Follow TV Tropes


Trying Not to Cry

Go To
Instructions unclear: only cried a little bit more.

"So, of course, as a young boy, I'm sitting there thinking, 'I'm tough. It's just a cartoon. It ain't gonna leave an impact on me— (Grumpy starts to cry) Oh no, not Grumpy. Not Grumpy, no, he was the tough one! Not Grumpy, not Gr—oh, there's no hope for humanity!'"

Basically, it's trying to hold back any crying in a situation. The simple fact is that tears are often seen as a sign of weakness. Therefore characters hold them back to try to be strong, either to appear so as an example to others or because it's expected of certain people.

Now often people will fail at this because the grief is too strong for them to hold back, or because they reach a breaking point. Other times the grief may manifest in other ways if it's held in too long. Sometimes the grief can eventually be let out through Manly Tears.

One of the most common forms is if someone says "I promised myself I wouldn't cry".

Compare Sand In My Eyes, Cathartic Crying, Men Don't Cry, Sorrowful Stutter, Stiff Upper Lip, Rage Breaking Point, He Will Not Cry, so I Cry for Him, Running Away to Cry. Contrast Ocular Gushers, Unable to Cry. Compare and contrast Prone to Tears. Opposite of Holding In Laughter.

Tip if you ever need to do this in real life: focus your eyes on an object or fixed point and stare at it as hard as you can.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • The reason why Yoshiko Fujisawa from Captain Tsubasa didn't want to face Matsuyama and her team after their loss to Nankatsu was basically her fear to cry in front of them. Considering that she was about to be put on a plane, that would be the last time she'd see them.
    • Also, this is why Kumi Sugimoto ran away from Tsubasa after he gently but firmly rejects her affections
  • Lafiel from the Crest of the Stars series is heir to the Jade Throne and therefore not supposed to cry. This is explained that crying for any one person in the Empire is a sign of favoritism, and the Emperor/Empress is supposed to be an impartial ruler, so they must either cry for everyone or no one. She refuses to cry when she is forced to order the Basroil's crew to leave Jinto behind during their mission in Lobnas II. After successfully evacuating the female prisoners, however, she returns to the planet and organizes a search party to look for him. When they find him malnourished but alive, she finally sheds a few tears.
  • In Episode 15 of Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure, Nodoka tries hard not to cry after Rabirin calls her mean and storms off.
  • My-Otome: When Arika Yumemiya finally meets her long-dead mother (revived to participate in Grand Duke Nagi’s Evil Plan to bring down the Otome), she thinks she'd have a lot to say, but after introducing herself ("Look, mom! I'm an Otome! Doesn't it suit me?"), she finds she can't bring herself to say the rest. Queen Mashiro looks on and, knowing that they must destroy Lena to free the Otome, admonishes herself that she promised she wouldn't cry anymore. Of course, she and the audience have trouble keeping that promise. Showing Arika finally embracing her mother for one first and last moment doesn't help that promise, either...
  • Chillingly deconstructed in (what else?) Neon Genesis Evangelion. After the nightmarish circumstances surrounding her mother's demise, Asuka swore to herself that she will never cry or depend on someone else ever again. When she breaks this during her Mind Rape (sobbing and calling out for Kaji), she gets a very nasty mental breakdown that eventually drives her comatose.
  • In Pokémon, there are moments throughout the series where Ash will lower his head so the brim of his hat hides his eyes. This is a sure sign that he is trying to avoiding letting others see him cry. A common time for this is when releasing Pokémon.
  • In Sailor Moon, just before Mamoru gets put on a plane Usagi comes to say good-bye to him at the airport. She starts crying and says "Oh no! I wanted to see you off with a smile!"
  • In The World God Only Knows, this occurred on the very same chapter / episode of the Goddesses Arc: FLAG 189 / Episode 12. Chihiro, despite having made a cheerful proclamation at the beginning of her band's performance, completely breaks down to tears at the end of the concert, after having sung a song that was completely about Keima.
  • Tsukimi in Princess Jellyfish promises her mother wouldn't cry as she lay dying but Shuu holds her later and tells her it's okay and that she can cry.
  • Project A-ko: Seen when B-ko finally reaches her emotional breaking point with A-ko, when the latter complains about B-ko making her late for class again. Despite trying to hold back her tears, her voice breaks and she ends up crying anyway.
    B-ko: (angrily, with tears) Is THAT the only thing you care about? Being a "good girl"? Charming the teachers?! Well! Obviously it's never occurred to you that some children just are born with the same CHARM!! But what do you care?? You get to be the heroine, while I'm the one everyone says is spoiled! Okay — If they say I'm the bad girl, then that's what I'm GONNA BE!!
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, one of Giorno Giovanna's character tics is that he trembles in response to feeling strong emotion. Giorno trembles most noticeably when those close to him die, such as when Abbacchio is killed, suggesting that he often trembles in an effort to hold back tears. Giorno fails to hold back his tears when Narancia dies too quickly to be healed. Near the end of the arc, Giorno trembles so violently that he breaks out in a sweat after defeating Diavolo, grieved over the friends he lost and clearly struggling to keep his composure.
  • The companion manga and movie adaptation of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's have a scene where Hayate berates herself for tearing up when Nanoha brings up Reinforce's Heroic Sacrifice. In response, Nanoha and Fate pull her into a hug and tell her that she doesn't need to force herself to be strong in this case, leading to all the emotions she'd kept bottled up to come pouring out at once.
  • Kotaro Lives Alone: Early in the series it's established that Kotaro doesn't like crying, despite, in his own words, having been around a lot of adults crying. This reaches a logical conclusion when Mizuki has to leave her apartment because the police didn't find enough evidence to jail her abusive boyfriend and she wants to make sure he won't come back for her. When the rest of the apartment neighbors are there to bid her farewell, Kotaro is wearing a Tonosaman mask and refuses to say why. His body language, however, makes it clear that he's trying his best to disguise the fact that he's crying throughout the whole deal.
  • One Piece: When asked by Zoro, Usopp says he won't cry during the Going Merry's Viking funeral, as he prepared himself long ago. But like most of the crew, he fails to hold back his tears, which pour out in droves from under his Sniper King mask.

