While I am not a twin myself, I have always been curious about the experience of growing up with a twin. This curiosity is amplified by the fact that I have both a pair of twins and siblings who are twins!
It is something that I wish to understand a little better so that I can, in turn, understand them more.
Do twins like being twins? Obviously, the answer as to whether or not a twin enjoys being a twin is different for every pair of twins; however, it is likely safe to conclude that the majority of twins do enjoy and take pride in being a twin. After all, it is the only life that they have ever known.
What makes being a twin so special? Are there any downsides to having someone by your side since birth? Let’s see what real twins have to say about it.
The Good and Bad of Being a Twin
For this article, I gathered input from a few sets of twins that I know in my personal life in order to get a deeper, more first-hand understanding of what it is really like to be a twin.
Their responses to my questions were all very similar, which I found extremely fascinating! Let’s take a glimpse into the life of a twin for a bit.
What Is It Like To Be a Twin?
When asked this question, several twins said that it is a difficult question to answer because they have never known what it is like not to be a twin.
However, they all commented on how fun it is to be a twin. It is something interesting about them that many people are fascinated by, and most twins love the special attention they get from others simply because they are twins.
Additionally, when you have a twin, you always have a playmate growing up and a best friend for life. The special bond that twins have is something that they recognize and appreciate.
While being interviewed, one twin described this bond as one that “runs deeper than any other.” He said:
“My twin and I have spent our entire lives together, growing up together, reaching milestones together, and just generally always being there for each other. Sharing all of that with someone creates a really special and unique bond.”
Benefits of Being a Twin
The top response to this question was having a built-in best friend. You always have someone close to you, a person who really gets you and understands you, a best friend whom you can depend on at any time.
One twin explained that the connection they share allows them to always have a good time together but also be able to have tough conversations with each other without straining their relationship.
Negative Effects of Being a Twin
Many twins struggle to find something they do not enjoy about having a twin.
If they had to identify something, several said that being a twin requires a lot of sharing —sharing a birthday, birthday parties, toys, bedrooms, bathrooms, first cars, etc.
Some sets of twins may not mind sharing everything, but it can be a downside for many.
Another thing twins do not always enjoy is the “constant comparison” to their counterparts. This is likely more common among identical twins than fraternal twins, but it still happens to them all.
During her interview, a girl with a fraternal twin brother said, “Just trying to find our own way in the world and not stepping on each other’s toes or comparing myself to him has probably been the most challenging.”
What’s Unique About Being a Twin?
Twins are fascinating! Any twin could tell you that being treated like a mini-celebrity while in public is fairly common simply because people are fascinated by twins.
One twin said, “I feel like I have this bragging right of being a twin. Anytime someone finds out, it’s always ‘OMG, you’re a twin?!’”
Another unique quality that many twins share and have explained is a connection so deep that they often share or are influenced by what their twin is feeling and/or experiencing.
My husband has expressed many times that he can feel when his twin sister is struggling even when they haven’t spoken to or seen each other in a while.
While twin telepathy doesn’t actually exist, twins are certainly on a different emotional level than other siblings.
What’s Hard About Being a Twin?
Different things may be hard for different sets of twins because everyone is different and has their own unique personality.
Many twins struggle with the external comparison that often happens to twins, whether people realize they are doing it or not.
These constant comparisons can cause twins to struggle with finding their own identity because they are always seen as a pair or constantly compared to their counterparts.
Psychological Effects of Being a Twin
Being a twin is likely to have a profound impact on one’s upbringing, development, and social abilities.
The special environmental conditions, which result from having a life partner from the moment of conception, may impact the psychological and social development of many twins as well as the relationships they form throughout their lives.
While the research on the psychology of twins is limited, there are plenty of theories that may have tidbits of truth to them:
- Twins may be less independent.
- They may depend on each other socially.
- Twins may grow up to be more introverted because they are used to always socializing with each other.
- Twins may be better at creating deep and healthy relationships.
- They may be more likely to search for deepness and closeness in a relationship because that is what they are used to.
- Twins may develop self-esteem difficulties due to comparisons and trying to “measure up” to their twin.
- Twins may experience difficulties with identity and sense of self.
How Does Being a Twin Affect Your Personality?
Many twins admitted to never giving thought to how being a twin affects their personality.
One thing that many twins did mention, however, is that they are very different from their twin in terms of their individual personalities. They are often more different than alike in this sense.
Another thing that many twins agreed on is that being with their twin brings out more of the good in their personalities. Often when twins get together, especially as adults, they are more lighthearted and playful and love having fun with their twin.
Things Only Twins Understand
Being a twin, in general, is something that only twins will truly understand. They can try to explain it as best they can, but it really is something you feel and is difficult to explain.
It is a very unique relationship that others are not able to fully comprehend.
When I asked my sister-in-law (who is a twin) if there is something only twins understand she said, “Absolutely. It’s kind of hard to explain, but there’s definitely something that only twins get about their twin.”
Fraternal Twin Bond vs. Identical Twin Bond
I like this answer that a fraternal twin gave me:
“I think that on one hand, at its most basic level, the bond between twins is the same for every set, but on the other hand, as it starts to get more complex, that bond becomes unique and personal just to the two who share it. It’s different from any bond shared by any other set of twins.”
How Twins Feel About Each Other
How does a twin feel about their twin, and how do they feel about other twins?
Most twins that I know and have spoken to absolutely love their twin. They want nothing more than for their twin to be happy and to watch them succeed.
One twin I interviewed put it this way: “As we’ve gotten older, there is no longer that competitive, comparing aspect to our relationship. As a young adult, he really is just one of my best friends whom I know I can always go to, and we talk every day.”
As far as how twins feel about other twins, they love meeting them! Being a twin is something they take pride in, and they are happy when they find someone who shares it in common with them.
I didn’t know this before writing this article, but there are even twin conventions where twins from around the nation get together and rally around being a twin! How cool!
Do Twins Always Get Along?
Twins are often such great friends that it may seem like they always get along no matter what! However, I’m sure most twins will tell you that is certainly not the case.
Just like other siblings or friends, twins have their differences and do not always see eye to eye. They do have moments of conflict just like the rest of us.
Are Twins Closer Than Normal Siblings?
All of the twins that I interviewed during my research have other siblings, either younger or older, besides their twin.
They all said that, to some extent, they do feel closer to their twin than to their other siblings. They attribute this closeness to having more time to spend with each other and sharing so many experiences in life together.
It is safe to say that being a twin really is something that only twins will fully understand and that all twin relationships are unique in their own ways.
However, after talking to various sets of twins, I feel confident in saying that most twins thoroughly enjoy being a twin and take a lot of pride in their uniqueness compared to the majority of the world.
Mom of three (including identical twin boys), wife, and owner of Parents Wonder. This is my place to share my journey as a mother and the helpful insights I learn along the way.