wikiHow to Be a Good Sister

Four Methods:Being ThoughtfulSpending Time TogetherKeeping the PeaceBoosting Morale

Whether you're the older, middle or youngest sister and whether you're still living with your siblings or you're living away, being a good sister requires tolerance, patience and a willingness to find the time to connect. Fostering a good relationship with your siblings is important if you want to be able to turn to them throughout your life and rely upon their support through thick and thin. Being a good sister involves leading by example, demonstrating to your siblings how much you value the sibling relationship and how much they matter to you.

Method 1
Being Thoughtful

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    Remember birthdays and special occasions. This is an easy and thoughtful way to show that you care and that your sibling matters to you. You don't have to buy expensive things––buy small and thoughtful gifts or make them yourself. After all, despite it being a cliché, the thought really is what counts.
    • Try to select something that is meaningful for your sibling. For example, if your sibling is playing a sport, think about a sporting gift that is relevant. Or, if your sibling is trying to get into college, consider whether you can offer your time as a tutor in a subject she or he has been struggling with.
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    Help your sibling with homework or work. Your siblings can benefit from your knowledge on occasion, be it homework or work issues. Obviously, don't substitute your knowledge for your sibling's need to learn (namely, don't tell your siblings all the answers) but do spend time prompting your sibling to think about a problem or solution with his or her own thinking.
    • Explain things clearly. Practicing this with a sibling will set you in good stead for the future, when dealing with everyone from coworkers to your own children.
    • Encourage your siblings to ask for help. This is another important life lesson, namely, that it's okay to ask for help.
    • If you don't know, say so. It's a good thing to admit and to then find someone who does.

Method 2
Spending Time Together

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    Attend any extracurricular activities with your sibling. Decide together what you both enjoy, such as plays, sports events, concerts, etc. and go together on occasion. Bond over something the two of you have in common.
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    Try to find simple but meaningful things to do together as often as practical. It is in the simple things of everyday life that we build and improve our relationships constantly. By making time to listen to your sibling tell how their day was or taking a walk together after an evening meal, you are making an effort that will ensure that the two of you stay connected and remain familiar with one another's thoughts and ideas.
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    Plan sibling trips. If you live far apart, stay in touch by making it a point to visit regularly. What "regular" means will be defined by the distance and cost involved but be sure to touch base often enough that you don't forget who each other is!
    • Be sure to make it clear that your home is always open to your sibling to visit when needed.
    • Even when you can't visit, try your best to talk together at least once a week. Losing touch for too long can diminish a relationship.

Method 3
Keeping the Peace

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    Be civil in the way that you interact with your siblings. Yelling, shouting and whining may feel good at the time but these are ineffective ways of communicating properly. In the long term, the more you resort to such behavior, the less you'll be heard and the more fractious your relationship will be with your siblings. Instead of yelling or whining, find calm and constructive ways to say what you want to say and get your point of view heard:
    • Speak calmly and stick to the facts.
    • If you feel yourself getting heated, ask for time out and go off to recollect your better self.
    • If you feel out of control when relating to your siblings, look inside first. Sometimes getting angry with others is about feeling that you don't have control over them; the reality is that you don't need any other person's acknowledgment of your self worth and you don't need to control them. Set boundaries rather than acting angrily.
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    Discuss issues like sharing and what's off limits ahead of potential problems. For example, if you're the only family member who owns a particular electronic device that everyone else wants to use, you are already aware that there is a possibility it will get "borrowed" without asking. Instead of waiting for such an incident, let everyone know straight up what you expect by way of asking you for it, when it can be used or whether you don't want anyone using it at all. Don't wait until the inevitable happens.
    • If you have already set ground rules, this can make it a whole lot easier to stick to the facts and reiterate how you have already made it clear what could and could not happen.
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    Make it a rule not to tease your siblings. Teasing is corrosive of close relationships. Even if you think you're just being funny or trying to cheer up a sibling, teasing can often come across as mean-spirited, undermining and condescending. By avoiding teasing, your siblings will appreciate that you mean what you say and that when you are being funny, that's genuine too.
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    Learn to compromise. If you and your sibling like different music, for example, then you'll need to rotate. Don't always put yourself first.
    • Compromise is a two-way exercise. Being a good sister doesn't mean giving in! You must also gain something when you make a compromise, as much as you give something up. For example, if you both like to have 20 minutes in the bathroom but your sibling needs to get in at the same time you like to use it, cut the time in half for each of you rather than shifting your 20 minutes to after your sibling's 20 minutes.
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    Give your sibling space. Time spent together is great but so is time spent apart. If you crowd your sibling and expect him or her to be your whole world, this will feel oppressive and your sibling will soon find excuses to do things without you. Instead, respect when your sibling needs time alone and time with friends. In turn, expect the same from your sibling.
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    Throw away your bossy boots. Bossing siblings around may come naturally to you, whether or not you're older, but it's simply not helpful. Find the line between being sibling motivator or coach and interfering busybody. If your siblings feel bossed around too much, you'll find yourself sidelined and left out of the fun stuff, for fear that you'll dampen their spirits.
    • Let your siblings figure out some things for themselves. Learn to stand back and watch, offering advice only when asked. Making mistakes that are not life-threatening is part of learning and growing up.
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    Tone down the competitiveness. Sibling rivalry may feel natural but there isn't a need to turn everything into a competition that you always must win. Bring more sharing and cooperativeness into your sibling relationships and lead by example.
    • Some people worry that they might get "walked all over" if they don't act competitively. This is something you can deal with by staying assertive, rather than being competitive. Calmly explain your boundaries and let your siblings know that if those are crossed, you won't tolerate the disrespect, while making it clear that your siblings have all of your tolerance up to that point.

