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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