WTF is a Crying Party?
Sit down and watch the saddest shit you can find on the internet for an hour. Bring close friends, keep the lights off, and have plenty of tissues handy. Mascara optional. I made this custom YouTube playlist, if you’re looking for inspiration of which videos to play. Generally, the videos fall into three categories:
- Sad movie scenes (Lion King, Up, Inside Out, Cast Away)
- Touching moments of ecstasy (Deaf woman hearing herself for the first time, US Marine surprising his sister during graduation)
- Inspirational commercials (Several Thai commercials, Google Chrome’s Dear Sophie ad, a Guinness beer advertisement)
But… why the hell would I do this?
1. Crying is good for your mind
There are many different articles demonstrating health benefits as a result of crying. Research shows that 85% of men and 73% of women felt less angry or sad after crying. Not only does crying help you feel less stressed, but tears can also help remove stress hormones built up in our bodies during emotional stress.
2. What you cry about reveals something about yourself
After watching several clips, you can get a sense of which videos are more likely to make you cry, and understand common themes that really tug on your emotions. For instance, someone who cries at videos involving childhood might realize a bit more about how this is an area of importance or sensitivity.
3. “Real men don’t cry”
Men are repeatedly told that crying is embarrassing or that they’re acting like a “wuss.” In general, the social stigma against crying prevents many men, including myself, from being as vulnerable and open about their emotions. Not only is this emotional repression unhealthy, but as Tony Porter explains in his wonderful TED Talk, A Call to Men, this sort of male emotional stifling can actually result in oppressive and sexist behaviors. I’m not saying that crying is going to remedy sexism, but I do think allowing men to be more emotionally vulnerable has important positive impacts.
4. Bonding with friends
Vulnerability and friendship are closely tied. Just being in a dark room and crying with friends can feel emotionally raw yet supportive. There’s power to having your friends nearby when you’re going through lots of feelz, and it was really nice to discuss the videos after the session.
A note about exploiting suffering for an emotional response
Often, sad experiences can come from others’ misfortune or suffering. It’s important to be respectful of the experience and not exploit it for the purpose of crying. I chose to limit my selection of videos to movies, advertisements, and “happy-sad” moments, since these videos are created with the intention to evoke this type of emotional response from audiences. But I think there’s a broader and important conversation about treating such experiences respectfully.