How to Cry On the Spot

Three Parts:Using Your EmotionsUsing Your Body and Other ObjectsFaking a Spontaneous Cry

Sometimes life calls for crying even if you don't feel like doing so. Perhaps you're acting in a play on the stage or television and need to add this skill to your resume or perhaps your BFF has really annoyed you and you'd like to break down his/her defenses by crying. Whatever the reason is for summoning the tears, crying on the spot is possible when you follow these steps.

Part 1
Using Your Emotions

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    Put yourself into a more emotional state of mind. What we think makes us cry is something we're often told; in the case of getting emotional, this is definitely valid. Try to think of something that makes you really sad. For example, think back to the loss of a beloved family member, friend or a pet, breakup with girl/boyfriend, attending a funeral, losing something you treasured or how it felt when you missed out on something you'd worked really hard to achieve. This will begin to put you in the right frame of mind for tears.
    • If you can't or don't want to think of anything from the past, think of someone you care about getting hurt. For some, it's wise never to look back on a sad occasion that actually happened. This could be emotionally dangerous and lead to a spiral of sadness. Instead, think of something that could happen in the future, pretend one of your family members died or was injured, or remember a sad scene from a movie.
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    Hit that nerve that gets you going. Most people have something that gets the floodgates open automatically and when it comes up, the tears just start flowing. It can be something totally understandable, like the way a parent or authority figure treated you, or something completely surprising with a backstory, like that one incident on the roller coaster a few years ago. Is there a topic that always makes you want to cry, even if it doesn't make much sense?
    • Imagine as if you are in that moment. However, beware: it's important to be in charge of your emotions afterwards. If the particular incident is a tearjerker, but is particularly traumatic, then it is best to not go down memory lane.
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    Think of yourself a certain way. Many of us have fears that we are or are not a certain way that we try very hard to be or not be. When we're confronted with the idea that we're not how we see ourselves, it gets pretty scary. This can be a good source of tears. What's one way you don't want to think of yourself as? What if you actually were that way?
    • Once you pinpoint what you, for example, don't want to be (weak, ugly, pathetic, etc.), latch onto it. Let that fear flow out of you in the form of tears. Pretend it's real. How does it feel? Just remember to shake it off afterward!
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    Use your imagination. For some, crying due to a personal issue isn't doable or isn't safe. However, if you have a particularly vivid imagination, you can construct something equally as sad. It doesn't have to involve anyone you know or love or even yourself. What brings tears to your eyes about the world? For the record, they can be happy, tears, too.
    • You could trying thinking of something sad like puppies being left on the side of the road. You want to save them all, but you can only take one, if you're lucky. As you're holding the one puppy you got to save, you look at all of the other puppies that aren't being held.
    • You could try happy things, too, like veterans getting reunited with their families, old couples holding hands after 50 years, or those getting discriminated against rising in the face of adversity. Those can be moving moments, too.
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    Tune out the outside world. Block everything from the outside world and completely close yourself off while you're attempting to make yourself cry on the spot. Really dig deep into your emotional self and let it all out, concentrating only on you – not your surroundings, not the situation, just on you. Controlling your thoughts and memories and how much you listen to the outside world (like someone trying to calm you down, for example) will determine how much, how hard and how long you will cry for.
    • Remember that crying can be therapeutic. It can even cause you to get sleepy, which can be nice when you've had a long day or night.
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    Laugh! Just burying your face in your hands and laughing can work. It can sometimes be hard to tell if someone is laughing or crying if they do it correctly. While your face is in your hands, try to make your eyes a little red by rubbing them hard with your hands in a fist form, otherwise it'll be too obvious. And don't smile when you take your hands away! This works best on a stage, when people are not close enough to see tears or your face in close detail.
    • Sometimes you can tear up from laughing, so perhaps try thinking of something funny or get a fellow funny actor to crack jokes around you just prior to filming or acting that scene. Make sure you look sad when the tears start flowing, though!
    • Some people laugh as a nervous or upset response. You may have noticed this in other people. You can mimic this display of emotion if faking crying is very difficult for you.

