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My Married Life: Happiness Is Having a Sister?

In her essay in The New York Times, Deborah Tannen said that having a sister to chat with makes us happier people. Tannen asked women to compare the way that they communicated with their brothers and sisters (if they had both). "Most said they talked to their sisters more often, at greater length and, yes, about more personal topics," said Tannen. In Tannen's opinion, this is part of the reason that those of us with sisters are happier than only children or people with only brothers. But Tannen said that men benefited just as much as women from having a sister, perhaps because having a sister means more talking in general.

As someone who has both brothers and sisters, I found the essay (and this entire line of thinking) very interesting. I'll admit, I probably call my sister a good 20 times for every time I call one of my brothers. But Sis and I haven't always had such a rosy relationship. There used to be lots of competitive energy and not a lot of support. But in the past few years, we've started to turn this around and are now going out of our way to have each other's backs. I think that the level of openness and honesty between sisters is a beautiful (and sometimes horrible) thing. So while I won't say that having a sister is always easy, breezy, I will say that it has made me a much better communicator. And I think being a good communicator definitely makes life better (aka happier). So that's how I circle back around to Tannen's theory: having a sister makes you happier. What do you think?

-- Holly