wikiHow to Cry Without People Knowing

Three Methods:Crying in PrivateCrying SilentlyHiding the Fact That You’ve Been Crying

Depending on your culture, crying in public may or may not be a socially acceptable behavior. Fortunately, if you do find yourself in a situation where you feel that you need to cry, but don’t want anyone to know, there are some things you can do to hide it.

Method 1
Crying in Private

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    Wait until you are alone. This may be difficult, but if you feel that you need to cry, try to wait until you can get somewhere private.
    • Your own room is always a good choice, if it’s available.
    • If you are not at home, going outside for a few minutes usually won’t arouse too much suspicion. Likewise, the bathroom is usually always a good choice, if it is a private bathroom you can lock the door for 5-10 minutes without anyone thinking anything of it.
    • If you are in a public bathroom, go in one of the stalls and lock the door. You will have to be more aware of any noise you might be making, but it will still afford you some privacy. If you need to hide a sob that you can’t keep in, try flushing the toilet to hide the noise.
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    Excuse yourself from the situation. If you feel like you still have control over yourself, you can politely say, “I need to use the restroom”, or “I need a few minutes to take a phone call outside.” This will discourage anyone who might wish to accompany you outside.
    • If you feel that you are very close to tears, this might be more difficult. One way to avoid making eye contact is to pretend someone has called or sent you a message. This way, you can pull your phone out, and step away without saying anything or looking at anyone. If you can manage it, just simply say “excuse me for a moment”, if not don’t say anything. The people around you might think it was a little rude, but when you come back, just apologize and say you had to take that message/phone call as you had been waiting for it all day.
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    Cry quietly. When we are very upset, it can be very satisfying to cry loudly; however, if you are trying to keep it secret, you should cry as quietly as possible, especially if you are in a place where you might easily be heard.
    • Breathe in and out slowly and deeply. Don’t hold your breath! If you do hold your breath, eventually you will have to breathe out, and at this point there is a good chance you will make a sobbing sound. Taking deep breaths will also help you calm down.
    • Dab your eyes gently. Use a tissue, or your sleeve if you don’t have one, and gently dab the tears as they fall. Try not to rub as this will make your eyes even more swollen and red.
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    Don’t worry. It is OK to cry, and you should not feel bad or embarrassed about it. Especially if you’ve managed to find somewhere private.
    • Instead, try working out whatever is upsetting you so much to see if you can find a solution.
    • Obviously, there may be some instances where something has happened that doesn’t have a solution (e.g. loss of a loved one). In this case give yourself permission to be sad and upset for a few minutes. Try to take deep breaths, which will make the crying quieter, but will also help to calm you a bit.
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    Let it out. If you’ve managed to find a safe place to cry in private, then let it all out. Unless you’re in a hurry, you should give yourself a few minutes to release the emotions you are feeling.
    • Again, if there is a chance someone might hear you, then try to keep quiet, but don’t try to hold it all in. This might make things worse.
    • Once you’ve let off some steam, do your best to calm yourself. Take a few slow, deep breaths and try to smile. This will trick your brain into thinking happier thoughts, and instantly provide a tiny bit of positive feelings.[1]

