At work, we tend to put on a solid front because we don’t want others to see us at our lowest or cause problems for the team. Crying, in particular, is something that must be avoided at all costs because it can make the team feel awkward and affect their progress.

However, we all have our limits, and there will come a time we will not be able to deal with our emotions, crying out at the most surprising time.

While we can control ourselves and our tears, what should we do if our colleagues cry in the middle of work? Here are some tips on how you can deal with their tears:

Empathise With Their Situation

It can be uncomfortable to see someone cry at work, whether you are a team leader or a colleague. It can be tempting to ignore the episode and simply act as if nothing happened. However, the best response to this situation is by being compassionate and understanding their situation. When someone cries, it doesn’t mean they are experiencing a breakdown or in a state of emotional distress. It may be their way of dealing with pressure.

Stay calm, and don’t let your frustrations out. If you caused their tears, it is best to keep your apology simple and don’t let your frustration out.

Let Them Speak It Out

While it can be awkward to be around someone crying, sometimes, the best way to help them out is by letting them flush whatever is causing them distress through their tears. It is dangerous to bottle one’s emotions for too long, especially the bad ones. When you speak to them, give them time to compose themselves and ask them what’s wrong.

Change Their Scenery

If your colleague cries in front of the team, it can make things uncomfortable for everyone. It is also not very good for the person if they are not assisted in any way. When you see that your colleague is on the verge of tears, bring them into a secluded area and let them cry.

Avoid bringing them into the bathroom if you plan to speak to them after. Once you are in a private place, please give them a tissue and allow them to catch their breath.

Go Back To Work

When their tears are gone, and they are back to normal, you should help them get back to work.

To do this, ignore your colleagues who may want to know what happened and speak mainly about the project you are working on with them. Remind them that you all have work to do and stay close to your colleague if they need extra help.

Each one of us may have different reasons as to why we cry, and there will be times we will end up crying even at work. Don’t immediately tease people when this happens because we all have our moments. So, if someone in the team breaks down, be ready to assist when they need it and help dissolve the awkward air caused by the little episode.

Being a good colleague helps another in a long way. Here are some articles to read:
Guest Post: How to Handle Grief in the Workplace, when Your Colleague Passed Away
5 Ways Companies Can Support a Grieving Employee

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15 replies on “Best ways to Deal with a Colleague Crying at Work

  1. I think this is the first advice I’ve seen on the issue. It’s about time we bring it out in the open to discuss meaningful ways to help emotionally upset employees. There are all kinds of reasons for emotional upset at work. I generally give the person the rest of the day off to go handle whatever created the upset. The main thing is to have compassion, assess the seriousness of the situation, and be ready to assist but not interfere.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I am feeling you. I have a 5 year old and a 8 months old now. Lucky for me, I am working from home so I get to see them all the time but I wish I can just stop working and just enjoy their childhood.

          Liked by 1 person

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