Gina Vaynshteyn
April 12, 2016 11:48 am
HelloGiggles/Gina Vaynshteyn

Almost everyone is super surprised when they find out my brother is much, much older than me (eighteen years, to be exact). Our age difference means we’re pretty much as different from each other as you can get. He was born in the ’70s, I was born in the ’90s. He lived in Moscow until he was seven, I spent my kidhood in Minnesota. My mom had him when she was 21, and me when she was almost 40. Basically until I was eighteen, we had nothing in common besides our DNA.

If you have older sibling(s), then you probably sense that it’s way different than having a sibling closer to you in age. But you also know that over time, you DO grow closer and you DO find things to bond over. It just, well, takes awhile. And you also know there are very distinct advantages and disadvantages to having a sibling way older than you. Such as…

1. They’ve pretty much set the precedent for everything.


Your older bro or sis set the example — they basically taught your parents HOW to be parents. Any lines or boundaries your mom and dad refused to cross when you were growing up? That came from your sibling. So blame them when your parents also expected you to get straight As and finish college is three years, or forbid you from staying out past 8pm because your brother/sister were total punks and ruined that privilege for you before you were even born.

2. Since they’re of a different generation, you’re constantly learning from each other.

Britney Spears and Jamie-Lynn Spears during Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards 2003 - Backstage at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Getty Images/KMazur

Maybe you grew up on Spice Girls and they were raised on The Beatles. And you have no idea how magical Growing Pains was and they don’t understand the formativeness of Nick at Nite.  And then sometimes you write a book about this very experience, like HG’s executive editor Leonora Epstein did.

3. You feel more like their son or daughter (or niece or nephew) than their brother or sister sometimes.

HelloGiggles/Gina Vaynshteyn

It can be kind of hard to bond with someone who not only is 10+ years older than you, but probably didn’t even live with you in the same house for most of your life.

4. Your distance in age makes it so you’re less likely to fight.

HelloGiggles/Gina Vaynshteyn

Not that it NEVER happens, but you might not be close enough (or feel comfortable another with each other) to actually bicker about anything.

5. ALL the hand-me-downs!

Disney /

Books, CDs, records, movies, clothes? All yours. Best of all, it’s bonafide vintage.

6. They’ve lived longer with your parents, so they understand their ways.

They’ve had many more years with your parents than you have, so they’ve figured out how to ~deal~ with them. Maybe you’re lucky and they’ve shed some wisdom.

7. In fact, they experienced living with your parents when they were YOUNG. Which is like, weird to think about.

HelloGiggles/Gina Vaynshteyn

If you have an older brother or sister, chances are, you have older parents. Which means you only know them as older parents, not the young human people they were. So it’s pretty strange (and sometimes kind of sad) to know that your sibling not only had more time with your parents, but they knew them as young parentals.

8. You probably became an aunt or uncle at age 13.

HelloGiggles/Gina Vaynshteyn

Maybe your sibling got married in their 20s or 30s, which meant you were basically a child. And then maybe a couple years later that sibling had a kid with their partner, which made you a tween or teen aunt or uncle and you got to tell people you were an aunt/uncle and it felt weird but oddly AWESOME.

9. You might hang out with older friends and date older people.

If you grew up with older parents and older siblings, you might have naturally gravitated toward an older clique.

10. You finally start to share similar interests —it just maybe took a decade.

HelloGiggles/Gina Vaynshteyn

It’s hard to bond with someone who’s so much older than you, but you eventually do. And you most likely form an awesome, unbreakable relationship (and friendship) with them.