A sister may be a fantastic best friend. She can sometimes be frustrating (sorry, sis!) because she teases you or tells your parents about your misadventures, but you adore her. You probably tell her you love her, which is fantastic! However, sometimes deeds speak louder than words. Finding ways to demonstrate your affection for her helps to reinforce the message. Everyone anticipates children fighting. Remember when your younger sister handed Barbie a Grace Jones flattop, and you had a DEFCON 1 tantrum? Most of us, though, desire to reach détente or, better still, a genuine connection with our sisters and brothers as we get older. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. I interviewed around 100 men and women on how they got along with their siblings for my second book on family dynamics. I discovered that most individuals wanted their relationships with their siblings to improve, whether they were already close or scarcely spoke. Here are five ideas for creating an ideal partnership.
Encourage her ambitions
We all have goals and desires in life that we wish to attain. Sometimes all we need is a little prodding and encouragement to get things moving. Encourage your sister to achieve her objectives by cheering her on. If she has to pay for a course and you can help her financially, do so. Help her find out what she wants to do with her life if unsure.
Stop playing the family snitch
You’d think we were talking about The Bourne Identity and not those other individuals born to your mother, with their shifting alliances, secret meetings, and stealth reconnaissance. Sibling relationships are frequently defined by behind-closed-doors chattering, whether surreptitiously slamming one sibling to the other or listening avidly as your parents bemoan your brother’s latest extravagant gadgets. As you can think, all of this deception erodes trust and makes it practically hard to be as close to your tribe as you would like. So could you get rid of it? And if you’re having trouble tearing yourself away from Mom’s rant, realize that she’s probably ranting about you. Send warm wishes and along with it also look send flowers to Kolkata.
Your family may have assigned you a specific position as a child: the responsible one, the loose cannon, the baby. This role persists with you no matter how much you grow as an adult. While many men and women attribute successful relationships with their immediate family to this consistency—the security of knowing what’s expected of them—others find it oppressive. If you’re in the latter category (and suspect your siblings are, too), try this: At the next family meal, brag about how your brainy brother climbed Mount Rainier or how your jock sister is working on a book. By seeing how your siblings have grown beyond their childhood roles, you tacitly give everyone permission to perceive you differently, too—not only as the mercurial one who once tossed a dish of peas at Nana Gladys.
Stop enviously observing other people’s sibling relationships
Perhaps your closest friend and her sister exchange handmade cookies regularly. Alternatively, your spouse and his “Let’s all embrace!” brothers make the Waltons seem like the McCoys. It’s easy to discount your relationship when you see others form strong bonds with their kin—if, for example, sending birthday cards counts as important contact between you and your sister. Remember that each link has varied depths and that someone typically drops an elbow somewhere inside that group hug. You can also send birthday flowers online.
Surprise her with a small present
Find her a one-of-a-kind present that demonstrates your connection. When it comes to this, matching sister bracelets are usually a fantastic choice. Remember that you don’t have to wait for a specific occasion to offer your sister; now and then is a perfect moment.
Sisters, whether older or younger, have an important role in siblings’ good sentiments. Persons with sisters have less guilt, loneliness, and dread than people without sisters, according to a study from Brigham Young University. Surprisingly, as adolescents become older, they’re also more inclined to discuss topics with their parents that they might not want to discuss. It didn’t seem to matter how old the siblings were; just having a sister among them appeared to keep unpleasant feelings at bay.