How to Win Over Aunts and Influence Relatives
If you are Chinese or live in a country where the Lunar New Year is celebrated noisily, it can be exceedingly difficult to avoid family reunions, visiting relatives and all things red and gold.
Alas, you may also have to put up with nosey relatives with their prying questions or sweeping declarations.
Wah, you’ve put on weight huh!
Still single? Why no boyfriend/girlfriend?
So when are you getting married? When are you starting a family?
One child is not enough, you must have more!
Here are three techniques to help you ace unexpected questions:
Manage your physiology. Often when we are nervous or taken aback, we give ourselves away with frantic gestures and frozen faces. Take a deep breath all the way into your diaphragm, let it out slowly, open your shoulders wide, and speak VERY clearly. If you understand the question, give an answer immediately.
Focus on the subject. People tend to over-talk when they are nervous and this gives them away. Don’t explain how you couldn’t find time to exercise or babble about how busy you’ve been. The relative just wants to hear an answer to his question. Tell him what you want to say and then STOP.
If you cannot compose an answer immediately, make an observation about that Aunt to move it back to her. It could be as simple as, ‘Aunty, you always notice people – how do you do that?’ or ‘You always remember us… you love having family around, don’t you?’ Her elaboration will buy you some thinking time.
Once you’ve composed yourself and your thoughts, you’ll be able to answer more effectively in the moment. Finally, it won’t hurt to thank that Aunt or Uncle for showing their concern for you. Gong Xi Fa Cai!