Think before You Speak

Why do people feel they have the right to publicly shame and embarrass twins? How are they so insensitive to the emotional harm they may inflict when they casually remark, “Oh, you are the fatter twin,” “You are the nicer twin,” “You are the prettier twin,” “You are the smarter twin,” “You are the sociable twin,” “You are the athletic twin,” “You have a smaller nose,” “Your eyes are further apart than your sister’s,” or “Your hairstyle is cuter”?

I could go on and on, but I imagine you get my drift. While I realize that many of these comments and observations are not shared with malicious intent, I am asking those who encounter twins not to approach them with this type of commentary. I can understand that people are attempting to find differences so that they can begin to identify each twin correctly. However, rather than thoughtlessly thinking aloud, people need to remember that twins long to be known beyond a distinguishing freckle or scar, which takes effort and patience from those around them.

Having come into the world as a pair, twins first and foremost compare themselves to each other. It simply cannot be helped. In addition, to make matters worse, they are habitually compared to each other by their families, friends, teachers, coaches, and others. Unless they are fortunate enough to have some separate times away from their sibling, their self-concept is molded via comparisons and competition. So, I urge you to be mindful of falling into the trap of verbalizing aloud how twins appear distinctive to you. Let your silent observations create an atmosphere of acceptance. Twins have enough difficulties navigating their identity without the added component of traumatizing rhetoric that marginalizes their fragile self-concept.


Photo by Mohammad Hossein Mirzagol on Unsplash

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