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Old August 4th, 2017, 06:14 PM
fuf fuf is offline
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How to approach colleague through personal crisis

Hi all, thank you in advance for reading!

I am terrible at people's interactions and relationships, so I'm in dire need of a step-by-step guide on how to help an acquaintance of mine.

(I'm a female) My female colleague is going through a tough breakup, today she started crying in front of me and began to tell me about it. Unfortunately for how much I truly want to help, I have absolutely no idea on how to deal with people's emotions (nor my own tbh). So I basically shied away from the conversation and she turned around and forced herself to stop crying. Looking back I am quite sure my reaction may have very well being interpreted as 'I don't want to hear you cry in the workplace'.

I really did not want to come across that way, nor I was thinking that, I just got panicky on how to deal with someone crying. I have now read about it and if this happened again I am prepare on how to approach the situation. Though I do not know how to go back and approach this situation. I truly want my colleague to know I am there for her, and she can cry in front of me and talk to me about things. I sent the wrong message. How do I show her otherwise? Until today, even when I saw she was said, she would tell me 'it's nothing I'm just tired' and I think she will go back to doing that given my reaction. But I do not want to be the one bringing up 'how is it going at home?' because what if I happen to say that in a moment when she's actually happy and then she becomes sad?

Step-by-step guide would be really really appreciated!
BTW I'm not a close friend of this colleague but she has helped be a ton through personal and professional things, but it's usually a one-way relationship (she is a few years older), that is why I feel terrible for once she was asking me for help and I shut her down involuntarily.
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Old August 4th, 2017, 06:47 PM
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LucyVanPelt LucyVanPelt is offline
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Re: How to approach colleague through personal crisis

You are a good friend and colleague. Dealing with emotional things at work is difficult and I'm not good at it, either. She may have been embarrassed that she cried, too. Maybe she realized that it was "unprofessional" even if they were real.

In this situation, I would probably get a "Thinking of you" card and a small flower, or ask her if she'd like to go to lunch. Then let her decide.
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Old August 4th, 2017, 08:10 PM
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KayKay KayKay is offline
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Re: How to approach colleague through personal crisis

I'd ask her if she was feeling better, and tell her that you wish you knew the right thing to say to make this breakup easier, but you're there for her.
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Old October 3rd, 2017, 10:48 PM
mia500 mia500 is offline
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Re: How to approach colleague through personal crisis

I've noticed the best thing to do when someone cries is nothing. Just stand there, try to relax yourself if it makes you uncomfortable and listen to them. The most you can do is give a tissue or a shoulder if they find that helpful. I would just pretend that never happened when I see her so that she doesn't feel awkward about it later. Invite her to lunch or have small talk at her desk..
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