Why Men Panic When Women Cry

men-women-on-cryingCrying is like turning on a tap that doesn’t have an off switch. It’s unpredictable. One glistening tear on the cheek could turn into full blown waterworks in seconds (especially if someone is giving me a sympathetic hug). I rarely get caught crying in public. But when I do and there’s a guy friend/ boyfriend present, there’s always a look of panic and distress. Why is it so terrifying for men to see women cry and what are they thinking when we do? Are women just as terrified to see men cry? We asked around.

Men On Women Crying

Q: Are you comfortable with women crying in front of you?

Nick: Yes but I had to learn how to be comfortable. Guys don’t get taught these things. You learn through trial and error. It’s NEVER a nice thing to deal with but all women cry, it’s just something you deal with.

Will: Hell no. Wait..it depends, is she crying because of me or something else? It makes a big difference.

Avery: Definitely not. I usually run the other way.

Craig: Yes I’m comfortable but I find it so frustrating to see girls cry sometimes. Some (not all) girls use tears to manipulate men.

Q: Let’s say she’s crying and it’s not because of you. What’s the first thing you’re thinking?

Nick: Ok how do I fix this? What I can do to make it stop? Men just want to fix things.

Will: Shit. What do I do know? I’m thinking if I should hug her, pat her, leave her alone…it’s always awkward…especially if she’s a friend. 

Avery: First thing I’m thinking is…who can help in this situation? At that point, I’m scanning the room to see if there’s a friend who can console her. If it’s a gf, I still panic but not as much. Girls are so much better at comforting their friends…guys just kind of do what we think we’re suppose to do. We know we’re meant to give the sympathetic nod and the comforting hug but we don’t actually know what we’re doing. Whereas women just ride the emotions out. It’s like the difference between sitting on a horse and riding it.

Craig: If it’s my fault, I’m thinking shit – have I been a dick? How do I fix this? If it’s not my fault then I’ll just ask her what’s wrong.

Q: What do you do to make her feel better?

Nick: Make her giggle. Tell a joke.

Will: I’d make her laugh, tell some jokes…

Avery: I’d also tell some jokes and make her laugh. But I’d also look for other people who could stand in my place so I don’t have to deal with it. Her friends or girls in general are so much better at comforting other girls.

Craig: It depends on the situation. If I know she’s just doing it for attention, I’ll just let her be and come back later. If she’s really upset, I’ll give her a cuddle, ask her what’s wrong.

Women on Men Crying

Q: Are You comfortable with men crying in front of you?

Nicky: Yes totally. But if it’s something I’m sad about I won’t cry.

Iona: It’s not something I’m used to seeing. I come from an Asian family where no one cries so when I see anyone (let alone a guy) cry, I don’t know what to do. I can sympathise but physically…I’m not sure if I should be giving hugs or leaving them alone. My favourite go-to solution is to offer a tissue.

MJ: Yes, just as comfortable as women and children. It depends on what’s being cried about. If it’s something like mourning the loss of a loved one, I don’t try to stop it at all. It’s natural and I would rather see it happen so I know they’ve dealt with it.

Q: What’s the first thing you’re thinking when he starts to cry?

Nicky: It really depends on what it’s about. Is he sick? Is someone else sick? …it really depends.

Iona: I’m thinking oh gawd this is bad…now what?

MJ: First thing I’m thinking is giving him a hug.

Q: What do you do to stop the crying? What works?

Nicky: It depends on what they’re upset about. I’d have to ask them what was wrong first.

Iona: Just being a good listener. You don’t even have to offer advice. Sometimes people just want to be heard.

MJ: I’d just console him the same way I would a girlfriend, by talking it through. The exception would be when the guy’s continually done wrong by you, and you’re breaking up with him and he feels the need to cry. By that stage, I usually feel like he’s crying so I’d change my mind.

how men feel when women cry


Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.