Strengthen Your Sisterly Bond

Sisters are our best friends, our confidants, the relatives who love us no matter what and the backbones to our lives. They're the keepers of our deepest secrets, the borrowers of our clothes, and the guardians of our most embarrassing teenage photos. Simply put, sisters rock!

Adult sisters hugging

We're resolving to treat our sisters extra special this year so they know how much we love them. Join in and strengthen that bond with your sis -- here are some great family bonding tips:

Consider your sister a friend

The author, Chrissy (right), with her older sister, Kim.
The author, Chrissy (right), with her older sister, Kim.

Sisters often get the short end of the stick when it comes to relationships. Between work commitments, errands, pleasing the men in our lives and catching up with friends, a lot of women often struggle to find ample quality time with their sisters. Whether you've made a habit of canceling dates with your sister or put off time with her on a frequent basis, it's time to change. This year, we want you to really start thinking of your sister as a friend, and not just a constant fixture in your life. Sure, sisters are more willing to forgive us when we neglect them, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't get as much attention as we'd give a good friend.

Whether you schedule a regular girls' night out with your sis, or make an effort to call her once a day (even for a quick little chat!), this year is the time to really strengthen that sisterly bond.

Be more generous

We're not suggesting you go out and buy your sister a car or something (unless you're Donald Trump!), but we are suggesting you be a bit more giving this year. Whether you resolve to give more time to your sis or be a bit more generous come birthday time, it's time to step things up a notch. Sometimes we fall into patterns and just get a bit too comfy with our mistakes (like forgetting to give our sisters a birthday present or bailing out on a date at the last minute); it's only natural. But if you want to show your sister you really care, get a bit more generous this year.

Tell us

Why does your sister rock? Share in the comments below!

Get to know her better

Sometimes we think we know everything there is to know about our sisters, but there are tons of things about your sister that you probably never even knew before! Whether your sister has a secret drawing talent or a closet obsession with Coach bags, we're betting there are plenty of character traits your sister hasn't shared with you. Sure, sisters share a lot (some share everything), but the funny thing about sisters is that a lot of us never truly take the time to get to know them like we would a new friend or a new guy prospect.

This year, resolve to take the time to really delve into the person your sister is, was and wants to be, and we're betting you'll find out a few new things that'll bring you even closer together (if that's possible)!

Check out a few sisters from our own SheKnows family:

SheKnows sisters

Up next: See more SheKnows sisters >>

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Comments

Comments on "3 Ways to be a better sister this year"

Amy August 14, 2012 | 10:57 AM

My sister is seven years younger than me, and we just recently started getting closer. She's in college, and I'm married with a baby. I've made it a point to meet her for coffee or lunch once a week to chat and catch up. She's a great friend, and I like that we make time for each other.

Ruby May 04, 2012 | 9:22 AM

My sister rocks because she is always honest! She tells you how it is and how she feels. Sometime that can be really hurtful and cause a rift, but because she is my sister I know it comes from a place of true caring and love. We have to "agree to disagree" from time to time, but as we have grown older we have been able to set boundaries and really understand each other and where we stand. It's great!

Emma January 18, 2012 | 10:26 AM

You're so right about all the embarrasing photos my sister has of us! Blackmail potential for sure! LOL

Chrissy Callahan January 18, 2012 | 8:15 AM

G, that's a great question. Financial issues are always really tricky, especially when they involve family members. It's definitely not fair to you that your sister expects you to just pay for her lifestyle. As sisters, we often give more to our sisters than we would friends, since they're family members, but no person should feel like they're a cash cow. I would have an honest and open conversation with your sister and tell her how she's making you feel. Mention something like "I'm happy to help you when you're in need, but I can't always fund your debts since I have my own lifestyle I need to maintain." Make it clear that you want her to be happy and get back on track, but that your financial assistance is only making her more dependent. Sometimes, we have to do tough things in life like cutting off people emotionally or financially to help them get the help they need. Suggest that your sister seek alternate means of assistance -- a loan, a new job to make more money, etc. -- so she can help herself out of the situation. Make it clear that you're not abandoning her, but that she needs to consider how she makes you feel when you're constantly asking her for money. It can be tough when a sister is condescending, and I think we've all been there! Sometimes sisters have this odd jealousy and competition between them that they can't even explain themselves. The best thing you can do is stand up for yourself. Personally, I"m the more outspoken sister in my family and I'm always willing to call out someone who's picking on me. I know it can be difficult to do that, but you need to respect yourself enough to tell your sister that you don't appreciate the way she constantly puts you down. Tell her how her behavior makes you feel and just be honest. Set boundaries and walk away from the situation if don't want to have an argument. Tell your sister that you'd be happy to discuss the situation when she's in a calm mood, and give her some time to blow off some steam. I hope that helps!

Chrissy Callahan January 18, 2012 | 7:48 AM

Elizabeth: That's a great question. From my experience, it's sometimes hard to get sisters to really listen to your helpful advice when they're making a mistake (s). The best you can do is sit your sister down for a one-time serious chat. Lay everything on the table --- why you disagree with her, what you've been feeling, etc. -- and listen to her opinion. Agree beforehand to "agree to disagree" and remain non-judgmental of each other. In the end, you can't change your sister, you can only offer advice and guidance to guide her down the right path. The most important part is not to nag your sister or accuse her of anything; simply approach the situation as a chance to get everything out in the open and hope that she'll take your advice into consideration. She'll do one of two things: Change or not. At least you will have made an effort to help her. You'll then have to decide whether you step back a bit from your bond or not. Sometimes distance can help the situation. Hope that helps!

G. Mazz January 18, 2012 | 7:45 AM

How do you become a better sister when your sister made choices for her self financially and in personal like that leave her needy financially on a regular basis and does not have the funds to pay her debts back to you and expects you to donate to her whenever she asks. How to you become a better sister when your sister is constantly condescending and fault finding and wants to argue.

Chrissy Callahan January 17, 2012 | 11:34 AM

She's the person I can just be myself with! We can be silly or serious...whatever it is, I know we'll always "get" each other!

Tilly January 17, 2012 | 9:06 AM

My sister is the best person to go to for advice!

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