Yeah, it’s going to happen to every one of you guys at some time or other, and if it hasn’t there is likely something wrong with your socialization. What is it? A crying girl. Now, I don’t mean to be cliche or stereotypical about women, but odds are you’ll get a sobber.
So, what do you do? Whether it was a fight, and it’s your fault or not, or something horrible has happened, what can you do?
- Be sensitive to the situation. What happened? How can you help?
- Body contact. Key. Do the hugging and rubbing and patting. It’s a psychological comfort to have physical closeness. [Note, if this is a ‘fight’ cry, some pushing away may initially occur]
- Use a soothing tone of voice and offer consolations such as "I’m here" or "it’s ok" or "don’t worry", as appropriate. Even a "shhh" sometimes works if it’s soothing and well meant. [Note, be appropriate to the situation]
- Offer tissues before they are asked. Trust me, we don’t want to realize we look disgusting and snotty and then have to ask for it.
- Talk. If she is ranting and sobbing about something, actually respond to it. This is key in a fight, even if you disagree. Unless there is feedback, the rant and panic will only increase.
- Offer tea and rest. Blankets are good.
- Ask if you can call anyone or do anything. Offering assistance is unobtrusive in most situations
- Don’t assume you know the answers. Don’t preach. OMG, really don’t do that. Whether she made a stupid mistake on another guy or failed a test or whatever, don’t get high and mighty.
- Timing is everything. You might have to do a lot of three and four before six or seven ever become appropriate. Trust the level of sobbing. As it slows, the panic is lifted and more meaningful conversation and rest are possible.
Helpful? I know I’m being generic here, and generic can be dangerous in emotional situations, but perhaps any help is good help. Grieving in particular is a very painful process, and is really trivialized by the above, especially as it relates to gender (as I find consoling guys even harder in situations of death or sickness).
Do you have any insight that can be helpful to others? If so, feel free to share.
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