"You need to be tough."

"You need to man up."

"You need to stop acting 'like a girl'".

Every man has heard these phrases time and again in his life because that's what society has fed them with. It requires them to not show any emotion at all. And God forbid if they cry! Oh my, if that ever happens, then how can they be called men anymore?

But guess what? Men cry and they cry as much as women do. They cry watching an emotional movie, they break down when they lose a friend and they burst out when they go through a breakup. It's high time we realise that crying does not strip a man's manliness away. In fact, it does not have anything to do with manliness. Crying just proves that men are as human as us women.

We asked some men to tell us about the last time they cried. The responses we got were touching and show a side of men that we often ignore:

1.

2.

3.

"The last I cried was going home before Diwali. It had been so long, and I had not been calling home often and yet there they were, my parents, all excited at having me home. Some love, that."

4.

"A stray had given birth to a litter of 6 puppies outside our house. It was the peak of winter, cold AF, so me and my brother made a warm bed for them, fed them milk. etc. We had to leave for a family vacation for about a week. When we came back, I saw that only one survived. I kept it together at first but poured out when no one was watching."

5.

"I had broken up with my girlfriend so I decided to go over to my friend's place and drown my sorrows in some alcohol. Now these guys have a real OCD about cleanliness, so I had to keep my 7000 bucks Nike shoes outside. After cribbing a lot about my breakup, my friend said, "Listen, you've hit rock bottom and now the only way is up. So just chill." Now that consoled me. After a while, I decided to leave and as soon as I stepped outside, I saw my shoes were gone. That day, I broke down and I cried a lot."

6.

"When a YouTuber's hamster died. Well not really that video, but the other videos by him in the reddit thread about him. "

7.

"There was a point in time in life when nothing was going right. There were family and financial issues. Over and above, I was dealing with a breakup and a phase of loneliness. I hardly cry, but during this particular depressing time, I felt uneasy and heaviness in my heart. Something kept telling me that you should let it out. Alone at home, I cried my heart out and guess what... It really helped. "

8.

"It was back in college, had hurt a very close friend of mine. She was crushing on the same guy I was crushing on. We were at some party where those two were really all over each other. My insecurities led me to bitch about the whole thing to someone who I didn't know was the biggest bitch of the highest order, but she pretended to be my friend too. Next day in college, my friend faced humiliation from a lot of people in class. She stopped talking to me, we distanced so much until one day, it was a friend's b'day, he threw a party @100% rock where I met her."

"She spoke to me and told me how I hurt her so bad and that she will never be the same with me. I realised at that point, I had lost her completely because of my own stupidity. I was drunk and the waterworks started flooding non-stop. That was the night I let it all out because hurting someone is not even the last thing I would ever want to do. I realised I was being naive, blinded by stupid distractions."

"I apologised to her once and told her it's all my fault and that I never should have done what I did and left the party crying. I cried all the way till home, everything I had done wrong in life came back to me. Next day in college, I met her, she hugged me and told me it's alright, I forgive you. I can never forget the day ever. It made a striking & significant difference."

9.

"I cried for many months after my break up. But I would like to say that men cry, women cry, children cry. Basically, anyone who is unhappy would sometimes want to cry which is PERFECTLY NORMAL."

10.

"Society taught me that Men should not cry. I do. And it does not make me any less of a man. Recently, I had a misunderstanding with my brother. It had been a few weeks since we'd even spoken nicely to each other. At a party, we hugged each other and both of us broke down. Technically, we did not cry but howled! It washed away all the misunderstandings, explanations, questions and bad blood. It was just us, brothers."

"So, next time don't fight away those tears. Let them roll. The blurry vision will help you see things even more clearly. Trust me!"

11.

"I have a really close friend who is more like a brother to me. Now, we work together, we chill together and we know each other inside out. But lately I began to feel a certain distance from him. And that was something I wasn't used to at all. After months of feeling like this and bottling it all up, I finally exploded. At a close friend's birthday, we were all dancing. I saw him, we hugged on the dance floor and burst out crying. And I mean I-Don't-Give-A-Fuck-Kinda crying. That day without words, we sorted everything out. "


12.

13.

"I was supposed to marry my girlfriend. Circumstances forced us to part ways. I cried for a few seconds and that was enough to make me realise that my heart was broken. I had to leave town for a few years to mend it."

Soulful illustrations by Puneet Gaur.

Dear men, it's okay to cry and break down sometimes. After all, you're only human.