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There is always so much to anticipate at the family’s Christmas Reunion. There’s the Tito who religiously brings imported chocolates, the cousin who’s ready to catch up in a heartbeat, the granny who has been saying, “Dalaga na ang apo ko,” for the past six reunions and the Tita who cooks the party favorite lasagna.

What most people dread, however – and possibly skip the gathering for – are the relentless insensitive remarks often tagged as the “Tita comments”. While it is unfortunate that they earn the bad rap, these comments are not exclusively made by Titas as practically anyone present in the gathering can have a slip of tongue, or at least that’s how it should be.

Feeling anxious over attending your family’s Christmas reunion? Here are 5 ways to deal with insensitive comments:

1. Initiate the compliment party.

It might be your family’s yearly Christmas party/reunion but it can also be a celebration of positivity. Take the initiative to shower your Tita – or anyone of your relatives – with compliments about how they look even before they start pestering you with your weight, ex-boyfriend or with your career choices. This way, they’ll think fondly of your compliment and maybe – with the slightest chance – reflect on how they’ve approached you or your other relatives in the past.

2. Respond with a ‘non-response’.

Think of it as non-apologies. It looks and sounds like you’re apologizing but you’re actually insincere about it. Tactless remarks can be treated in the same manner. Try replying with, “Hmmm…” or “Ahhh…” and they’ll be taken aback by how the conversation abruptly ended or turned empty.  It’s also a perfect yet subtle hint to let him or her know that you were not cool with whatever comment was made.

3. Answer a question with a question.

If you’re feeling a little naughty in responding to that nasty comment about why you gained weight, turn the question on its head. Try saying, “Ikaw naman, Tita. You know it runs in the family, ‘di ba?” and follow up with some laughter. Do your best to make it sound so funny, even your Tita will not realize you were low key throwing shade.

4. Laugh it off with a joke.

Instead of taking serious offense about a comment and sulking at the corner, why not let out a joke? It’s probably easier written than done depending on the gravity of the remark, but you can try pulling your witty lines out. If someone asks, “Asan na ‘yung ex mo?” tell them he’s gone off to showbiz and if he or she knows who Derek Ramsay is. If questions are persistent about your ex-love, tell them, “Masyadong na-pressure kasi ang ganda ko daw e,” and cheers will surely erupt among your fambam.

5. Give a straightforward answer.

If silence or retorting with a joke is unbearable, might as well answer the question directly. Tone is key though because a response that sounds a little too aggressive or angry can spoil the whole celebration. Explain things calmly and remember that reunions are all about catching up with people you have not seen for the past year or even longer and not for starting a catfight. Pull him or her to the side and let them know how you felt about the remark much like a business deal you have to seal.

Family gatherings every holidays can be stressful especially when dealing with opinions and usually well-meaning comments. If staying positive becomes too difficult, head for the food. You can always stir any topic to just about anything but yourself. Before you know it, the evening has ended and you’ll soon forget all comments that were uncalled for.

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