How to Comfort Someone Who Is Crying

Опубликовал Admin
14-09-2017, 07:00
Expert Reviewed You may want to help someone who’s crying but not know where to start. The most important part is to show that you care. Extend any help that you can and support their needs. Ask a few questions to make sure they feel safe or assess if they need anything. Overall, be generous with your time and allow them to talk about what’s on their mind.

Being Helpful

  1. Be there for them. There’s often little you can do or say that’s actually useful or helpful. In many cases, the important part is just being there. Your physical presence and time is often most appreciated in difficult times.
    • Stay with the person and let them know you’re there for them and supporting them.
  2. Make sure they feel safe. If the person starts crying in public, offer to go somewhere more private. This can help with any embarrassment they feel. Go to a bathroom, car, or empty room. Being somewhere private can help them feel safe and able to work through whatever emotions they feel.
    • If they seem uncomfortable, ask, “Would you like to go somewhere more private?”
  3. Offer a tissue. If you have a tissue or know where to get one, offer to grab one for them. Crying leads to wet faces and wet noses, and offering a tissue is a sign that you want to help. If there are no tissues nearby, offer to get one for them.
    • You can say, “Would you like me to get you a tissue?”

Supporting Their Needs

  1. Let them cry. It’s never helpful to tell someone to stop crying or that whatever they are crying about isn’t worth their tears. If someone is crying, let them cry. They are sharing a vulnerable moment with you, so allow them to express what needs to be expressed without telling them how to feel.
    • You might feel awkward or uncomfortable around someone who’s crying. Remember that your role is to offer support in a way that’s helpful to them, and the focus is ultimately not on you.
  2. Ask what they need. They might want you to stay and listen or they may want some space and alone time. Don’t assume you know what they want because you don’t. Asking what they want and need puts the other person in control and gives you the opportunity to listen and respond. Whatever they ask for or need, respect what they say.
    • Ask, “What can I do to help?” or “How can I support you?”
  3. Give them time. You shouldn’t feel like you’re in a rush or need to go do something. Part of being supportive is being there and giving your time for the person. If you’re there to comfort them, give them the time that they need. Your presence alone can be comforting, so sticking around and making sure they are capable of getting on with their day or getting further help can be what they need most.
    • Don’t stop for a few moments then get on with your day. Stay with them and let them know you will stay if they need you.
  4. Give some affection if wanted. If you know your friend likes hugs, give them a hug. However, if they tend to be more physically reserved, you may wish to pat them on the back or perhaps not touch them at all. If you’re helping a stranger, it’s best to ask if they want physical touch. If you’re in doubt, ask if they’d like a hug or for you to hold them.

Talking about Their Experience

  1. Don’t let them feel pressured to talk. The person may be in shock or not want to talk. If they don’t seem willing or wanting to open up, don’t force it. If you’re stumbling to come up with something to say, don’t feel like you have to say anything profound. Just being there and saying (or implying), “I’m here to support you” is often enough.
    • You might comfort someone who never tells you what’s upsetting them. That’s okay.
  2. Listen closely. Turn up your listening skills and be willing to give your full attention to them. If you ask them what’s wrong and they don’t respond, don’t keep asking. Accept whatever they say and focus on supportively listening. Give them your full attention and pay attention to what they say and how they say it.
    • Improve your listening by making eye contact and responding nonjudgmentally.
  3. Keep your focus on them. You might think that saying, “I just went through something like that” will be helpful and foster a connection, but really, it puts the focus on you and not them. Even worse, it can feel like you’re dismissing their feelings. Keep the conversation about them. If they’re talking about what’s making them cry, let them talk and don’t interrupt them.
    • You might really want to relate to them or talk about something in your life, but resist the urge to do so unless they ask. Your role is to help and comfort them.
  4. Don’t jump to creating solutions. If the person is crying and upset about a situation, don’t try to immediately solve the problem for them. It’s more important for you to do less talking and more listening. The person may not even mention what’s wrong, and that’s okay. It’s not your role to solve their problems.
    • Their crying is not a way to solve their problem, it’s a way to express their emotions. Let them do so without interfering.
    • This might be hard if you generally try to avoid crying yourself. Remember, crying is not a sign of weakness.
  5. Encourage them to see a therapist if they need more support. If this person is repeatedly having problems coping with their emotions, it may be time to see a therapist. Their problems may overwhelm you or you might think that what they’re going through might be best handled by a therapist. Be gentle in your recommendation, but let them know it might be a good idea.
    • For example, try saying, “It sounds like what you’re going through is really difficult. Have you thought about talking to a therapist?”
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