I have a brother who is 11 months younger than I am. We frequently tell strangers that we're twins. We sat next to each other in chemistry (he was the most useless lab partner ever) and simultaneously hated our precalculus teacher, although we had her in different periods. Most people don't get how we can be related, but there are some things that only siblings as close in age as we are understand.
1. Their friends are your friends.
Somewhere between middle and high school, your friendships circles probably started blurring together. It can't be helped. Your brother frequently joins the conversation when you and your friends are snacking at the kitchen table. Your sister's sleepovers are too loud for you to get any rest so you end up joining her and her friends. You pick up your sibling from band practice or an after school club and their dorky friends end up catching a ride, too. When you go out with your friends for ice cream, you invite your sibling because you know they can't resist a DQ Blizzard.
Sometimes this can be awkward — like when your sibling ends up crushing on your best friend, or vice versa. But mostly it just means you gain twice the friends that you thought you would and get laughed at twice as much when you bicker in public.
2. THEY are your friend.
Also inevitable. Your sibling hears you if you're crying in your room or yelling at your significant other over the phone. Your sibling knows all the people you know and more and, unlike your parents, understands what you mean when you say that so-and-so is such a jerk. Your sibling is there when you're up late and laughing over everything in sight because you're so sleep-deprived; they're sitting on the arm of the couch, watching your favorite show with you when they're bored. When your sibling was born less than a year or two before or after you, there's a lot you have in common with him or her that you don't have with your parents or your much-older or much-younger siblings. And since your sibling lives with you, they know you WAY better than your friends do, whether you like it or not.
3. You are brutally honest with each other.
The brutal honesty that comes with siblinghood is a double-edged sword. Your brother WILL tell you which dress he likes better; he will also tell you that you need to start doing squats or that you have ugly knees. Your sister is, unfortunately, as totally fearless in letting you know that you have no chance with McDreamy from third period or telling you all the rumors about how your significant other is cheating on you, as she is in telling you that you look great today. For better or for worse, siblings will speak what's on their minds. You just have to accept the pros and the cons of it.
4. No clothes? No problem!
This is a person you have known since you were a baby. You probably took baths together until you were five. You may share clothes even now. Your sibling long ago stopped caring whether or not you walk around the house in only your underpants and frankly, you appreciate them for it.
5. Two can keep a secret if one of them is...your sibling.
Your sibling is a year or two older or younger than you. Your friends run in similar circles. There's no way that you DON'T hear about all the crazy stuff they're up to, whether it's from their posse or from their own mouths. Your sibling knows you know and they know you'll keep quiet about it to Mom and Dad. Because let's face it — there are always secrets best kept from the guardian figures. And, you know, this could work well as blackmail someday.
6. Your fights are frequent and stupid.
You fight with your sibling way more often than you fight with your friends. A lot of the time it's over stupid stuff. Mostly there's no risk involved because this is your sibling — they basically have to forgive you. Sometimes, though, your sibling legitimately hurts your feelings or something they do really upsets you. But you get over it anyway because you're stuck living with them.
7. You can be as different as night and day.
Siblings are only similar in personality about 20 percent of the time, according to NPR. Since you're close in age, you were probably raised in a pretty similar environment. However, your parents probably treated you differently depending on if you're the older or the younger child. There's also the theory that when a younger sibling is born, they are immediately put in competition with the older sibling and they subconsciously differentiate themselves in order to avoid trying to fill the older sibling's shoes.
For siblings very close in age, I feel this last part is especially true. In reality it means that you and your sibling are probably very different. When your parents ask you two what kind of ice cream tub to get, one of you says chocolate while the other says vanilla. One of you might love English and the other might hate it with a fiery passion. One of you might be extremely concerned with academics, while the other is more concerned about having a great social life.
It doesn't mean that you have NOTHING in common, but unless you're actually twins, you're likely pointed down some very different paths in life.
8. They know all of your idiosyncrasies.
Did you keep a booger collection under your car seat until you were 10? Do you dance with your cat alone in your room? Do you cry when fictional characters in TV shows or books die? Do you wear your underwear way too long before it goes to the laundry? Do you have a hairball the size of a small animal clogging your bathroom sink? Do you have an embarrassing love for singing "High School Musical" in the shower or have an obsession about emptying the toaster crumbs?
Your sibling knows all of the weird and gross things about you. But then again, you know those things about them, too. At least they aren't judging you. Much.
9. You have each other's backs.
When I was in fourth grade, there was a bully who constantly picked on me and my best friend. My brother, who was eight years old at the time, stole the bully's shoe WHILE HE WAS WEARING IT and threw it down a sewage grate. If that's not solidarity, I don't know what is.
Like I said — your sibling knows you better than anyone and they're your friend. They're close to your age; they know the people you know; they live in the same house that you do. They're going to get you better than almost anyone else will, whether you like it or not. And they'll have your back for whatever you're facing, whether it's a bully, a breakup, a mistake or an identity crisis. They'll do whatever they can to help, be it stealing somebody's shoe or taking you to McDonald's at one in the morning.
Your sibling may get on your nerves, but in the end, you'll be glad that they were with you all along.
Lead Image Credit: Federico Racchi