My sister turned sixteen last week. Yup. She’s growing up without me on the other side of the world. But I’m still her big sister, so today I’m going to give her some sisterly advice. Here are 16 tips for my sixteen-year-old sister.

1. Experiment with makeup before you take a shower. If you want to try something new or if you need to practice with the liquid eyeliner, it won’t matter if you make mistakes because you’ll just wash it all off.

2. Don’t be afraid to wear a dress. If you think you’ll be overdressed, you can wear it with sneakers and a hoodie, maybe a hat, too. Just don’t forget to wear shorts underneath. No need to have a Marilyn Monroe moment.

3. Judge a book by the first five chapters. Those first five chapters went through more editing than the rest of the book. They are the very best the author has to offer. They were picked apart by agents and editors and made perfect so that readers would be hooked in. If you don’t like a book by the end of the fifth chapter, don’t bother with the rest.

4. Always have enough money to pay for the whole date and a cab home. Just in case. You do not want your date to end with dishes in the kitchen of some restaurant. You also don’t want your date to be your only way home.

5. Let the guy pay for the first date. If you like him. That way mom will like him more. You can pay for the second date. If you don’t want a second date, then pay for the first. An asshole might think you owe him if he pays for the first date, which you don’t btw, but this way he can’t guilt-trip you about it.

6. Put Vaseline on your lips before bed. Your lips will be soft and lipstick-ready by morning.

7. Put liquid liner on two eyes at a time. Obviously, not at the exact same time, but sort of go back and forth to make both eyes look as similar as possible.

8. Bananas. Eating them will attract mosquitos and you’ll be eaten alive in the summer, BUT if your cramps are particularly bad, it might be worth it because bananas make them hurt less.

9. If you ever need out of a situation, call me. Put me in your phone as Ivan. You can pretend I’m your boyfriend, or you can tell me what’s happening and I can help you out, or you can vent about drama, or anything. I don’t care what time it is.

10. Drowning people aren’t loud. In swimming lessons we’re taught to yell and splash as much as possible if we are drowning, like in the movies. The thing is, drowning people often don’t realize they’re drowning. They sort of do a doggy paddle and they bob under often and gasp for air when they get the chance. If you notice this behaviour, throw them a floaty or something.

11. Know how to use a fire extinguisher. It’s kind of scary how many people don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher. Don’t be one of those people. It’s also helpful to know CPR, the Heimlich Manoeuvre, and First Aid, all of which aren’t that hard.

12. Don’t take your eyes off your drink. This shouldn’t apply for another two years, but at the same time, it sort of already applies. If you’re at a club or somewhere public with lots of people (or somewhere private with any guys at all) and you don’t see your drink being made, or your pop can is handed to you already open, just don’t drink it.

13. Don’t buy bottled water. It’s needlessly expensive, and a waste of plastic, not to mention the effort it takes to make those bottles is also bad for the environment. Our hometown has excellent tap water for drinking, and you can just use one of the many water bottles we have and refill it every day.

14. Rent a fancy dress. If you need a dress for a dance or a wedding, either get one you’ll wear a lot, or rent a really fancy one you might not wear again so you don’t have to pay the whole price.

15. Take care of your skin. Use sunscreen in the summer, moisturize in the winter, wash your face every morning and night, and wear clothing that is appropriate for the weather. I realize this can be difficult in our hometown, so keep a sweater tied around your waist or something.

16. “I’m the only one that cares about you” is a LIE. Lots of people care about you and your well being and we always will. If someone says this to you, they are lying in order to manipulate you. They are trying to make you feel worse about yourself while also making themselves seem like your hero. It is emotional abuse. End the relationship you have with anyone who says this. Here are 21 Warning Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship.

Love ya, Sis. Happy Birthday.


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