General Question

YoBob's avatar

What should a man say/do for a crying woman?

Asked by YoBob (12823points) April 9th, 2011

Ok ladies, heres your chance to do a great public service. I was reading responses to this question and totally agree with the poster who stated that men are “fixers”. I provided a similar answer, but in a different way.

So… ladies here is your chance to add a new useful tool to the tool belts of that species of human that a woman I know once dubbed “penis people”.

Currently the only tools we have for the situation are:

1) Stand there with a deer in the headlights look

2) RUN!!!!!!!

If you could add the perfect tool in your man’s tool belt to whip out when you are having one of those sobbing moments, what would it be?

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37 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Men should take a crying woman in their arms and just hold her until she stops crying.

Extra points for coming up with a clean handkerchief.

Vunessuh's avatar

How about “listen”.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Try just continuing doing whatever you were doing – at least half the time, you guys are the one making it a big deal, not us.

yankeetooter's avatar

I agree with @marinelife and @Vunessuh…hold them and listen…the clean handkerchief is a nice touch too, but not a deal breaker…

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Your option #2 is my top pick if they has anything to do with my condition.
As for any other reason,a believable display of empathy goes a long way. ;)

Winters's avatar

I like what @marinelife @Vunessuh said.. though sometimes I like to add a little breathing on their neck, or my lips gently brushing their neck or ear…

But yeah, I’ve found from personal experience a little rocking helps a bit as well, just a little sway from side to side.

nir17's avatar

Just a hug usually works for me
. Unless you did something to make us cry, this should at least help. Don’t get too frustrated if she doesn’t stop though, sometimes it is just out of your/her control!

Bellatrix's avatar

@Vunessuh is spot on and a hug is nice if appropriate.

john65pennington's avatar

This is from a mans point of view….................

During our 45 years together, my wife and I have faced just about every situation. The good and the bad. My wife only cries when her feelings have been hurt or someone close is hurting or dead.

For us, nothing beats a heart to heart hug. To hold on tight and never let go.

This works for her and I understand this.

janbb's avatar

Put your arms around me and….say nothing!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

If it helps, you can think of “hugging” and “listening” as fixing, since it’s what she really needs to feel better – not all situations have a resolution (ie, her mom just died), so helping her get through it as easily as possible is helping her and fixing things.

FluffyChicken's avatar

Hold me! If I need to talk, listen. If I drip snot /tears on your shirt, don’t get grossed out. If it really is going to be ok, tell me so.

KateTheGreat's avatar

They should at least listen or try to understand if it is for a good reason. Now if the girl is being a little bitch, they should run away.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What a great question, and thank you for attempting to understand what to do. Without wishing to speak for all females, here is what causes me to cry.

A Heart-Wrenching Story Be it fact or fiction in a movie/book, I can get weepy over a story that touches my heart. Comfort is not needed, but some type of acknowledgement is nice that you know my emotions are in overdrive. It can be as simple as taking my hand and giving it a squeeze, or asking, “Are you okay?” Even a laugh can be acceptable if it is over something fiction-based. It helps bring me back to reality.

Physical Pain Just because you cannot see the ailment does not mean that the pain does not exist. Ask how you can help. If the response is “Nothing”, then give me time to get through it, but check in periodically. It shows that you care.

Personal Situations That Do Not Involve You These are scenarios that are so frustrating, like a work situation, that it brings on tears. Just let me talk through it. If I want advice on what to do, I will ask for it. If you have a solution that you want to offer, ask, “Would you like a suggestion?” If I say ‘no’, then let it go. I just need to vent.

Situations That Involve You If I’m a blithering mess, hopefully you realize that it needs to be addressed, but now is not the best time. Saying something to the effect of, “Let’s step away from this for a moment and come back and work through it” can work wonders.

The Death of a Loved One I really need you there to help pick up the pieces. Please be stoic, and don’t run away. Yes, we all know that each human has a shelf life with the expiration dates unknown, but it can be a very emotional time. Women just tend to let their feelings out instead of bottling them up. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as it doesn’t drag on.

Disclaimer: Again, please realize that this is coming from one female’s preferences. It does not apply to all women, nor should it be treated as a template for addressing an individual’s emotions, be the person female or male.

FluffyChicken's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I wish I could give you 3 GA’s.

roundsquare's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer How about over the phone? That’s a tough one for me to deal with.

Jeruba's avatar

Your question specified “your man,” not just any man. So—

I want my man to follow @marinelife‘s advice. If no clean handkerchief, a lunge for the Kleenex box is good too. If all he can think of to say sounds like advice, he’d best keep silent. If he must speak, let him say something like “I’m here,” and save all the rest for later.

A random stranger should follow a different prescription: ask “Are you all right? Is there anything I can do to help?” If my reply is to snuffle “No, thanks, I’m fine,” he should just leave me alone.

And as for that, I don’t want a random woman to hug or pat me either.

Porifera's avatar

I don’t want a guy to hold me when I’m crying as if I were a little girl or like we were in a movie scene…I don’t like drama and don’t want to be touched at all. Actually, the few times I get to the point of crying, I just don’t want to talk anymore until I calm down. Basically, I just want to be left alone. Need time and space to get rid of the tears so that we can talk about the problem.

cak's avatar

@marinelife nailed it, and @Jeruba added nicely to it; please, lunge for the Kleenex.

faye's avatar

I agree with holding me if I melt into you. If I’m pretty stiff, I might just want to talk. You can just nod your head and let me go on. A big hug from a friend is always welcome.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I hate to say this, but if this is a woman who trusts you enough to cry in front of you and you don’t know how to handle it, maybe you need to get to know her a little better.

