Siblings: your partners in crime, companions and, sometimes, your kryptonite. They’ve been shinning up the tree of life with you from day one, hiding under the bed until the arguments stop and counting the street lights until you reach your destination.
Here are five reasons your siblings are your best friends.
They’re your best friend for life.
Like so many sibling relationships, you may have grown up detesting each other but with the onset of adulthood often comes an unbreakable bond. Not only is it a hard won relationship – you still bear the scars from your biggest fights - it’s one you will cherish for the rest of your life.
They understand you like no-one else.
Your sibling is your mirror. They’ve seen you naked – literally and metaphorically. They’ve caused you to behave your worst and encouraged you to be your best. They’ve made you wail harder than you’ve wailed in your life and they’ve made you laugh until tears rolled down your cheek and a responsible adult had to intervene. Whether you haven’t spoken in a week or a year, you know that your sibling will ‘get you’ like no partner, parent or friend could.
Alena Hall’s article Proof There’s Nothing Like a Sibling Bond, describes this connection as ‘the comfort felt when you sit in the same room with your brother and sister, in pure silence, yet you both know how the other is feeling.”
They still see you as a child.
Having grown up together, you still see each other as the children you were, from the cheeky five-year-old scaling fences to the quietly nervous 12-year-old starting secondary school.
Seeing and knowing your brother or sister’s internal child – their vulnerabilities and strengths- underpins your sense of mutual understanding in adulthood. Furthermore, hearing about a sibling’s triumphs and failures in adulthood is as likely to provoke the same powerful emotions you felt in childhood.
Matt Ward, 35, brother of 32 year-old Colm, says: “ If Colm gets a new job, I know he struggled at school so it feels great. If I’m honest it can even raise feelings of old sibling rivalry. Equally, if he tells me someone has let him down or hurt him in some way, I want to punch their lights out!”
They’re going to need you one day and you’re going to need them.
It doesn’t matter if you only see each other at Christmas or your sibling is your best-friend; you both know you will need each other’s support at some point.
Even if you’ve fallen out and haven’t spoken in decades, you can guarantee that on your death-bed you will think about your brothers or sisters. Those thoughts might be of regret or even of love but they will never be thoughts of hate.
They know. They just know.
We are all a collection of things; we are the history of ourselves and the history we tell ourselves. Your siblings know exactly who you are, where you came from and what you did growing up. They know your relationship with your parents, your circle of friends and your tricky first loves. They know you were afraid of the dark, how you secretly filled your jacket potato with peas and that it was actually you that smashed the green house door. They could call your BS then and they can do it now. This sibling spider-sense means you can never hide anything. A tone of voice, a shift of the eye and you’re busted mister. The good news is that usually what goes on in siblings-ville, stays in siblingsville. It’s just the rules.