1. To get help
If you feel unable to ask for help directly, your tears can convey this request without words. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you’re crying on purpose — they’re a bodily response that most people can’t easily control. [Also read: 9 Signs He Loves You And It Isn’t Just Lust]
2. To relieve pain
If you walk into an open cabinet door or stub your toe on a sharp corner, the sudden shock of intense pain might bring a few tears to your eyes. You’re more likely to truly cry, however, when you experience significant pain for a long period of time, especially if you can’t do much to get relief. [Also read: 10 Things To Do To Avoid Heartbreak]
This type of lingering pain might come from: migraine, kidney stones, broken bones, an abscessed tooth, chronic pain condition, endometriosis, childbirth. Pain severe enough to make you cry does offer one benefit, though. [Also read; 6 Bad Signs That It’s Lust Not Love]
3. To form and strengthen social bonds
If you see tears as a sign of weakness, as many people do, you might dislike crying because you want to avoid giving an impression of helplessness. But everyone has some vulnerable points, and there’s nothing wrong with letting these show from time to time.
In fact, expressing your weaknesses could generate sympathy from others and promote social bonding. Most people need at least some support and companionship from others, and these bonds become even more important in times of vulnerability. [Also read: 8 Signs The Guy You’re Dating Is A Chronic Cheater]
When feelings get so extreme you don’t know how to manage or cope with them, crying can be one way to express them and get relief. It’s no secret that emotional pain can cause deep distress, so overwhelming feelings of sadness, guilt, or worry can certainly provoke tears. But any emotions that feel overwhelming or difficult to control can also cause tears, even if they don’t feel particularly painful. [Also read: 5 Signs Your Ex Will Ultimately Come Back]
5. To sympathize
Sympathy crying is absolutely a thing. Just as your tears might draw concern and support from others, you yourself might feel sympathy when you see another person’s tears or emotional distress. Witnessing their pain could make you cry, too. [Also read: 5 Things To Do When You Screwed-Up your partner]
Crying in response to someone else’s pain isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it suggests you can take other perspectives into account and imagine a situation from someone else’s point of view. In short, it means you’re an empathetic person. [Also read: 9 Things a Guy Does When He’s Losing Interest]
6. To get your needs met
Some people do cry on purpose in order to manipulate others, but this behavior doesn’t always have malicious intentions behind it. Instead, people might “turn on the tears,” so to speak, when they don’t know a better way to get their needs met. Emotional support is a key human need, but it’s not always easy to fulfill. Practical Reasons Why We Cry
If you find yourself regularly using tears in lieu of more productive approaches to communication and conflict resolution, a therapist can help you explore potential reasons behind this behavior and find healthier ways to express your needs and feelings.
7. Factors to consider
It’s important to consider bigger-picture concepts like personality traits, cultural backgrounds, and biology when it comes to thinking about why humans cry.
Certain personality traits, for example, appear to have some association with crying.
You might cry more frequently if:
- you have a lot of empathy
- your attachment style is anxious, preoccupied, or secure (if it’s dismissive, you’ll probably cry less frequently)
- you score high on Big Five measures of neuroticism
- you have trouble regulating your emotions
Someone’s cultural background can also play a big role in the context of crying. Not surprisingly, people who live in societies where crying is more accepted may cry more frequently. Men typically cry less than women, perhaps in part because many cultures tend to consider crying a sign of weakness and often discourage boys from crying. Practical Reasons Why We Cry
8. The bottom line
Most people cry from time to time for a variety of reasons. If you feel hesitant about crying around others, remember: Crying doesn’t indicate weakness.
Since tears can actually help people realize you’re experiencing pain and distress, you might benefit more from letting them fall than holding them back.