A wedding, graduation, funeral, family reunion, throwback Facebook post or even a song on the radio (like “We Are Family,” by Sister Sledge) can make us pause and feel wistful about the simpler times and happy days we once shared with our siblings. Some sisters may have thought at times that sharing DNA with another sister or a brother provides a built-in best friend. But as life goes on, siblings learn that sharing DNA doesn’t guarantee a great relationship. As with any other, you have to put in the work.
And don’t forget to put in some play! We’re inspired by author Stacey Abrams, who created a book club with her siblings that helps them stay connected. “I’m the second of six kids, all voracious readers,” Abrams told Kirkus Reviews. “Our mother was a librarian before she became a minister, so we grew up steeped in reading and storytelling as a part of who we are.” And if you delight in the sisterly social media shenanigans of Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad on the ’Gram, you know their seven-decade connection is special.
Did you know that April 10, 2023, is National Siblings Day? That’s a great reason to call or send flowers or a card. Here are five ways to be intentional about creating time, space and opportunities to connect as siblings.
If you delight in the sisterly social media shenanigans of Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad on the ’Gram, you know their seven-decade connection is special.
Level up your texting game
First of all, there’s nothing like the sound of a loved one’s voice. So when something crosses your mind to share with a sibling, don’t default to letting your thumbs communicate when your lips can do the talking. If a busy sibling doesn’t answer when you ring, leave the gift of a voicemail instead of a missed call. If you opt for a text, consider making it an audio text or a smiling selfie. Share a throwback photo to remind them of the last time you had precious fun together. To open the lines of communication further, consider inviting sibs onto a group text.
Create new memories
Make dates to get together for fun and conversation outside family events. When time permits, plan a day of fun. Having one-on-one time can help you focus on your sibling relationship by removing all the distractions and caregiving duties that come with being someone’s child, parent or spouse. Getting together doesn’t take a lot of planning. A coffee shop date or walking and chatting on a sunny spring day is all you need to get that sibling spark back. Let go of the “just like old times” conversations and start creating fresh dialogue and memories. Best-case scenario: Plan a weekend getaway or a full-blown vacation together.
We’re inspired by author Stacey Abrams, who created a book club with her siblings that helps them stay connected.
Let bygones be bygones
We’ve all made mistakes and poor choices, and just as you’ve grown, so has your sibling. First, agree to shift to a neutral state by putting aside old arguments and patterns of behavior. Then, reset the dynamic by making an apology and accepting theirs. Remember, words can hurt, but they can also heal.
Respect other relationships
Don’t let your sibling relationship suffer because you don’t like their friends or lovers. Unless you truly believe your sibling is in danger, keep your opinions to yourself. Accepting their circle of friends will give you more time to spend together and more mutual connections. The power of acceptance goes a long way.
Don’t hate; congratulate
It’s common in childhood for people to compare siblings, and sometimes that develops into resentment and negative feelings when we grow up. Don’t let the tradition of labels like “the favorite one,” “the funny one” or “the troublemaker” overstay their welcome. This can lead to comparisons, jealousy and judgment in adulthood, none of which has a place in relationships that you value. Instead, share and celebrate each other’s uniqueness and successes.