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How Can I Connect With My Sister-In-Law?

Dear Sugar
How can I forge a friendship with my sister in law? We are such different people and we come from very different backgrounds. If it weren't for our husbands, we probably wouldn't be friends, but I'd really like to get closer to her because she's a lovely person and I feel that family is important.

We are on good terms, but we're just not very close. Do you think that I should start calling her more often? Should I try and reach out a few times and see where it naturally goes from there? Family Forward Fiona

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Family Forward Fiona
I think this is a great idea and one relationship that will be worth putting in a little extra effort into. It can make holidays and get-togethers easier, more pleasant, and actually something that you look forward to. I am sure your husband will also be extra appreciative.

I know that you might be very different people, but now that you share the same family I am willing to bet that you have a lot more in common than you think. Your husbands, or she and your husband, were also cut from the same cloth, so when in doubt, you can always inquire more about the way things were done in their home growing up.

Here are a few suggestions to help put the relationship in motion:

  • Always make her feel welcome. She is part of your family now, and don't make her feel as though she is a guest in her brother, or brother-in-laws house.
  • Find out what her interests are and make an effort to talk about how she spends her free time.
  • Try and carve out some time so you can be alone together. Do an activity, go for a walk/drive. Just something so you can get in a quality conversation from time to time.
  • Don't pry. Let her talk to you about sensitive or personal topics. Would you want someone prying into your life and passing judgement?
  • Try and focus on the positive when talking to your husband about her. If there are things that you don't like about her or her children, don't harp on them. It's not constructive and isn't going to make him feel good.
  • If she likes to make sarcastic remarks at your expense, try your best to let them go. Walk away and don't stir the pot. See how you feel in a few days and then decide how you can best handle the situation.
  • If she is much younger than you are, try to be her friend - not her parent. Let her know that no question is too small or too silly to come to you with.
  • If she's going through something difficult and only wants to talk to your husband about it, that's ok. If they are brother and sister they've grown up together and have a special bond. Don't push it; in time hopefully she will learn to trust you and see you as her sister.

Try and remember that lasting relationships don't form overnight. They take time and patience to grow. Good luck.

Join The Conversation
Scribe85 Scribe85 10 years
Putting time into this relationship is a great idea. One day, you both might have children, and they too will benefit from the positive relationship you cultivate with your sister-in-law. This is the stuff strong families are made of. Chances are good, that if you are getting a vibe that you want to have a friendship, she is feeling the same way. Be brave, be the one to reach out first. You can invite her and her husband over for dinner, or to a movie. You could ask her if she would like to go to a museum, or a lecture, and do that with or without the guys. Good relationships can develop out of doing new and fun things together. Enjoy.
Kratsina Kratsina 10 years
Invite her out to lunch with just the two of you, or if you feel like that is too forward, invite the mother in law you share. Or plan a women only family dinner where all the ladies in the clan can get together and make an effort to spend some time alone with her so you can get to know one another. Then, if you click at the dinner, invite her to a lunch with just the two of you. Or get your kids together for a play date, so there's no so much pressure to be one on one.
ItsJustMe ItsJustMe 10 years
The whole younger sister-in-law thing is so true! My sister-in-law is 16 years old. She just started dating and there are so many things that she has come to me to talk about and not her mom. She knows that while I want the best for her, I am not her mother. I am her friend and I think that makes her more comfortable around me. Good luck! :-)
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