Dear Auntie Sparknotes,
I have a problem with my little sister. Well, actually, it's really her that seems to have a problem with me. I get that sisters fight, but she really does one thing in particular that annoys me to death. No matter what I'm doing, she will accuse me of only doing it to try to be cool. (Let's call her Bobette. I'll be Georgella.)
Walking through Walmart? "Why are you not stepping on cracks? Do you think you're so cool that you can't step on cracks?"
Picking out clothes? "You aren't cool just because you wear a skirt, Georgella."
Playing Pokemon? "You aren't cool just because you can play some little kid's game. Why don't you just grow up?"
Putting on Chapstick? "What, do you think your boyfriend is gonna kiss you just because your lips are all pillowy and smell like coconut?! WELL HE WON'T! You aren't cool just because you wear Chapstick, Georgella!"
Well, okay, she hasn't said the last one yet. But I'm sure she will if I ever get a boyfriend.
Anyway, I really am not trying to act cool, or any particular way at all, for that matter. And since she refuses to have a mature discussion with me about it, how exactly should I get her to leave me alone?
For starters, Sparkler, take comfort: this won't last.
Which, of course, is no comfort at all when you're being irritated nearly to death on a daily basis. (And yes, for the record, your sister is being truly obnoxious.) But even in the teenage scheme of things, she won't be like this for long; in all likelihood, you have less than six months until she comes up with a new (and possibly even more irritating!) way to get your goat. Y'know, just in case you needed something to look forward to!
And in the meantime, her frantic insistence that your skirt-wearing, Pokemon-playing, Walmart-tile-hopscotching lifestyle is all in the service of appearing "cool" reeks rather strongly of projection: a fun little turnaround in which she accuses you of being a poser because that's what she's most afraid she is. Basically, her behavior almost certainly says a lot more about her, and her hangups, than it does about you.
Either that, or she's just figured out that her comments drive you up the wall—and, like any jerky tween worth her salt, she's taking every available opportunity to gleefully push your buttons.
But either way, your solution doesn't lie in getting her to leave you alone. Because—all together, now!—other people's behavior, no matter how annoying, is not within your power to control. You can only decide how you react to it. And since you already know that there's no satisfaction to be had in discussing her attitude and asking her to stop, you might instead find it in one of the following responses:
React by not reacting.
Whatever she says, reply with a cheerful, "Okay!"—and then continue on as though nothing had happened.
OR: you can become suddenly, selectively deaf to every obnoxious thing she says—either by not responding at all, or by making her repeat herself over and over again ("Huh? What? Can you say that again?") until she's either a) screaming, or b) so frustrated that she gives up.
Fire off a snappy retort.
"I refuse to take advice on being 'cool' from a person who both looks and smells like the underside of a dog's scrotum."
Take it seriously.
Your sister: You know, you aren't cool just because you have pants on.
You: What?! I'm not? OH GOD, NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOOO! All I've ever wanted is for my little sister to think I'm cool! Why is fate so cruel?! WHYYYYYYY?!!! (Continue screaming as you fall to the floor and thrash in agony. Bonus points if you rend your clothes and cry actual tears.)
Or, alternately, take it really seriously.
Take her hands, look her straight in the eye, and reply in complete and total earnestness: "Oh, but it does. It does make me cool! It makes me super cool. It makes me the coolest person in the world, forever! And I only hope that one day, I can teach you everything I know, so that you, too, can be cool."
(Bonus: At this point, embrace her fiercely and whisper, "NEVER STOP DREAMING, BOBETTE!," then sob hysterically into her hair until she breaks free and runs away.)
Basically, realize this: while there's nothing you can do to make your sister stop, there's also nothing she can do to make you care about her opinion, or to stop you from responding however you like, whether it's with smug superiority, bland disinterest, or a high-volume spectacle of batshizz lunacy that's so embarrassing, she'll never accuse you of trying to be "cool" again. And since it's up to you to find a way to make the aggravation bearable, "however you like" is exactly how you should respond (short of any activities that could cause bodily harm, permanent psychological damage, or arrest on felony charges.) So get creative, get crazy, and have fun.
Got any stories of sibling annoyance to share? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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