Dear Molly, How Do I Become a Better Big Sister?

Hi! A few weeks ago my sister started sending me your posts and blog stories. I’m glad she did because I think you have so many good insights and thoughts, but it also hurt my feelings because she’s my younger sister and she’s going online looking at “big sister” blogs instead of coming to me. I want to be a better big sister and friend to her, someone she can call at 2 am if there’s a problem or she has a question, but I don’t know where to start. We’ve never been super close, but we also aren’t distant or estranged or anything like that. If it helps, she’s 19 and I’m 29.


A strong sibling relationship is one of the most beautiful relationships you can have in your entire life. Sisterhood especially. I have an older sister and two younger sisters and I don’t know where I’d be without our group chats, meme circles, and little “Shephard-sisters” network. Especially living a couple hundred miles from them, that constant communication is what keeps us feeling close. I think it’s deeply beautiful that you care about being a strong support for your sister and want that same closeness.

It seems like you feel that your sister isn’t sharing with you because she isn’t coming to you first. It’s difficult to share how we truly feel when we anticipate that we’re going to be judged. We all know the dropping feeling after you say one self-exposing thing and it just hangs out in the air. Coming to an online resource, like a blog, is the exact opposite of a one on one conversation, you can’t be judged.

However, it doesn’t seem like your sister is avoiding talking you about certain things because she’d rather come to a blog, it seems like she’s using blog posts as an avenue to open a line of communication with you. At 19-years-old she doesn’t need to be told what to do, but how to do it. She’s sending you articles because she values what you have to say and wants to hear your thoughts. She wants to be validated and heard by her real-life, big sister and she trusts your advice. If you want to be the person she calls late at night with every issue that comes up, tell her. Give her the space to make the decision of who to come to because ultimately that is her call. You can be a resource, but she gets to choose.

I wouldn’t take the fact that your sister comes to “big sister” blogs as a commentary on who you are as a big sister at all, but more of a commentary on the things she’d like to openly talk about with you. She’s testing the waters to see how you will respond. Be open and considerate and the one-on-ones (without a blog post) will come naturally.




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