Playful brotherly and sisterly bickering can be fun (if it’s just your form of banter), but the sibling rivalry that’s been driving you both for years also contains the seeds of real conflict that can blossom into a full-fledged fight. (Even if your arguments have less to do with “Who cut the hair off my Barbies??” these days.) Instead of completely losing it the next time your bro/sis pisses you off, here are five ways to deal that’ll have both of you feeling the family love. Because even if you never reach sibling tattoo status, you guys still need each other — especially when it comes to dealing with your parents.
1. Don’t just think of them as your sibling. It’s so easy to regress back into how you fought as emotionally immature children, or to dredge up old family drama and jealousies. Try your hardest not to. You’re adults now — so treat each other with the respect and courtesy you would any other peer. (For the record, that means not yelling “No, you shut up!” at any time during an argument.)
2. Remember why you love them. In the middle of an argument or during a stalemate where you’re both refusing to pick up the phone, try to remember all the good times you’ve had with your sibling, and why you would want to repair that relationship. Your shared history can be a challenge to navigate, but it’s also a huge asset. They probably know you deeper than anyone else in your life, even if at the moment you hate to admit it.
3. Don’t try to change them. A lot of times, sibling fights will arise when one is critical of the other’s life choices. You might think you know better because you’re the oldest — or have a fresher perspective because you’re the youngest — but nobody likes unsolicited advice. Even when you think you have their best interests at heart and you’re not purposely being judgmental, it’s just not your place to direct their life or try to “save” them from their own decisions.
4. Let them talk. You might be quicker to cut off a sibling in an argument because you think you know what to expect from them, since they’ve been in your life since you were babies taking joint bubble baths. But you can never actually know exactly what anyone else is thinking, so give them the chance to fully express their feelings and perspective.
5. Know when to just let things go. You’ve heard it a million times: You can’t choose your family. If your issue with your sibling is more than just an occasional argument, it might be time to take a hard look at your relationship and decide if you need to take a step back and set some boundaries. If this person weren’t related to you, would you invest so much time and energy on all the negativity between the two of you? Sharing genes isn’t the same as having compatible personalities. Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a deep breath and let go whatever they did to upset you.
How do you get through arguments with your sibling? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!
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