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10 Things Only Step-Siblings Can Relate To

10 Things Only Step-Siblings Can Relate To

When your parents first remarried, you could never imagine sharing your life with a step-sibling. Now, you can’t imagine life without them. Here are a few things that only individuals with step-siblings can relate to:

You know what it is like to not share the same childhood

Acquiring a new sibling means that you have a lot of catching up to do, since you did not share a childhood. Photos help a lot and so do home videos. It’s surprising, but after a while you get to know each others’ pasts so well that you often forget that you did not grow up under the same roof.

You understand the hardship of constantly having to explain your blended family to everyone

Introducing your new family can be no easy matter. You hate having to explain that your parents remarried and that you have step-siblings now, because to you they simply feel like your biological family. It gets even harder if both parents remarry. It often involves drawing diagrams and using nearby objects to describe your current family situation.

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You deal with a constantly changing number of people at your house

The number of people in your house is always in flux, since all the children rotate between different sets of parents. When you’re at your mom’s house you have three siblings, but when you are at your dad’s it is back down to only you and your sister. It’s confusing to constantly switch family dynamics, but on the plus side it always keeps life interesting.

You get to have the older/younger sibling you’ve always wanted

Deep down you always wanted to have an older sister to steal clothes from and ask all your boy questions. Your wish came true when your mom remarried and you acquired a wise older sister that you would not trade for the world.

Your holidays are a bit more complicated

The holidays will never be simple, but then again when are they ever? Dividing your time between two families can be anything but calm, but on the bright side at least you get double the presents and two holiday feasts.

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You make alliances with your parents during their fights

Fights between your mom and dad are bound to happen, and it’s hard for step-children to not take sides with their own parent. Your mom is used to doing something one way, but your step-dad does not always agree. You feel automatically inclined to defend your mom, even if you do not completely agree with her.

Your birth order gets thrown out the window

You have been the oldest sister to your younger brother for as long as you can remember. That is, until your dad remarried. Now you’re the middle child, and that’s taken a long time to come to terms with.

Your chores became a whole lot more complex

Chores are never an easy thing to assign, but doling out who does what in a blended family what can be a chore in itself. On top of everything else, there’s also the task of combining two different families’ ideas of how chores need to be carried out.

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You know evil step-sisters (and brothers) only exist in fairy tales

Blame it on Cinderella, but step-siblings have a bad rap. The reality is that your new siblings are a whole new support team that has your back no matter what.

You know it takes some time getting used to sharing your mom or dad

One of the hardest parts about having a blended family is learning to share your own mom or dad with your new step-siblings. Over the years it gets easier as you become closer and you could not imagine anyone else as your family.

Step-siblings can create a complex family dynamic, but you know that in the end there is no one you would rather have as your sisters and brothers. After all, you know that family is not defined by blood, but rather those who you could not live without.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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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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