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Anyone with an older sister knows just what a tempestuous relationship it can be.
There are days your older sister feels like the most amazing person ever, someone you look to in every way—and other days when you just can’t freaking stand her.
As you both get older, the relationship changes in many ways, but at its core, it remains one of the most important relationships you’ll ever have in your life. On those days when you just can’t stand your older sister, here are some reminders of why she’s the most amazing gift your parents ever gave you!
Oh, and remember. These don’t just apply to the sister-sister relationship. Everything an elder sister does for a little sister can also be done for a younger brother. There is always a special relationship between the younger sibling and the older sibling in the family.
1. She took flak from your parents so you didn’t have to
While being the eldest sibling does have its high points, as your big sister will be the first to remind you, it has a lot of low points too.
Your older sister was there first (duh), so she was the one that your parents focused all of their worry and paranoia on. She was the one who got in a ton of trouble for a “C” on her report card, whereas you got a pat on the back and, “Do better next semester.”
She was the one who got yelled at for staying out late, whereas you just slipped in the back door without the slightest reprimand. She was the one who was pressured to major in a “practical” field in college when she didn’t want to. You got away with majoring in basket weaving.
Parents tend to “mellow out” a bit with their younger children. Why? Your older sister proved that you could get a low grade, stay out late, and major in what you want to without your life falling to pieces. She did all the hard work of getting things into perspective for your parents, so you didn’t have to. You owe her a big thank you for that!
2. She could tell-off your enemies without making you look bad
When you’re a really, really little kid, you might get away with running to mommy or daddy when you can’t deal with the bullies on the playground. But past the age of 5 or 6, that really doesn’t work anymore. It just makes your playground woes that much worse.
On the other hand, calling in your older sister works like a charm. It doesn’t make you look bad as the younger brother or sister; it just makes you and your elder sister look like you have solidarity, and the other kids better not mess with either of you.
3. She gave you a role model to emulate
When you are young, you basically have no role model outside of family members, teachers, and other kids you know. That doesn’t give you much to go on when it comes to developing character or your own opinions.
But look back and think about what your life would have been like if you had been an only child or the oldest child. Your parents would have informed pretty much your entire worldview, at least until you started thinking for yourself. And that is a lot harder to learn how to do without someone else around who has learned to do it first.
As a role model, your older sister helped you develop self-awareness by doing it first. She showed you that it was okay to disagree with your parents and that there is more than one approach to life.
Your older sister taught you the value of integrity, self-confidence, and determination. She taught you that while your educated mother and father might be right about many things, sometimes you have to stand up for what you know is right, even if that means going against the grain.
4. She Helped You Grow Up
When you’re a kid, one of the toughest things in the world is growing up, especially since your parents may not want you to. When you hit puberty, how often did you hear your mom or dad say, “She’s growing up too fast?” Your older sister didn’t say that, though, did she?
She was the one right alongside you, helping you out. If you didn’t know what that double entendre on TV meant, she was the one who explained it to you. If you didn’t know how to use a tampon, she was the one who told you.
She let you know it was okay to have a crush on a boy, to swear when you were angry (or when you weren’t), to watch that R-rated movie. She helped you make that awkward transition from being a girl to being a woman without holding you back.
5. She Did It without Talking Down to You … Too Much
Since your sister is closer to you in age than your parents, she can empathize with you on an equal level. She isn’t an authority figure and doesn’t have to worry about enforcing rules or keeping you naïve as part of the family dynamic.
She doesn’t judge your youthful perspective as valueless just because you’re inexperienced, and she respects your decisions, fears, and dreams. Sometimes, she might think she’s better than you, even when you become adults, but she can relate to your experiences more closely than your parents can.
6. She Helped You Pass Your Classes
Couldn’t get through Latin 1? If your sister took it the year before, she was the one helping you learn the difference between a declension and a conjugation. Struggled through Algebra 2? Your sister was probably the one who sat down with you a helped you figure out the functions of your graphing calculator.
She warned you what types of questions were going to be on the SAT or ACT, and she told you what the transition into college would be like. Getting through school is a lot less scary if you have someone who has already passed all your classes!
7. She helped with Other Aspects of School
For example, maybe you got some of her old teachers—hopefully, teachers who liked her! They saw your last name and immediately warmed to you, especially when they found out who your older sister was. A little bit of favoritism on your side never goes amiss.
Chances are your sister also warned you about which teachers would give you grief and maybe gave you some advice for not ticking them off. That indispensable advice could make all the difference in the world.
When you first started secondary school, maybe she was the one who also told you which foods were utterly inedible in the cafeteria and which part of the hallway to avoid if you didn’t want to get shoved in your own locker.
8. She Gave Advice on Applying to College
If your sister went to college ahead of you, she could give you some great advice on your college applications and, more importantly, your search for the perfect school.
