1. People often assume you’re an only child: This is always insulting because a) this presumption usually follows a hilarious and/or heartwarming story of someone’s own siblings (“Hahaha oh sisters…You’re an only child, right?”) and b) it’s only natural to assume people presuppose you don’t have siblings due to the stereotypical associations with only child syndrome—selfishness, neediness, and pretentiousness.
2. People often assume you’re an accident and tell you to your face: True or not, still obviously insulting to some extent.
3. Strangers look at you awkward when you go out together: Even as a seven-year-old, you knew the reason behind the stares of onlookers when a twenty-year-old, who genetically resembles you and likely isn’t a paid babysitter, would take you out to eat. Too old to be siblings but too young to be parent-child…right?
4. You either don’t get hand-me-downs, or you get stuff from an entirely different fashion era: T-shirts stamped with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles don’t exactly work when Rugrats is your main crew. A ten-year age difference is too little for hand-me-downs to become retro-cool, but too large to be currently cool, if your parents even a) assumed they’d need hand-me-downs (see #2) and b) kept your siblings’ junk around long enough to hand down to you.
5. The traditions in your family are all out of whack: Just because your older siblings didn’t get cell phones until high school—hell, that’s because they weren’t invented until then—means that you have to follow the same time table, unfortunately. Oh, and your older sister only got $5 per week allowance, so that’s the rule for you too! Who cares about inflation?
6. You’re the only one in your grade school with in-laws, nieces, and nephews: You’ve been a bridesmaid and not just a flower girl, even! Everyone’s jealous but this really just means having to share your siblings with more and more people on holidays.
7. They despise your taste in music: They grew up listening to Widespread Panic while you blasted Backstreet Boys, and this is just one of those differences on which you have to agree to disagree.
8. You’re way too knowledgeable for your age: If sex vocabulary was worth anything, you’d be getting gold stars like no one else; you were probably the only four-year-old that spent every weekday afternoon planted in front of the TV watching Maury and Jerry Springer, and were also probably the first one to ruin the truth about Santa Claus to the kindergarten class.
9. You don’t gain a bond like most other siblings until much later in life: It’s hard for a college student to truly relate to a fourth-grader—blood-related or not. It takes a little longer—and, sometimes it simply takes the magical freedom that comes along with a 21st birthday—to form the sort of friendship that many other siblings share.
10. But when you do, you have best friends for life: Your relationship is sacred because they were your shoulder to cry on, your wisest source of wisdom, and your greatest protector—all without the petty fights that most closer-in-age siblings deal with (for the most part). You have a best friend, a trusted confidant, and a loving leader for the rest of your life, whether you’re still a little bitter about the hand-me-down and lower-allowance situations or not.