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Good Sister, Bad Sister  

Sunday, January 11, 2009
Scenario: My sister, who is 26 years old, is a fun loving party goer. She drinks, curses, smokes and hooks up with guys. But when she is around our parents she is a completely different person! Our parents favor her and I can't stand it! We both graduated college and have good jobs. We are like the same person except she acts so innocent and I keep it real. I feel like she needs to grow up and stop being scared of our parents. It is like she is lying to them which makes me look like the bad one. I feel like outing her!

Response: Honestly we all have moments when we are not our true selves. This does not necessarily mean we are being fake or lying, it is just a toned down version of who we are. Do you behave the same way at work as you would a party? Most likely not. Your sister "acting innocent" around your parents may be her way of respecting their expectations of her behavior. There are many times in life in which we may need to tone down our personalities or act professional. Such as meeting some one's parents, attending a family gathering, participating in a business meeting, etc. These are not times to be the flirty, drunk, party girl.

Honestly, do you talk about hooking up with guys or partying with your parents? For most women, the thought of their parents hearing about their wild side makes them very uncomfortable. We all have things we do not want parents or certain other people to know about our lives. This is not because we are hiding, lying or being fake. It is merely about respect levels, privacy and often times the avoidance of conflict or judgment. It is possible that your sister may feel ashamed of certain things she has done.

Let's talk about how annoyed you feel thinking your parents favor your "innocent" sister. It is understandable to a point. Anyone with a sibling has felt their parent favored one over the other at some point in life. It hurts and makes you feel jealous and resentful of your sibling. But generally, parents love all their children. What seems to be favoring at times is merely your parent knowing that a specific child needs their guidance and attention a bit more at the moment. Even if a parent does have a closer bond with your sibling, it does not mean they do not love you or think any less of you. It could simply be a sign that your parents hover over you less because they believe you are their stronger child.

Wanting to air your sister's dirty laundry is an act of frustration, a bit of lingering jealousy and possibly a plea for attention. These feelings that usually stem from childhood, are not healthy to carry into adulthood. To tattle on your 26 year old sister would probably backfire and be viewed as a rather childish act. It may even hurt your relationship with her if she views it as a betrayal. Your sister is not breaking any laws or hurting anyone by withholding her private details. It is as much her right to maintain her privacy as it is your right to be open about yours. Honestly, parents are fully aware that their kids are good people but they are no angels. We have done things they do not care to hear about. No one is perfect. They know...it is simply not discussed.

Although you think it may give you a moment of satisfaction, it is not a good idea to "out" your sister. It will not feel as good as you think and it is not worth it. Take the high road, be the bigger person and turn the other cheek. If she wants to keep her business to herself, more power to her. You want to be open with the people in your life and that is great for you. It makes you feel good and honest being upfront, so continue to do so!
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