Camille Styles

Are You a Cryer?

July 17th, 2015

Are you a cryer?

I’m Chanel, and I’m a crybaby. I know what you’re thinking — I haven’t heard that word used since elementary school — but there’s no other way to describe it. I’m moved to tears over the news, movies, songs, commercials, on my yoga mat, at graduations, weddings, births, deaths, you name it… I’m the girl sniffling obnoxiously in your ear and hysterically wiping mascara off her cheeks. Sounds like no big deal, right? In fact, it’s often comical… inconvenient at worst. But when crying is your body’s default response to just about any less-than-pleasant or emotional situation — the way it is for me — it kind of becomes a problem. It’s not just how I react to feeling sad, but when I’m flustered, angry or embarrassed, rather than turning red or raising my voice, I turn into a mumbling, sputtering mess (not the best way to make a point or stand up for yourself). And once the flood gates open, there’s no closing them.

A couple months ago, the issue of my hyper-sensitivity came up in a conversation with my brother-in-law (fun fact: years ago, he made me cry during our second conversation ever… something I’ll never live down, and the reason for his interest in the matter). He said to me what people (mostly men) always say to me: Crying doesn’t solve anything. Why waste your time and energy doing it? My response is, I know. Because I do! In most cases, the tears on my face are accompanied by rational, reasonable thoughts — my mind trying to tell my body to pull it together, take a deep breath, and stop crying. But my body simply doesn’t listen.

So, what’s the deal with crying, anyway? The cool thing about it is that shedding emotional tears is the only physiological function that only humans possess. Doing so is an indication of compassion and, for most, an alleviator of stress — studies have shown that 85% of women and 73% of men report feeling better after a good sob session — so maybe crying isn’t entirely useless? Maybe I’m just super compassionate and empathetic, and just really good at alleviating stress? Personally, I’m convinced that it runs in my family. We’re all sappy, sensitive types… much more prone to tears than others I know who truly never cry.

If there’s one wonderful thing about working in an office full of women, it’s that around here, it’s OK to cry. I can’t count how many times someone on our team has had a meltdown over a bad day, a breakup, out-of-whack hormones, or feeling overwhelmed… and we don’t hold it against them. But I have to wonder: How does an emotional person like myself keep her cool in a less-forgiving, male dominated work environment? And just in general? Are there ways to control the tears? Tricks to suppressing the emotion?

I’d love to hear from you guys in the comments section. Are you a cryer? And if so, how do you cope?

*featured image from VSCO

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Are you a cryer?

25 Comments under :: Are You a Cryer?
  1. Mikaelah says:

    I’ve always, even as a young child, been the person that’s had the suck it up and deal with it attitude. If i fell over when i was little I got back up and kept playing, i never cried unless I was badly injured. to this day my attitude is always don’t complain if you can’t fix it. because of this I often find it hard to be around people who are very sensitive, mainly because I don’t know how to act and don’t want to upset them further! I can often find it a tad annoying when people get upset about things I just deal with but then I have to take a step back and realise they just handle things different and that’s ok! This can be a bit of a bad thing in terms of friendships etc. but i think the fact that I’m a very ‘tough’ person has its benefits in terms of getting myself to where I want to be! I’d love to know more about people who are very sensitive and why they think they are that way and how they deal with it. it’s amazing how differently people handle the same situations.

  2. Sometimes you just need a good cry. I always feel better after a good cry session, especially if I’ve been really stressed about something.

  3. Before working for myself i worked with almost all men, it was a constant battle to be stoic + business like (whatever that means!) I cry the most when I’m tired or super stressed, always helps a bit!

  4. I was never a big cryer… but then I had a baby, and I suddenly turned into one of those clichéd moms who cry at every sentimental milestone. The words “growing up” make my lip quiver, and even thinking about the first day of kindergarten (still 2 years away)? Forget about it…
    Mom, sorry for all those times I made fun of you for being “mushy”! I get it now!

    • Lynn says:

      Our children are 28 and 24. Every single first day of school, I cried half the morning. On our younger child’s first day of first grade, my husband took off work to take me to lunch. He also gave me a huge autographed biography he knew would keep me busy.

  5. robyn says:

    As I get older I am losing more and more control over my tear ducts, like u it can be for happy or sad reasons, pretty much anything goes, and most of the time I hate it, doesn’t make me feel any better, just makes my eyes look tired and people are either laughing at me or uncomfortable about it, I think the problem is the lack of control I have over myself at times is scary. But there maybe tears on my face but there is also a smile ????

    • Chanel Dror says:

      Oh goodness… if it gets worse with age, I don’t even want to KNOW what I’ll be like in a few years >.< A part of me likes that I can empathize with others and feel compassionate to the point of tears, but you're right, it's the lack of control that's most frustrating!