Part 2
Using Your Body and Other Objects

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    Irritate your eyes. A common method for starting tears is to cause your eyes discomfort. Of course, be careful as to how you go about doing this, and be aware that some of these methods can hurt a little (which will probably really make you cry):
    • Hold your eyelids open with your fingers and stay like this for 2 minutes.
    • Try to expose your eyes to the air as much as possible. Keep your eyes open as long as you can. Don't close them until tears form under your eyes. Keeping your eyes open will dry them out, making them sting. Don't close your eyes when they start to hurt or no tears will form.
    • Place your eyes next to a fan - looking into the airflow can make you cry.
    • Lightly place your pointed finger up to your one of your pupils. This will cause that eye to become irritated, and it may lead to tears. Be careful not to poke your eye out.
    • Take the top lid of your eye and bring it over your bottom lid. It makes realistic looking tears.
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    Rub your eyes. Close your eyes and rub your eyelids for about 25 seconds. Open them and stare at something until the tears start rolling. You might not get it the first time but it can work wonders. Rubbing can leave your eyes sore but if done gently, it can help redden the complexion around your eye area, too.
    • Never rub your eyes with something hot like chili, hot pepper powders, curry powder, etc. or you will do more than cry for real; this can not only hurt intensely but may also cause injury to your eye.
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    Bite the inside of your lip. Think about something that really upsets you, and stare. You can also put your hand in your pocket and pinch your thigh. A bit of pain may get the tears to start rolling.
    • Try holding your nose very tightly so you can't breathe through it. Then concentrate on the bite in your mouth. When air can't flow, it's easier for your senses in your mouth to focus on the pain. Tears might then come.
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    Bring other parts of your body into action. Doing things with other parts of your body can help to bring on tears. Some examples include:
    • Try yawning repeatedly. This may help to make your eyes water (especially if you're feeling a little tired).
    • Sometimes you can cry by breathing into the back of your throat rather than down your windpipe, this is how yawning can make you cry as well. Or it might just make you yawn!
    • Try pinching yourself hard in some sensitive parts of your body like the space between your thumb and pointer finger or under your eye and tears will automatically begin to flow down.
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    Use a cut onion. Cutting an unwashed onion is very effective in provoking tears. This method is probably best for plays though – it's a little difficult to bluff crying around someone you want to convince you're crying when you produce an onion and both of you start getting all teary!
    • If you can escape to another room, grab a few slices of onion, and take a whiff close to your face. Bask in their tear-creating gases, and then come back out.
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    Use some tear imposters. Gently rub just a tiny spot of Tiger Balm, mentholated petroleum jelly, or hand sanitizer under your eyes. It may sting, but it's going to be very realistic. However, be careful not to overdo this one and be very careful about not getting any in your eyes.
    • You can also use eye drops to make it look like your face is tear-stained. Just place them right below the corner of your eyes so they believably run down your face.

Part 3
Faking a Spontaneous Cry

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    Make a crying face. This usually involves closing your eyes and scrunching your face up a little – simply imagine yourself through the motions through remembering what your face feels like when you do actually cry.
    • Turn the corners of your lips down a little.
    • Try to force the inner corners of your eyebrows upwards.
    • Wrinkle up your chin like people do right before they start bawling. This may look fake, so be careful.
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    Focus on your breathing. The breathing is part of what convinces people that you're upset. Start sobbing by making crying noises and take deep breaths as you do so. Breathe in constantly as if you are hyperventilating; you can add little hiccuping noises, too.
    • If nobody can see you, run on the spot for several minutes to cause yourself to be out of breath. If you can do this, it'll help to create the blotchy complexion often associated with crying.
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    Use typical body movements associated with crying. Once you have the eyes tearing, the crying face and the hyper breathing going, add in a typical crying body stance. Some suggestions include:
    • Cover your face with your hands and lower your head.
    • Look away, trying to pretend you're not crying – the double bluff!
    • Bite your lip, as if you're trying hard to stop the tears. Wobbling your bottom lip really adds to the effect. Just make sure you don't look like you're faking it.
    • Rest your head on a table or other item in front of you in a gesture of hopelessness or attempt to self-compose.
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    Be convincing with your voice, too. When speaking, constrict your vocal cords. Aim to stutter your words and add in long intakes of breath to add to the effect. Make bubbling noises, and ramble on about the thing that has supposedly caused you to feel upset. In general, get emotionally carried away. The trick is to convince yourself that you're actually crying, as well as everyone else.
    • This is basically "mind over matter" and the more you act it out, the more your body will acquiesce to produce the effect you're after.
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    If you're onstage, feel free to rely on "tear sticks." If you're going to be in a serious theatrical production, don't worry about having to produce your own tears. A menthol tear stick and menthol tear producers are the tools of the TV drama, film, and theater trade. The stick version requires a sparse application under the eyes. The "tear producer" works as a spray. Both produce immediate results.
    • TV and film actors have the benefit of working with an entire crew of technicians and artists. Although some movie stars utilize some of the professional techniques many actors options for an easier solution.
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    Save some tears for later. Since you're faking this, it won't have authentic emotions to keep fueling your crying. If you do end up making real tears, don't expect to keep making even more tears because your eyes will get tired after a while and won't be able to produce as many tears, especially lacking the emotion that can cause us to cry for a long time when something truly upsetting does happen. Wind it up quickly to give your eyes a break.
    • And to give your mind a break, too. Crying can be quite exhausting, both physically and mentally. Don't put yourself through more wear than you absolutely have to.


