Do you have siblings, but find it harder to spend time together as you get older? I do.
When we were little, my sister and I were inseparable. From playing at the community pool most days of the week during the summertime to having the same piano teacher every Tuesday, to attending the same tap and ballet classes, my sister and I have many shared memories that we cherish.
Despite the normal sibling banter, my sister and I have always been close. From regular movie nights to late-night walks to cooking together while blasting music in the kitchen, she and I share similar interests and the same sense of humor. Now, as I enter my post-college phase of adulthood and she begins her sophomore year of college away from home, the time we spend together is noticeably dwindling. While this is natural and a result of good changes in life, it also saddens me to think we’re spending less time together.
As my sister and I reflected on how much we value each other’s friendship, we realized the miles between us and the number of tasks in our growing schedules don’t have to place a limit on our relationship. So, together we agreed on the best ways for us to stay in touch despite our differing schedules. Here’s the list we came up with:
1. Connect at least once a week
Staying in touch is the simplest way to maintain a relationship. Now that my sister has moved back to school and I’m living at home, we don’t talk as frequently as when we’re both living under the same roof. But thanks to texting, FaceTime, and social media (hello, endless exchanges of Insta reels that tend to dominate siblings’ “conversations”), it’s neither difficult nor time-consuming to send a quick text hoping they’re having a good day, or mention that you’d love to get together soon.
The frequency of our conversations ebbs and flows. Sometimes my sister and I go over a week without texting, which is long for us. But even when we’re both busy, we still value our relationship. Whether it’s a routine call every Sunday afternoon, or, like me and my sister, a “good morning/night” text every few days, staying in touch with your sibling will keep you feeling connected despite the distance between you.
2. Plan to spend time together
If it’s on the calendar, it’s more likely to happen. As with any relationship, it takes effort and mutual respect to remain in each other’s lives. If you set a time to do something fun together—brunch, a hike, even a weekend away—your relationship will stay strong and you’ll create lasting memories that will allow you to look back fondly on the adventures you’ve shared
This technique works well for my sister and me, and although she tends to be more of a last-minute planner whereas I like to plan things in advance, it always works out where we set a generic time to block out on our calendars to catch up. That way, I have an idea that, say, two weekends from now, she and I will get together. The anticipation of plans will make your reunion all the more special.
3. Support each other’s life journey
More often than not, I’ve found I don’t need long chats or frequent hangouts to know there is an unshakable bond that no out-of-state college or new job will ever break. I know we will grow to miss each other as our lives take different paths, but despite having to wait until Thanksgiving to reunite, the loving support we offer each other from a distance means the world.
I’ve noticed my sister and I have grown even closer since we’ve been to college. After living apart, the space between us has highlighted how much we value the time we spend together. If she’s having trouble with one of her roommates or is stressed about a project, she’ll call me up to vent or ask me to look over a paper she wrote. The same went for me back when I was in school and became overwhelmed by the myriad assignments to complete. In those moments, calling my sister was a time to relax, take a break from the stress of life, and have a laugh.
I’m so grateful to have a sibling who I can also call my friend. Our shared interests, wonderful memories, and the familial tie no life circumstances can break are things I value greatly. If you’re blessed that way, too, then hopefully these three tips serve as a reminder that you can keep your sibling relationship alive, no matter where your respective life journeys lead you.