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Three Simple Ways to Survive Awkward Small Talk This CNY

Awkward conversations are inevitable, but we’re here to help.

It’s that time of the year again. Family reunions, lots of raw foods getting tossed while yelling stuff, red packets (the best part, really) and… awkward social situations. Chinese New Year is just around the corner, and the intimidating thought of having to meet Mom and Dad’s friends is already giving me anxiety.

It’s not like we can escape, nor is it polite to find refuge in our mobile phones (Instagram is great and all, but don’t be rude, y’all). So here are three ways you can make small talk a little more bearable.

Practise Selling Yourself

Photo: Freepik

You’re going to have to eventually do so at job interviews anyway – why not start practising now? Judgemental Aunties™ and Nosy Uncles© are bound to ask you all about your professional life (What are you studying? Which career path are you looking at?) so make sure you are ready to tackle questions of those nature, and impress them while you’re at it. Give them an elevator pitch, or slide in a humble brag about your coveted internship that you definitely didn’t claw your way to secure. Let’s be real, said aunties and uncles will probably forget your replies by the next day, but at least you’ll gain confidence out of doing so.

Talk About Food

Photo: Straits Times

Okay, so I totally stole this one from How To Adult – a website pioneered by a group of NTU students dedicated to helping young adults, well, “adult”. They did a survey and talking about food is one of the most effective ways to engage in small talk. And guess what? CNY is pretty much synonymous with food. Chances are that you’ll find a box of bak kwa within arm’s reach anywhere in the house, and trust me, discussions about bak kwa can get pretty darn intense.

Grab a Beer

Photo: Freepik

Scientists and researchers (actually me) have never found a more effective way to break an awkward silence with a “Do you want a can of beer?” Plus, everyone lets loose with a little booze. Great friendships have started over cans of beers, so who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself hosting sleepovers with Aunty Margaret soon enough. Okay maybe not. Speaking of beer, from now until February 28, Carlsberg is offering giveaways with purchases of its cartons from supermarkets and hyper-marts, like limited edition trolley bags that you just know that Mom will love. Win win.