The Art of Responding
How do you respond to Tita Maritess who seem to use tsismis as her pastime?
In the blog article, Why Filipino Asks Personal Questions, I shared the difference in intention between the task-oriented American culture and the relationship-oriented Filipino when it comes to asking questions.
In a nutshell, task-oriented cultures ask questions for a purpose-to get answers. The relationship-oriented cultures, which in general are collectivistic cultures, ask to connect and establish a relationship. So, the latter may ask a question, but may not directly expect a direct answer rather an answer to the intention to connect.
This is not to dismiss that Titas who have makakating dila (itchy tongue) do not exist.
Most people interact with them with caution and distrust even in the motherland. Most titas who may have offended you or have forgotten their tact in their purse may not have this intention.
Most may be tactless but have the intent to connect.
Titas who are ill-intent may not be worth your energy for now. But, be mindful that one Tita doesn’t represent all the Titas.
You can listen to the podcast episode of the Pinoy Love Language #33: Art of Responding here.
WHY ARTFULLY RESPOND
We often hear about the tita on social media that nags or rudely asks a question you’re not ready to respond to but we don’t get enough information on how to artfully respond to her.
The outcome is we all continue to be lost in silos.
Tita versus You.
You become the defender of those offended by tita and tita continues to misunderstand you. You may feel misunderstood or later on, stop trying to understand.
Imagine this narrative becoming a collective phenomenon. Imagine your irritation to the word Tita and how you vow to cut ties with this toxic cultural experience and be Tita of the new millenia.
Sounds like a noble mission.
But, the problem with a motivation that comes from a place of hurt and/or repressed aggression is that it has a tendency to move you to the polar extreme You become the total opposite of what you despise. Perhaps, you can run with this for some time until you get exhausted.
Anyone parched can drink off any liquid, including toxic ones to save your life (to feel seen & safe) but its when you’re not dying of thirst that you can begin to make an informed & conscious decision that will benefit you in the long haul.
Ultimately, to understand Tita and the culture benefits you. And no, you’re not giving her a pass for her bad behavior. You simply see the person clearly with their intent and emotional longing, so that it doesn’t send a shockwave to your nervous system.
When you see clearly, you can respond artfully to Tita and enjoy the depths of connection available to you. You can also discern the ill-intent tita and not allow her sticky narratives to get stuck on you. It’s a win-win situation for both you and tita.
HOW TO RESPOND
In the Pinoy Love Language Podcast episode on the Art of Responding, we will explore the following:
- Why Filipinos asks personal questions
- How to enter spaces so that you can have a better cultural and familial experience
- Strategies to artfully and gracefully respond to tita so you can both have a win-win interaction with each other
- When to bring your shield in Filipino potlucks
The Filipino has many faces, experiences,and a multi-modal way of how she navigates her world. It will make sense, that, you and I, use language and non-verbal communication that has many variations from each other.
Your curiosity is of immense importance. To think you may not know yet is wise.
You can begin to respond with care when you acquire an alternative interpretation of what you think the other person is trying to do.
Trust that you can leave spaces that doesn’t serve you. Anger gets pent up when you feel you have to stay put (psychologically & physically) in spaces to please or to alleviate pain.
You are in control and Tita and noone else can make you leave or stay.
Roanne has been a Psychotherapist for more than 15 years. She has frequented at least 500 Filipino homes and counting. She is the author of the Ebook: 5 Pinoy Love Languages and the creator of the presentation entitled: Filipino Core Values & Considerations in Culturally Responsive Care. To access self-paced courses and other resources, enter the Kalamansi Juice Academy.
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