Learn to Say No: 5 Tips on How to Handle Your Extended Family’s Requests

“Baka pwedeng humiram ng konti, pang-tuition lang ng pinsan mo.” “Okay lang ba pautang? Bayaran ko kaagad. May sakit lang kasi si Tito Junior mo.” “Kumikita ka naman ng dollars diba? Hiram sana ako kasi nagipit kami sa upa. Tutal naman kami nag-aalaga sa nanay mo.”

These seem familiar, don’t you think? If you are working overseas, you will often find yourself hearing these statements not just from your immediate family but also your relatives. By relatives, this means tito, tita, cousins, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and other people that are not your siblings, parents, spouse, or children.

Since you are earning bigger, your relatives expect you to “support” them, whether directly or indirectly. You are now the designated breadwinner of the entire family. Surely, you don’t want to be labeled as selfish and you want to save yourself from guilt, so you give in – even if it means using a chunk from your savings. The challenge now is how to say no without hurting their feelings.

Here’s what you can do to limit your remittances to your extended family and achieve financial independence:

Tip No. 1: Remember why you are working abroad.

There is a reason why you are working abroad. It could be saving for a better home, helping your younger siblings to finish school, or preparing for retirements. Whatever your reasons are, keep them in mind and never forget. These goals will be your guide and constant reminder that you are working for yourself and your family’s sake and not for everyone else.

Tip No. 2: Never mind the pressure.

Admit it. Getting that Facebook message from your aunt asking if you could lend her money can be dreadful. As much as you want to say no, you feel the pressure to make a quick decision and say yes – even if it means taking a chunk from your savings.

Don’t let pressure dictate your decision, which leads you to the next tip.

Tip No. 3: Decline respectfully. 

Saying no must be done in a proper and respectful manner. After all, relatives are relatives and they can be someone you can rely on, especially if you are overseas. Instead of shouting at them or a writing a big “NO” on Facebook messenger and blocking them after, decline nicely. Explain in a nice manner why you can’t lend them, which brings you to this next tip.

Tip No. 4: Be firm about your decision. 

Surely, your tito and tita will constantly bug you to lend them money until you give in. Once you say no, make sure to be firm with your decision. Don’t let pressure get into your head and give in to their demands. Further, tell them that as much as you want to help, you are not in a better position to lend them money.

Tip No. 5: The “No Loan” policy must apply to everyone. 

There will always be a favorite tita, cousin, or niece in the family. On the other hand, you have relatives that you just can’t stand. Regardless of their place in your heart and judgment, make sure that the “No Loan” policy applies to ALL relatives. Lending money to one relative and saying no to the other could cause conflict in the family (and a discussion in the future) – and you don’t want that to happen.

You might say it is easier said than done. That’s true. Once you start to be firm with your decision, you will start not feeling responsible for covering and paying for your extended family’s finances. Think of yourself for a minute and remember why you are working overseas.

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