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April 28, 2021 9:28 pm  #1

What elements do you find are necessary to 'count' as crying?

There are a lot of different elements that can go into instances of crying. Actual visible tears forming and falling/tear tracks, of course, and sobbing noises, of course those obviously count as crying. But there are other elements, that by themselves may or may not qualify in your book as crying, but two or three combined may, even if no tears have left any eyes and no one has made a sound. I don't know how much sense I'm making. 

Elements I've observed include:
1. teardrops seen both forming and falling 
2. tear tracks without necessarily seeing the tear leave the eye
3. tear tracks after the tear has stopped moving
4. rapid, irregular/uncontrolled intakes of air, breath-only (I think of this as light sobbing), like most of what Brad Pitt does in this bit from Legends of the Fall
5. the uncontrolled breathing as above, plus noises that come from the vocal cords, which may or may not involve higher-pitched or fuller sounds (I think of this as full/heavier sobbing), like Ewan McGregor tends to do like this bit from The Impossible
6. sniffling
7. wet eyes 
8. a crumpled, stricken, or otherwise irregular facial expression
9. shoulders/torso shaking  
10. red eyes

For me, any one thing from 1-5 automatically counts as crying. Elements 6-9 do not on their own count, but if there's two or more of those, I usually count those as crying. For example, I don't count Superman's breakdown in Man of Steel, because I have nothing from columns 1-5, and maybe one from columns 6-10 (his shoulders may shake when Lois is comforting him), but I do count Hopper's quiet sobs in the stairway in Stranger Things, even though I can't see his face.

What about you?

Don't mind me, I'm just here to fill my lachrimatory.

April 28, 2021 10:33 pm  #2

Re: What elements do you find are necessary to 'count' as crying?

I agree with 1-5, I would add 8 to the list of definitely crying, though sniffling and wet eyes are elements of crying I don't see that as crying per se, even if both are involved, my wife says that's crying through the nose, but still, there are no visible tears or lack of control or overwhelming emotion.

9 and 10 are not necessarily elements of crying, as there are other possible causes. But well, that's me.

Very interesting topic Phoebe, thank you very much for placing this on the table for us to think about it, I had you in the category of posting in the video section or crying scenes most of the time, I don't recall an obs or self obs about you (maybe one if I'm not wrong, but that's the point).

Have a beautiful rest of the week.


April 29, 2021 7:56 am  #3

Re: What elements do you find are necessary to 'count' as crying?

I'm a bit wayward when it comes to definitions. If it's a female actress for example I need to see tears falling down the cheeks for me to count it. Sobbing is fine as long as I see tears

However a male actor for instance only has to sob for it to count, like Kiefer Sutherlands breakdown in the final scene of s3 of 24 for instance

Security will run you down hard
And I will lead them on a merry chase

April 29, 2021 8:38 am  #4

Re: What elements do you find are necessary to 'count' as crying?

Emotion. I know some people here like what I call "reflexive tears", where they aren't actually crying, but the eyes are watering due to some factor, such as yawning. I don't count that as crying.

Even though I like the lip curl, it wouldn't do much for me if someone was lip curling without actually crying from emotion.

Ugly crying is pretty crying

April 30, 2021 5:07 pm  #5

Re: What elements do you find are necessary to 'count' as crying?

 Tearhunter used to say that, as long as there is any of those physical reactions to emotion (lump in throat, tears in eyes, anything) then it should count as crying. I think that is technically correct, but I think there is more to it.

I think that the definition of crying is a group decision, implicitly negotiated with the people around you. If I see someone who I think is crying, I can’t treat them as if they were crying unless they also agree that they’re crying. Eventually, through little interactions like this, a peer group can settle on a definition of crying that they all follow, often without explicitly saying anything about it.

In my case (friends, wife, family), we consider someone to be crying if tears overflow from the eyes due to emotion. I think we settled on this definition because we get teary pretty frequently, and it would be too emotionally exhausting to treat someone as if they were crying just because they got a little choked up. So, we give each other kind of a “grace period” when they’re tearing up or choking up. If they are able to blink the tears away, we don’t consider it crying. Those other elements that you listed don’t need to be present, but they help us judge the intensity of the crying.

I’ve been in situations where a person didn’t think they were crying, but they were being treated as if they were crying, and they became even more upset about that. This is a really interesting topic. 


May 5, 2021 5:34 pm  #6

Re: What elements do you find are necessary to 'count' as crying?

Truffle, that's a really interesting point, and one that makes sense.

Don't mind me, I'm just here to fill my lachrimatory.
     Thread Starter

August 2, 2021 6:16 am  #7

Re: What elements do you find are necessary to 'count' as crying?

As long as there's tears and evidence of emotion, it counts.

The bigger the jerkass, the better the tears

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