    Comic Books 
  • Empowered strongly advises up-and-coming superheroines to avoid crying when Bound and Gagged. There is good reason for this: if your mouth is tightly taped or gagged, the mucous buildup in your nose can leave you unable to breathe. Ask her how she knows this.
  • In Preacher, Jessie Custer as a child swore never to cry again after Jodie called him a "fucking little crybaby" when Jodie shot his father right in front of Jessie. At the very end of the series, Jessie cries as he begs Tulip to give their relationship one more chance as she is about to leave him. The tears more than anything convince Tulip that he means it.
  • In the last volume of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman during Morpheus' funeral, the witch Thessaly reminisces on her past relationship with the king of Dreams and mentions that she swore never to cry for him, with tears streaming down her cheeks.

  • In A Teacher's Glory, when he's ordered to "put on a good showing" in his match with Gaara while simultaneously being prohibited from seriously injuring or killing him, Shikamaru's first thought is that he wishes he was still young enough to break down crying.
  • In the Bleach fanfic series Heirverse, pretty much everyone at some point though special mention to Aizen in Can't be in there and I love successfully and to Gin in LW&T ch.6 with it's mirroring of CF, Orihime andJac in Heir all spectacular failures.
  • In Olive's Last Partner, Olive tries to blink back tears when giving her Not-So-Final Confession to Oscar, venting to him about how much he hurt her over the years and how strained their relationship status was. She, of course, fails, and eventually breaks down into suppressed sobs to the point where she's outright crying on Oscar's shoulder.

