The Art Of Deflection
Raise your hands if you know that one auntie who seems to have her nose up everyone’s business, with beehive hair probably that big to keep everybody’s secrets in. These hush-hush nuggets of information can range from miscarriages, to unemployment statuses of sons and daughters. With a perpetually raised conspiratorial eyebrow, she’ll find you, interrogate you, and broadcast your breakup to every mahjong kaki.
When a single picture of you and a guy send nosy aunties into a frenzy, dodging unwanted questions is an imperative skill. If you’re already planning how to keep yourself from fatally shoving a pineapple tart down a relative’s mouth, here’s some advice on how to come out of it unscathed.
1. Pretend you forgot to do something important
Aunt Nosy: Girl ah, I heard your brother didn’t do so well for exams. He always goes out and takes pictures, where got time to study? He should study more, like my son. Every day he comes home straight from school and continues to study in his room. Such a good boy right? Your brother should be more like him. Eh where are you goin—
Me: I forgot something! *walks away*
Sometimes it’s as simple as that.
2. Quote Buddha
Aunt Nosy: Girl ah, see put makeup so pretty, how come you don’t want to wear more dresses; do botox for sharper nose?
Me: Aunty, Buddha said peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. Be kind with words and you will find the path to enlightenment.
That’s how you kill them with kindness.
3. Pretend you’re as deaf as your 99-year-old neighbour
The trick is to always have something in your hand.
Aunt Nosy: Girl ah, where’s that nice boy you brought last year?
Me: *sips tea till she gets distracted by another piece of hot gossip*
No one likes being reminded of the ex that they dumped/got dumped by. We’d prefer our exes to slide into the deep abyss of nothingness, as much as we’d like Aunt Nosy to
conveniently slide into her coffin stop hovering over our private life.
4. Deflect with the most shocking news you’ve heard
Apart from asking a million inappropriate questions, Aunt Nosy always seems to have a knack for throwing you in the spotlight in front of the entire family. The questions are almost always humiliating, leaving you feeling like you forgot to put a bra on before leaving the house.
Most times, the best way to escape from an unwanted conversation is to change the topic.
Aunt Nosy: Eh happy new year girl! What are you doing now? University courses all very expensive hor. Have you thought about what you want to do next time?
Me: Auntie did you know North Korea might nuclear bomb the U.S? Jialat hor?
*cue blank stares from around the table*
5. Pakat with your sibling/close cousin to bail you out
We all have that one close cousin/relative who shares our disdain for the gossip mongers of the family. Make a plan to bail each other out whenever you find yourselves caught in a situation.
Aunt Nosy: Hey, did your sister find a job yet? She graduated last year and she still hasn’t found a job? What is she doing? I heard Nancy saying that she’s just sitting at home every day and staring at her computer.
Me: She’s using the computer to find a job, that’s how people do it nowadays. Actually, could you just mind your own busine—
Your partner-in-crime: Sara! Po Po just put out a fresh tray of pineapple tarts. Come here!
6. Low-key Praise Yourself
Aunt Nosy: “Girl ah, you and your boyfriend have been together for quite long ah. When are you all going to give your parents some grandchildren? You know they aren’t getting any younger…”
Me: Eh auntie… I’m not that bad okay. At least I would take care of my parents when they get sick.
Sometimes it’s best to fight fire with fire. Just make sure you do it tastefully.
7. It’s A Secret
Aunt Nosy: But I’m only asking because I care about you!
Me: But I care for him too, so I cannot reveal our secret.
8. Be as vague as your future
If you can’t convince them, confuse them. Confusing a nosy relative is easier than convincing them you’re perfectly okay with being single for the fourth year running.
Aunt Nosy: Girl ah, I heard you’re seeing someone. I saw the post on your Fetchbook. Is it serious? Handsome? Rich? Got picture?
Me: You mean Facebook? It’s okay. What’s he like? Mm, short hair. Quite tall. Normal looking. He has a lot of pictures on his Facebook but his account is private. I deactivated my Facebook so I can’t see it.
Aunt Nosy: But I thought your ex was good! Why did you break up?
Me: Oh, complicated problems,
Aunt Nosy: But why did you break up?
Me: Well, just complicated problems.
9. Feign sudden illness
Aunt Nosy: Eh girl ah! Is that your boyfriend?! He’s so handsome! Wow, and so well dressed! How long have you two been together? *gestures at your gay best friend*
Me: *clutches stomach* Oh! My stomach hurts. Must have been the McSpicy I ate last night.
Aunt Nosy: Aiyo! Pregnant ah!
*laughter trails off as you walk away*
10. Actually be straight up and tell them that you’re not willing to talk about it
Sometimes, family members just need to be told to their faces that their prying questions are not welcome. And there’s a fine line between being concerned and plain nosy.
At the end of the day, these questions, however invasive, are usually asked with the best intentions. Perhaps the only way to stop kaypoh family members is telling them you’re not willing to talk about it. Most of the time they’ll understand and drop the topic altogether.
Patience Is Key
While we can’t avoid family members who habitually meddle in other people’s business, we can always stay classy by being polite and upfront about how we feel.
Now that you’re well-prepared to face the onslaught of interrogative questions, you can celebrate the New Year with total ease!