From Our Teen Readers
Updated June 02, 2015

When people first find out I’m a twin, their first reaction is always, “Oh, that’s so cool! I wish I had a twin.” And from an outside view, I’m sure it looks great; you can share clothes and help each other with homework, you have a built-in partner for projects, and you always have a friend. Sure, those are all great things, but there is a complete other side to the situation. Being a twin also comes with its own set of drawbacks that you can’t do anything about, but grin and bear it (you know, just like every other situation in life).

So if you were to magically find yourself with a long-lost twin, here are some of the things you’d have to face on a pretty much daily basis. Just food for thought.

You will get asked questions — constantly.

On a weekly basis, I am asked SO MANY questions about being a twin. I get it, you don’t see twins every day. At this point, though, I’m expecting almost any question you have. So before you ask, I’ll just tell you: No, if you hit her, I will not feel it. Yes, we finish each other’s sentences. Yes, we do say some things at the same time. No, we aren’t telepathic (although we have tried to convince a few people that we are). No, we don’t switch places in class. Yes, we do share a room. Yes, your twin fantasy is weird, and no, I would not like to hear about it.

However, this is something most twins get used to after 16 years. We have most of the answers memorized, which can also lead to us talking at the same time. That phenomenon is always dubbed either really creepy or really cool.

People will never be able to tell you apart… get used to it.

People are always telling my sister and me that we look so similar, but I don’t see it. Living with each other since we became human probably has something to do us noticing all of the tiny differences that everyone else seems to miss. I’ve gotten used to being called a multitude of names. In fact, I’ll reply to almost anything that sounds even vaguely familiar to my or my twin’s first, middle, and last name. Or simply the word twin(s).

While I am very tolerant of people messing up my name, it gets a little irritating when the same person or group of people can’t seem to get it right even after knowing us for a long time. When my sister and I were on the color guard team our freshman year, performing alongside the marching band with movements and props, our teammates and coach never learned our names. Even after my sister cut her hair short and added red to the tips and I kept mine long and added blue to the tips, they still mixed us up!

You’ll never be seen as your own person.

This is one of the biggest downsides to being a twin. People will always see my sister and I as “The Twins.” It’s just how it works. You always come as a pair. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: You’ll always go to the same parties, partner for projects, if one gets invited somewhere then the other can normally go, etc. etc. However, it can become hard to be your own person. The way I see it, we are two different people who have similar interests and who happen to be related. However, a lot of people have trouble seeing us that way. They assume the reason we like the same things is simply because we are twins, not just because we happen to like the same things.

Because we like the same things, people tend to lump us into one person. I have actually been told “You’re basically just one/the same person.” I’m just going to give you a piece of advice right off the bat: Never say this to a twin. Never say this to a twin. Never say this to a twin. NEVER SAY THIS TO A TWIN. Many twins already struggle with becoming their own person (just like all teenagers) and when you say things like that you are basically telling them they can’t ever be a whole person without their “other half.”

People will constantly compare you to your twin.

Megan and I are always being asked, “So which one of you is nicer/more intelligent/more creative/the good twin/ better at _______?” People also like to tell us which twin they like more. I have never understood this, in all honesty. Do people ask you and your best friend who is nicer? No, they don’t. Would you ever tell someone that you prefer them over their friend while their friend is standing right next them? No, you wouldn’t, because that’s mean. Apparently, the rules change with twins, and it instantly becomes a competition of who is the better twin.

You will, at some point, be seen as a back-up plan — and it will suck.

While I have had a whopping total of one official boyfriend (and my sister is at a glorious zero), we have had our share of romantic interests. If you’ve ever wondered what dating is like as a twin, The Hunger Games is a great analogy. Peeta and Gale are to Twins as Katniss is to said romantic interest. Welcome to the dating life of a twin, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Let me break it down into simpler terms: Boy meets twin #1. Boy likes twin #1. Boy flirts with twin #1. Boy meets twin #2. Boy likes twin #2 more. Boy gets confused. Boy decides to go for twin #2 but if that doesn’t work out there’s always twin #1. My question is, where you get the idea that if your relationship with one of us doesn’t work, the other one will be interested in you? If anything, it makes you even less attractive. You can assume that if you are dating a twin, they have told their sibling everything. EVERYTHING. Including that one weird quirk you have, or that one really embarrassing that happened that your twin-girlfriend swore you’d never tell anyone. Yeah, their twin knows.

You are never alone…

I don’t think I have ever been away from Megan for more than eight hours. For some people, that probably sounds like a gift; you never have to spend a moment alone. For me (and I think I speak for my sister on this too), it can be very annoying. Don’t get me wrong — I love my sister, but we both agree that we should have time for ourselves. We get ready in the morning together, get on the bus, go to school, have three or four classes, including lunch, together (which is great), go home together, do homework together, and go to sleep in the same room. In an average day, I will maybe get 45 minutes at a time without her during school and then 15 minutes at home in the shower. It can get a bit overwhelming.

… But you are never, ever lonely.

Out of all the reasons people wish they had twins, I think this is, fundamentally, the biggest reason. I mean, who likes being alone? I even know people who have a true fear of being alone. To them, I’m sure having a twin looks like the perfect fix. And honestly? It kind of is. I will never have to worry about being alone, I will always have someone to vent to, I will always have someone by my side (thus preventing the dreaded “everyone here has someone to talk to except for me”), and I can count on her never to backstab me. I basically have a built-in best friend, and even though there are some things to complain about, I wouldn’t trade her for the world.

Emily Cejka is a sixteen years old and living in the suburbs of Houston, TX. Her guilty pleasures include disco music and cheesy 80’s movies. Mostly, she spends her time procrastinating life and binge watching Netflix.

(Images via here and author.)