A college friend of mine (whom I visited in Amman in the spring, but is now living in Cairo) sent me a link today that I found wholly timely given the post the other day about my brother’s and my divergent sports fandoms. But there’s more than just that. Our personalities are shockingly different.
The article addresses exactly that. Despite growing up in the same family, siblings are not that much closer in terms of personality than if one were to pick two random people out of a population. There are three theories for this:
1. Divergence. Based on competition. When we were kids, my brother and I both played soccer football. I was good. He was better. When we moved to the US, the soccer and swim seasons were the same, so I had to choose between them and since I was always a much better swimmer than footballer (and probably to some degree because my brother never particularly took to the water), I chose swimming.
2. Non-Shared Environment Theory. The idea behind this is that because siblings have different ages, things happen for them within the family at different times. Like a death or divorce or a particularly hard time. In all honesty, the only way in which I can speak to that (given that I have two parents who are less than 6 months away from their 35th anniversary) is that my brother’s severe asthma made things more complicated for him when he was younger. There were times when he got very sick. I was a healthy kid, so I had absolutely no shared experience in that regard.
3. Exaggeration. Essentially, comparisons between siblings exacerbate a minute difference. My brother is as smart, if not smarter, than I am, but I always did better in school. We’re both introverts, but I’m far more social.
Anyway, the full article is here and it’s very interesting.