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" I think of myself as a writer as much as I think of myself as a linguist and an academic. I really enjoy writing - playing with language and getting just the right metaphor. "
" Our spirits are corroded by living in an atmosphere of unrelenting contention - an argument culture. "
" We tend to assume that we have a baseline of speech that's going to be normal in all contexts, but the truth is, we all change our ways of speaking depending on who we're talking to. And so I think it's kind of a gesture of politeness to the people you're speaking to to try to say something in their own idiom. "
" I was one of those daughters who saw my mother as my enemy when I was a teen. "
" I can't tell you how many times I heard from younger sisters that their older sisters were bossy and judgmental. "
" In this world, conversations are negotiations for closeness in which people try to seek and give confirmation and support, and to reach consensus. They try to protect themselves from others' attempts to push them away. "
" I think it is important to remember that there are so many different ways to be sisters. "
" When did the word 'compromise' get compromised? When did the negative connotations of 'He was caught in a compromising position' or 'She compromised her ethics' replace the positive connotations of 'They reached a compromise'? "
" If you talk to your friends the way your parents talk, they will think you are stiff and odd. "
" New Yorkers seem to think the best thing two people can do is talk. "
" A sister is the one person you can call in the middle of the night when you can't sleep or the one who doesn't want to hear about your problems unless you're ready to do something about them. She's the one who is there when you need her or the one whose absence when you need her hurts the most. "
" Conflict and opposition are as necessary as cooperation and agreement, but the scale is off balance, with conflict and opposition overweighted. "
" When women told me they'd always wished they had a sister, they were thinking of this ideal of mutual encouragement and support. Many of those who have sisters also yearn for this ideal because their relationships with their sisters don't always live up to it. "
" When Clinton first appeared on the national stage back in 1992, the young wife of the Arkansas governor running for president, she kept her natural-brown hair off her face with a headband. "
" A sister is like yourself in a different movie, a movie that stars you in a different life. "
" Sister relationships span a huge range, from best friends to worst enemies. From 'I adore her; I talk to her five times a day' to 'I decided to cut her out of my life.' For most women, it's in between. "
" Many mothers or daughters assume that words only mean one thing. 'If I feel criticised, that has to be the whole story', and 'if I feel I am being helpful, that has to be the whole story'. "
" A sister is someone who owns part of what you own: a house, perhaps, or a less tangible legacy, like memories of your childhood and the experience of your family. "
" Women as mothers grapple with corresponding contradictions. The adoration they feel for their grown daughters, mixed with the sense of responsibility for their well-being, can be overwhelming, matched only by the hurt they feel when their attempts to help or just stay connected are rebuffed or even excoriated as criticism or devilish interference. "
" The trickiest thing about the double bind is that it operates imperceptibly, like shots from a gun with a silencer. "
" Conversations with sisters can spark extremes of anger or extremes of love. Everything said between sisters carries meaning not only from what was just said but from all the conversations that came before - and 'before' can span a lifetime. The layers of meaning combine profound connection with equally profound competition. "
" For most women, the language of conversation is primarily a language of rapport: a way of establishing connections and negotiating relationships. "
" I would say 'woman' used to be a noun, and now it is a noun and also an adjective. And words change their functions in that way. It's one of the most common phenomena about words. They start as one thing, and they end up as something else. "
" The political Right is particularly vehement when it comes to compromise. Conservatives are now strongly swayed by the Tea Party movement, whose clarion call is a refusal to compromise regardless of the practical consequences. "
" Maybe we're kind of predisposed to think that anything a politician does is calculated and therefore suspect. "
" Our ways of relating to each other become like habits. "
" For girls and women, talk is the glue that holds a relationship together - and the explosive that can blow it apart. That's why you can think you're having a perfectly amiable chat, then suddenly find yourself wounded by the shrapnel from an exploded conversation. "
" The effect of dominance is not always the result of an intention to dominate. "
" We tend to look through language and not realize how much power language has. "
" Many mothers and daughters are as close as any two people can be, but closeness always carries with it the need - indeed, the desire - to consider how your actions will affect the other person, and this can make you feel that you are no longer in control of your own life. "
" A double bind is far worse than a straightforward damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't dilemma. It requires you to obey two mutually exclusive commands: Anything you do to fulfill one violates the other. "