Best: You get to try things earlier than most of your peers because when your brother starts doing it, you kind of get to too. For example, when he starts drinking coffee, you’ll probably be able to finagle yourself a cup (and by cup I mean a decaf mocha frappuccino). You’ll also get to watch super inappropriate things before your time, like Gold Member, because it’s too much of a hassle to find something everyone likes, and eventually your parents will give up forcing your brother to watch the DCOMs you like.
Worst: While getting to do some things earlier than most can be cool, sometimes you will do something that you’re entirely not ready for, but too embarrassed to say so. This can manifest itself in watching Donny Darko at the age of 11 because it’s your brother’s 14th birthday party and you don’t want to be uninvited and seem lame in front of his friends.
Best: Feeling undeniably protected. For all of the differences I’ve ever had with my brother, I’ve grown up with a serious sense of security that can only come from having an older brother who is well over six feet. While his physical size has something to do with it, the sense of protection that comes from an older brother is much more of a mental/emotional state. Yes, any big guy could technically protect you, but with an older brother, you know they’d do anything to keep you safe, and come at anyone with the wrath of a thousand suns, because you are their baby sister and that is an unbreakable bond.
Worst: Feeling over-protected. Having a protective brother is great. Especially when you’re little or it’s late at night and you’re walking somewhere. But somewhere along the way you’re going to want to date and your brother will want to protect you from that. Because he was once a teenage boy, and he knows teenage boys, and thus he never wants you near one. While his overprotection awesomely doesn’t reach to college, unfortunately, when you are both home, whether on break or back in middle and high school, there will eventually come a time when a boy comes over and he answers the door with a shovel.
Best: Being called their little sister. While many people get exasperated with being seen just as someone’s relative, I secretly took a lot of pride when people would say oh your so and so’s little sister! I have always idolized my brother and thought it gave me serious street cred when people knew I was his little sister. It also can make you feel not so alone and unknown when starting at a new place.
Worst: Being called their little sister. Sometimes you don’t want to be pigeonholed; you are your own person goddammit! Sometimes your older brother screwed up big time and you don’t want to be associated with that. His reputation may bring you great favor with his favorite teacher, but also terrible terrible times with his least favorite. Being known as someone’s little sister is a grab bag of good and bad because their reputation contains their entire persona, both awesome and awful.
Best: EYE CANDY. There is nothing better about having an older brother than getting to ogle their hot friends. This also gives you serious credit amongst your friends and your house will become the favorite for after school snacks. Everyday you and a gaggle of girls will show up to eat graham crackers in the hopes of sneaking a glimpse of the angsty floppy haired boys listening to Nirvana upstairs.
Worst: Your brother’s hot friends will never think of you as anything more than their friend’s kid sister. Even if you do blossom into a lovely young lady, they will have seen you in your middle school years and no transformation is powerful enough to erase those horrifying images. Unfortunately, your friends might not just think that your brother’s friends are dreamy, but that your brother is dreamy. This is too weird for your little brain to take in and it will self-combust. Also, eventually your brother will start thinking your friends are hot and that’s just a can of worms you can’t go near.
Best: You have someone to teach you to drink responsibly. He is versed in the ways of partying and has been to college and seen how some girls don’t know how to handle themselves and how guys take advantage of that. He worries about you and wants you to never be in a situation where you can’t take care of yourself. For this reason, he convinces your parents (while on a family vacation where you’re of local age) to let you drink with him. He gives you tips, he paces you, he keeps you humble, but most importantly he teaches you the value of drinking water. Well that, and he gets drunk with you and tells you hilarious stories he would never tell you sober and your bond becomes even deeper.
Worst: He’ll act self-righteous and all knowing, like being 21 makes him some sort of alcohol guru. He will make fun of your beverage choices and try and screw you over by giving you a Long Island Ice Tea as your first drink. Lastly, your friends will come to you for the alcohol hookup since you have an older brother who is over 21 and you will have to disappoint them because he has no interest in being held accountable for aiding a bunch of rando kids in illegal activity.