    Film — Animated 
  • At the end of The Great Mouse Detective, after saying goodbye to Olivia, Basil clears his throat and sniffs before simply remarking "Not a bad little girl, actually."
  • Subverted in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs after Peaches is born.
    Crash: (choked up I promised myself I wouldn't cry! (And he keeps his emotions under control)
    Eddie: I didn't! (and starts crying)
  • Puss in Boots in Shrek 2, watching Fiona and Shrek choose to remain ogres together instead of being beautiful.
    "Whatever happens, I must not cry. You cannot" (gives up)
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The scene mentioned in the page quote, when Grumpy tries —and fails— to keep from breaking down in tears over Snow White's bier.
  • Storks: Junior, after delivering Diamond Destiny to her family. Tulip tells him it's okay if he does, but he shoots this suggestion down.
    Tulip: Junior, it's okay to let your feelings out.
    Junior: I'm not feeling.
    Tulip: It's healthy!
    Junior: I have no feeling!
  • Aladdin and the King of Thieves: Genie at Aladdin and Jasmine’s wedding. He fails almost instantly.
    Genie: It’s all… so magical. I’m not gonna cry, I’m not… (immediately bursts into tears and blows his nose into Carpet) Ooh. Sorry.
    • This later leads to a Brick Joke at the end; When Aladdin and Jasmine finally get hitched after everything they’ve gone through, Genie is of course tearing up again. He reaches and grabs Carpet, and right before he blows his nose again on him, Carpet grabs a handkerchief and holds it out to Genie.
  • Ringing Bell: After Woe attacks the sheep stable, some of the surviving sheep that managed to hide from the wolf's attack are quietly watching Chirin mourning his mother's death. Some of the adult sheep are fighting back tears as he's crying loudly.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In 9 to 5, one of Judy Bernley's co-workers is fired for privately discussing wage differences with another co-worker in the bathroom while Frank Hart's assistant is snooping on them. As she is busy packing up her things from her desk, she tells Judy, "I promised myself that I wouldn't cry!"
  • The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas: When Fred and Barney start to cry over their loss of Wilma and Betty, Gazoo claims that his alien race had gone for a long time without emotions as he tries to console them. He ends up crying along with them.
    Gazoo: Please don't! Not emotions! My race has prospered for eons without the slightest trace of personal emotions and we couldn't be happier! Well, of course, we don't actually get happy because we don't have emotions, but... (starts to cry) Oh, this is so sad. Somebody hold me!
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Faramir's eyes redden and are visibly wet after his father Denethor tells him You Should Have Died Instead of his brother Boromir.
    Faramir: You wish now that our places had been exchanged. That I had died and Boromir had lived.
    Denethor: Yes. I wish that.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Thor: The Dark World: When Loki denies that Frigga is his mother, she knows that he doesn't mean it, but his words still sting, and her eyes become wet and redden slightly. She then tries to brush off his hurtful comment with a fake smile and a dismissive, "Hmpf."
    • Thor: Ragnarok: Loki visibly struggles to contain his emotions when Odin reclaims him as a son after being disowned in Thor: The Dark World. He is also clearly gulping back his tears when he and Thor discuss their estrangement in the elevator on Sakaar.
    • Avengers: Endgame: Much of the world is in this state even after five years since half the universe was killed. Natasha puts on a brave face in front of her allies, but when alone, she nearly breaks down, only stopping because Steve came in. Thor's sorry state is him trying to hide his grief. He nearly breaks down when recalling all the people he lost, and finally is unable to contain his tears when he meets his mother in the past.
  • In Plan B, when Pablo, who has just received a love confession from Bruno and is starting to realize that he loves him back, learns that Bruno's love confession was just part of a plan to steal his ex-girlfriend back from him, there's an extended close-up of his face as he struggles and ultimately fails to hold back tears.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness:
    • Spock reveals that he felt nothing on a mission when he thought he was going to die because he didn't want to think about how much it would hurt Uhura.
    • When Kirk is dying of radiation, Spock cannot hold back his grief any longer.
  • Parodied in Wayne's World 2, right down to Wayne saying "I promised myself I wouldn't cry!"
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Xavier holds back tears when he's around Alex ("It didn't really matter what was best for me") and Raven ("You sound just like him, you sound just like Erik").

