Why do people say sorry when they cry?Posted: 23/04/2014
You may have noticed on TV and in your own life that people often say sorry when they cry in front of others. Why is this and what’s going on here? I don’t know for sure but it makes me think that it must be because people think they have done something wrong and they feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. Maybe they feel it is wrong to show feelings in public, or feel they are burdening others with them. I wonder too if apologising for crying reflects ideas in society about when it is right to show feelings or messages from childhood such as “grown men don’t cry” or that “crying is a sign of weakness”. Society has funny standards about showing emotions – show too much and you are labelled “emotional” or “irrational” and show too little you are labelled “reserved” or “standoffish” and if you show any, sometimes people don’t k now what to do – hard to win sometimes. I think there is nothing wrong about crying – it shows something matters to you. Emotions are part of our evolutionary make up as humans – just imagine trying to live without ever feeling anything! We would not have survived as a species without them. Without feeling fear humans would not have evolved the fight or flight response – important if you need to get away from predators!
Robert Watson, Clinical Psychologist, Become Psychology