My sister and I spent our childhood days fighting for computer time, hogging our shared bathroom, and shifting blame on to the other when we skipped our chores. I was always too busy pulling my sister’s hair and secretly stealing her clothing to ever listen to my dad when he’d say, “Be nice to your sister, she’ll be your best friend one day.”
Years of constantly squabbling and bickering, were soon followed by years of silence, only for my sister and I to move across the country together and sign a joint lease once we hit our mid-twenties. Were we out of our minds or was my dad right? Were we really going to become best friends and survive living in the same home again post childhood?
In all honesty, I’m going on a year and eight months of living under the same roof as my older sister, and surprisingly we’ve yet to yank each other’s hair out or resort to our door slamming days of yester year. Maybe it’s a combination of our maturity levels and the seemingly decreased age gap between us or the fact we moved to a new city together without knowing a soul, but so far, the roof and our sanity are still standing.
While I may not be a guru on the topic of moving from your bunk bed to bachelor pad with your sibling, it if it’s two things I’ve learned from living with my sis, it’s to resort to the chore chart and remember that lovin’ feeling:
$.25 for Taking out the Trash
Sure, your brother won’t stop loving you if you slack on trash duty, but just because he can’t break up with you or kick you out doesn’t give you the green light to be a total slob. Remember, you’re not some random roomie who he’s forced to be civil with; when you deserve it; he’s likely to lay it into you without holding back.
I hate to say it, but your mom was onto something with her annoying chore charts she implemented when you were kids. Alright, you’ve probably outgrown the spinning wheel or whiteboard calendar, but splitting up the chores can severely cut down on tension. Lay down the law in the beginning, split up the chores, and bug each other when one of you starts getting too comfortable. You might feel like your mom nagging you back in the day, but trust me, calling each other out for it now will prevent you from building up unnecessary resentment down the road.
That Lovin’ Feeling
You and your siblings love each other unconditionally, which for better or worse means there are few things you can do to truly ruin your relationship. You can be confrontational and completely honest with your sister without hurting her feelings. Remember how you’re the only one in the world who’s allowed to tell her she doesn’t look good in that dress? Well, the same goes for telling her to clean her dishes or to stop painting her nails in the living room. One of the greatest parts about living with your siblings is you can be confrontational without them getting offended, which in turn, eliminates all those passive aggressive notes you scribed for your previous roomies.
Trust me, I get it, sharing your space can be hard regardless of whether it’s with your sibling or your best friend. While some things may never change, as my sister continues to hog the hot water in the shower and I shop in her wardrobe, all in all, don’t tell my dad, but I think he may have been right all along.