How to strengthen a sister-sister relationship

How to improve your relationship with your sister
If your relationship with your sister is struggling, you should make improving it a priority.

Sisters have the potential to share a beautiful relationship with one another that can last a lifetime. If your relationship with your sister is struggling, you should make improving it a priority. If you let this relationship deteriorate, you will certainly regret it. Regardless of the type of relationship that you and your sister had when you were growing up - close friendship or an intense rivalry - your relationship with each other as adults has the potential to be wonderful. The two of you grew up together; you know things about each other that no one else could ever know - do not allow the opportunity to share a bond with your sister slip away, because you'll never find another relationship to replicate it. In order to improve your relationship with your sister, you have to build a new foundation on which your sisterhood can grow.

Why is your relationship with your sister struggling to begin with? Maybe the two of you had an unpleasant dichotomy as children - you were a popular cheerleader she was an acne-ridden band geek, or vice versa. If one of you was jealous of the other throughout your adolescence, the resentment may have seeped into your adult lives. The bottom line is, you're all grown up now, and it's time to let go of high school animosity. If you were the underdog, you have to forgive your sister for being popular. What would you have done if you had been in her shoes? Would you have downplayed your good looks and your social graces so that you would be on a level playing field with your unpopular sister? Probably not. She was probably trying to stay in the "in" crowd just as hard as you were trying to gain acceptance. If you were the popular one and your sister was the "loser," you should try to be compassionate to how difficult it was for her. She probably lived her life being envious and jealous of you for your good fortune with making friends. She wanted to enjoy the same acceptance that you did, but instead she was met with perpetual rejection. It is very hard to be in outsider as an adolescent, and when someone is an outsider and they have a sibling who is very popular, they often feel doubly ashamed and embarrassed of their lacking social skills. If you made fun of your sister or you teased her for being unpopular, you have to apologize to her for causing her more pain than she already had to endure. Even if you never made fun of your sister for being unpopular in comparison to yourself, you should still try to understand the pain she felt. Maybe the two of you were great friends while you were growing up, and you grew apart after high school graduation. Your lives went in two very different directions, and your relationship suffered as a result. Sometimes absence does not make the heart grow fonder. Sometimes absence makes people forget about the bond that they shared. Just because the two of you are leading very different lives and you are two very different women doesn't mean that you can still be close. Even if you're separated by a great distance, you can still make an effort to stay in touch with each other so that your relationship remains intact. Call each other every week - or more if something exciting happens in one of your lives. If the two of you were the same, things wouldn't be as interesting. It can be hard to let go of the tight relationship that you shared as children and adolescents, but you have to open your mind to exploring and unleashing the potential of your adult sisterhood. If the telephone is too expensive to keep up on a weekly basis, then your computer can be very helpful for keeping in touch - e-mail each other or talk on instant messenger. If the two of you haven't been in contact for an extended period of time, then a handwritten letter can help to break the ice.

If you and your sister spend a good deal of your time arguing with each other, then the two of you are probably holding onto your childhood. Bickering is childish behavior, and you are not children. Have a serious discussion with your sister about mending and strengthening your relationship so that it is built on friendship, love, and respect. The two of you should be supporting each other in whatever life brings. The last thing that you want is for the two of you to be a source of stress for one another. If the two of you are mothers, then your squabbling is setting a poor example for your children. Improving your relationship with your sister will improve your life overall. Learn to let go of the past and begin immersing yourselves in each other's new adult lives so that your relationship will flourish.

Family ties: your relationship with your sister
Relationships with sisters are special. Here are ways to make the most of them.

When you were younger you likely played together every day, shared joys and pain, laughed, cried, argued and drove each other nuts at times.

If you are lucky enough to have a sister, you already know that is a special bond unlike any other. Many factors can affect your relationship with your sister as you get older, however, such as age differences, geographic location, new family responsibilities-- even sibling rivalry!

Your relationship with your sister can continue to flourish throughout adulthood, but like any other relationship it needs care and attention. It is easy to let other priorities get in the way, but maintaining your friendship with your sister is just as important. Here are some ways to stay connected with your sister:

  • Communicate frequently. The invention of e-mail has done wonders for helping people stay in touch. No matter where you or your sister live, you can easily check in with each other by sending a daily or weekly e-mail. While e-mail is not a substitute for talking on the telephone or seeing each other in person, it's a great way to offer frequent updates. Cell phones are also a way to chat with your sis more often. Many cell phone plans have free long distance on the weekends. Your sister's phone number should be the first one saved in your cell phone's memory bank.
  • Share in an online journal or blog. Remember when you used to sneak a peek at your sister's diary (or was it she who peeked at yours)? Online journal "blogs" are a great way to let your sister know what is going on in your life. There are numerous free blog websites on the Internet. Just start your journal and let your sister know where to find it. Your sister may even be able to leave comments on your weblog.
  • Spend real time together. If you sister lives near you, spend time together! Have a sleepover like old times. Pull out the old yearbooks and play truth or dare. Invite your sister to dinner, lunch or a movie. Start a family book club with your sister. Join a gym together and meet for workouts. Try scrapbooking together or take up a hobby that you both enjoy. Try to plan to do something with your sister at least once a week, if possible. Don't just run into each other at family functions!
  • Spend time together without the kids. If you and your sister are both parents, it's easy to let your children be the focus of your get-togethers. Don't forget to carve out some time for you and your sister to do something without the kids once in a while. A shopping trip and lunch together will probably be a lot more fun with no kids in tow.
  • Patch things up after a falling out. If your relationship with your sister is strained, do what you can to repair it. There is no problem that can't be resolved. If your sister has done something that you feel is unforgivable, try to understand why she did it. Do you have all the facts? Have you discussed the situation with her? Perhaps counseling can help you work things out. Try not to let bad feelings fester and, instead, offer an olive branch and get past it. You and your sister only have so much time on this earth together-- don't allow precious years to be wasted over an argument or misunderstanding.
  • Learn from each other. If your sister is much older or younger than you are, it may seem as though you don't have much in common. If you are the younger one, try to learn from your sister's life experiences. She may have a wealth of stories, ideas and advice to share with you. If you are the older sister, pass down your wisdom, guidance and knowledge to your little sis.
Finally, make sure to treat your sister as well as you would treat any of your other friends. Call her on her birthday. Congratulate her on her achievements. Thank her when she does you a favor. Try not to take your sister for granted and instead treat her like the best friend that she is.

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