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Not everyone is lucky enough to have a big sister.

Now if your relationship with your older sister is still characterized by more hate than love, I can imagine the roar of protest rising within you. You have my sympathies. Aside from never having had an older sister, the worst misfortune that can befall a girl is to have one who never grows into her potential. For the position of Big Sister does have a lot of potential for good.

For those not in the know, the sister who has only been a source of hand-me-downs and snubs in your childhood, at some point starts becoming useful. Cast-off clothes give way to already-done projects, a shared wardrobe and a cheat sheet to everything from school work to boys to life itself. As you take strides into adulthood, she segues into a mentor and best friend. Someone who has gone and scoped out the road ahead, so you don’t have to learn things the hard way.

If you have a good Big Sister like this, you’re probably thinking of her fondly right now. If you don’t, don’t fret. You can always get great life tips from someone else’s!

Never say ‘yes’ when you really want to say ‘no.’

One of the hardest things you have to master in life is the ability to stand up for yourself and what you want, even when it annoys people or offends them. Especially when the ‘people’ are your friends. Just remind yourself when such a conflict arises, that you’re not responsible for their happiness, you are responsible for yours. Giving in to other people’s decisions and views all the time will make you resentful and a bit of a pushover. You can go along some of the time when you don’t care too much about it, but when you do care, make sure you are heard.

Don’t get into a car with a drunk driver. Ever

No matter who they are and how much they insist, and how much you trust them. Whether they’ve had one drink or ten, a cab is safer than someone with compromised judgment behind the wheel. If you think this is little harsh, know this: if the drunk driver you’re with gets into an accident, you can also be charged (for abetment).

When traveling alone late at night, never take a shortcut or a road that you don’t want to be stranded in. Regardless of whether you’re driving or taking a cab, a breakdown in a sketchy neighborhood is not a situation you want to be in. Stick to the main roads, preferably those with cops patrolling.

Trust your instincts more than people

Appearances can be deceptive, and many well-dressed, polite, and charming people can give you the creeps. Whenever your inner radar goes off, trust it even when you’re not sure why it’s beeping.

Always let someone know your whereabouts

This is not just in case you’re ‘taken’ and Liam Neeson has to come rescue you. It’s helpful in case your phone dies, and people need to reach you urgently. To this end, having tracking active on your phone is also a good idea when you’re off alone. You don’t have to share tracking info with everyone; just give it to someone you trust not to stalk you in any way- creepy or concerned- someone like your sister or your best friend. This will also come in handy if your phone is ever lost or stolen, as everyone’s is at some point in life (you’re not alone!).

Put your emergency contact on your phone lock screen

This simple step can help you if you’re ever in an accident or have a medical emergency. Just look for the option to customize your lock screen in your phone settings.

Chances are that many of these life hacks are things you’re already familiar with, suspected or have heard before. You just needed some reassurance to take them seriously. Well, that’s what big sisters are for.

By Sweta Vinod

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