Updated: Sep 14
The excitement of seeing new members run home on Bid Day is thrilling, but for many sorority women, an even more exciting moment is when you find out your Big Sister/Little Sister pairing. Your sorority “family” can be one’s biggest cheerleaders, advice givers, and sometimes even best friends for life.
Disclaimer: All Big/Little relationships will vary, and each sorority's matching process is unique in its own way. It is important to note that at the base of every one of these ideas is that a Big Sister is meant to be a mentor for her Little Sister to help guide her through the sorority experience. Don’t be discouraged if your relationship doesn't look like someone else’s! Each relationship is unique in its own way and as long as it works for you and your Little Sister and you are both getting what you desire from it, that is all that matters.
So, what is a Big Sister?
The Big/Little relationship is meant to be similar to a mentor/mentee relationship, but it also has the potential to become a deep friendship. A Big Sister should serve as a positive role model, confidant, and guide through the Little Sister’s first year of membership and beyond. This relationship and connection can take many different forms. Answering questions that she has about sorority and college life, introducing her to people who have similar interests to her, or encouraging her to apply for a leadership position are just a few ways to support your Little Sister. You may also be the person that she can go to on a rough day and talk about what's going on, or you may take time to check in on her and how she is doing in life and in classes. Essentially, you are a comforting person that she can rely on and that helps ease anxieties and worries.
Looking for a Little
When looking for a Little Sister, it doesn’t have to be someone who you instantly have a deep connection with. We see this a lot through social media and pop culture, however, this relationship can be forged over time. Our recommendation is to make a list of the qualities you look for in a friend! Oftentimes, friendships are formed over many hours- not one single ‘date’ with a new member. Having this list in the back of your mind will help you identify who might be a good fit for you and who can potentially grow into a lifelong bestie.
It may also be beneficial to look for someone who is different from you. Little Sisters also have the power to help their Big learn and grow. For example, if you are more reserved and quiet, someone who is outgoing and speaks their mind may push you out of your comfort zone.
Relationships that Last
Relationships with sisters have the opportunity to last a lifetime. Here are some tips to help guide you through your Big/Little relationship:
Why do you want to be a Big Sister? What do you hope to gain from this experience? Think about where you are in your life right now, your ability and readiness to take on a mentorship role, and the type of commitment you want to make prior to choosing your Little Sister.
Carve out some time with your Little Sister to talk through what you both hope yo gain from the experience. Talking through these expectations will guide your relationship and prevent misunderstandings with one another. It may be awkward at first, but think back to your reflection questions and encourage your Little Sister to do the same. What does she hope yo gain from you as her Big Sister? What are her goals for this year? How does she prefer to communicate (text, call, in-person, etc.)?
Take Genuine Interest
A Big/Little relationship is very personal. To stand out as an amazing mentor, you need to get to know your mentee on a personal level. Become an active listener- make a conscious effort to really, truly pay attention to what your Little Sister is saying instead of thinking about what you are going to say next. You dont need to come up with an answer right away! The best thing you can do for her is to listen closely, ask open-ended questions to dig deeper, and act as a sounding board.
Lead by Example
Being a positive role model may sound like a daunting task. However, your Little Sister can learn a lot from you just by observing how you behave. She is likely to follow your lead, adapt your approach to situations to her own style, and build her confidence through affiliation with you. Be sure to show her how to be a dedicated active sister and student by attending events with her, simply sitting by her at chapter meeting, or even inviting her to your study session.
In the world of sororities, the Big Sister/Little Sister relationship is a cornerstone that goes beyond the initial excitement of Bid Day. It's a connection that has the potential to transform into a lifelong friendship and support system. Big Sisters, as mentors and guides, play a crucial role in shaping their Little Sisters' sorority journeys and beyond. It's not about finding an instant connection, but rather nurturing a relationship that can grow over time! As you embark on this meaningful journey, remember to reflect on your motivations, set clear expectations, and take a genuine interest in your Little Sister's life. Lead by example, demonstrating the values and dedication that define your sisterhood. These bonds have the potential to last a lifetime, offering support, growth, and cherished memories. So, embrace the opportunity to become a Big Sister, and together, create a bond that stands the test of time, empowering each other along the way!