Q: I have never really fitted in with my siblings as I am very different to them from the way I dress, the health issues I have and the different circumstances I am in compared to them. I’m also not into the same things they are into. I try to make a better relationship with them but it’s hard because I don’t know how to. How do I make a better relationship with them without making it noticeable that I want to have a better relationship between them.

The honest truth is your siblings are lucky to have you as a member of the family, someone who genuinely wants to build a better relationship with them. That shows how mature you are and how much you love your siblings. Anyone would be proud and honored to have a sibling like you in their corner. In summary your question is asking how to build better relationships with your siblings, despite your differences.

The basis for any good relationship is good communication, hence, the best way to build better relationships with your siblings is simply to communicate how you feel to your siblings. This means that you have to be purposeful with your conversation, you have to sit down and talk to your siblings about how you can all improve your current relationships. While your first reaction at reading this might be “I’m not doing that”, open communication is a sure way of building better relationships. Open communication with your siblings is important because you discover and understand how each of your siblings feel about you. Because you have not been intentional and spoken to them about this issue, everything you ‘know about them’ is speculation. In other words the best you can do is assume how they feel about you. Your siblings might want the same thing you want which is an  improving relationship with you but if you don’t ask you will never know. Just as the easiest way to see is opening your eyes, the easiest way to a better relationships is good and open communication. It is also important to note that there is nothing wrong with your siblings knowing that you want to develop a better relationship with them, if anything that in itself will signify how much you care about them. We’ve established that the answer to your question is good open communication with your family members, the question now is What now ?

Choose an appropriate time and place to have the conversation around building a better relationship with your siblings. A good example of appropriate timing is when you are relaxing with your siblings and nothing else is occupying their mind or time. This is good timing because they are more inclined to take in what you have to say as  they are not  distracted by anything. Bad timing would be trying to have a chat when your siblings are trying to watch their favorite show.

Once you do that, choose the best method to deliver your message. It does not necessarily have to be spoken, you can write a letter to each of your siblings, you can write a poem, and you can write and sing a song if you are a singer or you can just say how you feel. You can simply start by telling your siblings how you feel and how you want things to get better. It doesn’t have to be a long sermon, it can just be a simple casual conversation expressing how you feel and how much you value each of your siblings. Granted this leaves you vulnerable but this is a good start. You can ask them how they think you can all improve relationships with each other and hear what they have to say. However, it is important to note that change in terms of better relationship will be gradual, it will not happen overnight.

If you feel for some reason that you cannot talk to your siblings about the issue then lead by example. Start doing things that build good relationships such as offering to help your sibling, inviting them to share a meal together, giving your siblings compliments. The only problem is if your siblings don’t see the effort you are putting in, you will get frustrated with them and give up. If you choose to take this option you would be building the relationships by yourself without discussing it with your siblings and you will not get anywhere because your siblings will have no clue of what you are doing, hence, The problem with taking this approach is that nothing gets resolved. This approach is the easiest way out but the least effective.

When you decide to talk to your siblings, put your best leg forward and be wise. This is not to say don’t be yourself, be yourself but understand and know things that your siblings favor and like. If one of your siblings is not a morning person, if you go to them at 6am in the morning and try to have a heart to heart conversation odds are they are not going to pay attention. If another loves basketball but hates tennis the best place to start is not with ‘hey lets watch the Wimbledon tennis finals’. It could be ‘hey we both like soccer let’s talk about soccer’. The point being always try and know what your siblings like and know the common interests between you all. You don’t have to like what they like vice versa but find common ground. You never change who you are to gain acceptance, that change will not last but you can learn what other like and understand things from their perspective. Always remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and you are unique, hence you don’t have to worry about being different.

Summary and Quick pointers
– Communication is the first step to fixing any relationship
– Talk to your siblings- communicate well
– It’s going to take time- relationships don’t grow over night
– Take baby steps- don’t pressure your siblings
– Focus on the common things

For further professional help on how to build better relationship visit the following
Relationships Australia: 1300364277 Web:http://www.relationships.org.au/

Kids Help Line 1800 551800 Tollfree number Web: http://www.kidshelpline.com.au

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