Twins Sharing Friends

A mom in the audience at the Multiple Births Canada Conference asked me my thoughts about her eight-year-old identical twin daughters sharing a friend. She related that this triadic relationship has been strong for a number of years. The mother’s efforts to arrange separate play dates for each girl have yielded minimal results. Another mom of six-year-old identical twin girls describes similar circumstances. She contends that her daughters have made friends with one powerful girl who directs their play. Both girls are happy to do what their friend suggests. Having a director who assigns each twin a role helps to minimize competition and maintain a balance. The competitiveness is handled by mutual sharing. Each twin is maintaining her connection to her twin while simultaneously allowing each other to be connected to a third person.

It reminds me of some young twins I knew who effortlessly shared everything without a complaint or hint of conflict. They inherently recognized that this was the only way to stabilize their relationship. Ironically, as adults, sharing a mutual friend turned into an unhappy and contentious situation. Both girls attended the same college. One of them made a best friend soon after she arrived on campus. When that twin left for a semester program abroad, her twin sister usurped the friendship that her sister had initially cultivated. Sadly, this event highlighted their underlying competitiveness that had never seen the light of day.

It is possible that some identical twin pairs will benefit from attending separate schools around the time of middle school. This is the developmental time period during which peer relationships and identity issues are formative. As diligent as parents are in their attempts to help their twins separate and individuate, identical twins struggle profoundly to discover their innermost selves. For some pairs, a physical separation can help create the emotional space necessary for psychological growth and maturation.

How have you or your twins negotiated shared friendships? Share your story in the comment section.


Image courtesy of Phaitoon at

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1 Comment

  1. Jessie May

    I love my twin sister. She has always been one of my best friends. But I have negative feelings about being a twin. Friendships through out the years were difficult to make. It was hard, especially for me, to have any close friends after going our separate directions in college. We remain close now and live in the same area but for me it hasn’t changed. I am closer to our sister in law and that causes issues. My twin seems to feel everything should be equal and fair in her eyes. But we are different people and therefore any relationship, be it family or friends,, is going to be different. She has made more friendships than myself over the years and has other friendships, that I choose not to, in her life. I was never one to make friendships in the places I work. I like to keep it professional. I keep certain people close and keep it to a minimum. I am always on edge waiting to see if I offended her bc I told my sil something I didn’t tell her of if my sil and I want to do something will she feel excluded? And if she does I will certainly know. I hate it and want to move away to just not deal with it. I wish she was my older or younger sister. I lover her dearly but the constant comparisons, even from people who know I hate it, always continue as well. It’s like think they are twins and we are supposed to accept it yet if I sat there and compared someone to someone else they would be offended. It’s not ok and no one gets it. I would. never choose to be a twin. I could never say this to my family or my twin and it feels good to at least say it here. I don’t wish twindom on anyone. It is seriously a struggle for me and effects me to a point i wish it didn’t,

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