  • Happens a lot in Elinor M Brent-Dyer's Chalet School books, due to the Stiff Upper Lip attitude that was common at the time. Of course, it isn't always successful, especially considering what some of the girls go through. Ruey Richardson, for instance, tries her hardest not to cry about her Mad Scientist father going missing in space but eventually, it gets too much and she has to be comforted by Joey.
  • In the Confessions, Augustine spends several days repressing his sorrow about his mother's death in order to keep his tears from communicating that he fears his mother might be damned. Knowing her to be a saint, Augustine carries his mother's body into her resting place, sleeps at his home, and weeps with no one to look upon him but God.
  • In The Girl from the Miracles District, upon being confronted with Robin's selfless kindness, Nikita struggles to hold back tears, as she doesn't want to appear weak in front of her partner. She fails utterly.
  • Laura from Little House on the Prairie was raised with the notion that only babies cry. Even at six years old she tried her best not to cry. When characters do cry in the series, oftentimes they try to avoid it.
  • Little Women: Jo promises herself (and Laurie) she won't cry at Meg's wedding.
  • Played straight in North & South by Clarissa Main as her son and nephew go off to war.
  • The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps: Upon Cumalo's, on of his best friends, death, Demane desperately wants to mourn, but since Men Don't Cry in the northern lands, he avoids that by stowing his grief away entirely.
  • The poet of the Vita Nuova is overwhelmed by a Longing Look of pity from a beautiful woman and is barely able to hide away before bursting into tears.
  • Wulfrik fights to hold back his tears on talking to a dying Sigvatr, because he doesn't want their last memory to be of his weakness. After learning he was killed by sorcery, he takes out his anger on the guards who failed to protect him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cheers:
    • In "Let Me Count The Ways", Diane receives the news her pet cat has died the night before, and none of the others are remotely sympathetic. She continues trying to work, until finding she's messed up an order, and starts crying.
    • After her Flanderization, Rebecca does this a lot, with no success. The gang's usual response is simply to note how her record is improving.
  • Parodied in The Daily Show on March 19, 2010, when Jon Stewart viciously sent up Glenn Beck. "I promised myself I would cry..."
  • Doctor Who:
  • Family Ties: The 1985 episode "Heartstrings", which centered on Steven coming to terms with his father's death. After Alex is told that his grandfather/Steven's father had just died, Alex pauses to compose his thoughts, then explains how well-off his grandmother will be because of his grandfather's earnings and so on ... doing so being the only way to stop himself from crying. Steven tells him it's OK and the two embrace, sobbing in each other's arms. Played straight; the two were the only ones home and watching the final game of the World Series, and there was no scene where the women came into the room, saw Alex and Steven crying, and mistakenly conclude the Detroit Tigers (Alex and Steven's favorite team) had lost.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Repeatedly with Barney.
    • In "The Goat" when Ted breaks up their friendship.
    • "Tick Tick Tick", upon finding out Robin didn't break up with Kevin, even though he broke up with Nora.
  • Parodied in The King of Queens, when Carrie joins a model family advertising a house, and gets a little too attached to her pretend children.
    Carrie: We have to spend time as a family! Before you know it, you guys are gonna be out of the house and... (chokes back tears) Stopstopstopstopstop...
  • Legion:
    • In the second episode, David can barely contain his tears when he recounts to Melanie and Ptonomy that his father had died last year, and he wasn't permitted to visit his dad because he was still confined at Clockworks.
    • In "Chapter 22", Gabrielle is visibly struggling not to cry after she's unable to persuade her husband Charles to cancel his trip to Morocco. He's her Living Emotional Crutch, so she knows her sanity will crumble without him around, especially with the added stress of having to take care of their newborn son on her own.
  • Parodied in Malcolm in the Middle, when the family discovers that evil Grandma Ida has been drugging a rich Chinese man and plans to marry him, she uses all her pills to drug everyone with a buffet. They're all left in a state of blissful naivete, calmly and happily commenting on what a monster Ida is. The Chinese man, however, snaps out of it before the marriage is official and runs off, leaving Ida on the floor sobbing. Hal, drugged and beginning to cry, mentions "I promised I wasn't going to do this" as he watches Ida wallow in her misery.
  • The Mandalorian: Din Djarin, the titular Mandalorian, can be seen fighting back tears after he removes his helmet to allow Grogu to see his face before they say goodbye. Din then watches Luke take the child with him as the two share one final look. Din manages to keep composed and nods reassuringly despite his eyes brimming with tears.
  • Played for laughs with Gus in Psych. He's a sympathetic crier.
  • Punky Brewster: Punky tries not to cry when she says goodbye to Allen in "Divorce, Anderson Style". When Allen leaves, Punky loses it.
  • In Smallville, Allison Mack is the only one who pulls it off believably with Chloe Sullivan, many times. It makes the few times when she breaks down and sobs uncontrollably all the more tear-jerking.
  • An episode of Small Wonder had Vicki falling for a computer that had to be deactivated due to a faulty program. When asked if she's okay, Vicki says that she isn't programmed to cry, but the final shot is a close of her face with a tear running down her cheek.
  • In an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, Malcolm Reed is trying really hard not to cry after a verbal beating from Archer who believed him to be spying for Section 31.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
    • In "Stardust City Rag", Seven of Nine's eyes become wet and redden slightly when she explains to Picard the very painful reason why she wants to enact revenge on Bjayzl.
    • In "Nepenthe", Deanna Troi struggles to hold back tears while talking to Picard about her late son.
    • In "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1":
      • Raffi is misty-eyed when she learns that Picard is dying.
      • Elnor tries not to cry after he and Picard, whom he loves like a father, share what is likely to be their final farewell.
      • Seven of Nine is so moved by the exchange between Picard and Elnor that she becomes teary-eyed, as she understands that they're a Family of Choice.
  • Supernatural: In one of a great many examples, during "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20), Dean almost loses it when he hugs his mother.
  • Law & Order: UK: DS Matt Devlin is clearly struggling to hold back his anger and his tears when talking to his friend/colleague Alesha Phillips after she's raped (it doesn't help that he's also in love with her), as evidenced by his clenched jaw and rapid blinking, both of which increase as she herself starts to cry, at which point he has to outright look away to keep from breaking down.
    • When Matt himself is gunned down, Alesha is the one to do this while arguing with his assailant's lawyer, as well as his partner Ronnie, who spends the entire episode like this.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • In The Achilleid, Chiron tries to hide his tears as he asks Thetis to come back soon as she takes away the boy he had raised without giving him a chance to say goodbye.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Nanae Takahashi in Pro Wrestling SUN after Toshie Uematsu betrays The Dream Catchers for REM. Uematsu and Amazing Kong's mockery pushes her over.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Fraggle Rock: In "A Tune for Two", everyone is preparing for the Duet-a-thon, a contest in which pairs of Fraggles sing duets they've written. Gobo and Wembley plan on performing together, but when Gobo's Uncle Matt arrives unexpectedly and says that singing a duet with Gobo will make him the proudest Fraggle in the Rock, Wembley insists that Gobo sing with his uncle. Cotterpin Doozer sees Wembley wandering the Rock, telling himself, "I am not going to cry, I am not going to cry..."
    Cotterpin: Ah, go ahead. I've never seen a Fraggle cry.
    [Wembley bursts into tears.]
    Cotterpin: Uhhh... oh... uh, wait, Fraggle! Uhhh, I didn't mean it! No, uh, it was a bad idea. A really bad idea!
  • Sesame Street: "I'll Miss You, Mr. Hooper", where with several of the adults it's all they can do to keep from breaking down into tears as they explain to Big Bird why their beloved friend is not coming back ... ever. In fact, Bob (Bob McGrath) is visibly emotional as he explains that while Mr. Hooper has died, they have memories and much more positive to reflect on.

