with someone who cries? Rising above the fray is easier with anger because people outside of the situation won't judge you. On the other hand I could understand people taking pause to responding coldly or walking away from someone who crying. On the other hand I wouldn't always want to be feigning sympathy for someone who always cries over split milk. What is the best way to handle someone who over reacts by crying all the time? Whether they are doing it purposely or because they don't know other ways to express themselves?

QueenofAllThings:
As someone who often bursts into tears when angry (and believe me, I wish I had control over it), I don't think that responding coldly is helpful.  The emotions are genuine, even if it may seem silly that I'm crying. I don't, however, feign tears to get my way, and have no patience with that sort of behavior.  The trick is differentiating between the two. 

Yvaine:
I sometimes involuntarily break into tears during a strongly emotional argument. I don't do it on purpose--I'm usually trying pretty hard not to cry because I'm worried it'll weaken my argument. ;) What I want most, and your mileage may vary, is for the person to keep talking to me like I'm not crying. Let me go grab a tissue and compose myself and pretend it didn't happen. Don't stop the discussion and start going "there, there," I want to finish whatever we were talking about. It's an involuntary physical reaction and it's probably annoying me and I wish it would go away. But this may just be me.

My dissolving-into-misery cries are very different and usually not in the middle of an argument--they're sort of out of nowhere and usually triggered by some minor annoyance that isn't the real issue at all. The "my dog died so now I'm crying because there's a hole in my sock" sort of thing. That's when I want a hug and sympathy.

MasterofSquirrels:
I don't think crocodile tears are the right term. Many adults cry when they are frustrated and angry. Not that we want sympathy, we are just feeling emotion that comes out our eyes. The best thing to do is not do anything. Continue the argument/discussion/debate as if no one is crying.

If someone cries because they don't like your answer to something? I would still do nothing about the tears, and reevaluate the friendship. I have had experience with that, I pretend they aren't crying, or, if the conversation is interrupted to the point of stopping, I ask coolly "are you finished" and continue with my last point. 

People cry for all kinds of reasons. I think the trick is figuring out why. Is it because that is how emotion is released for them? Did something really sad happen and as another PP said, the hole in the sock is devastating today, or is someone trying for emotional blackmail? With out a specific example, it's hard to really give a concrete answer.

Hopefully the crier is someone you know well, and can gauge why crying is happening. If it's an acquaintance, ugh, I find that incredibly awkward and I have just stood there like a fool, not knowing where to look, what to say, or if I should just leave.

fountainof:
I generally just carry on as if the person isn't crying unless it is sobbing.  Generally, people who cry from frustration or anger or something like that I have seen just cry a bit, it isn't really over the top that I cannot just pass a tissue and move forward.  I have only seen real sobbing at things like a funeral or from small kids (like my 3.5 yo sobs over everything sometimes).

I can generally tell fake crying when people aren't really emotional but they just use it as their go to in situations they are trying to manipulate.  In that case, I say "i'll give you a few minutes to get yourself together and we can discuss further". 

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