My co-worker weeps due to their family problems at office.

They don't seek privacy. I don't intervene because I don't think it is my place to ask about their problems when they are not willing to share.

I am uncomfortable around them when they weep and ignoring them completely makes me feel like a jerk. I don't understand how to deal with them.

Is telling the boss a solution?

Edit: My co-worker is a senior to me. A good difference of around 2 decades. Has kids of my age. It is not the same as the other question (which folks are trying to link as duplicate)

  • 9
    @tweray I did not wanted the question to be gender specific
    – Gabrielle
    Feb 22, 2019 at 16:40
  • Normally I would say that not being specific about the gender is a good idea, but in this case, I don't think so. I would handle it differently with a man than I would with a woman.
    – Jim Clay
    Feb 22, 2019 at 19:20
  • 2
    @JoeStrazzere Yes I am pretty sure boss is not aware about weeping.
    – Gabrielle
    Feb 23, 2019 at 13:49
  • 1
    @JoeStrazzere No, I am very sure coworker wouldn't like that. I might even affect our relationship.
    – Gabrielle
    Feb 23, 2019 at 13:59

2 Answers 2


Yes, I would tell the boss. This is a delicate situation and if you're not careful you could make things worse. Don't try to address this yourself unless you're really close to your coworker. Even then you should tread lightly. I would politely let the boss know that you're worried about your coworker and let them deal with the situation.


Sure you could go and talk to the boss - or you could try out being a human and ask them how they are feeling and if there is anything you could do to help?

  • 7
    I would only ever do this to a coworker I considered a friend, not just someone I work with. In particular, you can only offer to help if you actually are willing to follow through with it.
    – David K
    Feb 22, 2019 at 17:37
  • 2
    @DavidK I'm genuinely curious as to why?
    – motosubatsu
    Feb 22, 2019 at 17:43
  • 3
    This is a profoundly bad idea on so many levels.
    – Fattie
    Feb 22, 2019 at 17:44
  • 5
    @motosubatsu Upon thinking about it, it is something that I would not do, but not something I would recommend against. If someone wants to reach out to a coworker, I don't think it is a negative thing. However, I also feel strongly that no one should feel obligated or guilted to comfort a coworker either. A conversation like that, with someone I am not really friends with, would be extremely uncomfortable for me. As much as we need to be considerate of our coworkers' private lives and problems, they are not work problems and so not something that I should feel forced to deal with.
    – David K
    Feb 22, 2019 at 18:01
  • 4
    I think this is the right answer with one small point. Not everyone has the emotional stability to be helpful to others in their emotional instability, and that's okay.
    – Summer
    Feb 23, 2019 at 15:21

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