How to Get Your Sister to Listen to You

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If you feel like you're talking to a wall when you have a conversation with your sister, you're not alone. The sisterly bond is a strong one, and yet many sisters push the mute button on each other all the time. Whether you're trying to give your sister some desperately needed advice, or whether you're trying to ask her for a favor, knowing how to approach her can raise the chances of her being receptive to what you have to say.

Build the Bond

Your sister will be much more likely to listen to you if you've taken the time to connect with her. Invite her to see a movie with you, take her shopping or just hang out together. If you see something small you think she'd like -- her favorite candy bar, a poster of her favorite celebrity -- buy it for her, or at least tell her about it. You're not bribing her. You're showing her that she's on your mind and that you care about her.

Listen First

Most people have a hard time taking advice from someone unless they feel that you have listened to and understood them first. Practice active listening, and hold back from giving advice or talking about yourself while your sister lets out her feelings. You can mirror back her emotions while she's talking, saying things like "Wow, that must have been really tough," or "Ugh, I hate it when that happens." In this way, your sister will be receptive to listening to you when you have something to say as well.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Nobody likes to listen to a lecture that goes on and on. If you have something to tell your sister, especially if it's something negative, get straight to the point. More importantly, say it and then move on. There's nothing that makes it harder to accept criticism than hearing the critic point out your flaws repeatedly. If you're asking your sister to do something, you'll obviously want to explain why it's important, but rambling on and on might make her tune out.

Watch Your Tone

If your sister thinks you're being a know-it-all or a dictator, she'll respond to whatever you're saying by becoming defensive. If you're making a suggestion to your sister, try doing it in a less domineering way For example, you might ask her "Want to hear what I think?" or "You know, I wonder if it would help if you'd.." If you're making a request, you don't want to sound like you're giving a command. Instead, try something like "Hey, would you mind helping me out with this? Please?"