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening:
    • After Lady shoots and kills her father Arkham, she breaks down into tears. Before the cutscene ends, she notes that she was not expecting to cry and tries to recover.
    • Dante sheds a single tear during the final cutscene before the credits, but stops himself from showing any further display of emotions because Lady is watching him.
  • In Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, Maxim's childhood friend Tia was once a girl who burst into tears easily, until one day, she decided to stop crying. In the ending, she finally starts crying again when she senses Maxim's death.
  • In Tokimeki Memorial 2, Played very straight in the Happy Ending of the Protagonist's Victorious Childhood Friend Hikari Hinomoto :
    Hikari: That time... when you moved away... I cried a lot. Every single day... I cried continuously. But then, I realized that I should stop crying because when we meet again one day if I am still a cry baby, you would hate this. So I thought I'd do my best not be to be a cry baby... That's why... on that school entrance day when I met you again, I did not cry in front of you, as I promised myself. But, today, with the graduation just around the corner, I...
    Protagonist: Hikari...
    Hikari: I kept remembering about that time, that time when you moved away... I find it hard to breathe and drown with sadness. { Hikari's eyes start to well up with tears} When I think that you will disappear in front of me, the tears... come out... {the welling up gets bigger} I don't want it, to be like this, to be like this... because I LOVE YOU !
  • When Sue has to leave and go home in Grandia, she tries to hold back the tears, but burst into sobs as she insists she doesn't want to cry.
  • Near the end of Little Busters!, Kyousuke tells Riki that he needs to be strong and not cry anymore. Moments later when they finally part and Riki awakens at the site of the bus crash to drag him and Rin away from it, leaving the rest of their friends for the dead to save their own lives, all Riki can think is to apologise to Kyousuke that he couldn't stop himself.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) has Princess Elise, a young girl who was told by her father since childhood to never cry since doing so (unbeknownst to her of course) would release the fiery god, Iblis, from her body and destroy the world. You can see several times throughout the game where Elise almost cries, but quickly gets reassured by Sonic that things will be okay and she just has to smile. However, when Sonic gets killed by Mephiles, Elise can't contain her emotions any longer and wails over Sonic's death, which releases Iblis and merges with Mephiles to reform the sun god and devourer of time, Solaris.
  • Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth has a particularly heart-rending example in the fourth case when a young Kay Faraday has to face the death of her father. She explains that she'd made a promise to him never to cry, even as tears start appearing in the corners of her eyes. She is quickly reduced to a sobbing wail afterwards.
  • After Satoko of Higurashi: When They Cry lost her parents, she cried easily and became overly reliant on her big brother Satoshi. After he disappeared under mysterious circumstances, Satoko convinced herself that he had run away because she was too much of a burden for him, and she resolved never to cry or depend on others in the hope that Satoshi might return one day. This is the reason she gives for refusing to cry even when she's being tortured to death by the maddened Shion, who actually calls her out on her crybaby past while torturing her. For the record, Satoko is still just a prepubescent girl when this happens.
  • Edelgard in Fire Emblem: Three Houses has to hold back tears after she cuts down Dimitri in her route. The two used to be friends (and there were hints of romance as well) when they were children, though Edelgard has seemingly forgotten about it thanks to the Crest experimentation she underwent. When Byleth asks her if she's alright, she states that the Edelgard who shed tears died a long time ago.
  • The Shadowhunter, at the end of the Sorrow of Werlyt questline in Final Fantasy XIV, gets a very clear moment like this. Understandable considering Gaius, who has watched 3 of his adoptive children die throughout this storyline, has just been asked by one of the remaining two to give him a Mercy Kill due to his being literally a disabled giant robot.
  • During the ending of Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil, Klonoa manages to maintain his composure as Lolo starts audibly sobbing while hugging him. However, he's struggling not to cry as he can only somberly shake his head while hugging her, while his voice is on the edge of breaking down as he's comforting Lolo. After they both finish their farewell hug, Klonoa sheds as tear with his voice now sounding more emotional before leaving Lunatea.

