Life is too short to spend a lot of time discussing politics, religion and/or other explosive issues with your sisters. Save the controversial conversations for your college roommates, your walking partner or talk radio personalities. Maybe this sounds gutless if you and your family routinely debate around the dinner table, but preserving a sibling relationship often means focusing on the similarities or, at the very least, approaching serious topics with equal doses of humor, respect and humility. Sisters are there for good-natured ribbing, serving up classic family stories and making fun of Oscar® fashions. If you let the laughter flow, when you need support and advice during a difficult life transition, you will have already built a strong foundation. Can you have differences of opinion? Of course. My sisters and I disagree on-air all the time, on everything from Supreme Court nominees to American Idol. During one heated debate about a presidential candidate, my sister Sheila diffused the situation by holding up a sign that said, "He's hot." Hilarity ensued; tension did not.
Remember You Have to Spend Thanksgiving Together
According to the mail we receive at Satellite Sisters, a lot of sisterly relationships go down in flames because of Christmas. Or Fourth of July. Or Grandma's birthday. One sister wants to have it at her house, and another digs in her heels for the privilege of hosting the event. Then, they don't speak for 10 years. Find a compromise—or let it go. So what if you never host Thanksgiving, there are 364 other days of the year to get the family together to celebrate. Anytime I feel a power struggle coming on with a family member over holiday plans, I remember what one expert said on our radio show about my mother's need to cook the Thanksgiving turkey, even at my house: "It's just a turkey, and it makes her happy. Let her cook the turkey." I can't tell you how many times I've brushed off a potential family blowup by saying to myself, "It's just a turkey."
Lian Dolan is a mother, wife, sister, friend and daughter. She is also a writer, novelist, producer and talk show host. Her first novel, Helen of Pasadena (Prospect Park Books, November 2010), a romantic comedy about a modern mother in transition, was a Los Angeles Times best-seller. Known for her humorous take on the day-to-day issues that face women everywhere, she shares her adventures in modern motherhood on her website and her weekly podcast, The Chaos Chronicles which is currently in development as a half-hour comedy for Nickelodeon.
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