1. When you first meet our family, it might come off more as an interrogation than a harmless introduction. Bear with us. It’s just because we’re all always looking out for each other, so our family wants to make sure you’re “good enough” for us. But once you pass the test (which you WILL, or we wouldn’t have brought you home in the first place), you’ll get to join in on the fun from the other side when our siblings bring people home.
2. Our family dinners are less about having conversations and more about performing. We’re always “on.” Everybody’s always doing some kind of bit. There are constant stories and jokes and roasts and remember when‘s.
3. Like, if you join us for dinner, at any given moment, you will feel like you’re listening to several different stand-up routines, as opposed to joining in on a normal, quiet, family-oriented meal.
4. We have big personalities. We’re often very friendly, outgoing, enthusiastic, sometimes loud, silly, goofy, the list goes on. Growing up, we found that the louder or sillier we were, the easier it was to be heard. And that still has an influence on who we are today.
5. But that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to be serious. We learned early on that communication is the only way to make a relationship last without wanting to kill the other person. So whenever you need to talk to us, we’re there to listen. We might crack a few jokes at first, but once we know you need to be serious, we can be serious too.
6. If you come to any of our siblings’ high school or college graduations with us, just know that we’re that family. “Please hold all of your applause and cheering until all names have been called.” Us: “YESSSS MARK WE LOVE YOU OMG YAY MARK!!!”
7. Loyalty is one of the most important things in the world to us. Growing up surrounded by people who loved and cared about us made us realize at an early age that family and friends are everything. Nothing is more important to us than maintaining close relationships with people we can trust, people we can count on, people who support us – and people who will let us love them, support them, and care for them right back.
8. We know how to fend for ourselves. Growing up, our family was always loving and supportive, but it was also a clusterfuck. Our parents had to take care of multiple people at the same time, so although we had happy childhoods, we also learned how to make our own lunches, how to read ourselves to sleep at night, how to pick out our own outfits in the morning. Sometimes that led to us wearing a Halloween costume to school. But whatever, we were independent.
9. We have a thick skin. Bigger families tend to rag on each other constantly. And it doesn’t stop after childhood. It usually gets more hilarious, but also more aggressive, as everybody moves into adulthood. So we’re used to taking crap from people, coming up with retorts on the spot, defending ourselves, and knowing how to take a joke.
10. But we can still be sensitive sometimes. We’ve learned to put on a brave face and laugh things off, but we’re still emotional people. You’ll just have to learn to drag things out of us, even if it means pestering us for a solid twenty minutes before we even admit something is bothering us.
11. Drive-thru’s are not a “quick stop” when we’re all in the car together. They’re an event. First somebody just wants a medium Coke. Then somebody wants a small fry and the next thing you know, we’re ordering six small fries and four Cokes, one Dr. Pepper, three cheeseburgers, some kind of milkshake extravaganza, and fourteen other things. It’s just the way it works, and it’s never going to change. If you’re in the car with us and you want something, just scream and scream and scream until someone responds, “ALRIGHT I HEARD YOU.”
12. When we have movie night, you’ll only end up watching/hearing 75% of the film. Because there will be constant conversations. Constant. We can’t stop.
13. Don’t fret too much about introducing us to your family and friends. We’re used to large crowds. We’re used to a lot of people. Sometimes, noise and socializing and a lot happening at once actually makes us feel more comfortable than silence does.
14. We tend to treat all of our social groups like miniature families. Our friends, our coworkers, our intramural sports league, your friends. We can’t help but to feel a certain connection to each group and we love nothing more than forming bonds with individual people and helping them to feel like they have someone to turn to.
15. Beware of being included in our family group texts, because they don’t die. Once you’re in, you’re in. That means every funny story, every screenshot of a funny conversation between two of us, every weird picture that we have to share – you’ll witness it all. It’s both a blessing and a curse. Hilarious, entertaining, playful… but also a tireless, brutal, and be-on-your-toes-the-entire-time kind of thing.