Got into a fight with a colleague and you just feel a swell of tears about to pour out? Melinda O’Rourke from MO Luxury shares with us why it’s okay to have a cry in the office when things are feeling a little too difficult and what your tears can tell your colleagues about you. She also shares with us some tips on how to prevent yourself from breaking down into tears and how you can pick yourself back up again.
Number one…whatever you do, look up! This helps stop you from crying, it really does, look straight up to the ceiling with determination and a sense of power.
It’s a difficult question to have a blanket comment on as there are many variables at play here. It comes down to the situation that caused the tears on a scale of 1 – 10. Women are more hormonal (that’s the truth) and therefore can cry more easily at certain times than usual. So we are not men and there are some fundamental, physical differences that need to be taken into account that simply do affect women more than men. Crying at times can send a powerful message to the person who caused those tears, yet we measure those tears and say they should be rare and exclusive.
If you have been seriously unfairly berated by a peer or your boss and it is both hurtful and humiliating and you are in a state of such shock that you have no control of your emotions – you won’t be judged to be unprofessional by others. Most people will see that this is the reaction to a deeply distressing situation.
On the other hand, if a female colleague quite regularly is seen in tears, it is unprofessional, because it’s obvious to both superiors and colleagues and therefore can become uncomfortable, it also can put into question the suitability of this person for the role or the company. Questions may be made about the ‘stability’ of this person, rightly or wrongly, due to regular shedding of tears. It also can have the opposite effect that if superiors/colleagues know ‘she’ bursts into tears at the drop of a hat, they may reduce or avoid communication, and that will have a damaging affect on her work life.
Think strong, be strong… if you feel your eyes welling up, look up to the ceiling hard. Breathe… this is crucial. Try to mentally remove yourself from the cause of upset, bring in some analysis… whatever you do, don’t think “poor me’ this is not going to do you any good and this self pity/sympathy, deserved or not, will not serve you well at this crucial time.
If someone has truly upset you, tears at times can be a powerful response as it says ‘enough’. However as said above, if it is a regular thing… it’s a bit like the boy who cried wolf, if you really are having a disgusting day and something evil has happened to you, you will not receive the genuine support you should if you are frequent crier (not flier!).
Finally, take a walk, leave the room, space when you can, don’t try and chat with another staff member, or run to the toilet, head out into some fresh air, look at the sky, the people, the grass the buildings whatever and talk the situation over in your head. You may not resolve it all, yet you’ve saved yourself from crying in the office and probably have grabbed some perspective and rationale to the situation and what will be your very professional unemotional response!
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