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How the Relationship Between Sisters Changes Over Time

How the Relationship Between Sisters Changes Over Time

Ahhh… sisters!  They can be your best friend, your confidant, your nemesis and lots of things in between! Sisterhood is a complex combination of shared history and independence; a relationship that evolves and changes with time. While each group of sisters will have their own unique story, here are six ways the relationship between sisters often changes over time.

1. They are first friends.

Sisters learn about interacting with other girls from each other. Whether you shared a room or had your own space, as a child your sister knew more about you than any other person on the planet. You could act cool or put on sophisticated airs at school but she knew if you kept candy under the bed or spent your nights mooning over the boy who say in front of you in homeroom. Sisters teach you how to share, how to be compassionate, and how to make up after an argument.

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2. They are rivals.

Sisters are rivals at some or many points in their life. When a second girl enters a family, the first is suddenly cast as the “big sister” with all the expectations that come along with it. They may resent this new bundle of joy and not welcome being a role model and helper for their little sister. Later, rivalries between sisters can be about boys. My sister was three years ahead of me in school. I vividly remember liking a boy who ate lunch at my table and how all he ever wanted to talk about was how amazing my sister was.  I was less than amused and anxious for her to graduate and go to college! Sisters may compete for their parents attention, to get better grades, be more popular. Later, they may compete over their career success or about who is a better mother or has the better children.

3. They are partners in crime.

Remember those summer days when you and your sister would go out in the yard in search of adventure?  The hose fight that seemed so innocent and fun became big trouble when you ended up soaking the clothes mom had hung out to dry! Sisters are the best partners in crime – or just mischievous fun – because they know each other so well. An exchanged glance becomes an elaborate plan to play a trick on a brother, father, or the family dog. Think back to fun antics from your childhood and I bet your sister was right there with you!

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4. They push each other’s buttons.

Sisters have a knack for finding and pushing each other’s buttons. They know just what to say to bring you down or build you up, depending on their mood, and you do too!

5. They grow up together.

Sisters share a special bond. Older sisters model for younger sisters how to act in front of boys, how to use makeup, do their hair, and more. Younger sisters often get to do things sooner than their older siblings as rules and expectations become more relaxed (often because the parents are getting tired)! Sisters share celebrations and heartache. They support each other through each stage of life; the transition from childhood to the teen years to being a young and then aging woman.

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6. They have each others back.

No matter how strained a relationship is between sisters, you will see the family loyalty kick in if you dare say anything bad about a girl’s sister! It’s the “I can bad mouth her because she’s my sister but you sure can’t!” Sisters look out for each other and are there in times of need. That need might be lipstick when out on the town or a shoulder to cry on during a nasty breakup. Big or small, sisters are there for each other.

Having and being a sister is special. It’s a relationship and a bond that you should work at so it stands the test of time. Sisters become the person you can go to who will remember that bad haircut when you were 10 years old or how unreasonable the curfew was in your home growing up. They will celebrate your successes and pick you up and help you through the tough times. You can laugh together and cry together. If you are lucky enough to have a sister – or a few – reach out and tell them how lucky they are to have YOU as a sister!

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Featured photo credit: Tara Reed via flickr.com

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Tara Reed

Tara is the founder of Pivot To Happy, a site with resources for families dealing with a dementia or Alzheimer's diagnosis.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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