  • Cursed Princess Club:
    • The first time Gwendolyn meets her arranged fiancé Frederick, she overhears him calling her ugly and later runs off into the woods near her palace due to being so distraught, where she meets the Cursed Princess Club. As its members introduce themselves and the reasons they've joined the club (which serves as a support group for princesses who have been denied their Happily Ever Afters), Gwen tries to tell her own story while holding back the tears, but she breaks down sobbing when she admits her own fiancé doesn't want her.
    • A more over-the-top and humorous instance happens when Gwen meets Frederick a second time. Following the advice of the CPC, she decides to confront him about that insult but also say that she is fine with them being Just Friends due to his resistance to going through with the marriage. But since Gwen is so unused to being confrontational, she's also struggling to hold back tears — which leaves her eyes intimidatingly red and bloodshot from the strain. Combined with the general strain on her face making it seem like she has a teeth-gritting Death Glare and then a Slasher Smile, as well as her awkward wording making it seem like she plans to vengefully haunt him for the rest of his life, Frederick is left even more scared of her than before.
  • Something*Positive: My baby's first nerd tears...I Promised Myself I Wouldn't Cry."
  • Unsounded: When Knock asks Sette how she's been right after Sara was killed Sette is visibly holding back tears as she forces a manic grin on her face and retells the story of the fight at Litrya as if her friends and allies took no loses and won easily.
  • Yumi's Cells: After Yumi breaks up with Woong, she is randomly reminded of him and gets teary-eyed in the office. She attempts to "breathe in the tears", and her Eyes ask how they're supposed to do that. Babi gives Yumi a tissue and mentions the allergy season to help her save face.