Method 2
Crying Silently

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    Breathe as deeply as you can. If you can’t get to a private place, but you know the tears will fall anyway, you can try to keep it a secret by crying silently. Although you likely won't be able to keep the tears in, you can do your best to keep the noise in.
    • To do this breathe deeply, but do it as quietly as you can. This isn’t supposed to be a deep sigh, but rather you want to keep your breath moving steadily so you won’t sob.
    • Don’t hold your breath! Eventually, you will have to breathe, and if it has built up in your chest, a sob may come out with it.
    • If a sound does escape, try to play it off as a cough or a sneeze if you can.
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    Make yourself as inconspicuous as possible. This will depend largely on your specific situation, but you should try to get as far away from the center of attention as possible.
    • If you are at work or school, sit at your desk, and try to make it appear as though you are casually reading something on your screen or desk. Place your hand on your forehead, as though you are shading your eyes from the sun. This will make it more difficult for others to see what your eyes are doing.
    • If you are in a more social situation, pretend you got a call on your cell phone, and walk to the most private area you can find. Keep pretending to talk on the phone so that people will pay less attention to you.
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    Dab your tears away as they fall. If you have managed to keep the attention off of yourself, you can casually dab the tears away. You can use a tissue if you have it, or your sleeve. If you are wearing a short sleeve shirt, just use the back of your hand.
    • Avoid rubbing! It will be tempting to just rub your face and eyes to try and stop, but this will only add to the redness and swelling that naturally occurs when you cry.
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    Distract yourself. In this case, you probably don’t just want to let it out. Instead, you will want to gain control of yourself. You can try to stop yourself from crying by smiling, which can help to trick your brain into happier thoughts.[2]
    • Think about a funny thing that happened recently, or about something you are looking forward to.
    • If you can’t think of anything, try to become very focused on what is going on around you. This will help distract you from what is upsetting you.
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    Rejoin the group. If you are somewhere where it will be noticed if you don’t rejoin, then at some point you will need to get back into it. How you do this will depend on how you’re feeling.
    • If you’re feeling much better, and you aren’t worried that you will cry again, then jump back in. It may take a couple of minutes for you to get back into the conversation normally, but don’t worry about it. If you’ve successfully completed all these steps, it’s unlikely that anyone will notice that you were crying.
    • If you’re worried that you might cry again, try to join in, but minimally. Don’t try to be super involved in the conversation. Instead, do your best to look happy (smiling as best you can might also help you feel better), and listen to the conversation. This may also help distract you from what is causing the tears.
    • If you’re at your desk at school or work, simply go back to working as you normally would. You are at an advantage in this situation because there won’t be any expectation to be social. Take a few minutes to cheer yourself up after crying, for example, by watching a funny video, or looking at things you enjoy on your phone or the computer.

Method 3
Hiding the Fact That You’ve Been Crying

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    Take off your makeup from your eyes. If you were wearing makeup before you were crying, at least remove the makeup from your eyes. At this point, it’s probably ruined anyway. You will need to splash your face with water, if possible, and it is also likely that you’ve smeared it all anyway. Thus, you should remove your makeup with a makeup remover if possible.
    • If you don’t have any makeup remover with you, try using soap and water, or a wet paper towel. If you don’t have anything do your best to gently wipe away your makeup with a tissue or towel.
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    Splash cold water on your face. Make the water as cold as you can stand, and gently splash it onto your face several times. This will help take any redness and swelling away.
    • Alternatively, you can place cucumbers or some ice cubes wrapped in a towel on your eyes to help reduce the redness and swelling.
    • Whatever you do, avoid rubbing your face vigorously! This will only make the redness worse.
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    Use eye drops. If you can, use an eye drop in each eye. This will clear them up, and remove any redness.
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    Drink a glass of water.[3] If you have cried a lot of tears, you should drink some water to re-hydrate yourself. It will help calm you down, too.
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    Apply moisturizer. If you have some moisturizer handy, apply some to your face, as it will help remove any tightness you have around your eyes.[4]
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    Reapply makeup. If you were wearing it, you will need to reapply. Make sure to reapply your foundation and blush, as the tears may have made streaks down your cheeks.
    • If your eyes are still a bit puffy and red, try applying a brighter lipstick, which will draw the attention away from your eyes.
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    Put on sunglasses. If it is still very obvious that you have been crying, slip on a pair of sunglasses. However, don’t do this if, for example, you are at work or school where you sit at a desk. People will know something is up.
    • If you feel that you have to wear sunglasses to hide it, you could use the excuse that you were at the eye doctor, and you were instructed to wear them for a few hours.
    • You could also say that your eyes are feeling very sensitive to light, and the sunglasses are helping with the pain.


  • If you are prone to crying easily, and you need to wear makeup, consider purchasing a waterproof eyeliner and/or mascara. This will help you avoid dark lines of mascara running down your cheeks, and making a big mess.[5]
  • Don’t be ashamed. Crying is a normal, and even necessary, action. While there may be some situations where crying is not appropriate, you do need to let the emotion out when it is possible.


  • Crying allows us to release tension and toxins from our body. Avoid holding it all in for too long, as this may cause even more problems in the long run.

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Categories: Overcoming Shyness & Insecurities