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"So of course as a young boy, I'm sitting there thinking 'I'm tough. It's just a cartoon. It aint' gonna leave an impact on me--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, Men Don't Cry, Stiff Upper Lip, Rage Breaking Point, He Will Not Cry, So I Cry for Him.

Contrast Ocular Gushers, Unable to Cry.

Examples of Trying Not to Cry include:

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
  • After Satoko of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni 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.
  • Mai-Otome: When Arika Yumemiya finally meets her long-dead mother (revived to participate in Grand Duke Nagi's 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...
  • 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!"
  • 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.

Comic Books

  • 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 Preacher (Comic Book), 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.

Film -- Animated


 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)

  • Treasure Planet
  • The scene mentioned in the page quote, when Grumpy tries --and fails-- to keep from breaking down in tears over Snow White's casket. If you didn't cry, you don't have... Oh, what the hell are we saying? You totally cried at that.

Film -- Live Action


  • 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.

Live Action Television

  • Parodied on The Daily Show on March 19, 2010, when Jon Stewart viciously sent up Glenn Beck. "I promised myself I would cry..."
  • Hilariously invoked in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Homecoming."
  • Parodied in an episode of Off Centre.
  • The Doctor Who episode "A Good Man Goes to War", when Rory meets his baby daughter. "I was gonna be cool..."
  • 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.
  • Parodied in 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...

  • Played for laughs with Gus in Psych. He's a sympathetic crier.

Video Games


  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 breath, 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 !


Web Original

  • Said by Sarge when he leaves Lopez in Episode 9 of Red vs. Blue Reconstruction.


Western Animation

  • 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.
  • Xandir in Drawn Together, in the episode where he came out of the closet.
  • 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!


Real Life

  • Wayne Gretzky said this when that whole trading deal was going on.
  • David Tennant on his last day on the set of Doctor Who.
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