    Web Original 
  • Said by Sarge when he leaves Lopez in Episode 9 of Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction.
  • When Bennett the Sage discusses the end of The Iron Giant, he says that he keeps telling himself he's not gonna cry, but still ends up doing so.
  • In Brad Jones' Demo Reel, Braddie, the director, wants to do a remake of E.T. The Porno, with Gretchen dressed as ET. As Gretchen tries to talk herself into accepting her role in the film, she's visibly on the verge of tears. Yet when Braddie crosses a line, she's more disgusted than sad and leaves the project.
  • The Warp Zone: At the end of "Is The Last Jedi Bad? (Fanboy Court)", the Hater is so devastated by being stripped of his Star Wars fanboy status that he claims that even the original Star Wars was bad, all while fighting back tears.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane's opening moments have Vi and Powder wandering through the aftermath of a failed revolt, during which Vander directs their eyes to their mother's body. Vi struggles with this trope for her sister's sake before collapsing to her knees in grief, with Powder quietly hugging her.
  • In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster, the Weather Wizard invokes this trope when the Rogues see The Flash, whom they thought was dead, return at the end of the episode.
  • Centaurworld: In "The Key," when the herd's attempt to fix a houseboat for the shaman Waterbaby falls apart, Horse begins to break down out of fear she'll never see Rider again. To avoid sullying her image as a hardened soldier, she tries very hard to keep herself from crying, insisting (through song) that the only thing coming out of her eyes are "frustration tears." Eventually she succumbs to Inelegant Blubbering, and the rest of the herd celebrates her first "ugly cry."
  • In the final episode of Codename: Kids Next Door, "I.N.T.E.R.V.I.E.W.S", Numbuh 4 tries to act tough while he says goodbye to Numbuh 1 before the latter leaves for the Galactic Kids Next Door, but he ends up breaking into tears like the rest of his teammates.
  • Xandir in Drawn Together, in the episode where he came out of the closet.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Heartburn" has Mandy trying to stave off tears (unsuccessfully) when she starts to come to the realization that Irwin may be her true love.
  • Happy Monster Band: In "Even Monsters Cry Sometimes", Frred avoids an utter urge to cry, due to his father getting a flat tyre, and being unable to attend the concert. The other band members notice this and tell him it's okay to cry - the lesson being taught by the episode - and sure enough, that's exactly what he does.
  • Bubbles of The Powerpuff Girls invokes this and makes good on it in the episode "Bubblevicious." Having gone "hardcore," she is captured by Mojo Jojo and subjected to a painful ray which Bubbles takes up to level 11 before she breaks free and kicks Mojo's ass.
    Bubbles: I' BRAIN!!!
    • Later in the series in the episode "All Chalked Up," Bubbles looks as if she wants to lay an unholy smackdown on Buttercup for destroying her colored chalk. But just as she and Buttercup face each other in a tense moment, Bubbles flies off into the woods, wailing inelegantly.
    • "Little Miss Interprets" had the girls believing that the Professor was going to replace them with new girls. In their bedroom, Blossom and Bubbles are crying; Buttercup sits with crossed arms and furrowed brow. She turns her head to the right and lets out a Single Tear.
  • From The Simpsons when Bart and Lisa were about to head off to Kamp Krusty:
    Marge: It's our last family dinner for six weeks, but I promised myself I wouldn't cry.
    (The rest of the family starts loudly chowing down on their food)
    Marge: (starts sobbing) Oh, I'm going to miss this!
  • Taken to extremes in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "A Day Without Tears". Apparently, SpongeBob didn't know he cried that much, and Squidward bets he can't go the rest of the day without crying, and SpongeBob takes up the bet. But when his winning end of the bet is for Squidward to sleep over at the pineapple, Squidward attempts to cheat by secretly trying to force SpongeBob to cry himself, but amazingly, SpongeBob manages to resist every effort and holds in his tears all the way until midnight, and thus he wins the bet.
  • The final episode of Steven Universe: Future has Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl holding back their tears at Steven leaving Beach City because Garnet saw a possibility that admitting that they're sad would make him change his mind.
  • In Total Drama World Tour, Sierra says "I promised myself I wouldn't cry" word-for-word, because she believed her Love Interest Cody was sleeping with Heather.

