Why Having a Sibling is a Blessing and a Curse (but mostly a blessing)

The relationship between siblings is one of the most interesting bonds that I’ve both witnessed and experienced. Of course, not every sibling experience is the same for everyone. Some people hate their sibling, some people consider their sibling to be their best friend, and some people fall somewhere in the middle of those two feelings. Growing up, I remember feeling sorry for one of my friends because she was an only child. But then there were times when I truly wished that was an only child. Having a sibling can be both a blessing and a curse, but it’s mostly a blessing. 

My sister is just under two years older than me. I can’t speak to siblings who have a large age gap, but I know that for me, one blessing of having a sibling was having a built-in friend from the moment I was born. Being close in age to your sibling, especially if you’re the only two, can lead to the start of your first friendship. You grow up together. You experience the good together, and maybe more importantly, you experience the bad together. If you’re lucky, this will be a friendship that you can count on lasting your entire life. 

One curse that comes with being close with your sibling though, is you know how to hurt each other. Those petty arguments that start off small can escalate when you start targeting each other’s insecurities. My sister has made me cry and in return, I’ve said some really nasty things to her in our lifetime. But it was always fine in the end. Because there seems to be this thing with siblings where they never really finish a fight. One minute there are tears and yelling and doors slamming, and the next they’re texting you from across the hall asking if you want to go and get ice cream.  

I think everyone who has a sibling will agree with me on this next one. You can criticize your sibling and talk trash about them all you want, but the second someone else says something bad—unacceptable. Even if you’re in a fight, you know that it’s your job to defend their honor. You’re the only one who can say anything bad about them. It’s just a sibling rule.

Something that can be quite annoying about having a sibling is the competition that comes with it. No matter the age difference or the personality difference or even a gender difference, someone, somewhere will always find a way to compare the two (or more) of you, and not always in the way you want. If your sibling has more success with relationships, school, work or a number of other things, chances are someone will bring it up. Sometimes you yourself will feel it without anyone even saying anything. It can be hard feeling like a failure when your sibling is such a success. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in my sister’s shadow. At the same time it feels like everyone expects me to follow in her footsteps and have a good job, my own place, and be engaged by age 23, which is a lot of pressure. 

There can be some negative sides to having a sibling, but at the end of the day, the positives outweigh those negatives. As you get older, sibling relationships can change if you go from seeing each other every day to seeing each other once every few months. But it’s nice to know that a sibling is someone who will always be there for you, even if they aren’t there physically. With my sister, it’s the little things like snapchatting each other every day to keep our 700+ day streak. Or sending each other funny tweets out of the blue. Or texting each other random questions when we haven’t had a normal conversation in days. Or Facetiming for an hour talking about how weird our parents are. 

There are moments where I can’t stand my sister, and there will probably be many more of those moments to come, but there are also times when I can’t imagine what I’d do without her. So yes, having a sibling is a blessing and a curse, but mostly a blessing.