For most of us, thoughts of ways to be a better sister did not enter our heads as we were growing up with our sinisters...um, sisters. Time heals all wounds from being pushed off the swing set, and thoughts have now turned to how great it would be to have a friend who also shares our family history, if not our clothes. Ways to be a better sister not only makes us a better sibling, but also the best kind of soul mate.
1. Let It Go and Carry on …
When someone shares your life since the first day you or she entered it, it’s impossible not to be holding onto some baggage from the journey. However, if you are now at the point of considering ways to be a better sister, the time has come to let it go. Yes, she erased your ‘Friends’ VCR tapes in retribution for you telling everyone she wet the bed until she was eight…let it go! Sure, she got the set of rollerblades for Christmas that you had been begging for when you were teenagers…let it go! And even when she dated the guy in college you were crushed out on, it’s time to let it go Long after the blades are in Recycle Heaven and the guy’s last name that you wrote as yours over and over is long forgotten, your sister remains.
2. Sympathy Even without Empathy
You may not understand your sister. They are a unique and intriguing species all their own. Even when you can’t fathom what makes them tick, have sympathy when they need a shoulder to cry on. Chances are, when the tables are turned and you’re going through your phone log of people to call at 3am, she will answer you.
3. Listen like You Mean It
One of the most meaningful ways to make someone feel as if they are loved is to truly listen to them. Close the computer down, don’t answer your call waiting, and put your ears on high alert. Listen and hear her. When all is said and done, this may be the one thing your sister appreciates even more than the leather hand-me-down coat you gave her last season.
4. Keep It Low (your Voice, That is)
Even as wannabe grown-up siblings, we can sometimes revert to the sniveling teenage hormone junkies we were and let our emotions get out of control. When there is a disagreement, solve it with cool heads and soft voices. Remember this is the one who knows you when you’re 8 years old and when you're 80 years old. If the Barbie Incident of ’84 didn’t do you two in, neither will this.
5. Take Time
It’s a fast–paced world that makes it so easy to lose track of the time between visits with your sib. Take control of that situation even if it means scheduling a visit with your sis several months away. If she’s far away and you haven’t seen her for a while, start saving up now, even for a short holiday weekend jaunt to see her surprised face. It will be a trip neither of you will forget, and will confirm in her mind that she is someone you care about. Or how about, the last time you went shopping, did you see an inexpensive trinket that would make her smile, or even laugh? On your next shopping excursion, get it and send it to her in the mail. Even if she’s close, it’s always fun to receive mail that’s not a bill!
6. Make the Call
Let your kindred spirit know that she means enough to you to put the kids to bed a half hour early, to eat a sandwich in your car and call her on your lunch break, or take time from your sacred Sunday morning coffee ritual to see how she is. It’s amazing the healing powers of one ring of the phone for a slumping spirit, sniffly nose, or broken heart.
7. Stand up
When you were little, did you come to your sister’s aid when a bully hovered, or did you join in? Either way, even now your sis could use you to stand up for her on occasion. It is tremendously powerful to have at least one person in life who unconditionally supports and loves you. So when your sis tell you she is fat, unsuccessful, meant to be alone forever, etc, etc etc, stand up to your sis and tell her NOT to talk about your sister that way!
Sisters, whether by blood or luck, are an amazing part of our lives. The sooner we realize this, the more fortunate we are. What is the best piece of advice your sister ever gave you? How do you show your sister how important she is to you?