A script for answering your nosy relatives’ prying questions over Lunar New Year

Not this again.
Not this again.
Image: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan
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It’s funny because it’s true.

Ahead of Lunar New Year, a video of a Chinese choir group has gone viral because it touches on a nerve a billion Chinese people can relate to: nosy relatives with their invasive questions about one’s love life, salary, weight, and so on. Their Jan. 14 performance, “A Guide to Saving Yourself During Spring Festival,” has gotten more than 500,000 views on, a popular Chinese streaming site, because of the entertaining retorts, including:

Have you found a partner yet?
Is there anyone you like?
I’m ugly.
Well, let me take you to a match-up tomorrow; hurry up and lose some weight

Because stuffing your face with food will only go so far to avoid such questions, we were inspired by this video to devise a loose script for how to politely answer (or deflect) those prying questions.

Are you seeing someone?

What you’re really thinking: Do first dates on Tinder count? Why can’t I get a second date? Must you constantly remind me how sad and lonely I am?

What you should say instead: No, I’m currently working on improving myself. I believe that will help me find a suitable mate who will make me and my parents happy.

When are you getting married?

What you’re really thinking: Why would I want to do that—so I can be as miserable as you and uncle?

What you should say instead: But once I get married, I won’t receive hongbao from you anymore.

When are you having babies?

What you’re really thinking: Maybe only when contraception fails? Once a baby arrives, my in-laws will be over all the time, and I just can’t handle the thought of that right now.

What you should say instead: We love babies! If only we could have a child as obedient as my nephew. By the way, which brand of infant formula do you recommend? I shouldn’t trust domestic ones, right?

Can you teach English/math/physics to my kid?

What you’re really thinking: You couldn’t pay me enough to spend more time with my “precious” little cousin.

What you should say instead: It’s been so long since I was in school, I wouldn’t be the best tutor. If he didn’t do well on a test, I could never forgive myself.

How much do you make?

What you’re really thinking: If I tell you, the whole village will know in a matter of days.

What you should say instead: I’m still early in my career, but I make enough to support myself and send some money back to my parents each month.

Why don’t you move closer home to work?

What you’re really thinking: So I can see you more frequently? No, thanks.

What you should say instead: Work is going really well for me right now, and you just don’t get the same opportunities back home. But I do miss my parents very much, and I call them every week.

Are you fatter than last year?

What you’re really thinking: I hate how you pinch my arm to assess my weight gain each year. Sure, this year you say I’m too fat, but you thought I looked malnourished last year. There’s no winning with you.

What you should say instead: Work has been so busy, and I have so many responsibilities that I haven’t found the time to exercise regularly.

You look dark.

What you’re really thinking: I don’t subscribe to your archaic view that only fair skin is beautiful. You should also know those products Chinese women use to lighten their skin are dangerous. Besides, I think I look good tanned.

What you should say instead: Hiking is such a wonderful outdoor activity where you get fresh air and sunshine. We should go together sometime.

What do you think about Trump/Hong Kong/Taiwan?

What you’re really thinking: It’s not a good idea to talk about politics at the dinner table. And to be honest, we probably don’t even have the access to the same “facts,” so I don’t know where I should start.

What you should say instead: (Ask what he thinks. Agree with that. Stay in line with the Communist Party’s political correctness.)