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15 Things We Forget to Thank Our Sisters For

15 Things We Forget to Thank Our Sisters For

I’m the baby sister. This invariably sucked when we were kids;however, now that we’re grown, I always have the benefit of saying, “I’m the younger sister.” Our age gap made it difficult at times to be the kind of best friends who do everything together.

Five years is a pretty big difference in kid-years. While she was romping around the high school party scene, I was still practicing my multiplication tables. She liked boys; I liked. . . ponies. Nevertheless, even with the age gap, we managed to create an amazing bond that only sisters share. She was there for me first and she’s here for me now. One thing I have yet to do is to thank her for all the things she’s done for me, some of them probably unnoticed. So, older sister, these are for you!

1. Thank you for being my first “bestie.”

It’s true! I had no friends. I was a nobody until you showed up. You accepted me even when I couldn’t walk, talk or use the bathroom. You played with me, protected me and took great care of me. You also tortured me, made fun of me and ignored me, but that’s a whole different topic.

2. Thank you for never judging me.

Even when I’m acting like an idiot. Or dressing like one. (Like when I bleached my hair white and pierced my nose and looked like Madonna.)

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3. Thank you for letting me get all dramatic without causing any drama.

In my defense, I was the baby of the family. You took my tantrums and issues and let them run their course without too much hassle or emotions.

4. Thank you for letting us sleep in your room every Christmas Eve.

Because your little pink Christmas Tree with its little colored lights was so pretty. I was always jealous you got the pink one. And sleeping in your room every year was so cool because we got to stay up late and talk about Santa. (P.S. I , have the pink tree now. Every year, we put it in the bedroom where my son and daughter sleep, talking and waiting for Santa.)

5. Thank you for liking me before I was cool.

I am cool, by the way. You liked me back then, when I wasn’t AS cool as I am today. (Circa 1980-anything).

6. Thank you for making family vacations memorable.

Because without you and our brother, they would have been so boring. Who else would offer so many memories-now-turned-inside jokes? Who else would make me jump off a frickin’ ski lift? Only a sister (who breaks her leg skiing right below me, of course). But the rest of that Idaho trip was amazing.

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7. Thank you for always having my back.

Even when you knew I was totally wrong. Or, worse, I was lying. Like the time I snuck out to go to Berkeley to hang out with college boys.

8. Thank you for making the “big” mistakes before me so I could learn what not to do.

I learned everything from you and our brother. Being the baby wasn’t so bad once I learned the tricks of the trade. Whenever you got busted, I took notes. Once I figured out what not to do…

Just joking, Mom.

9. Thank you for teaching me about “grown-up” things.

Besides books like Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, you helped me out with things like periods, boys, and (cringe) sex. Although, you taking me to Tijuana for the first time wasn’t so helpful. I’m not thankful you introduced me to Tequila!

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10.  Thank you for providing that fake I.D.

Since you were five years older, your I.D. came in handy. Genetics helped, too, because we looked so much alike. Now that I’m older, I appreciate the fact that you had to make an extra trip to the DMV to get an extra copy of your license. That alone deserves an award.

Just joking, Mom. I only used it to vote.

11.  Thank you for driving me places when you didn’t want to.

I know you didn’t want to, and I know it was a pain, but I appreciate all the rides. Especially the ones that came with one of your cute college boyfriends (friends that were boys) in tow. That was always a bonus.

12. Thank you for the family bitch sessions.

No one knows the family like you do, which makes it easy to sit around and complain. You understand completely. In fact, you think the way I do, so if I’m ragging on other people, chances are you’ll agree with me on those points as well.

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13. Thank you for always being there for me, no matter what happens.

For everything we’ve been through, the ups and downs, deaths and births, you’ve been there for me. I know you’re just a phone call away and no matter what I do or say, you’ll still be there.

14. Thank you for always being my cheerleader.

You’re always in my corner. You never criticize or analyze me when I’m having an off day or when I fail at something and you’re never jealous of my success. You’re a great life cheerleader.

15. Finally, thank you for making me a sister. (A younger sister.)

Featured photo credit: Lovely brother and sister lying in bed at home. Concept of Brother And Sister Together Forever via shutterstock.com

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Missy Mitchell

Author, Artist, Advocate

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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