You’re at another clan reunion, nibbling on your third lumpiang shanghai, when suddenly your awkward uncle (tito in Tagalog) breezes up with no sense of boundaries. “Wow, you’ve gained weight! Any suitors yet?? Who’d you vote for?” We all know that one relation (devoid of polite filters) who loves to sprinkle unsolicited remarks about your love life, career, and even physical appearance. Before you grab the mic to lead a blowup, take a minute to learn what not to say at reunions in the Philippines.
Family reunions mean well-intentioned – if not cringey – relatives coming together for nostalgia, chismis-filled kwento, and home-cooked meals. But like your Lola’s fine China, these gatherings come in all shapes and sizes. And keeping those sweet moments free of bitter confrontations takes delicacy and care.
From probing questions about “Why are you still single?” to unhelpful diet advice from Titas, we’ll unpack the crucial family reunion etiquette for any kamag-anak (relatives) occasion. Don’t be the next embarrassing scene that goes viral! Just follow our tips so you can avoid touchy topics and enjoy all the pansit and positive vibes.
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What Not To Say At Reunions
Navigating landmines yet craving that auntie banter flavor at gatherings? We feel you. Who doesn’t love harmless kwento with family members you only see once a year…until touchy topics get breached unexpectedly? If this is your first time joining a Filipino gathering, make sure to take note of the following topics that may lead Pinoys to snap!
Drop The Weight And Size Comments
That standard Filipino greeting from aunties you haven’t seen since high school graduation? It usually goes, “Ang taba mo na (You’ve gained weight!).” And don’t forget the follow-up: “My anak, stop eating too much rice!”
We get it, they sound like harmless observations from well-meaning titas and titos. Generations of discipline around appearance make comments about weight gain slip out naturally to some elders. But no matter how endearingly they’re intended, making unsolicited remarks about someone’s fluctuating size and shape can feel hurtful.
The same applies to tone-deaf comments like “What happened to you?” if someone loses a drastic amount of weight due to, say, stress or grief. A simple, friendly hi with no emphasis on looks makes reunions pleasant for all.
And that cliché health advice usually unscientifically tied to weight like “Lose weight and your diabetes/knee pain will vanish!” Let compassion prevail over unsolicited medical opinions. Stick to wishing wellness for all instead.
The spirit behind yearly family reunions heavily involves nostalgia. So the last thing anyone needs to dampen the mood? Cringe-inducing comments that leave people feeling self-conscious about weight or appearance. Let’s keep the vibe as light as Grandma’s coveted mamon rolls!
Relationship Status Is Off Limits
Brace for impact as intrusive Tita Jane makes a beeline towards you while waving around what looks suspiciously like a profile printout from FilipinoCupid. “Why are you still single?? Here, I found a nice engineer from Tito Jose’s company who’s ready for marriage!”
We get it, aunties and uncles wholeheartedly want younger generations to find partners and feel loved. But reunions centered around questioning why someone remains unmarried – or even divorced/widowed – directly hits pressure points.
Comments that imply there is something wrong or abnormal about flying solo come from good intentions but can strike personal insecurities. The same goes for offering unsolicited tips, profiles, or phone numbers of potential matches. Giving relationship advice when not explicitly asked can be seen as overstepping boundaries.
And once couples, engaged or married folks are in the spotlight, judgmental remarks questioning when they’ll have kids should also stay off the bingo cards. Unpacking people’s private family planning decisions? Not open for discussion without consent!
Let’s keep reunions pleasant and bonded by understanding that paths in love and life milestones unfold differently for everyone. A simple well-wish expressing hope that one finds happiness on their journey makes a thoughtful substitute. No more nosey (if well-meaning) comments about relationship statuses!
Career And Cash Talk Gets Tricky
Hands up if a relative has breezed by asking, “So how much is your salary now?” or bragging about their own big VP promotion at Jollibee’s Shanghai branch.
We all love forgiving family, but reunions sometimes witness elders prying into aspects like careers, prosperity, work woes, or business failures in blunt ways. Comments meant constructively sometimes come across as comparative or boastful.
Say a cousin complains about challenges securing a promotion. Well-meaning but clumsy comments meant to console, like “Did you try asking your manager directly? That’s what I did at my old company,” inadvertently trivialize their stress.
Or nosy remarks asking younger relatives about their salary or if they’ve found stable jobs yet – while fine occasionally – can derail into interrogation. There’s a difference between checking in kindly versus repeatedly ‘reminding’ someone to hurry up and be successful by plying for sensitive details.
Look, sharing career updates or financial moves makes for great dinner banter! Just be conscientious about prying too deeply into other people’s money matters or offering unsolicited advancement tips. Focus instead on wishing them fulfillment in their vocation.
Leave Talking Politics At The Door
Hands up if reunions have witnessed a testy exchange between loyalist Uncle Rico defending the Marcos legacy and activist Auntie Carmen fuming about historical revisionism. Before another verbal boxing match breaks out, let’s reflect!
It’s wise to avoid hot-button political opinions at family gatherings altogether. Comments that malign candidates you oppose, or stereotype groups of voters can quickly spiral tense even among the closest relatives and friends.
If an elder relative goes on an impassioned rant about anything from tax reforms to geopolitics with China, resist directly rebutting them even if you disagree. Remember, reunions aim to honor tradition, not win arguments.
Likewise, be cautious about making pointed jokes about politics or recent headlines. What you might intend lightheartedly may land wrongly or kickstart quarrels. The saucy Marcos-Aquino-Duterte meme probably doesn’t belong in the family GC.
When In Doubt, Opt For Compassion
Filipino reunions signify more than just merrymaking with heaping plates of lechon and reminiscing over decades of gatherings. They represent sustaining interwoven bonds that uphold families through thick and thin. But between tangled wires of gossiping titas to boisterous laments about politics from elder relatives, there’s always potential for casual comments to sting.
The takeaway rests in having patience, respecting differences, and focusing more on kind intent rather than debating careless delivery. Offering wisdom gently beats shaming others publicly. And meeting insensitive remarks with empathy, honesty, and compassion? They’ll only forge deeper connections compared to biting back.
Beyond everything, remembering people mean well goes a long way! Enjoy the reunion!