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Good friendships are a life must, but your siblings make up your first true crew. You share bloodlines and timelines with your sisters and brothers. If you grew up in the same household with your sibs, there is likely no other humans who understand what makes you tick. Why? Unlike your parents, who observed your childhood, your sibs were actually going through life phases with you. You were in school together. You played with the same kids. You shared living space. Even if you weren’t in the same age group, or in similar social circles, you were in the know about each others’ lives sans much effort. But things change, for better or worse, in adulthood. You’re no longer stuck with your bossy big sister or weirdo little brother in the day-to-day. You have to make a choice to maintain your relationships.

Now here’s what most folks don’t want to say: Your sibling may not be the person you’d naturally gravitate to if you were strangers. Get over it. Unless your brother or sister is toxic, you’ve got to put in work to maintain, or create, a better connection with your sibling(s). If you want a healthy family bond, one where you can call on your sister or brother when you need an investor for a new business idea or a shoulder to cry on when times get real, you have to put in the work.

National Sibling Day isn’t just about an IG moment or posting a deep quote. It’s a reminder of the importance of staying connected to your true day one(s).  Here are some things you can add to your routine to keep your sibling bond strong.

Think Beyond Age Order

As children, the oldest sibling is often tasked with being the leader, organizing the younger kids, and giving direction on how things should be done. Now that you’re all adults, it’s important to share the load. Initiate gatherings. Offer to help out with the logistics of family events, both big and small. Check in on how things are being financed and what you can contribute to extended family needs.

Just Call

If it feels like you and your sibling(s) don’t have a lot in common you’re probably not communicating much. While this may seem fine now, you will grow further and further apart if you only connect during the holidays. Start a group chat with all of your siblings included, and start texting each other when the random “I thought of you”  moment happens. Not only will this help you stay connected, the time stamp with give you a realistic picture of how often you are actually talking to each other. Oh yeah, and you can actually call them when you want to talk, too!

Create Your Own Rituals

Think about some of the things you like to do with your siblings, whether it’s watching movies, playing chess or grabbing a drink, and start making that the thing ya’ll do together periodically to catch up. It will become something you look forward to and another great what to stay connected. The awesome thing about that? It works whether it’s once a week, month or year.

Visit Regularly

If your sibling lives out of town, don’t relegate visits to the holiday season. Pick a couple times out of the year when you’ll visit each other just because. You can also decide whether it’s best to spend the time at home or meet up for a family vacation. Whatever you do during that time, make sure it’s fun.

 

S. Tia Brown is a licensed therapist and journalist. She also believes in love and the promise that it gives.