Often twins can eventually acknowledge that their siblings are not always their best friends. Singletons face similar challenges. A close friend of mine has consistently justified her youngest sister’s selfishness and self-involvement. My friend feels uncomfortable disagreeing with her sister because she does not want to trigger her sister’s anger or resentment. My friend was raised by parents who taught her to have minimal expectations. In addition, my friend often denies having unpleasant thoughts because they make her feel uncomfortable and upset.
However, as my friend was approaching an important birthday, an incident occurred with her sister that she could not ignore. Her sister initially said that she was available on the day that my friend decided to celebrate her birthday. A few days later, the sister called to tell my friend to change the date because she realized she had another commitment. My friend felt very conflicted about the situation. Nonetheless, she decided that she could no longer accommodate her sister’s needs. When my friend informed her sister that she could not change the date, her sister predictably became enraged. While it was challenging for my friend to tolerate her sister’s disapproval, she and her husband felt strongly that standing firm on the date was something they wanted and needed to do.
My friend and I had a long discussion about what true friendship is versus the love we have for a brother or sister. As we all know, we do not choose our families; however, we can love our siblings as siblings and recognize that often they are not our best friends or allies and that they may not always have our best interests at heart. Once we make peace with this recognition, we can scale down our expectations and be more honest with ourselves.
Sometimes twins must negotiate a similar path. As they grow older and make life choices, they may feel less connected to their twin in substantial ways. Twins, too, can be best friends or siblings. Can they be happy if their twin is not their best friend? Yes, because they can experience a sisterly or brotherly connection without the constraints that often keep twins together when they don’t want to be.
Do you know twins who are best friends? Do you know twins who aren’t?