1. Younger siblings don’t have to act like a parent until they’re actually a parent.
Perhaps when you’re born into this role it’s different, but it’s hard to detect any silver linings in having to help guide and assert yourself over another human being while you’re still growing up yourself. Though it does sound fun to concoct a regal land — made out of throw pillows and sheets — in which I am the Queen and my younger sibling my servant, I’m also perfectly fine with my fate as the cool aunt.
2. The youngest experiences the teenage years once.
My teenage years are nothing I’m proud of. As a thing of the past, teenage years are also best left in the past. I already subsist with enough shame over my 14-year-old self’s defective gaydar and invisible alcohol tolerance, I don’t need to see it happen all over, right before my eyes, in the form of a younger sibling.
Don’t get me wrong, teenagers are hilarious and always entertaining to observe, but best observed from afar. For instance a friend recently told me that her high-school-age sister has started doing this new thing where she responds to every text with “idk,” even when it’s not contextually applicable. And unlike my friend, I could chuckle at this from a comfortable distance.
3. Younger siblings are not automatically assigned as role models.
It’s hard enough already for younger siblings to please their parents while not fucking up. They can’t even fathom what it might be like to have the added pressure of a younger sibling looking up to them. In fact, as younger siblings it’s our duty to disturb any hints of peace in our parents — to stick it to them. As naturally selfish creatures, we physically can’t be bothered with having a younger sibling ourselves.
4. The youngest sibling doesn’t have to see their sibling grow from 0 years old to sexually-active years old.
The visceral reaction I got when I heard my guy friend’s younger sister got a diamond necklace for Valentine’s Day was so overwhelming. I nearly broke out into hives imagining his sister receive the necklace, and then thanking the boy with an 8th-grade-style blow job — and the girl isn’t even my sister. Conclusion: Development up-close is a scary thing; stay as far away from it as possible.
5. Parents are always more easy-going with the younger ones.
Sometimes it tickles me to think about how absurdly easy I had it compared to my older sister. When she came home during 9th grade and asked my parents if she could go to the Homecoming party, my parents convened with PTAs across the country for what seemed like a 30-day press conference on The Advantages and Disadvantages of Allowing Your Kids to Go to High School Parties. I remember eavesdropping on my sister trying to make a case for why she should go — “no one doesn’t go” — and thinking it sounded an awful lot like a plea bargain in a murder trial. When it finally came time for my turn, my parents were the ones to step up to the plate, gave my friends’ parents the low-down on the party, and ultimately cut down the needless hours spent deliberating and let us go. Even at 14 years old, I remember thinking it just didn’t seem fair.
6. Younger siblings will always be babied (to an extent).
The greatest thing about being the youngest sibling is the stability that comes with this title: you’re never not younger than your older sibling. Even when you’re 80, you’ll still be the youngest, which, as it happens, keeps you feeling young too.
7. The youngest is the last to finish college.
It’s a general rule that when you graduate college, you kind of need everyone else in the world to be done with college too. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to make star-shaped jello shots on a Tuesday afternoon, then no one else should have the power to do so either…let alone a sibling. If you’re paying taxes, your sibling should be paying taxes too; this is just the egocentric mindset us younger siblings are born with.
8. Younger siblings typically don’t worry (in a “Will Bobby’s parents be home?” kind-of-way) about their older siblings.
As a younger sibling it should come as no surprise that I can barely keep a cactus alive for longer than a week — and those bad boys don’t even need to be watered. Simply put, younger siblings are not to be trusted with actual human siblings to care or be responsible for — we’ve seen too many cacti perish; the fear of what might happen to a sibling would be too much to handle.
9. The older sibling is always supposed to “know better.”
It’s unfair, and yet it’s the way it is. And while it might be advantageous to truly know better than your younger sibling, the more likely scenario is that you won’t know much better, will act accordingly, and will be subsequently punished for something you never even possessed: the ability to “know better.”
10. Younger siblings get what their older siblings get, and more.
You’re first in line for all of the hand-me-downs, but you also just get a lot of the same stuff your older sister or brother gets, but at a younger age than they did. For instance: When my sister got JNCOs, I got JNCOs; when she got a Motorola flip phone, I got a Motorola flip phone…in red; and when she got an MP3 player I was like “what the F is that?” and for the following Hanukkah we were both given iPods.
11. The older siblings are the first to get pressured into marrying.
It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling I’m typically visited by whenever I barge in on my parents passively nagging my sister about getting married. Of course it’s possible that my parents aren’t pressuring me to marry not because I’m younger than my sister but because I’m less agreeable than her and, because of that, they’ve sort of just given up hope…
12. As the youngest, you’re probably the favorite.
As the youngest, you are born with 30% more likeability than the oldest. I’m not saying this is fair; I’m claiming the facts. You’re born second in line and thus born craving attention. It forces you to be more lively and entertaining. You’ve also watched your older siblings fuck up, and so know the mistakes to avoid. Again, I never said it was fair.