She provided perspective not just on academics but also on student life. She could tell you all about sports, clubs, sororities, and other aspects of campus life, which may or may not have been in your college brochures.
9. She Got You A Job
If you followed in your sister’s footsteps in the professional world and not just in your education, she might have been one of your earliest job references. A reference from an older sister is a great way to get your foot in the door at your first internship or job.
Employers felt they already had a pretty good grasp of what working with you might be like. And if you ended up in the same office, your older sister showed you the ropes and mentored you in your new job role!
10. She Helped You Find A fashion Sense
Maybe you took after your parents when it came to fashion, but maybe not. If your older sister didn’t, she showed you a new way to dress. And unlike your parents, she was with it when it came to the times!
She was the one who saved you from going out in that awful sweater your mother tried to make you wear and let you borrow that cute top. She let you sneak off to that party in her favorite stiletto heels, did your makeup for you, and transformed you into the coolest kid on the block.
11. She Covered for You
If you had too much to drink at that party, your parents never found out, thanks to your older sister, who drove you home and made an excuse for you at the door so you could head off to sleep before they picked up on your inebriated state.
When you got in trouble at school, but it didn’t warrant a call to your parents, your sister chose to keep her mouth shut at home. Think how much harder it would have been to get through those situations if you’d been on your own!
12. She Taught You How to Break the Rules
Since your sister had more experience with Mom and Dad than you, she was able to teach you exactly what you needed to do to get away with doing what you wanted.
She was the one who told you whether it was best to take a stand or lie low or if there was a certain way you could phrase a request so that you’d get a pass.
She let you know exactly where the line was and when you would be crossing it. She learned all this stuff the hard way, so you didn’t have to.
13. She Took the Heat off of You
Just as your sister helped “break in” your parents so they would mellow out by the time they got to you, she also took the heat off of you while you were growing up. Parents are almost always tougher on older sisters, even when younger sisters have come into the picture.
Odds are your parents missed about half of the things you did wrong because they were so busy focusing all of their anger on your older sister. She might not have wanted to help you out that way, but she did, and you still owe her a big thank-you for taking it all so you wouldn’t have to.
14. You Got Her Old Clothes
Whether this was a positive or a negative for you depended on your fashion sense and how you felt about your sister’s clothing, but if you grew up admiring her taste, it was a definite plus!
Her loss was your gain, and you got to wear the same clothes you’d been begging to borrow a year earlier. And best of all, they were free!
15. You got a lot of her other old stuff too
Many younger siblings inherit more than just clothes from their older sisters. Chances are, you also got books, toys, CDs, video games, school supplies, sports equipment, and much more.
16. She Introduced You to Stuff You Love
Chances are, you don’t share your parents’ exact taste in music, movies, television, etc. And odds are, you picked up a lot of your tastes from your older sister.
She was the one who shared her CDs and DVDs with you and introduced you to the universe outside your parents’ little bubble. She opened the door for you so that you could discover your own interests.
She made the world a whole lot bigger and gave you a roadmap so that you could explore.
17. She Made You Dinner
When your parents went out and left you home with your older sister, she was your babysitter. Maybe she didn’t like it all the time, but it was the perfect time to introduce you to her favorite movies or music or do your makeup. And she cooked for you!
Her food probably wasn’t gourmet, but sometimes you don’t want gourmet. Sometimes you want macaroni and cheese and cookies and milk. And she didn’t try to take the cookies away from you before you’d had your fill. And only you could appreciate each other’s bizarre culinary experiments.
18. She Defended You to Your Parents
If your parents came down on you for something unfair, your older sister might have stuck up for you now and again, especially if it was something she got away with.
Whether she presented a strong case on your side or acted as an arbiter, she stepped in on your behalf. She may not always have done a great job of it, but the thought counted, and just think where you’d have been without her.
19. She Helped You Deal with Enemies.
Assuming she didn’t deal with them outright, your sister probably had some helpful advice regarding dealing with bullies at school and online. She’d been there first and had gone through a lot of the same things you did, and her advice was often enough to get the harassers to leave you alone.
20. She Gave You Dating Advice
If you needed advice on someone, your sister could share her experiences. Whether it was a question of what to wear on a date or whether or not you should dump a guy, your older sibling had valuable insight to bring to the table.
When you are 13 years old and going on your first date, it can really help to have a 15- or 16-year-old ask for advice so you can have an amazing time! And when you go through your first horrible breakup, it sure helps to have a shoulder to cry on.
21. She Gave You Rides
If your parents weren’t willing to drive you to school, the movie theater, or the mall, your sister might have been willing to do it. What a relief not to have to take the bus!
Not only does that spare you from the horror of public transportation, but it also makes you look cooler. And it lets you do stuff you would’ve missed out on if you’d been relying on your parents for a ride.
