It’s a rite of passage. The first kid to fly the coop, the first to go to college, the first to get their own place – leaving the other siblings to squabble over the biggest bedroom and tend to the parents who are now coming to terms with the fact that one day, they’ll have to deal with empty nest syndrome because their babies are growing up. But something you never quite bank on when you first leave your childhood home is that you’ll wind up growing closer to the people you’re leaving. It’s paradoxical, and maybe it’s rooted in the idea that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but sometimes, all it takes is a change of address to remind you that family really knows no boundaries.
1. Not having to share the same square footage all the time means there’s less room for fights.
Actual wars have begun over two people having to share the same bathroom, I am sure of it. When you finally don’t have to squabble over the remote, or over the music blasting at all hours — or their taste in music for that matter — or the dishes not being done, or somebody coming in at 3 a.m. and waking you up, or borrowing your car without asking or… well, you get it. When you remove all of that cause for interference (and transfer it onto your poor roommate) you can focus instead on all the things you and your siblings do agree on.
2. You’re less up in one another’s business.
Instead of getting annoyed that their boyfriend is over all the time, you now have to catch up with your sister and ask her how the relationship is going. You actually get to talk it out, and hear her opinion on his attributes and shortcomings, rather than witness it all yourself and infer your own judgments on the pairing. Because you’re no longer the firsthand source, you have to communicate to get all the juicy details, and the basis of any good relationship is communication.
3. Seeing them becomes a special thing.
Nobody wants to do a #tbt with the people who live like, five feet away from them — you might as well reminisce back to ten minutes ago if you want a throwback. Instead, when you hit up family gatherings together, it’s usually a special occasion like a birthday or a wedding, and not only do you get to snap all those pictures of you being together, but the photos themselves are commemorating something that is important enough to warrant you being together, and not just a matter of circumstance like being bored and opening up PhotoBooth.
4. All of their questionable habits become less apparent.
The things that we find annoying are most often the things that reflect on what we do – siblings are pretty similar, after all, so that one thing your brother does that pisses you off to no end probably infuriates you because you do it, too. But when you move out and you’re less exposed to it, you become less sensitive to it, too — and you’re much more willing to forgive him a flaw here or there.
5. They become your go-to for what’s happening with your parents.
Between Facebook posts, Instagrams, text messages, and other assorted updates, you can now feel like you actually are there without having to, you know, still live there. Your parents aren’t going to tell you about the fact that yes, they took a leaf out of your book and are now drinking green juice, but your siblings? Your siblings will reveal all. (Bless them for it.)
6. Raiding their closet becomes an adventure.
No longer can you bombard them the minute they’re home from the mall, asking to see what they bought and demanding that you have the right to borrow it before the tags come off. Now you’re in a for a world of surprises – and when you find something that you know they’ll love, you’re much more willing to share it, because it’ll be a surprise to them, too.
7. But they can’t steal stuff from yours at any given moment.
Remember how easy it was when you were living down the hall? They only had to make sure they didn’t disturb anything as they rifled for that one shirt while you were out of the house, and you’d subsequently tear your room apart trying to find it before you saw it on their body. (Traitors.) And now? Well, look. If they can shimmy up into your apartment, coax the spare key out of the neighbor, and maneuver your entirely new organizational system to find that one shirt? That took effort, and they earned it.
Until then, however, it’s up to your discretion when and where they can borrow it.
8. Having a roommate reminds you how great it is to have a sibling.
Roommates can be great people — for splitting the cost of living, for surprising you with extra brownies or wine when they’re in the mood, for feeding your cat when you’re away — but no matter how close you are, it’s still a little creepy to plop down on the couch and snuggle up with them the way you can with a sibling. Nobody’s going to let you get up in their space the way your siblings are.
9. And suddenly…. you’re not shy about being proud of them.
Maybe it’s the distance talking, maybe it’s the fact that they’re sticking it out with Mom and Dad that much longer than you are, but there’s still something about it. They tweet about their accomplishments, you’re all over it. They post a celebratory status update on Facebook, and you’re the first to like it. Not that you didn’t know they were capable of accomplishing such things before, but now that you’re no longer fighting for bragging rights on the fridge — after all, you have your own fridge to decorate as you see fit — you can cheer them on and not feel like they’re infringing on your own success.