Why Bother Making Friends With Siblings?
You don’t get to select the family you are born into, nor do you get to decide whether or not to be an only child, to have brothers or sisters or to have both. I have three brothers and three sisters and it wasn’t easy for me to get along with so many different personalities. Sometimes I dreamt of being an only child. In my imagination I had my own bedroom, undivided care from parents and a tidy, quiet home.
I never did get any sympathy from Mom whenever I whined about the sister who always left a mess on her side of the bedroom, or about the one who yelled whenever she was left to babysit us. Instead, I got words of wisdom. She told me that if I could not get along with my siblings, I’d have an especially hard time getting along with anybody else. “Learning to get along with people starts at home,” she emphasized. I did not believe her words right away. Surely, there were nicer and more normal people out in the world than the ones I lived with.
I got along well enough with my siblings to survive my childhood. Eventually we all grew up and left home. Some of us, because of our geographical closeness, stayed in touch. An occasional phone call or letter in the mail brought me up to date on life’s current events with the others who lived farther away. We all stayed connected, though loosely.
Recently, I have come to deeply appreciate my siblings, and take more time to spend time with them whether talking on the phone, meeting for lunch or taking a bike ride.
Even though we originated from the same set of parents, the personalities represented by my siblings vary. Some are industrious, responsible and reliable. Not only do they set goals, they set a date to accomplish those goals. Others are empathetic, affectionate and trusting. They are the ones who listen well and sometimes give unsolicited advice. Then there are some who worry, are easily irritated and wrestle with depression. The extroverts of the family are curious and creative and seem to act less practical than some of the more self-controlled ones. When I get together with them, I never know what might happen. In short, none of us are the same, though we do have similarities. We are all polite and respectful.
Growing up around so many different personalities, I could only observe and notice them. Now years later, I value them.
Mom was right. Getting along with people does start with those in your home. It just took a while for her words to become my truth.
Why bother making friends with siblings? It is worth it to make friends with the ones with whom we share the same history. Our personalities may be very different, but those differences can eventually be admired.