  • Fight the tears instead. If you're having trouble getting yourself to cry, sometimes it's better to not cry, but to act like you're fighting back the tears – sometimes people are touched more by this, especially if you're usually a "tougher" soul. This can also be more believable, because it comes across as being more vulnerable.
  • Stare into a bright light for one minute and try not to blink, then blink really hard and your eyes will water.
  • When acting in dramas try to imagine yourself as that person or character.
  • Try crying along to a movie where the actor is crying, for practice.
  • Some people cry when they're very angry. If you are like this, think of something that makes you mad.
  • Try blinking really fast; sometimes this produces tears.
  • Don't make it too dramatic or obvious because whoever you are trying to convince may be suspicious. Make it seem like you do not want to be crying in front of them; appear a little embarrassed. Maybe even apologize for crying!
  • Try to rub your nose and make it red so it seems you were crying while hiding your face with hands.
  • Get medicated Chapstick and put a small layer under your eyes. But don't put it in your eye because it contains menthol and may irritate your eye.
  • Listen to a sad song. Sing along to it. If there is a song that really connects to you, it might hit an emotional nerve.
  • Look away when someone comes to ask you if you are OK and dig your head in your knees to make it look like you are crying.
  • Studies show that if someone is crying quietly, it means that they don't want attention. If someone is crying loudly, they want to be comforted. Keep this in mind while fake crying.
  • Don't think about crying too much, if you put too much pressure on yourself to cry you'll never be able to do it.
  • Try to irritate your eye a lot and then blink down really hard.
  • Put your arm over your eyes and start sniffling and gasping. While doing that, think of the worst case scenario. Trick yourself into thinking something awful is happening.
  • Blinking helps. Blink about 20 times and then then stop and look at the wall for 5 seconds and there you have it!
  • If you're an actor or actress, don't let your main focus on letting the tears actually come out- try to focus deeply and emotionally on the situation around you, and if you're good at it, the tears will come by themselves.
  • Dig deep into your emotions for fake crying. If the character your playing is supposed to cry think about how they feel and try to feel their pain, another good tip is to dry your eyes. Make sure not to practice fake crying too much, if you do your fake crying will seem emotionless.
  • If you're on stage look at the lights for a while, without blinking. Make sure your eyes are not too wide open or else the audience will notice! Always be reasonable so make sure you don't look in the lights for yoo long, they will have the same effects as the sun AND COULD CAUSE YOU DAMAGE!


  • Never look into the sun to try to get your eyes to water – during most hours of the day the sun emits enough radiation to ruin your vision!
  • It may not be a good idea to try many of these tactics if you wear contacts. Use your common sense.
  • Don't get Vicks in your eyes; it will be incredibly painful. Wash it out with water immediately if this happens.
  • Do not get your face into a weird position that feels uncomfortable; instead, relax the muscles in your face.
  • If you have dark eye-makeup on, this will most certainly spoil it and it will need to be reapplied. However, running mascara can certainly add to the effect.
  • Make sure you're not dehydrated. If you are, it will probably be more difficult for tears to come out.
  • Do not misuse or abuse this technique around friends. Abuse can ruin relationships and damage trust.
  • Do not overly irritate your eyes. You could damage them if you are not careful.
  • If thinking about someone who died makes you too sad, don't use this as an example. Think of something else that isn't so upsetting, like missing out on making a sports team or not achieving a goal you tried hard for. Still upsetting but not so likely to leave you in an upset state of mind for the rest of the day.

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