  6. Clara says:

    I am a cryer and I don’t know how to cope with it

  7. Rachel S. says:

    I can appreciate and identify with this post! I wish I was in an office with all women who understood though. I work in a male dominated industry (automotive) and unfortunately my stress or embarrassed response is also to cry. I, too, have rational thoughts and try to talk myself down from letting my body react in that way, but that often makes it worse. I wish I knew of a trick to control it because I do feel that it hurts my credibility in the workplace.

    • Chanel Dror says:

      Thanks for chiming in Rachel — that’s exactly what I’m talking about! Even when I’m finally able to calm myself down, as soon as someone brings it up or asks me how I am, the waterworks come out all over again. I’ve learned to save face by excusing myself right when I feel the tears swelling up, and camping out in the restroom until I can compose myself. Not sure that I’m fooling anyone, but at least I’m not making people feel uncomfortable by sobbing in public!

  8. Sarah says:

    oh my gosh, this is so me… crying IS my body’s default response. And I have no idea how to cope with it. Its beyond frustrating and I get so embarrassed. You can only pull the ‘something in my eye’ thing for so long. My husband has learned to just ignore me, because for whatever reason as soon as someone asks if I’m ok or acknowledges the crying it just gets worse.

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one this happens to!

    • Chanel Dror says:

      Ah, the ole’ something-in-my-eye move… classic! I don’t know what’s worse: being asked if I’m OK when I’m crying, or being ignored altogether! Either way, those tears aren’t stopping any time soon.

  9. Kristina says:

    I used to be the same way. I cried all the time and once I started it was really hard to stop. But after working as a drafter in a male-dominated environment (only woman in a warehouse setting) I saw that they were total maniacs. They cursed, threw things and blew off steam with these bursts of total chaos. So, in a weird way, after being around them I started to take on their tendencies. I started cursing, something I never did before, and would let myself get really mad, also something I never did before. And then I would move on. It was the craziest thing.

    Not to say that men are on to something with all the quick rage outbursts, because I think it’s far more unprofessional to yell and scream than it is to shed a few tears, but it’s helped me in my daily life to get a little perspective and move on much quicker when I feel sad or overwhelmed.

    I no longer work there and my husband was actually happy to get his sweet wife back. I think I started to scare him a little… 🙂

  10. Annie says:

    I think this is a post everyone can relate to on some level. I can keep the tears in when I’m sad or physically hurt, but when I’m frustrated the tears hit hard. Working in a male dominated environment, this is something I constantly struggle with. Often I can’t even discuss an issue I’m having for DAYS in fear the tears will fall and the men will become uncomfortable then talk about “what a woman” I’m being. I am a woman and I cry. I think men don’t understand and maybe that’s ok? After all, we have a lot of good attributes as well and there are definitely things I don’t understand about the men at work either!

  11. Kelly Colchin says:

    Oh Chanel, I am the SAME way. It’s almost like a fight or flight thing with me- an automatic response that I cannot help. And like you, once the flood gates open there is no stopping the flood. I like to think criers are especially empathetic/sensitive people? I am also very glad to be working with so many women. And other criers. 🙂

  12. Morgan Modica says:

    I think it’s so amazing that this is even a discussion in such an open and honest way. I can definitely relate! I think I’m more a closet cryer. Quite literally, I get over emotional at times and force myself to walk away and go hide in “closet” or bathroom to let the waterworks fall. One thing I learned from attending an all girls high school is that as women, there’s never anything wrong with showing all of your emotions. The hormones and drama you can imagine I faced being surrounded by so many women everyday was hard to maneuver, but we became the best unit by the end of high school knowing that all of our emotions are merited and we were never going through it alone. Girlfriends are such a powerful support system.

  13. Sheila Irwin says:

    I’m admittedly a VERY big crybaby! Like you, I cry at movies, commercials, songs, in church, kid’s animated movies… truly anything that moves me, makes me cry. I also cry when I’m mad or frustrated, but mine is much more often an empathy response. My mom is the same way and I am convinced that it is inherited. There is a great article you should read on Huffington Post called “16 Habits of Highly Sensitive People”

    It changed my life! Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it REALLY spoke to me. I’m exactly like that and I realized that the crying is part of the “sensitive person” part. I have had my husband and others close to me read the article as well, just so that they can understand a little of what I’m about. More information is helpful to others who really can’t relate and are inclined to say “suck it up” or “you are just being too sensitive.” Also, you might want to google articles on your “EQ” short for Empathy Intelligence or Emotional Intelligence. They say it’s actually the most empathetic people who are the most successful with other people. I am no longer ashamed of the crying, sometimes still embarrassed, but mostly I just try to ride it out. It not only makes you who you are, but it does show that you are better at putting yourself in other’s shoes, and isn’t that a trait we need more of in this world?


