Connection at Reunion

How do you feel about meeting your relatives this Lunar New Year? What plans do you have for this Lunar New Year?

It’s been years since some of us last returned home for Lunar New Year due to the travel restrictions around the world. Some of us miss our home, some of us actually feel relieved or lucky to be able to escape this special occasion by staying at home. 

During Lunar New Year celebrations, it’s the time we visit our families. It’s a yearly tradition where we can finally gather and bond together to celebrate and talk about what is happening in our lives. However, some of us may be uncomfortable with gatherings like this. Relatives and friends may want to catch up on updates in life, but we are feeling uneasy to share about.

What are you doing for a living now…..

How much do you earn…..

How’s your romantic relationship like…..

When are you getting married…..

When are you having kids…..

Why are you doing this….. and that…..

The tradition is meant to be a meaningful reunion for relatives and friends that we don’t see often. Some use it as a catch up session. However, there is still something that makes some of us just don’t like it. Even some, they still criticize and not believing us on what we shared. This can be very stressful. 

We missed home, but sometimes, not the gatherings.

When it comes to social interaction, we should avoid being stressed and having catastrophic thinking from anticipatory anxiety. We should not assume what and how the interaction will proceed. When it starts to feel uncomfortable or uneasy, try not to respond immediately. Let’s calm down and focus back on what we are actually feeling. When we stayed calm, we could come out with better solutions and better ways to draw their attention away, or throw the ball back to them.

How can we respond when we encounter a conversation like this?

When we are asked about relationships…..

We could thank them for checking in. We could let them know we are currently working hard in the career. Let them know that you are not interested in talking to them about your relationship plans. 

When we are asked about income or financial status…..

We also could thank them for checking in. We could let them know whether we are earning enough, afford to pay rent, being able to pay daily activities and afford to send money home.

Although some questions make us feel uncomfortable. Do remember, most relatives checking on our status do not have the intention to offend us.

How should we respond?

We could respond with humour. For example, when I am asked about my ‘non-existent’ boyfriend, I always tell my relatives that he is on his way, and might be lost somewhere. My relatives have not been asking me this question since then!

We could take ownership to host the gathering. Activities you can do to bond:

  • Movies
  • Karaoke
  • Mahjong
  • Card games
  • Travel places
  • Baking Festive Goodies
  • Video call with overseas relatives/friends
  • Create fun memories together – making funny videos or cards
  • Find good things to talk about

Alternatively, if you find that you tend to be the one starting conversations like these on this occasion….. it’s time to take a pause.

Sometimes, we are the accidental source that makes others experience these unpleasantries. The intention of the conversation is getting to know more about each other. 

We could ask questions about their working life. Find a better word when asking. 

What project are you working on…..

What is your plan for career development…..

I would love to hear about your work…..

Please do not ask questions like…..

How much are you earning from this…..

Why are you still in this job/position…..

When it comes to romantic relationships, marriage or parenting, bear in mind that this is something many people prefer not to share – be it good or bad, struggles or enjoyment. Everyone has their own plans which we are not privy to. Hence, it may be best if we don’t start a conversation about it, unless they mentioned it. 

New Year should be a special occasion where we can finally see our family, relatives, and friends. Feel every moment of joy it can bring to us! And the bond we could create!

Wishing you a Wonderful and Happy Lunar New Year!

To meet with a professional psychologist or counsellor, call The Other Clinic at 8809 0659 or email us

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