hmm... ok, so this is only barely related to "friends," but it deals with people and interactions and this is the most related area to "strangers" I could find. I was in New York visiting a little while ago (by the way, yuck! Cities suck), walking around a Barnes & Noble (I know I know, hush you) when I saw this young/middle-aged woman, probably about 26 or 27, sitting down, and she looked extremely sad. I think she was, at least, because she had a tissue in one hand, a cell phone in the other, and was looking down towards the ground with her eyes 3/4 shut. My best guess was that maybe a boyfriend broke up with her or she had some major relationship issue (hence the cell phone). Anyway, I walked around a bit more, because I wasn't sure what the "right thing" to do was. At all. After circling around the store and coming back about 5-10 minutes later though, it didn't look like she had moved at all... so I took that to confirm that she was, in fact, upset and hadn't just phased out for a few seconds. There was a time (only months ago, in fact) when I wouldn't have even noticed this, or perhaps only noticed it days or weeks later ("hey wait a second... was that girl just crying back there?"), but now the single biggest "sticking point" in helping random people (or even casual acquaintances) out when I see that they're upset is a mix of not being able to tell if they want to talk to someone in the first place, and hardly ever saying the right thing if they decide to talk. I eventually settled on "I'm definitely gonna regret not having offered help later, and wondered what would have happened," knelt down, and as slowly/softly/gently as I could asked if she was alright, and wanted anyone to talk to for a little while. She didn't answer, or move, for 5 or 10 seconds, but then said (still in the half-broken words of someone who was just upset) "oh... oh no, I just got a little something in my eye..." At that point I didn't know what to do/couldn't tell what she was feeling at all, so I just said something along the lines of "ooh ok... nevermind then, I'm sorry..." and left. A minute or two later she had put down the tissue and was dialing some number on her phone. So what do you all [natural empathizers] think? Can you tell from just that whether I read the situation well, responded decently, etc? It was in NYC, so I didn't expect her to talk anyway (lotta weirdos there), but do you think that offering to talk helped or harmed the situation? Or what could/should have been done differently to have been more helpful?