Method 4
Boosting Morale

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    Help build your siblings' confidence by letting them know when they're doing a great job. Don't hold back on noticing the good things your siblings do and be ready with praise to encourage their efforts.
    • Be willing to help them see what isn't working too. It's a lot kinder to point out what needs to change than to let a sibling continue to do something that isn't ever going to work out for him or her.
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    Be available if your sibling needs to talk. When things happen in life, having a sibling to talk things through with is an invaluable resource that not every person has access to. Build this into your relationships with your siblings by setting the example yourself; be willing to share things and to listen to what they want to share. By being the confidante sister, your siblings will know that they can trust you and reveal their deepest thoughts.
    • Always keep confidences shared by your siblings. The only exception is where someone is likely to be endangered by keeping a secret.
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    Stand up for your sibling. If your sibling is having a hard time with someone, see what ways you might be able to help your sibling. Perhaps you could have a quiet word with a person who seems a bit overbearing toward your sibling. Or perhaps you could explain to someone who keeps demanding too much of your sibling's time that your sibling has family commitments that need to be met instead. Obviously, don't fight your siblings' battles or make things worse but do let your siblings know that you're by their side and that you're willing to help in ways that you can.


  • If you're older and your siblings are frustrating you, try to remember yourself at their age, how you thought and acted, and what would have made you feel good.
  • Have an opinion, but don't take it personally if your opinion does not sit well with other views. Every person has their own way of seeing the world and determining values and the earlier you learn to balance your values with those of others, the better. Always remind yourself that you do not have to adopt anybody else's opinions; just listen as a way to accord the other person respect.
  • Chill on the sarcasm. It's wrong to confuse sarcasm with wit; sarcasm is a way of dismissing another person and treating their feelings as unimportant. It's also a way of acting superior. None of this is likely to win you sibling-of-the-year awards. If you do find yourself wanting to respond sarcastically, remind yourself to listen instead, and to keep an open mind. It can be more effective to ask a probing question about why your sibling thinks or wants to do something that you find ridiculous or fanciful instead of popping their balloon with meanness.
  • Try to be nice to them all the time.
  • Try as hard as you can to understand your siblings. If you are younger than that person then be loyal and always obey their commands.
  • Don't compare yourself with your sibling. This is a form of competitiveness that you will never win, and you will always feel inferior. Your sibling is different from you and it's better to pursue your own path than to try to emulate your sibling.
  • Always love your sibling even when they do things wrong.
  • If you're angry, express it with your sibling(s). Give them a few chances, but make clear that they can learn it the easy way or the hard way.
  • If you, and your sibling get in a fight, resolve it as quickly as possible. The longer you and your sibling hold a grudge, the more your relationship breaks.
  • If you and your sibling aren't exactly getting along, you need to show them you care about them as much as possible, make some sister bonding time.


  • Don't lie to your siblings or make up lies about them. Do this and it won't be long before they return the favor.
  • Don't treat your sibling like you're better than them. Acting superior can lead your siblings to despise you.
  • Don't treat your siblings as if they're invisible. If you do feel hassled out by them, tell them to give you space but then be sure to spend time with them later to make up for this.
  • Don't change tradition to suit you when they are involved also. Such change requires group discussion and compromises.

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