No need to fear nosy relatives


How to politely deflect intrusive questions this Chinese New Year:

When are you getting a boyfriend/girlfriend?

Tell your relatives that you are enjoying singlehood but when you do meet someone special, you will bring the person over. Then change the topic by telling them about a recent holiday or activity.

When are you getting married?

Keep the mood light. For example, joke about having trouble financing your wedding. Or, redirect the question to your partner, who can give a non-committal answer.

When are you having children?

This may be a sensitive issue for some couples but do not get defensive. Tell them about any plans you have and say that no one can predict when a pregnancy will occur.

Why did you put on so much weight?

Be direct, and tell them that everyone's body changes, and they cannot expect you to maintain the same shape every year.

If someone is persistent with his questions, stay calm and do not get angry or display rude body language. Excuse yourself and move on to another group to chat.

•Tips provided by director of Etiquette and Image International Agnes Koh.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 22, 2017, with the headline 'No need to fear nosy relatives'. Print Edition | Subscribe