Family reunions often lead to sticky situations with drama raging high. However, nothing makes such a reunion more uncomfortable than a distant uncle or aunt or some other relative starts getting a little too friendly with you. These situations are quite delicate and people often shirk away from an open confrontation in order to not disturb the family dynamics. However, if these behaviours are ignored, more uncomfortable situations may ensure and may even cause severe emotional distress. So, here are a few things you can do to get rid of the flirty relative.
Being Sure Is Necessary
- Why: Some people have a really inappropriate way of showing their emotions. So even if you and everyone you know consider some compliments unsuitable, the person behind it may not have bad intentions behind it.
- How: Notice if the relative in question is as inappropriate with his or her remarks and demeanour with everyone else. If so, they probably suffer from lack of social grace more than anything.
Once you are sure that the relative is flirting with you, ignore them by:
- Not replying to flirty comments
- Walking away with some excuse if they don’t read into your ignorance
- Pulling in a third person in the conversation if you do end up talking to them
When you talk to them, do not ever respond to their flirty remarks or behaviour. Instead, change the subject and veer the conversation to safer territories.
No matter what situation you encounter the flirty relative in; you can stay away from them.
- If you meet them at a family reunion, physically stay away from them. They will probably get the hint and not bother you.
- If they come to your house, it is more difficult to stay away. But even in this situation, maintain physical distance and make sure there is always another person in the room.
Be Polite But Firm
Some people are flirtatious by nature. It may so happen that the flirty relative is just such a person and forgets to turn off their flirty nature when coming to a family reunion. The relative may be older than you and the slightly out of place behaviour is not an excuse to publicly disrespect them. However, that doesn’t mean you need to be passive about the whole affair. So be polite with them, but not too gentle either. They may mistake your friendliness for positive response to their flirty behaviour, which would make the situation even more difficult.
Protest If He Touches You
Sometimes flirty relatives take their inappropriate to another level by touching. There have been many a cousin who think nothing of placing a hand on the thigh or uncles who find it quite normal to stroke the small of your back.
Do not quietly tolerate these physical advances. Protest them, loudly. Any unwanted touching, especially in inappropriate ways is sexual harassment. Never stay tight-lipped about such behaviour.
Don’t Talk About Personal Things
When conversation turns towards personal topics, the person in question might think that you don’t mind them sharing such intimate details of your life. This can lead to further inappropriate behaviour. So stay away from topics like relationships or love. If they do start talking along those lines, firmly but politely say that you don’t want to discuss such things with them.
Tell Them Clearly How You Feel
There is no better way of managing an awkward situation than making your stand clear. When the subtle hints fail to get the message across, sit the flirty relative down and clarify that you do not like their advances and would appreciate that they respect that feeling.
Most of the time, this tête-à-tête is enough to get rid of the flirty relative. But if it still does not work, you have to take more drastic measures.
Be Rude If Nothing Else Works
It was earlier stated that you should be firm but polite. But sometimes politeness is misinterpreted as ‘interest’. In that case, do not hesitate to replace the polite gentility with rude admonition.
Talk To Someone
While it is understandable that you would want to keep the matter to yourself and handle it on your own, if you think the situation is getting out of hand, talk to a confidant in the family. It can be anyone, from your mother to brother, any close family member who will understand and help you with the problem.