@Pied_Pfeffer gave a pretty good list but, when it comes right down to it, you have to figure out exactly what your lady wants, even if it means sitting her down one day and saying, “Listen, I’m not sure what I need to do if you break down in front of me. Obviously, I want to help, but I need to know the best kind of help to give.” Most of the time, a little effort goes a long way. I find that crying people of all ages and genders do well with a glass of water to drink. If she wants a hug, giver her a hug. If she wants to sit on the couch and wallow, make her dinner. If she needs a distraction, take her to the movies. Something to keep in mind is that sex can be just as comforting to a woman as a man. Don’t dive right into it, but if your lady is one of the ones who calms down after sex, then by all means, go for it once she’s stopped crying. I know more than once I’ve been calmed down by a good roll in the hay.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@roundsquare I’m not quite sure what you mean by over the phone being a tough one. Meaning when you cannot give a hug or hand the person a tissue? Maybe it is just a matter of letting them know that you would if you were there.

@KatawaGrey Well said. Every person is different in a time of emotion, including men, and it is best to get your finger on the pulse of what it takes to comfort the ones that you care for.

The type of comforting is going to vary not only by person, but by situation. The key is in asking what that person wants or needs at that moment. And it never hurts if the person crying communicates what they need, be it a tissue or a hug. Let’s face it: the tears of another can make a person uncomfortable because they do not know how to help. Why not let them know what you need at that moment?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
roundsquare's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Yeah, thats the problem. I’ve learned to give hugs, rock back and forth, tissues, etc… but over the phone all I can do is say “that sucks.” Sometimes that seems to help, but I don’t have many variations of “that sucks” to use so I feel awkward repeating myself.

Jeruba's avatar

Over the phone, try “Imagine I’m there with my arms around you. I’d be there if I could.”

Some other time, ask her if “that sucks” is on her list of things she’d like to hear at crisis time. Sorry, @roundsquare, but it wouldn’t be on mine.

Porifera's avatar

Now I can understand how men feel sometimes…confused— to say the least. I am a woman and I am baffled by all the stuff that men are supposed to do when a woman is crying. I didn’t know all this and as I said I am a woman myself.

faye's avatar

I wouldn’t like to be rocked, not side to side or back and forth. Just hold me still.

Bellatrix's avatar

Poor men. I agree with @Porifera :-) I said I wanted to be listened to and hugged but if I am crying because I read a sad bit of a book or watched a sad movie, I would rather my husband ignored my blubbering or just laughed. The answers here show there is no right answer. Know the lady you are with and what they like. Heck, ask the question, what can I do for you right now?

augustlan's avatar

I found it helpful to tell my partners that there are only 3 acceptable responses to my venting/crying:

1) “I’m sorry. I love you.”
2) “Everything will be ok. I love you.”
3) A good hug. “I love you.”
A nice “I love you” never hurts ; )

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@augustlan And see, I hate it when people tell me it will be ok…

augustlan's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs Yeah, it depends on the circumstance, for me. Not all three of those things should necessarily happen every time.

YoBob's avatar

Thank you all for your wonderful answers. As I suspected, it appears that there is no magic tool, and even if there were, whipping it our of the tool belt and trying to “fix” it is the wrong move (although there are a few women out there who might appreciate the effort even if it is misguided).

I think @KatawaGrey said it well: “if this is a woman who trusts you enough to cry in front of you and you don’t know how to handle it, maybe you need to get to know her a little better.”

As for me personally, I am blessed with a woman who is similar to what @Porifera describes. We have been happily hitched for 20 years so we each must be doing something right.

As for the “penis people” out there following along hoping for the right move to add to the playbook, sorry guys, looks like we are still left fairly clueless. But since it appears that the last thing that women want is for us to spring into action and “fix” it, it works out OK. So, next time the love of your life is having a moment, leave the tool belt behind and just be there.

I can’t help but wonder how many women realize how difficult it is for a man to just “be there” without trying to offer a solution.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@YoBob: Oh, believe me, I understand how hard it is for most men to just swallow solutions. It’s hard when something’s made your lady cry because you’re so used to looking after her and making everything better for her. I think I can state with absolute certainty that the worst thing to do is flee.

Porifera's avatar

What guys have to do then, depends on the particular woman they are with. So they might not know right off the bat what their approach should be. But at least they should know what NOT to do: do not flee and do not ignore/mock/disregard your lady when she is crying.

Jeruba's avatar

Yes, but there is a high degree of consistency: hold her . . . don’t say inane things or give advice . . . offer a tissue and/or a drink of water.

The point that should come through clearly is that there is something he can do, and it’s not to tell her at that moment how he thinks she ought to solve whatever problem is causing her distress. He should just comfort her as best he can. Chances are he’ll get credit for the attempt.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, listen, and signal understanding.

Never suggest a solution to her problem in this kind of situation, knowing that many men are tempted to do just that. Don’t.

MtnCalling33's avatar

I guess I’m a little different than most responders. I actually DO want help, answers, suggestions, etc. A hug is nice of course and if it’s my BF then maybe a, “I love you, I want to help” would be a great way to start. Then again, I can’t imagine crying in front of anyone that I dont totally trust, male or female.

I have cried in front of my BF a couple of times and you know what was the best thing he did? I actually saw a tear come from his eye. It was the first time I’ve ever seen the guy cry in the 12 years of knowing him. Just the empathy was the best comfort ever. :)

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