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sorority Q&A: dealing with chapter self righteousness…

Q: In the last year or so, my chapter has gotten very touchy & self-righteous. Sisters are lecturing each other incessantly at chapter and elsewhere, and it’s really hurting overall morale. Exec is really causing a lot of this self-righteousness, and we need a morale boost, but I don’t know who to bring this issue up with, because of the irony of complaining about self-righteousness.

A: Self righteousness often creeps into an organization with lots of rules, like a sorority or a church. Some members start to think they are better and more rule abiding than the others. They may honestly feel that they do more for the chapter and therefore care more than anyone else. That leads to lecturing other sisters with a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude. Not very pleasant for the members who are made to feel unworthy.  

It seems like power has gone to the heads of your e-board, and others, to the point where they think they are more virtuous that the rest. As you noticed, this superior attitude will dampen everyone’s spirits. It is wrong to make others feel ‘less than’ and to elevate one’s self to being more angelic. It’s not wrong to bring up this bad trait and try to stop it. You are not being self righteous yourself, if you point out this negative situation and seek a solution. 

If you and a hand full of concerned sisters can address the e-board with some advisors and/or alums present I think that would be best. Approach the situation in the most professional way possible. With a caring attitude and a loving heart, you can bring forth your concerns. Give general examples of how the sisterhood is made to feel inadequate and depressed when they are lectured to “from on high.” Remind your chapter leadership that not everyone has the same sorority goals and commitment levels, most sisters are trying their best, how emphasizing the positive will get better results, etc… Present your list of exactly what you see going wrong and what can be changed to mend it. 

Maybe your chapter needs a positive Points System to keep track of member’s behavior ~ instead of annoying nagging by sisters. If you have a system in place for regulating attendance/participation, it takes the judgement away from fellow sisters. You need to take the personal and emotional element out of it. Replace the feelings with a non-emotional, practical plan. These are the points that probably need to be worked on in your chapter ~ 

  • Balancing the work load so some sisters don’t feel like martyrs   who do it all. Which leads them to being self righteous and looking down on others. Maybe you need more chairs and e-board positions to help shoulder the load, 
  • More recognition of the sisters who contribute a lot. If the ‘doers’ are patted on the back more, they will calm down a little. Plan more things like sister of the week, sister of the month, academic awards, volunteer awards, spirit awards ~ you name it! 
  • Emphasizing the positive more than the negative. There are always two ways to approach an issue. See if your chapter can use the carrot more than the stick. Beating people up doesn’t work. Encouraging and enticing them to action does work. 
  • Organize an impartial Points System that takes the personal judgment calls out of the equation. Standards issues should only be discussed in private, not at every chapter meeting. And attendance problems should be purely by the numbers on the Points Plan. 
  • Acknowledge your ‘general’ membership more often with treats, awards and surprises to elevate their moral and get them more involved. With better behavior, the lectures will be reduced. Entice everyone to attend meetings and events with happy themes, fun surprises and good times for all. The joy has slipped out of your chapter and it must be brought back. 

I hope you can bring these things up to your sorority and your sisters will agree that a change needs to take place. A new light needs to shine in your sorority house again. Your sisters hearts should be filled with expectation and happiness, not dread and fear. xoxo ;)

"Get around the right people. Associate with positive, goal-oriented people who encourage and inspire you." ~ Brian Tracey

"Shout praise, whisper blame. Sow encouragement, reap enthusiasm." ~ Michael Rawls

sorority Q&A: making chapter changes…

Q: My sorority is going through a lot right now, we have never been very close and there are cliques. We have tried many things to get the clique problem out of the way but some of the girls are so stubborn. Even though I am not in a national sorority, we still do the same things that national ones do. Although some of our traditions are boring and sketchy. How do I take charge? And do you have any advice on how to fix the clique problem? Im getting very discouraged. Thank you!

A: I am sorry your sorority is having so much trouble getting along. The #1 way to effect change is to get into a position of authority. That means running for office and holding a power position within the chapter. You will sit on the executive board and have a legitimate way to influence things for the better. You must put yourself into a position where you can propose new ideas, call for a vote, convince others of your viewpoints and be able to implement your improvements. Only by stepping up and taking the reigns can you accomplish any real change. You need to work with other chapter officers, your advisor and alumnae to get your chapter under control and back on track. Run for office - set some goals - make a difference! 

There will always be cliques in ANY group. In sororities, classes, offices, volunteer organizations, clubs, you name it. And since girls prefer to socialize with other girls that they really like, you can’t force them to totally blend together 24/7. If you try to mandate friendships it will never work. But you can balance out the cliques by bringing everyone together for more unity time and sisterhood bonding. If you have a chapter “points system” you can increase your membership togetherness with some additional mandatory events. Your sisters sound very undisciplined and additional structure may be just what your chapter needs!

A chapter can also require respectful behavior and politeness from it’s members. Cliques of friends should not be nasty or mean spirited. Mutual respect and regular togetherness is the goal. This can be achieved through more sisterhood socials, crafting parties, retreats, meetings, fundraisers, etc… Hopefully these things will keep the entire membership connected and everyone can bond over your sorority mission. xoxo ;)

"Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better." ~ Richard Hooker

"Define your goals in terms of the activities necessary to achieve them, and concentrate on those activities." ~ Brian Tracy

big/little problems: not-so-nice big…

Q: My big and I used to be inseparable and now she barely talks to me. She only talks to this other sister who it seems like she would rather have as her little than me. I once heard them talking about me on the phone and it really hurt. She also calls the other girl her Pseudo Little. I feel like she doesn’t want me as her little anymore. Then when I distance myself because I am sad about that, she makes our “broken relationship” seem like it’s my fault. I don’t know what to do!

A: I’m afraid your big is being very emotionally manipulative! And passive aggressive too. She has put you in a no-win situation. And the “other little” competition is also not nice. All around she is being unkind. I’m sorry you are going though this. 

Right now your big is favoring the other sister and not being a true friend to you. To preserve your sanity and protect your heart, I think you must follow your instincts and distance yourself mentally (and a little bit physically as well). Be more stealth about it, so she doesn’t blame you. Don’t tell her you are stepping back, just get really busy with other fun activities and campus events. Join a new club, run for chapter office, take an additional class, whatever will point you in a new positive direction. If you are honestly preoccupied with other things, it will give you a new lease on life and it will take you out of your big’s zone of unhappiness. You can smile, be cheerful and say you are soooo busy with your new activities that you don’t have time for this sister drama. 

Create a new lifestyle for yourself not out of sadness, but out of strength and self-esteem. No longer will you be second banana to a pseudo little, or be neglected by your distant big. If she has moved on, then so can you. Nothing would be better than for you to stop being put down and be so extremely thrilled with your new involvements, that you don’t even give this situation a thought. Don’t say a word about your new plan or why you are doing it ~ just do it. If your big asks what you are up to, say you are loving your new Zumba class, or your new position on the chapter e-board.

Life is too short to be snubbed by other people, even your big. When you are energized and assertive, you will cease to me a victim in your big/little relationship. All the while, continue to be pleasantly polite and do you part as a little. You can meet your obligations without being hurt all the time. In your mind and in your daily life, you have moved on to new positive experiences. Start today! xoxo ;)

"In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do. The worst thing you can do is nothing." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

big/little problems: the disinterested little…

Q: I absolutely adore my little, but I don’t get the same feeling from her. I don’t think she hates me, but I think she wishes that someone else was her big and it hurts. I keep trying to reach out to her, but when we spend time together, she always seems disinterested in what I have to say. True, not every big/little pair is perfect, but I don’t know where to go from here. I want us to get closer, but I feel like I am doing everything I can to build our relationship. Tips?

A: I am remind of the old saying - "you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink." You can be friendly, loving, charming and wonderful, but if a sister (or boyfriend) is not that interested, there is not much else you can do. Relationships are challenging and mysterious things. In big/little pairs and romance alike, you can not make someone click with you. In your case, I would recommend you stay the course, remain supportive and friendly and let go of your higher expectations. For your own peace of mind, if you can accept the limitations of your friendship you will be less disappointed. Not everyone has a deep well of emotion to give. Your little is not trying very hard to make your partnership work, but she may come around eventually. Building any bond takes time and patience.

I suspect your little is a bit self centered and not a very giving person. She sounds distracted and preoccupied with other things in her life. She may never be a super close friend, but you can have a pleasant relationship. If you come to terms with her personality and stop trying to make it more intense, you will find peace of mind. Your longing for more will subside when you realize this may be all that she is capable of. If a more loving relationship develops over the years, fabulous. But if not, you have adjusted your expectations to fit her style. Stop killing yourself trying to make her super close. Trying too hard can drive her away even more. Relax and let some things develop naturally…

Continue to do the right things as a big and also explore other friendships within your chapter. There are many terrific sisters in every sorority and the big/little pair is not the only game in town! When you balance your life with more supportive relationships, it will put your big/little problems into perspective and take the pressure off. xoxo ;)

"When you can’t have what you want, it’s time to start wanting what you have." ~ Kathleen A. Sutton

There is a sorority on my campus with an official philanthropy that I find it hard to be enthused about (I'm going to avoid naming names or organizations for the sake of not causing any drama). I want to show panhel love and not talk trash, but not all charity organizations are created equally and many with the issue that this charity tries to support have spoken out against it as being awful and problematic. How do I balance being panhellenic while sticking to my guns on this issue?

Asked by
the-girl-hannachronism

I am pretty sure I know which philanthropy you are speaking about and like any issue there are always two sides. Just because “many” or “some” people speak out against something doesn’t make it scientific fact. There are too many emotions and antidotal evidence clouding the true facts on some topics. There are just as many supporters of a cause as there are detractors. Few things in the world are 100% proven beyond all doubt, and that’s why a level headed person will consider all sides and give some things the benefit of the doubt. Remaining cautiously open minded is a healthy trait to have. 

Bottom line, you can certainly have your own opinions and I hope you research ALL sides before coming to your own conclusions. But that doesn’t mean you have to “trash talk” another charity. Keep your views to yourself! There are thousands of other hot topics you could embrace and many other crusades you can go on. Millions of people are helped by the philanthropies that sororities support and it’s really not your place to badmouth one within your own greek community. For panhellenic politeness and graciousness choose another soap box while you are in college. Campaign for animal rights, fight against drug abuse, save the rain forest, but reserve your anti-sorority-charity activites for later.

If you are so driven against this one charity, you can always do your part later, when it doesn’t offend your fellow greek sisters. There is a time and a place. You will have your whole life to set the record straight on this issue if it means so much to you. But right now, it’s not your chapter’s philanthropy, so I would suggest taking the kind approach and step aside. Another piece of humble advice ~ beware of dogmatic zealots who think they have all the right answers. They are frequently wrong and hurtful in the name of righteous indignation.  xoxo ;)

Hi, so I'm in a sorority and I have a big who I love so much and the bigs just found out about their littles. I don't know if this is normal of not, but my big just took two littles and I'm a little upset. I know she just wants to help the chapter and all, but I don't know how to be happy for her, even pretending. Please give me advice.

Asked by
taken-by-a-cloud

MANY chapters have a tradition of 1 big + multiple littles! It’s pretty common and a chapter necessity sometimes. Two new littles is a lot, but hopefully they are great sisters and fun to be around. Instead of seeing it as a drawback, view it as a way to have MORE close sisters in your life. A flourishing family line is a happy family line! More connections, more good times, more laughs, more strong bonds ~ more of everything! This can be all positive, not negative in any way. These are the words that should be at the forefront of your mind right now: 

  • Additional
  • Further
  • Added
  • Extra
  • Increased
  • New
  • More
  • Better
  • Greater 

Following those positive key words ~ please ADD the word LOVE!! If you have the attitude of increasing the joy in your life and in the life of your big, then all your self-centered thoughts should melt away. Would you deny your beloved big the chance for more happiness? Should you focus only on what you might loose, instead of what everyone can gain? Should your feelings alone rule the day? With more thought, you are sure to realize that it’s better to put your big’s wishes ahead of your own, and with a new attitude, your feelings will grow warmer as well. No one can have too many friends and your family was just blessed with more sugar. Be happy. Share, count your blessings, be gracious, share some more and open your heart to the possibilities ahead. xoxo ;)

"We shall light a candle of understanding in our hearts which shall not be put out." ~ Jewish Proverb

If someone drops there sorority, does that mean they can never return?

Asked by
partyydontstopp

It depends on the sorority. In many NPC chapters, if you are initiated and you drop out later, you cannot reinstate your membership for any reason. You can NEVER return. The finality of that decision is why I counsel so many girls to not disaffiliate from their chapters. They may want their sorority membership later in life and they can never get it back. An emotional college decision can change the rest of your life when it comes to sorority membership. It’s tough if you are a short sighted college student, then you mature, and you later regret leaving your sisterhood forever. 

Some NPC chapters do not have this hard and fast rule. They allow for “second chances.” Some chapters also pledge adult members who were never in a college sorority, while others stick to only collegiate first time members. Some sororities allow temporary breaks in membership and then reinstatement, or have an ‘early alum’ program. The membership policies vary quite a bit within the collection of 26 NPC chapters. 

If you drop out before you are initiated, then yes you have a chance to rejoin that chapter, or pledge a different chapter later. It’s only after you go through the secret initiation rituals that it becomes much tricker. So if you feel the need to drop, please do it before you are fully initiated. After that you cannot join a different NPC sorority and you probably can’t get back with your original chapter either. Disaffiliating is serious business and not to be taken lightly. 

If I could wave my magic wand, I would allow for all chapters to have a “re-entry” program where under very special circumstances a member could petition to re-affiliate again. I have seen the pain of women who made a bad decision in college and have since turned things completely around and have earned the chance to be reinstated. As alumnae they have so much to offer. If a candidate was truly worthy and the situation was appropriate, I think this would be a blessing to the organizations and to the members who would love to be connected again. But many sororities do not agree with my personal opinion! So it’s best to protect your membership in all but the worst situations ~ just in case you value it more at an older age, for your daughter’s legacy and a variety of other reasons. xoxo ;)

i go to a tiny catholic school, and i am the president of a local sorority. i love my sisters; they are the best friends i've ever had. but sometimes i wish i had experienced greek life at a larger school with panhellenic sororities (we have two national organizations, the rest local). national sororities seem more "official" and i would love to have sisters all over the country to share rituals and values with.

Asked by
champagnebubble-s

Every greek journey is different! I think to put your heart and mind at ease, you should think about all the benefits to your smaller sorority! The grass is not always greener on the other side. While large national organizations are nice, they are not perfect in every way. The benefits you long for, come with their own set of challenges. 

Everyone chooses a path in life and we can’t walk on the other path at the same time. I wish I was a movie star, the first lady, or the editor of Vogue magazine! But my life path did not take me there. So I value the good things that I do have and count the blessings in my world. You chose a small private school and not a large public university. That decision alone, set you in a certain direction. Every choice we make determines our life experience one way or the other. If you had really wanted a big bold greek life, you would have been drawn to a huge university in the first place. But you weren’t. Your “calling” is to make a difference within your local chapter. 

Please think about the many benefits of what you DO have, and let go of dreaming about what you don’t! When you can’t change something, there is no point agonizing about it. Focus on what you can change going forward, instead of regretting decisions you made in the past. Acceptance of what IS will help settle your emotions. These are some of the benefits of your sorority that I can think of ~ 

  • You are President of your chapter! An opportunity you probably would not have had in a large, competitive sorority. Amazing opportunity to make your sisterhood a better place. Your dear chapter needed you and you were there for them. Leave your mark. 
  • Loving and knowing all your sisters! In many mega chapters, the sisters don’t even get to know each other that well. Or there is lots of in-fighting and girl drama. A smaller, peaceful sisterhood is a real blessing. Less members often means less problems. You say your sisters are the "best friends you ever had" ~ enough said!
  • Flexibility and freedom are yours! Without ALL the restrictions and directives from a national organization, your chapter is free and independent. You can make decisions on the ground level and not be burdened with requirements, rules and mandates from on high. Not having a complex set of bylaws and obligations is liberating. 
  • Sweet sorority savings! There’s no way your small local sorority is as expensive as a national chapter. You have experienced the best of greek life and saved your family a lot of money. That is definitely a benefit for most people. Dues, fees, party expenses, fashions, gifts, travel, retreats, national obligations and more really add up for NPC members. It is a burden for many members, and you did not have that financial strain. 
  • Close friends mean more than a network of members! While a nationwide collection of members is helpful, you would not really know them personally. They are just numbers across the country. If you stay in touch with your sisters after college, remain an active alum and support your college ~ you will have all the university friends you need. Thousands of alumnae and active sisters is fabulous, but not necessary for a full and enriching life after graduation. 

"Appreciate what you have, accept the blessings waiting for you to need them, and above all - realize that Source from which it all comes." ~ Michael Rawls

my chapter's reputation has been suffering lately. our leadership team thinks one of the main reasons is that our sisters lack the confidence to form strong relationships with other greek communities on campus and to put themselves out there in order to meet PNMs before recruitment. how would you encourage girls to try new things, meet people from other sororities and fraternities, and invest more pride in themselves and in their chapter that's considered 'isolated' and 'bottom tier' by others?

Asked by
iamofficiallywhelmed

First of all, you can’t expect miracles overnight! To elevate a chapter, change the sorority personality and recruit a new breed of members takes time and hard work. Every member will need to get on board and put herself out there to attract new members. These are some steps you might want to consider:

Reviving your lifeless chapter:

  • Seek help from your national HQ ASAP. They should have education and assistance for improving your chapter. No organization wants to see a chapter suffer and they should partner with you on realizing your full potential. ASK for help and take advantage of any and all assistance you can get. 
  • Invite a motivation speaker to inspire your sisterhood. There are seminars, speakers and programs you can use to teach your members how to me more outgoing, more polished and better recruiters. Explore the options in your area and get the best help you can in motivating your sisters to step up their game. Personal motivation is important, but you might also look into fashion, beauty and fitness consultations for working on your total package inside and out. 
  • Develop a new campus plan and then execute it. Your most thoughtful members need to reorganize your greek life calendar and then put it into action. Not every girl needs a vote on your chapter social schedule, fundraising events and interactions with other greeks. If they are lacking then simply correct what you can and tell your chapter it’s a new day. If they don’t comply, then you should have a Points System in place to compel them into action. They need to get with the new program or face fines and other consequences. Time to say what you mean and mean what you say. The lazy days are over! 
  • Launch a higher profile immediately. One thing you can do right away is to start being seen on campus whenever possible. Table with the other greeks, participate in other chapter’s fundraisers and sales, attend socials and competitions where every chapter is invited. It doesn’t take much to turn your “on campus visibility” around fast. Even if your displays or apparel is lacking, it’s a start. A few cute tee shirts and a fresh banner wouldn’t hurt either! 
  • Find 2 new friends. To ease into your new sorority profile, bond with one other like-minded sorority and one other friendly fraternity. If you can partner with just one of each for socials and other activities it will give your sagging moral a boost. Especially helpful if there is a fun loving fraternity that will light a spark in your sisters. Build your greek connections one house at a time. Let some other chapters invigorate your standing, and you will benefit from their camaraderie. 
  • Set an inspiring GOAL. Your sisters need a new goal to shake them out of their complacency. Take a brief poll and find out what would really light their fire and motivate them to action. What reward would kick them into gear? Repairing the sorority house? A fancy formal? A weekend retreat with in a favorite location? Whatever will you can tempt your sorority with, something that is truly special, may be the key to getting them involved. IF they accomplish the tasks laid out for them in the new plan, then they earn their fantastic reward. Meaningful goals are huge motivators when they match the needs and wants of the group. 

Hopefully some of these ideas will help! Stress the urgency of the situation to your sisters, present your new plans, offer them rewards and consequences and start stepping it up. With strong leadership you can get this ball rolling. Don’t underestimate the power of an effective leader in this situation. A motivational president and active e-board is vital to jumpstarting the revitalization of your chapter. Just do it! xoxo ;)

sorority Q&A: a tale of two sisters…

{SS note to this follower: the way you submitted your question, I was unable to answer privately, so I have totally edited this question to make it Anon instead. I really wanted to answer!}

Q: I rushed several years ago and got into a sorority, and met my current best friend in my chapter. I had doubts about my sorority, but I initiated with her anyways. Fast forward to now, and I’ve gotten to the point where I would drop my sorority in a heartbeat if I could. I really don’t feel anything towards my sorority, and while there are some really awesome girls in my chapter, I don’t like 98% of the girls, and I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual.

However, my friend doesn’t want both of us to drop. She has heard that membership will help her in the future, and she believes we have come this far ~ so we should stick it out. I really don’t think it will help her get ahead and her 2nd reason is just ridiculous. It’s like staying in a marriage just for the kids or because of how long the couple has been together. She also wants the benefits and gifts of senior year in our sorority. Which I find silly too.  

I know she doesn’t like the sorority either, and I don’t know what to do. Do I try to push her even more to quit? Or do I just ride it out with her? She is graduating before me, which means I will be all alone for a semester after I study abroad. What should I do?

A: OMG! Your friend DOES LIKE your sorority!! She just doesn’t know how to stand up to you and your extreme negativity! DO NOT convince her to quit. DO NOT push more arguments on her. She is 100% right in maintaining her membership for her years left in college, current friendships, alumnae connections, career networking, etc… etc… She does not hate it like you do and never has. From the beginning YOU had doubts and wanted to quit, not her. You tagged along with her. Please don’t mix up your two personalities. She is grasping at straws to find any excuse to stay, thank goodness. Her future self will thank her current self for hanging on for dear life in the face of your pessimism. I beg you to separate your two viewpoints and not lump your strong opinions in with hers. 

Your sister values something called commitment. To use your marriage example ~ staying in a marriage because you made a commitment, had children and 25 years of togetherness is not a bad thing. If your friend still sees value in her membership, looks towards the future and is honoring her initiation promises, that’s not a bad thing either. Lifelong membership is MORE than just the girls in your chapter today. Your friend may not love everything about your sorority, but she is wise enough to not throw it all away. Bless her!  

YOU do not need to “ride this out” with your friend if you don’t want to. If you can’t face another semester in your chapter, then by all means please depart. But don’t take another sister with you. I don’t think you have given your sorority a fair shake, even though it provided you with a dear friend. There is no way that you can hate 98% of the sisters and it not be mostly your fault. You never gave it your all, you never respected your organization and you have tainted the entire experience with your unhappiness. PLEASE chart your own course and seek new experiences if you feel the need. Since you think so little of your sorority, you can go at any time. Nothing and no one can stop you!

If-if-if you somehow choose to stay ~ then the bad mouthing has to stop immediately. If you remain a member, there can be no more nastiness, no more campaigning to drop, and no more criticizing your sister for staying true to her obligation. With the time you have left, you might actually try to turn over a new leaf and open your heart and mind to a new reality. It will take a miracle, but with a fresh outlook, you could turn this around. What a different world it would be if she prevailed and her positive attitude rubbed off on you. Real friends bring out the best in each other, not drag each other down. I am going to find a star and wish for a sorority miracle tonight! xoxo ;)

"Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? I do believe I have been changed for the better. And because I knew you… Because I knew you… I have been changed for good…” ~ Wicked - ’For the Good’

sorority Q&A: facing consequences!

Q: I honestly have run out of options and I don’t know what to do. My sorority is on interim suspension at my college. My national organization investigated us and cleared us. Now our school put us on suspension until they do an investigation. What we did was not bad, and it is in the past. We have not continued our old awful acts and habits. We changed as a sorority and now, I feel like we are getting punished for our past and not moving forward. I was wondering if you could give me some sort of hope that what my school is doing is just protocol?

A: I am so sorry to hear about your chapter troubles! THIS TOO SHALL PASS! If there was misbehavior in the past, the university has the obligation to investigate on it’s own. Even though your national organization has cleared your membership, the college doesn’t know if that’s totally legitimate. They need their own information to verify that everything is ok and your sisters are behaving properly. The university is legally responsible for what happens to their students on campus. In this day of crazy lawsuits, every institution needs to protect themselves carefully. And greeks are frequently under extra scrutiny, due to their reputation at some schools. Your administration is being responsible and cautious!

If your sisters are now on track, your suspension is just an extra inconvenience. All part of “paying the price” for whatever went wrong and another life lesson. Take this time to BOND as a sisterhood and learn from your mistakes. This should make a big impression on the members and keep them in line for many years to come. Once your sorority is back to full power, every girl should appreciate it ten times more and should guard your chapter reputation carefully in the future. By going through this ordeal together, you will hopefully grow closer. See this strife as a way to connect, mature and value what’s really most important in a sorority ~ each other. xoxo ;) 

"Every choice carries a consequence. For better or worse, each choice is the unavoidable consequence of its predecessor. There are no exceptions." ~ Gary Ryan Blair

"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are." ~ Marcus Aurelius

sorority Q&A: fed up with sisterhood…

Q: I’ve gotten to where I really don’t like anyone in my sorority BC of petty shit. Everyone has been really petty to everyone else. And I feel like I’m going to treat everyone the way they treat me. I don’t want to see them and I don’t want to be nice.

A: RISE ABOVE IT! Many sisters feel this way at one time or another. When you get a large group of girls together, there are bound to be problems. Emotions run high, sisters are competitive, girls are immature and unless there is strong leadership from your organization ~ things can get out of control. But when you find yourself in an unhappy place you must consider what’s best for you in the long run and what type of person you want to be. Rather than stooping to the lowest level, you should strive to treat others “as you wish to be treated”, not “how they treat you!” You are better than that the petty crap that’s being dished your way. 

Instead of giving up, what if you took the LEAD in turning this around? Don’t just try to be nice. Take action to correct the corrosive problems before they bring your sisterhood down. Here are some things that I would recommend you try ~ 

  • Go to your chapter advisor (if the e-board is hopeless) and express your frustrations. Get help from a higher authority to mend your chapter. Other sisters must be very unhappy as well. Be their representative in seeking assistance. Your membership and personal happiness are WORTH trying to save! 
  • Be totally neutral. You don’t have to be fake and sweet and you don’t need to be mean and nasty. But you can be unresponsive. Don’t take the bait. Don’t get involved in petty arguments. Just stop being engaged with the nastiness. When you step back, the mean girls can’t hurt you anymore. When sisters are mistreating you, just become unavailable. Take a break from your social media and stop reading and listening to negative talk. 
  • Go a new direction! When things get unpleasant in a tight group, it’s time to explore some outside adventures. You don’t have to be ugly to your sisters, instead, turn your attention to several new clubs, activities, exercise, hobbies, classes, non-greek friends, employment, panhellenic involvement, etc.. etc… There is soooo much more to college life than just your sorority!! When too much focus is put on the problems of sisterhood, a girl totally looses perspective. One way to survive is to have more outside interests and a more balanced friendship circle. 

Some space, some fresh air and some new projects will totally ease the tension you are feeling now. Instead of matching unhappiness with unhappiness ~ take some positive step towards growing as a person and keeping your good character! Take the high road today. xoxo ;)

Also please check out my recent post on ‘Ways to Be a NiCER Sorority Sister’:

http://sororitysugar.tumblr.com/post/77750869887/how-to-be-a-nicer-sorority-sister#notes

Hey! So one of the pledges of my sorority is currently dating my ex-boyfriend (who is a member of a fraternity). My ex-boyfriend and I had an extremely messy breakup and we were still involved when the two of them got together. I am having a hard time being around this girl at events, and we have a lot of official pledging events coming up that we will both be at. Do you have any advice for how to deal with being respectful to her, even if my feelings are hurt? Thank you!

Asked by
theoceansanchor

Whyyyyy do sisters do this? Agghghgh. There are lots of fish in the sea and I really wish that sorority members would date OTHER guys, not former boyfriends of their sisters. It’s hurtful and the source of so much pain and drama. I feel for you! 

First of all, you don’t have to get up close and personal with this particular girl. There will be lots of sisters at your chapter events, and you are more than welcome to spend time in close proximity of other girls. Avoidance is my #1 advice. There is no reason to engage with her specifically or stir up sad feelings. Just pretend like nothing is wrong, put a smile on your face and focus on all the other wonderful pledges and actives. Don’t go out of your way to be unpleasant, just float by in a different “dimension.” You are calm, cool and above the past messiness. If you mentally place yourself away from the memories, and your current feelings for this new member, you will be able to be in the same room. Compartmentalize!

Don’t give your Ex or his new girlfriend the pleasure of seeing you squirm. If you aren’t completely recovered yet ~ ACT as if you are! Act “over it” in every way. If you had a fabulous new boyfriend who was 10 times better and everything was amazing in your life, you wouldn’t care about the past breakup - at all. You would be thankful it ended. Pretend that scenario is exactly the case. Let them have each other! You have moved on to bigger and better things. Don’t give this pledge any power over you.

Bottom line: How you ACT is supremely more important than how you FEEL. If you come in contact with the problem sister, you act cooly polite and promptly move on to speaking with someone else. By being dignified and above the fray you show real CLASS. xoxo ;)

"The best way out of a difficulty is through it." ~ Anon

So my big and I were really close, but them there was some drama within the sorority that I was involved with and when it ended she never talked to me anymore and I almost feel like she hates me. Because we talked all the time and now we don't. She's going to nursing school next semester and I didn't even know until I saw it on twitter. What do you think I should do?

Asked by
samprice95

I would give it some time, but always keep an open door and an open heart. Time really does heal many hurts and with more maturity on all sides, your relationship can still be mended. Stay in touch from a distance and remain upbeat. If you see an announcement on Twitter, don’t get mad, just respond with a happy ‘Congrats’ message like any other friend. Just be a regular girlfriend and lightly communicate when you can.

Your positive and warm comments may build to more one day. If your heart and attitude remains welcoming, she may see your support and loyalty as meaningful over time. If needed, apologize for the past, set things straight and tell her you wish to patch things up. Once the air is cleared, just continue to be a faithful sister, even if the attention is not returned. Either you will both move on, or you may be reunited in the future. Keep your options open, remain a decent person and extend the olive branch… hopefully she will respond! xoxo ;)

"A loving heart is the truest wisdom." ~ Charles Dickens

When I rushed this Spring, there were 2 houses I really liked but I felt more comfortable and could see myself having a great time with the girls in one house more than the other. However, they did not give me a bid but I know a couple of girls in that sorority and they said they loved me and wish they could've given me a bid. The other sorority is possibly going to give me a bid but I know few girls in there and I'm afraid if I join this house, I will still want to join the other house. Advice?

Asked by
mindyminowa

The answer depends on how much RISK you can personally tolerate! There are NO guarantees for getting a bid from your #1 choice. The word sounds good for a future opportunity, but that’s a long way from recruitment, an entire chapter vote and a legitimate bid. I don’t know how much the sister’s “sweet talk” really means. If they loved you so much, why didn’t they offer you a bid during recruitment? I know things happen, but I would be cautious. But…. you can take a chance and wait to give your favorite chapter a second try!  

On the other hand, you may have a sure offer coming soon from house #2. As the saying goes “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” If you have a firm bid and a chance to start greek life in a sorority that you like very much, then that’s a sure deal! Just like picking one dress over another, or even one boyfriend over another, once the decision is made, you shut the door to the other possibility. You’ll never have a crystal ball and hindsight is torturous. If you join chapter #2 then you can’t second guess your decision. Choice made and time to move forward happily. 

Bottom line: If you wait for sorority #1, you may not join greek life, or at least not for awhile. Do you want to take that risk? I personally would seize the opportunity presented to me and join the chapter which offers me a bid first! If I liked the sorority a lot, then I would want to join the sisterhood which wants me. Don’t worry about the road not taken. Instead make the most of where you find your offer of membership! xoxo ;)