How to stay in touch with a sibling who has moved out
Getting straight down to business, siblings are annoying. From borrowing your clothes without asking and returning it with ice-cream stains to snitching to your parents when you decide to commit the most harmless crime, they are somehow the bane of your existence. But it's worse when they leave home one day and all of it just… stops.
If you do have siblings, they will eventually move out one day – for college, school, jobs or just simply for the sake of moving out. Separations happen when they are due, it is up to us to make up for the lost time when we can and with family, especially siblings, it is all the more important to adapt to the distance and make the persistent effort to reduce it. Otherwise, who else is going to have your back when you need to blurt out things unfiltered?
You can keep the following things in mind if you too are trying to keep your moved-out sibling close.
Do not ditch commitments
If you have made plans about going to the book fair together or wearing matching outfits at your cousin's wedding, try and let there be as little disappointment as possible by prioritising these promises. For example, I save the movies we decided on watching together for when my sister returns.
Take photos, sneak voice texts of Mother-scary when she is retelling an exaggerated rendition of a memory with your sibling. Maybe create a cloud folder to upload everything you want to share. It can be sad to scroll through them on your own, but I insist, it is worth it for when your siblings are finally around.
Include your parents
Your parents are most likely having trouble adjusting to the new reality as well. They're anxious and usually do not express it. Coming together as a family to acknowledge your shared feelings of sadness on important days can be cathartic and by helping your parents, you restore their strength as they do yours which in turn also helps keep you in touch with your memories.
Show up to cheer for them on big days
My sister attends a boarding school and whenever she is due to play big-league handball tournaments, we all show up to cheer for her. Could be their first day at work, could be their graduation, could be their first day caring for a pet on their own – show up if you can. These are the times they'll feel most vulnerable and need encouraging smiles.
Make them feel welcome
When they visit home, do not make your siblings feel estranged. The guilt-trip helps no one and just ends up making everyone have a bitter experience. Instead take charge of matters. Tell them things you have been dying to tell them, recommend books you've been reading, let it all flow out. Inquire about their life as much as they allow, and update them about yours as well.
Most importantly, it does well to remember that a "move" never holds a relationship back no matter its form, but losing interest in keeping it alive sure does. Moving out on your own is a scary step. Our siblings are silly half-witted fools on top of that. Let's be there for them and make it easier for everyone involved because after all, the mess is ours too.
Nishat may be running out of tissue paper from all the crying over her sister leaving, you can be of use by sending rom-com recs at [email protected]