    Real Life 
  • We've all done this at least once in our lives, whether it's during an argument, after receiving tragic news or when overjoyed, almost always because our heavy emotions get in the way of saying what we want.
  • In an example of where this trope crosses over with Tranquil Fury, it's not uncommon for people who are absolutely furious (but barely holding on to their emotions) to begin shedding tears as the adrenaline kicks in, and then try hard to not show it when they realise what's happening... that is, until they've had enough.
  • Wayne Gretzky during the press conference to announce he was being traded from the Edmonton Oilers, with whom he had won 4 Stanley Cups and played his entire career, to the Los Angeles Kings, famously broke down in tears while speaking about it and said "I promised Mess (teammate Mark Messier) I wouldn't do this."
  • David Tennant on his last day on the set of Doctor Who.
  • This often happens at tennis Grand Slam finals, as the runners up have to make speeches just minutes after going through the emotionally crushing ordeal of falling at the final hurdle. Players fight the tears both so that they can speak, but also because crying can detract from the winner's victory. Notable examples include:
    • Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray was denied his first Slam for a fourth time, in front of a home crowd. He stumbled through an emotional speech, having to break off frequently when his voice failed and in the end he was pretty much the only one in the stadium not crying.
    • Australian Open 2009: Rafael Nadal prevented good friend and rival Roger Federer from winning a record-equalling 15th Slam. Federer, known for having Nerves of Steel and always being a Graceful Loser, broke down sobbing. He managed to fight the tears for the trophy presentation, but lost it again and aborted his speech, obviously angry with himself for tarnishing Nadal's moment of glory. Nadal pulled him into a hug and Federer got himself together, finishing the speech by talking about what a great champion Nadal was.
    • Not a Grand Slam final, but it still counts: In the quarterfinals of the 2012 French Open, 5th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had an extremely tough opponent in the form of then-World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Amazingly, he actually came within one point of defeating the World No. 1 and pulling off a miracle upset in front of his countrymen...only for Djokovic to kill every one of his four match points and steamroll over him in the final set, which left Tsonga so shattered that he hid his face in a towel for several minutes after the match.
  • Common for winners of prestigious awards, such as the Oscars or the Grammys.
  • Some actors have struggled not to cry when filming sad scenes.
    • Sesame Street The famous "Mr. Hooper's not coming back" scene was all done in one take, because the cast was too emotionally wrecked to do second takes and struggled not to cry throughout the entire take, and thus were able to capture genuine emotion. This is because they were all mourning the loss of Mr. Hooper's actor, Will Lee.
    • Michael Crawford struggled not to cry during the recording of the song "Please Wake Up" in Once Upon a Forest where he's hoping and praying against hope that his dying niece recovers, and his students find the herbs she needs, as he's too old to make the journey himself. It was as if someone in Crawford's own family was dying and he was putting the same investment into a performance that he would put into real life.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): I Promised Myself I Wouldnt Cry


Ura High School Closure

When the day of their high school's closure comes by, Chika struggles not to cry as she and the rest of Aqours hold back their tears in closing the gates of their high school one last time.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / TryingNotToCry

Media sources: