The Big-Little Relationship: It's For A Lifetime, Not A Little Time

The Big-Little Relationship: It's For A Lifetime, Not A Little Time

I’m not saying you have to be best friends. Just be the best you can be for another person.
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Type ‘sorority, big and little’ in the search tab on Pinterest – pages upon pages, upon pages of gifts, crafts, articles on ways to budget, and reveal pictures, pop up. Picturesque young ladies with a cute tank top that says ‘big’ on it, with her little on her shoulders, their letters gleaming in the background. In every picture, the girls look so thrilled, so enthralled with their new sister; so grateful to have that other person in their life.

For anybody that is new to a sorority or is not in Greek Life at all, the idea of big and little is hard to comprehend. You join a sorority, you get a big; that big also has a big whom they received when they first joined. That big – aka your grandbig – could also have another little; your big’s twin. That twin could have a little of her own, making her your cousin. It’s a family tree with branches and connections, severed ties, and leaves sprouting with every new semester. And it’s no wonder people get confused at the mention of it.

The idea of big and little, however, is very simple. If you are the little, you are not required to be attached at the hip of the big. If you are the big, you are not required to be the best friend of your little. When you take a little, you are signing up to be so much more. It should not be taking someone as a little just to say you have a little. The big is supposed to be the mentor, the best of both a friend and a mother; the definition of a sister. Someone who looks out for their mentee, makes sure their transition from high school to college, teenager to adult (perhaps one of the hardest things a person, especially a young woman, can go through) is as seamless and as enjoyable as can be. Someone who puts their little’s happiness and comfort above all else, within reason. Someone their little can call in the dead of night and count on for something as small as a tampon, or as significant as a broken heart. Someone they know is going to love them no matter what.

Amid this ‘contract,’ the little is bound to some conditions as well. No, they are not required to agree with everything their big does; they are not required to listen to every word they say, for we know deep down, just like a mother to a child, they aren’t going to always listen. But they, too, are agreeing to love their big no matter what. They are agreeing to be trustworthy, patient and understanding, and there for their big whenever they need it. (And trust me, big’s will need it.)

Once you have signed up for this, you’ve signed up for life. This doesn’t mean necessarily being in one another’s wedding or the godmother of their children – although it is a special and revered circumstance when it does happen. This means that, that person knows forever that there is someone out there who cares for them endlessly, even after all else have faded away.

Somewhere along the way, we lose sight of those blissfully happy girls in the photographs; we lose sight of one another. Don’t be ashamed: it happens to all of us. Big or little, it doesn’t matter, sooner or later one begins to take the other for granted. If that’s never happened to you, you’re either A) lying or B) a much better person than the rest of us.

In any journey, there reaches a point in which the roads turn from pavement to gravel, from gravel to the bumpy sod of the earth. We ride along, thinking everything is fine – convincing ourselves of it – firm in believing that the rough patch will end, that we will find pavement once again. We push through, laying our foot harder on the pedal, thinking the more gas we give it, the gentler the ride will be. All the while, thinking, ‘I should have just turned back when I hit gravel.’ But, there is no turning back; we’ve already given it everything we’ve got, and depleted our fuel in doing so. Now, we have two choices: we can either abandon our efforts and turn back, knowing the costs if we do, or we can forge ahead on foot, persistent and true.

Even though the pictures are lovely, some of them aren’t real. (Remember, people, stock photos exist.) Even if they are, they are not true to you and your own situation with your big or little. They are not a portrait to live up to, and you should not enter a relationship with the intention of looking like the girls in the pictures on Pinterest. This relationship is not a show; not a social media goal. We put too much emphasis on what people think of us, whether it’s on social media or the generalized others out in the world – and I’ll be the first to admit I do it too. But the big-little relationship is not founded in the basis of how many cute pictures you can take, how many likes you get, or how many people in your chapter tell you that you and your big/little are #goals. I’d like to think it is worth so much more than that. Just because there’s a problem – or because it strays too far from the photo online – does not mean it’s over. Once you’ve committed – whether you are a big or a little – you do not get to pick and choose who to replace the other because you’re angry. It is a lifelong relationship, and a meaningful one at that. A relationship that you can look back on after your college years and be ultimately thankful for.

So, when you hit the dirt road on your journey – and we all do some time or another – remember what you fought for, what you are still fighting for. Keep going, and don’t let it just be a picture on social media.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.etsy.com/listing/238085298/big-little-shirt-comfort-colors-top?ref=related-1

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49 (one pack), $14.99 (two pack)

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

Price: $79.99

12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

Price: $7.99

13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

Price: $17.19

Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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Being Busy Is A Blessing

Are you feeling thankful for your stress today?

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"Steady as a clock, busy as a bee, cheerful as a cricket." – Martha Washington

In American society, we pride ourselves on our busyness. How many projects we have to juggle at work, how many activities and hobbies we're involved in, how many events we have to prepare for. We love being busy.

Yet, seldom do we take a step back and realize how lucky we are to be so busy.

We love to boast, brag, and compare scars on how much stress we're under. Competitions over who got the least amount of sleep, who has the most deadlines, or who is involved in the most organizations. We complain about how exhausted we are, we sneer at those who have less on their plate than us, and we can't help but second-guess ourselves when we have a day free of any responsibilities.

Have you ever thought about how fortunate you are to be so busy? Think of all the stressors in your life currently – maybe it's school, work, family, romantic relationships. Think of what it is that is taking up so much of your time to make you so busy. In my case, that would be school. Final exams, deadlines, papers, and group projects are nearly swallowing me whole. I seldom talk about much else with my peers.

But, taking a step back from all the stress, I realize that I am so lucky to be so busy. I'm getting an education – something not everyone can say for themselves. I have a roof over my head, a bed to lie in, clothes to keep me warm, and food to nourish my body. On top of all my essentials being more than taken care of, I have the privilege of going to class every day and working towards a degree. How lucky I am to be stressed and busy.

This is not meant to make you feel guilty for the blessings in your life, nor to minimize your stress and anxiety. Your stress is still perfectly valid, especially as a college student. But, it can be rewarding and stress alleviating to take a minute and observe what it is you are stressed over. Grades, projects at work, spats with co-workers or friends, or missing deadlines are all temporary stressors. Those things will pass. Think of the relief you feel when you finally finish that one project. Or the free time that comes as a result of meeting that one deadline. Or even how happy and accomplished you may feel when you have so many healthy priorities filling your life.

Being busy is a blessing. It's not always fulfilling, and it's not always free of stress. But it is a privilege to have a life full of things to do and people to see.

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