22. She Made You More Interesting to Your Peers
Okay, well, this depends totally on how popular she was. But if your older sister was considered a pretty exciting person at school, odds were that a little bit of that automatically rubbed off on you. Hopefully, it was enough to get you into the right social circles without overshadowing you completely.
Maybe some of her friends also became your friends. And if a bunch of juniors or seniors thought you were “all right” as a freshman, that was definitely something. Any freshman with friends in older classes will be respected by default.
23. She Helped You Learn How to Drive
When it finally came time to get your license, your sister probably gave you some invaluable assistance behind the wheel.
She might have been a better instructor than your parents since she was less likely to totally freak out at you when you did something dumb—after all, she’d made the same dumb driving mistakes a year or two before. Plus, she knew that you’d then be able to drive her around too.
24. She Got You Contraband
Your older sister wasn’t afraid to bend or break the rules for you. Chances are good that she got you alcohol and other goodies when you couldn’t. She made your parties that much cooler—and hopefully let you off the hook later for whatever massive favor she said you owed her!
25. She Forgives You
Now and again, all of us have irrational moments. When you blew up at your friends, maybe they didn’t forgive you. On the other hand, your older sister has probably forgiven you for all sorts of things that your friends never would. And maybe that’s true to this day.
Your sister will still be there for you as you get older. After all, you’re related and can’t choose your family.
26. She Reminds You of Family Obligations
Growing up, you might have gotten tired of hearing how your older sis was “the responsible one.” Most of all, you probably got tired of her reminding you of that personally! It may have given her a cause to feel superior, but it probably came to your rescue more than a few times.
She reminds you not to forget your mom’s birthday or what to say at your grandfather’s funeral. So okay—maybe she’s earned the right to feel a little smug.
27. She’s Got Your Back
When you were in high school, if your sister was in college, maybe she let you crash at her apartment sometimes. And if you’re both adult siblings now, maybe that hasn’t changed.
Down on your luck? Your sister is the first person you call. She’s still the one who helps you in a pinch and maybe even gives you a place to stay until you can get back on your feet.
28. She Shares Your Childhood Memories
Your older sister is someone who can look back with you and reminisce on the past. She shares many of your best childhood memories and a lot of your worst ones too. If you are trying to cope with something painful from your past, she is there to give you some perspective.
She can understand the little neuroses you carry because of your upbringing better than most. But she also remembers the good stuff and can still laugh at the private joke you shared when you were still in elementary school together.
Recommended reading: Also see the Ways Your Past Memories Can Become Illusions.
29. She Provides Perspective on Your Family
If you can’t figure out why your parents do the things they do or why one of your siblings behaves like a loser, your older sister can help you make sense of it.
She knew your parents before you did, and she knows stuff about them that you don’t. As such, she understands not only your neuroses but your family’s neuroses too. She can make it all make sense, or at the very least, try to piece it together with you and commiserate.
30. She’ll Always Be Your Friend
Your big sister will be connected to you for the rest of your life, both by blood and by all the memories you share. No matter where life takes you, you’ll always have someone you can call to talk to about the past or the present.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to get together a few times a year, or if you live close, maybe you’ll get to hang out every week! Either way, your big sister will always be there for you, a friend and role model forever.
How to Be an Amazing Sister
To be a good sister or the best sister ever, you must demonstrate certain qualities like honesty, loyalty, and trust. You can communicate with your sister while not forgetting what is really important.
Now that you can see all the amazing things your older sister can do for you, it is time to learn how to be a good sister so that you can return the favor.
Be a Trusted Confidante
As a younger sibling, show your older sister that you are just as good at listening as she is. Be a shoulder to cry on when she is going through her own problems. Show her that even as a little sister, you can keep secrets and be their companion.
Learn How to Compromise
Sisters fight. It is inevitable. However, when learning how to be a good younger sibling in the family, you must also learn how to compromise. Learn to let some things go.
For example, you are shopping together, and both fall in love with the same dress. Instead of fighting over who should get it, be a good sister and let her have it. After all, you can borrow it later!
Provide Support and Encouragement
If your older sister is feeling down, encourage them. Do what you can as their little sis to ease their fears and let them know they aren’t alone. This support is helpful when your older sister goes off to a job interview or receives an award and is nervous about the ceremony. Support and encouragement go a long way between siblings.
Make Them Gifts
Maybe you don’t have much money to spend but want to get your older sister the greatest gift for their special day. Instead of buying birthday gifts or thank you’s, try making something special for your amazing sister. Homemade gifts are just as thoughtful and show how much you care as the baby sister.
Say, “I Love My Big Sister”
That’s right. Take some time each day to say, “I love my big sister.” It is a good daily reminder to show your older sister how much you care. You can also show your love through actions.
Ready to be the best sister ever? Remember, your big sister does a lot for you, and it can prove to be a strong relationship as long as there is loyalty, trust, and communication.
Share this article if your big sister was the most amazing gift your parents ever gave you!