  14. Kate says:

    I wish I was more of a cryer. I tend to stifle my feelings in public and let go emotionally only when I’m by myself. This helps in the workplace, of course, but I don’t think it’s a good habit for my psyche. My best friends have never seen me cry, and even when I start crying in front of my husband, my tendency is to move to another room to hide my face. My dad passed away last year, and all my friends and family mentioned how “brave” I seemed, when in reality, I was putting on a mask and saving my breakdowns for when I was alone.

    You can’t really help who you are, I guess. I have a family member who is an incredibly successful wealth manager, and I swear she cries during every public speech she gives…..people love it! And hey, look at Oprah. Folks told her she would never make it as a news anchor because she empathized too much with her interviewees.

    Embrace who you are, and in the workplace, learn to work it to your advantage.

  15. Ellen says:

    I’m a cryer. I inherited from my dad. So is the Speaker of the House – John Boehner. There was a Wall Street Journal article recently about people who cry easily — medically called “Highly Sensitive Persons.”

  16. Molly K says:

    Thanks for sharing, C! I love hearing others talk about this, because I cry about everything. I remember never being that way as a kid, but as soon as I became a teenager, the floodgates opened. A few weeks ago, I was having dinner with a friend when she was telling me about missing her baby’s first steps because she had a sitter, and I was weeping! My friend was totally nonchalant about the whole thing, but I couldn’t keep it together. Yesterday, I was watching a documentary and literally weeping. This is how I always am! I’ve cried at work, in my car (always), in restaurants (obvi), etc. It’s frustrating because it’s not that I’m sad, it’s usually just an overwhelming flood of emotions. Anyway, keep on keeping on. We can cry together.

  17. Alex says:

    It seems to be getting worse with age for me too! I am getting married next year, and I keep crying thinking about various aspects of the wedding. It makes me nervous that I won’t stop crying the entire ceremony.

  18. Jennifer Rose Smith says:

    Great post, Chanel! I’m not sure why crying gets such a bad rap… it seems like a healthy person’s expression of empathy, frustration, sorrow, and fear — feelings we all have. Even dudes. As much as I admire those who can control their tears, I think it’s equally important to stay sensitive in life and express our emotions to others. Crying in front of a friend can bring you so much closer together. Usually when I cry in front of others I feel that I’m in control and have made a conscious decision to do so, but if I feel tears coming on that I don’t want to happen, I just focus on breathing deeply and redirecting my thoughts away from the trigger.

  19. Dominique Marie says:

    This is such a great post, it’s so funny and I can totally relate to it! I’m the girl crying at the end of makeover shows when they reveal what the person looks like because I’m just so happy for them (even if the person them self isn’t crying). Anytime I’m upset my dad will say, “Tell me what happened honey… and try it without crying.” Cue immediate sobbing every time. Show me a Youtube video of someone getting a puppy and you better have the tissues ready. I also can’t even count the number of times where I have gotten angry and called a friend blubbering, only to have them say, “That sounds awful! I would be furious too! But… why are you crying again?”
    I’ve come to accept the fact that this is just how my body reacts to most kinds of overwhelming emotion or stress (happiness, gratefulness, sadness, anger, anxiety, guilt). And truth be told, like Chanel said, I really do feel better after I cry! I feel like I got it all out and can move on from what ever it is that caused my waterworks. Thankfully, most of the people in my life are used to me reacting this way and find it endearing. Crybabies for life!

  20. Bryan says:

    Hey stumbled across your post, and I am probably one of the last people you’d expect to read your site (39 year old guy who is watching the Met game), but I am. Anyway I’d figure that I’d give you this guy’s opinion since I have dated a couple “criers” (might as well just have them sow an “A” on their chest). I also have dated some emotional unavailable girls. I know that it can get in the way of some things, but realistically who is a robot? And who wants to be around a robot? There is not a single person who doesn’t let their emotions get to them at work, when dealing with their family, watching a movie or in a relationship, yet it manifests in different ways. Frankly as long as you recover well, that’s what matters. I am not a crier in any way, but there have been times when after something has happened I then realize how much my emotions affected my actions and choices. But if you can get over others opinions of your crying you actually have an advantage in that you are completely aware that your emotions are raised and can now rationally think through it, instead of being caught up in it. The worst thing in that situation is to dread your crying, hell if it’s happening, it’s happening the best thing is to be aware of what you are doing. Now to get back to that emotionally unavailable thing from above, I know that simply because a woman cries it doesn’t mean that she is gonna just go limp and fall down in a mess of limbs, hair and mascara that needs a man to save her, but yeah that whole wanna be there as a man for your woman thing is there. I know for me when a girl I am dating is moved to tears over something deep, it brings a level of intimacy when I can be that shoulder for those cries. The other times like tears over a toilet paper commercial that has a puppy in it, and I notice that she is sniffling as I am leaving during the commercial, and she says she’s just being stupid, well those are nice too because you just know that person well enough to know that it’s really no big deal.

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