Me and my sister have a relationship that goes up and down, sometimes we can go through one door and sometimes definitely not....

Right now its somewhere in the middle mostly because we don't see each other all the time any more, not a bad thing per say.

Now this morning I woke up and went downstairs to get some breakfast. I was following some program on the TV. The seat of my sister was closest to the TV and without any evil thoughts I thought I could sit there too (see was not downstairs).

So I sat down and ate my breakfast while watching a series. Halfway through my meal, my sister comes down and asks me to get up and move to another place. My response was: let me finish my breakfast then I will move, right now I am following this program (was in the middle of something exciting). After she prepared her breakfast she basically demanded me to move as response I just stayed at her place and like I said before first finish my breakfast. Well from there we just got into a fight which is not that interesting.

My question is: Was I unreasonable? Should I have gotten up?

As I said the relationship is not all the time that good, but this time I was not trying to bother her in any way. For a change she could have just taken another seat. We were literally talking about 5 min. It sounds pretty childish what we fight about, but every now and then this happens. So I am just curious. Any other suggestions are welcome.


The house is of my parents. I live on my own since half a year. She still lives at home. I am from the Netherlands (if that helps). We kind of sit at the same seat all the time. Its an unwritten rule. So in short there are 6 seats at the table. All of them are "assigned" to someone. Though this something that is never really told out loud. It grew that way. She is not owning the seat in any way or bought it like that. My parents did. Interaction in the house is mostly very direct.

  • 1
    Sibling dynamics vary considerably. You should consider adding a tag to indicate what country you live in or ethnic group (if relevant). and you said "The seat of my sister was closest to the TV..". Why did you characterize it as being your sister's seat? Do you each have favourite seats and normally don't sit in any unoccupied seat? Because your sister has unilaterally declared that it is hers? Because it is literally hers e.g. she purchased it for a bad back or she owns the house or.. Some context of how you or your family normally interact would be in aid of good advice. – user11886 Feb 12 '18 at 7:58
  • @Thisiswhatyoudo updated the question. – blabber Feb 12 '18 at 8:00
  • 1
    I think it's impossible to give you an answer here. Because this is obviously not about this one moment in time but about your whole relation with your sister. I.e. maybe something similar happened before the other way around and you demanded that she moves, or someone else in the family did it, or something else with you and her etc. – user8838 Feb 12 '18 at 8:27
  • @Edgar you could be right there, thing is I am honestly trying to fix the relationship or keep it good, but constantly it goes bad. This, while I think we are both not bad people. There is no need for it. We talked before and tried stuff, but it always comes down to this. – blabber Feb 12 '18 at 8:35
  • 1
    At root this is a boundary issue. The unwritten rules of what we have come to expect as normal or customary behaviour. These may be reasonable or quite the opposite but they jump to our attention when someone steps on one of these boundaries. Boundaries aren't usually all that hard to reset but in the moment that someone bumps into one we feel aggrieved. Our reaction depends on so many things - our temperament and inter alia our mood, recent relationship dynamics, perceived fairness and so forth. There is no wrong in how we feel. What we do about it says a lot about our beliefs & IP skills. – user11886 Feb 12 '18 at 15:17

Thank you for adding context to the situation surrounding your question. It helps considerably.

There isn't any absolute position here, whether you should have gotten up is subjective (and we will soon see some members seeking to close this thread because they can't abide that ./ )

That doesn't mean that your question isn't meaningful though. Lets look at it briefly. The custom in your house is to sit in the same seats. Nothing suggests that it was improper or any problem whatever for you to sit there when your sister was elsewhere.

So the question is simply, should you have gotten up immediately when she first came into the room /asked or should your sister have accepted that you would relinquish the seat shortly when you finished your breakfast?

This is subjective. Someone who is easygoing would surely say that you were not unreasonable. And that your sister was a bit unreasonable and impatient to make an issue of it. But your sister won't agree with this. And some people will feel that a custom like this should be strictly observed or that your behaviour should prioritize tranquility over personal convenience.

It would be easy for me to just insert my bias and say that you were not unreasonable. But better advice would be for you to mull the issue over and try to understand if your stance is congruent with your beliefs. If it is, then you were indeed reasonable because your action accords with your world view. As simple as that. You were only unreasonable if you acted contrary to what you think should have been done.

You said that your intentions were not evil. In an otherwise healthy relationship it shouldn't make much difference either way how you handled this, whether you now apologize /or do the opposite next time or simply move forward.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Sometimes family issues are harder then normal day to day interaction. You just know each other so goddamn well. – blabber Feb 12 '18 at 8:46
  • So very true. If you can take a generally positive view of it all (optimism) you can weather almost anything in the long run. Treasure the good parts, try to let go of the minor aggravations. – user11886 Feb 12 '18 at 8:53
  • thats probably the best thing some one can do here. You can't control other people but in the end they are family. Thanks for the answer anyway. – blabber Feb 12 '18 at 8:58

It was a silly argument. Maybe she is not a morning person. You were not being unreasonable. But as a person that is also grumpy in the morning sometimes (and that had siblings that thought it was hilarious to annoy me, especially in the morning), I can get that she is annoyed at well. For me something small as not having my own seat, also feels like a big deal in the morning. Next time just ask if you can sit there as soon as she comes down and if she doesn't want you to, move. Stand your ground whenever it's not the morning (if she is not a morning person) or when she is out of puberty (if you think something like that is the issue). Whatever happens, just try to get the subject of the conversation to something more interesting as soon as possible. Doesn't really matter what, as everything is more interesting than seating arrangements.

Now I will focus on the more important part in my opinion and that's how you can improve the relationship with your sister. Try to ask about things she likes. If she has something important happening, try to ask about how she feels about it upfront and ask afterwards how it went. If you have things in common, talk about that. If you have little in common, focus on the stuff you have in common. You probably grew up together, so you can talk about things that happen earlier and tv shows you watch together as a kid. You have the same family. You can always talk about your other siblings (if you have any) or bitch about your parents (I guess they are annoying sometimes?). Just try to fight as little as possible and don't make a big deal out of little things.

If nothing works, don't worry too much about it. It is a lot easier to built up a good relationship with your siblings when you don't live in the same house anymore. Just have some patience and everything will be alright.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.