What’s the etiquette when you find someone crying in the loos at work?
I guess it depends on how well you know her, (and I’m assuming that tears in the toilets are an exclusively feminine form of retreat).
When someone I didn’t know found me blubbing into the bog-roll last year she said are you ok? in a really worried voice, terrified that I wasn’t, bless her. I just said Men! which was nicely generic, and she said they’re all the same and left as fast as she decently could.
I had a slightly trying time earlier this year which entailed daily trips to hide myself away in the disabled toilet. Eventually a lovely colleague came through, winkled me out of the loo, asked me what was wrong, and bundled me off home to cry in peace and sleep it off. I appreciate her patience and generosity even now.
The other morning I found another colleague in the loos dabbing her eyes with cold water and pretending she had hay fever or a cold. I asked her how she was. She said the atmosphere in her part of the office was really bad, but didn’t elaborate. The atmosphere has been rather lumpy recently, what with the heat, over-work and other more random stresses, and I suspect that one of the she-witches had been just a bit too bitchy to cope with.
I asked if she wanted to go for a cup of tea, but she didn’t, so back we went to our desks and I sent her a couple of e-mails through the day. Apparently she spoke to her line manager about her problems, and hopefully, that’ll be enough.
Since then we smile and say hi with no sense of constraint that I can see, but we haven’t spoken much. Maybe she’s embarrassed, maybe we have very little in common, or maybe crying in the loos is just something that all women do at one time or another, and the sisterly thing is to be supportive at the time, but not to acknowledge it afterwards. Rather like the mayor and the chief of police bumping into each other in a brothel.
Ach, what do I know?