As kids, we don’t give our relationships with our siblings too much attention. We take them for granted because they are always there, and we assume it will always be that way. As we grow older, growing apart from siblings happens. For many, it is a mere fact of life, but for some, it can be irksome. If you have reached a stage in your life where you want to reconnect with your siblings, be prepared to put in a bit of work. Reconnecting takes time and effort, but the rewards are undeniable.
While there are many ways to reconnect with someone in your older years, when it comes to siblings, the following pointers, in my experience, have shown immense success. Reconnecting with siblings can be as easy or as complicated as you make it. If you really want to make it work and are willing to put in the effort, continue reading.
How to reconnect with your adult siblings – 16 helpful ways to try:
1. Let go of things that happened in childhood.
What happened in childhood should stay in childhood. If your sister stole your clothes and wore them to parties, you were hoping to wear them to…let it go. If your brother took delight in throwing things at you…let it go. You will get no value out of hanging onto those occasions that simply have no bearing in your life anymore. If you are going to reconnect with your sibling, you need to start with a clean slate.
2. Show up and be supportive.
Of course, you already go to the obligatory family gatherings such as weddings, holidays, and so on, but how often do you show up to support your siblings in their private lives? If your sister is winning an award, make an appearance and applaud her, or if your sibling is playing in a sporting event, go cheer from the sidelines. This shows that you are willing and ready to be available.
3. Be kind to the spouse.
Your siblings will probably have spouses and partners. How you treat your sibling’s spouse will have a direct impact on your relationship with your sibling. Befriend your sibling’s spouse, and already your reconnection will be off to a good start. If you’re meeting with your sibling, make sure that their spouse knows that they are always welcome to join.
4. Make a date.
If you haven’t been in touch with your siblings for a while and want to reconnect, just make a date. Pick up the phone, say you would like to meet up, settle on a date and time and just do it. It’s the only way to take the first step and break the ice.
5. Don’t gossip or make alliances.
If you fall into the habit of gossiping about the other siblings with family members or making alliances that chop and change over time, your relationships are going to be tense and mistrustful. Instead, develop healthy relationships with each family member and don’t get involved in gossip.
6. Dust off your manners and use them.
We tend to forget our manners when dealing with our siblings. If you would never do or say something to a friend or acquaintance, don’t do or say that to a sibling. Of course, you don’t have to be formal or rigid with your siblings, but remember that they have feelings too. Be polite and well-mannered around them and to them – they will appreciate the respect you are showing them and will show you the same in return.
7. Text regularly.
The best way to reconnect with a sibling is to get in touch and stay in touch. Make them a part of your life and keep them updated on what’s happening in your life. It’s also great to keep up with their life. Text your siblings a few times a week, telling them your latest news or sharing a funny meme or joke with them. A great way to do this is to create a family group or sibling group on a text message app, so that you can all keep in touch conveniently.
8. Don’t make comparisons with other sibling relationships.
You might look at your best friends’ relationship with their siblings and feel jealous of it. Just remember that things aren’t always what they seem, and even if they are, your relationship with your siblings has the opportunity to be just as good. Put in the time and effort, and communicate that you want your relationship to be good. Nothing good can come of comparing your sibling relationships with other people’s relationships – just don’t do it.
9. Stop being jealous.
If you have had a lifelong jealousy issue with one of your siblings, it’s time to let it go. Perhaps you feel that your parents gave your sibling more attention or that you didn’t receive the same opportunities in life. Take a breath and let it go. These are things that your sibling cannot change all these years later. Start fresh – leave the jealousy at the door.
10. Break free of old labels.
Every family has labels that they apply to each family member. Your little brother might be considered the “academic nerd”, and you might have been considered the “chicken little” because you were scared of many things. When you spend time with your siblings, avoid mentioning these labels and focus on other good features and aspects of your siblings. Mention them so that new and more positive labels can start forming.
11. Get to know their kids.
If your siblings have kids, how you connect with them will determine just how much time you end up spending with your siblings. Be a positive force in your nieces’ and nephews’ lives. Show your siblings that you care enough to get involved and actually be a part of their kids’ lives. It shows true personal growth and willingness for relationship growth too.
12. Book a class/activity/tour together.
One of the best ways to reconnect with a sibling is to take the attention and pressure off the actual connecting part. Instead of getting together for dinner where the conversation is quite focused, opt for booking a class. You can do a cooking class, go on a hike, or book a city tour of the town you live in. Just by having an activity to do, you can connect more naturally without having to think of what to say or how to act.
13. Extend invitations to the important moments in your life.
Don’t just expect your siblings to show up at your life’s important moments; actually, invite them. If you are having a barbecue with close friends, invite your siblings. Have a celebration coming up? Invite your siblings. You will probably enjoy their company, and you can let them see another side of your life.
14. Create sibling days and stick to them.
If you really want to reconnect with your siblings, set a whole day of fun aside for it. Perhaps set one Saturday aside each month for sibling bonding. Go to the park, pick up a hobby together, go to lunch, book a tour – do anything that involves spending time together.
15. Ask for their advice and opinions.
One way to reconnect with someone is to show them that you value their opinion and advice. Ask your siblings for advice. Even if you don’t use it in the end, it will show that you care about their thoughts and opinions.
16. Meet up without the parents.
If you want to spend time with your siblings, your parents do not have to be there. Sometimes the parents can put additional pressure on sibling relationships. Try spending time alone with your siblings, and then include the parents on some occasions but not all of them.
If you are willing to try the abovementioned ways of reconnecting with a sibling as an adult, do so with intention. If you want it to work out, put in your best efforts and let your siblings know how much a healthy relationship would mean to you. All that’s left to do is put your all into it! Good luck!