As everyone knows, you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. Although people often make that statement in a negative context, there are many reasons why siblings can be more loyal and valuable than your closest chums.
1. They know all your flaws and still tolerate them.
When spending time with most friends, it’s often possible to conceal some of your biggest shortcomings. People sometimes do that naturally because they don’t want friends to have to deal with their bad sides. Unlike friends, though, siblings know all your negative characteristics. But even though they know you’re not perfect (and that you’re actually far from it), they are okay with that. Mostly because you know they’re disgusting too.
2. During holidays or other family gatherings, you can exchange knowing glances across the table without having to say anything.
Siblings gather collective knowledge about their relatives and use it to find common ground. For example, brothers and sisters may realize that without fail, a specific aunt tries to bring up her controversial political views just as dessert is served at Christmas dinner every year. *Eye roll*
Because siblings can learn that habit and expect it, they can find an element of humor in the dialog and give understanding smiles to each other across the table because each of them were prepared for what the aunt would do. Rather than getting people rattled, the aunt may just eventually realize her views get little or no reaction, so they aren’t worth bringing up. In this way, siblings can help each other stay sane during holiday dinners or similar gatherings that could otherwise be stressful.
3. They are always honest about how you look.
Asking someone for his or her opinion about a new haircut option or wardrobe choice can be tricky, and you may not get the desired answer. Whereas friends often conjure responses that they hope won’t hurt your feelings or otherwise compromise the strength of the friendship, siblings are usually much more straightforward. As in, if you look like shit, they will tell you that you look like shit.
4. Siblings actually understand your family’s traditions.
Maybe your family goes to the beach for a week every summer or spends every New Year’s Eve watching the stars from a neighborhood rooftop while holding sparklers and drinking warm apple cider. These are just two examples of the kinds of family traditions that bind people together and comprise a unique family story. If the rituals are things that have continued for the entire time you and your siblings have been alive, they instantly allow you to share a sense of belonging, plus offer memories to cherish.
5. They expect others to respect you.
Although siblings may disagree with you from time to time, they’re usually able to respect that you have the right to your own opinion. Even more importantly, that respect often carries over to how they expect other people to treat you.
If you’re stuck in a bad relationship where you are not valued by your partner, a sibling will probably be the first one to strongly argue you deserve much better and shouldn’t settle for someone who doesn’t respect you. The same is true if you’re struggling to decide whether to cut ties with a friend who often puts you down, or if you should leave a job where your boss constantly ridicules you.
6. Siblings will be there to help you take care of your parents when you get older.
As parents get older, siblings often find themselves facing the tough task of having to decide how to best care for aging parents. Because you and your brothers and sisters grew up around your parents, you’re likely to have the deepest understanding of the factors that will matter most, even when the elderly adults are no longer able to meaningfully contribute to the discussion.
Tempers can often flare when siblings discuss emotional topics, even if you both have similar opinions about how to handle your parents’ needs. That’s why it’s important to state your views clearly, but be reasonable when hearing input from siblings.
Sisters and brothers don’t always get along, and sometimes take each other for granted. However, hopefully this list of sibling-related advantages reminds you why they may be there for you even when friends aren’t.