Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Call someone else if you're going to cry me a river

I have an awful confession to make....I don't know how to deal with emotional crying people on the phone! Yesterday, it happened not once but twice. Two emotional phone calls with people crying on the other end!

I for the most part keep all my emotions in (I know, i know, it's so unhealthy..blah, blah, blah....) so it's very rare that others see me or hear me cry. This is because I can't deal when I cry myself! When I cry, I feel like an ass, I stop crying and start laughing my ass off because I hate the way I sound, look and act when I cry. I confuse people when I'm crying because they aren't sure how to react, are they supposed to console me? Laugh with me?

When someone starts crying in your presence you can hug them but then comes that awkward position of how long do you hug them and when do you end the hug and push them away. There was this one time where my friend was incredibly upset and I hugged her and she wouldn't stop crying and I wasn't sure if I should end the hug or not but once she started getting my shirt wet with her tears I started pushing her away. I felt really bad that she was crying but come on - suck it up! It was a minor cry anyhow, like she had broken up with someone for the millionth time so in retrospect, I didn't really feel that bad.

With the first phone call I kinda snapped at the person which really wasn't the best thing to do but as it wasn't a life or death situation it really wasn't that bad and I didn't really feel guilty, although I should have.

With the second phone call, I turned the situation around and made it comical after all who wouldn't want to laugh instead of crying?

I think I really should know how to deal with crying people on the phone, there should be phone etiquette classes on this subject because I can't be the only one out there with this problem - can I?


I feel the way you do--I feel awkward most of the time when someone is crying. If it is a close friend or family member ( I mean friends for years) then I know how to act and am probably truly invested in the person and their feelings...BUT when people whom I have not known that long pull that whiney crying shit on me I get so so so turned off. Now if it was a death or something I can deal, but crying over crazy stuff, and trying to be dramatic and get attention just makes me mad. Like you, I try to never cry. My DH makes me feel like an ass if I cry, so I try to never do it.
I find it easier to cry over movies than I do my own emotions...like if I am crying at a movie then it is disconnected from my true emotions so it is excusable.

At a family reunion a couple of years ago--acutally it was my Grandma's 90th birthday but the whole family was together--anyways I LOST IT! I started bawling--sad about my Grandma, and just sad about my crazy family. I was soooo mortified with myself I went and hid in the bathroom. I am always the funny happy Jen--NEVER a cryer.

OK long and rambling post--but the point is--I understand what you mean!

I think the part where your shirt gets soaked is where I'd cut it off. And if I think it's real, I'll stay there for it ... I mean, it would be cruel not to. But if it's the thousandth breakup or their acrylic nail broke, naw. btw, it's an art to turn a cryer into a laugher. Good work on that one. xoxoxo
I know what you mean, but, on another hand, sometimes that is what friends are for--to listen to the problems, to offer an advice, and just to say, "everything is going to be fine." Like M. said, if it is over a broken nail, then not much sympathy is required, however what seems trivial to us is a tragedy to someone else. When you are confronted with someone crying, just pat them on the shoulder and say that "everything is going to be fine." Let them cry it out, so to speak and then offer any perspective on the situation. On the phone, you can do the same--just listen and then offer an advice.
if you want, you can call me up and I will start crying so you can practice!

just be glad it was on the phone, at least your shirt stays dry! and all you have to is say uh huh, uh huh,oh that's too bad, uh huh...uh huh, (snore)...uh huh..
Right... Because workbench software is so related to crying on the phone? LOL.

I never know when to hug people or for how long either. Once a woman I worked with got a phone call that her favorite aunt had just died. She came over to my desk to tell me about it and she started crying. I felt really bad for her, but I wasn't sure how to react. I said "Oh, I'm so sorry..." but what do you say after that? When something awful happens to someone I'm always at a loss for words.

She just kept standing there, beside my desk, crying. Then she said: "Would you please give me a hug because I'm so upset and she was my very favorite aunt". So of course, I hugged her. I was glad she said that because I wasn't sure if she wanted me to hug her or not. You know? It's like, you don't want to intrude on someone's sincere grief if they would think it inappropriate. But how do you know? I'm a social moron sometimes but if someone just tells me what they need I can give it to them.

It's hard to allow someone else to feel and express their own pain, esp if we don't allow ourselves to feel our own pain. When my son cries, it kills me. It gets right under my skin and I have to fight myself not to scream at him to stop crying. That's what my mom would do to me, often she'd use the classic: "I'll give you something to cry about!" followed by a slap. I'd prefer that he feels it's ok to cry when he's upset. But it's hard to listen to.
Hi Sand, you get used to it if faced with it enough! when I went through the 'totally destroying my life and rebuilding it' phase I cried long and often. As luck would have it, my very best friend was having a similar crisis and practically never stopped crying. Yikes! We laugh about it now because neither one of is a cryer.
But seriously, you have to learn to accept yourself, all your emotions, and the reality of others emotions. It just 'is' and its what makes life so interesting. Crying doesn't phase me now. I have one direct report who I supervise and this person cries practically every time we have a conversation. I'm not really that scary as a boss but its her issue so I let her own it. Doesn't bother me at all, I just have a box of tissue handy when I know she's coming to see me about something. Geez, maybe I'm a cold heartless bag after all.

*wanders off scratching head*
It is indeed an awkward situation, and each situation must be handled on its own merit.

I always like to fix people, make them all better, and put a bandage. I have learned that sometimes just a good ear and hug are what is needed.
I'm such a hugger. I physically can't help myself. But on the phone? I have problems dealing, too, and no good solutions.
Well, don't I feel lame-o... I'm a HUGE crybaby! I don't do it for attention, and usually either manage to bottle it up till I can be alone, or try to hide the fact that I'm crying. I know why I hide it (childhood issues blah blah blah) but not why every damn thing in the world seems to set me off. Probably just me being oversensitive.

Anyhoo, even though I'm a crier I SUCK at the phone consolations. I'm *excellent* in person, which is funny to me sometimes (since I'm 90% cold hard bitch with other humans); but in the right situation I'm the biggest softy, and will do anything to help another person. If someone calls me crying, though, all I ever have to say is "I'm sorry such-and-such is hurting you like this" and variations on that theme. Or I hop into my car and drive over, since I'm much better at "being there" for someone when it's literal.

Maybe you need to be asking the people who call other people and cry on the phone? Seems like most of us who responded don't do the phone crying thing (or just randomly came to your blog and commented to pimp our own...) and therefore don't know from experience what telephone "tut-tutting" is supposed to sound like...
Thanks everyone! I always feel such an overwhelming sense of panic when someone starts to cry over the phone because you really aren't sure what to do or say.
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