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How To Handle Sister Rivalry

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Whether it’s for an officer position in your sorority, the sweetheart title for a fraternity, or calling dibs on littles, there are times when you have to compete with your sisters. Sometimes it can get so bad that it might start a whole “Bride Wars” scenario. I’m not talking about the petty type of arguments that happen when both of you end up at an ’80s themed social dressed as teenaged Madonna (you can never have too many Madonnas). I’m talking about the serious rivalries: the hair pulling, arts and crafts sabotaging, big and little family dividing, dirty campaigning, full blown sister-tastrophe that commences when two sisters who also happen to be besties have their eyes on the same prize. Unfortunately, this rarely ends well, because we don’t live in a chick-flick comedy. If you handle this situation indelicately, trust and believe that you two won’t end the semester dancing on top of the bar together at your favorite hangout. You will untag photos, avoid each other at the sorority house, throw shade like it’s your job, and beg your house mom to give you new roommate assignments. Competition can completely crash the best friend bond that sisterhood helped you two build–unless, of course, you know how to approach the situation the right way.

Everyone knows girls can get vicious when a little friendly competition arises. We’re territorial creatures. When we claim something as our own, we will stop anyone and anything in our way. This is especially bad for sorority girls, because a lot of us are used to getting exactly what we want. We’re persistent and creative, to say the least. There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re sprinting toward the same goal as your sister, knowing only one of you will come out on top. So if you find yourself in this scenario, think about these points before you go all Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag on each other.

Show Respect

There is nothing that bugs me more than flaky respect–well, except when someone asks if Diet Pepsi is okay, but that’s a whole different topic. There is no reason why you two should go from hot to cold on each other so easily just because you are competing against each other for the same prize. If you show each other mutual respect, it could cut a lot the drama out of the equation. As we know, drama can escalate very quickly once one of you takes the first stab in the back by being disrespectful. All it takes is one nasty look for wine glasses to start flying across the formal, and let me tell you, karma’s a bigger bitch than both of you. So don’t mess with her, save the nasty looks for someone who deserves them, and show your sister the respect you know you have for her.

Be Honest

Some like to use lying as a strategy to deter the competition. In some cases, this is fine. A little white lie never hurt anyone–between you and me, my highlights are totally natural. But little white lies have the potential to lead to bigger lies, and they can destroy friendships because they break down trust. This can get complicated when you’re trying to get a foot in front of the competition, but lying to each other about what you’re feeling–or lying to others about your competitor–is just shady. At the end of the day, there can only be one president of the sorority or what have you, and honestly, you will deserve your position a lot less if you dishonorably attained it.

Be Supportive

We’re talking about competing against your sister who is also a close friend here. Deep down, even though it’s tough to admit that during competition or campaigning, you want to support her and have her support in return. This is not an impossible thing to provide for each other. At times, one of you will have to swallow your pride and be the bigger person. Displaying your support for each other can make the whole stress that competition brings decrease significantly. More often than not, you’ll compete against each other in the midst of several other potential candidates who are after that same prize, title, or position. The least you can do is develop a support system between each other. Some quality brought you two together in the first place, so find whatever it is and use it to make sure one of you two winds up as the winner.

Don’t Sabotage

We’ve seen it in “Mean Girls,” “Grease,” “Bridesmaids,” “Clueless,” and “Legally Blonde.” I mean, the list could literally go on and on. In basically all the movies sorority girls know and love, there is some form of sabotage that happens when competition is fierce. Sometimes it’s about a guy, sometimes it’s about a title, and sometimes it’s about something as superficial as the last hot pink semi-formal dress on the rack. But each time, once that position or object is in your grasp, it’s never worth all of the scheming you pulled over on your sister and friend. And for all that is monogrammed and sparkly, do not use each other’s bigs, littles, or families in general as tools for said sabotaging. That is a line you should never cross. Sabotaging your sister and friend is just like the word “fetch”–it should never happen.

Congratulate Each Other

Once it’s all over and you’ve processed the loss, you should have enough courtesy to congratulate your sister and friend on her achievement. On the other hand, if you are the victor, you should be patient. Hopefully, she will come around and congratulate you, but don’t expect anything to happen immediately. Both scenarios may seem deceptive at first, because honestly, nobody likes to lose. Try your best to eventually gain enough courage to be the bigger person if it comes to that.

Fortunately during my undergrad years, this only happened to me once. It took us nearly two years, several bottles of wine, and a sister intervention to get back to where we used to be in our friendship. It wasn’t worth it at all. So if you find yourself in this situation, save the drama for recruitment skit day and support each other instead.

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Wine2TheRescue

Wine2TheRescue is a legal marketing pro & blogger out of Washington, D.C. but is originally a sorority girl out of Northwest Florida. As a recent graduate and expert twenty-something, she spends most of her time trying to balance her work schedule with her daily required wine intake. It's a struggle she's learning to manage, but nothing she can't lean on her sisters for help with. She is also a contributing writer for Total Sorority Move and Post Grad Problems.

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