Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Best Friends

I think every parent analyzes their child to death.  When you have two or more, it just gives you comparisons.  Why is one child one way and another child completely different?  Why are they exactly the same in one aspect?  It can fill whole afternoons of conversation.  Recently the conversation turned to friends.
My oldest really cares about friends.  She has a tendency to get really close to one or two people and stick.  She wants people to like her and she tries to fit in to some degree.  My youngest is the complete opposite.  She absolutely doesn’t care about any of her friends.  She doesn’t really want to go to their birthday parties and doesn’t really talk fondly of them at home.  You would think that this would turn people off of her, but the opposite is true.  I think kids want to be her friend because they have to work for it.  Meanwhile my oldest is working her butt off to get friends. 
At first you would think you could just tell the one that wants friends to pretend like she doesn’t care, so she can get all the friends too.  But, it won’t work because you just can’t fake it.  Then you start to ask why the youngest doesn’t care about other kids.  Is she a sociopath?  Is this not a bad sign.  Then you watch your children together.  They play, eat, and sleep together.  The older child condescends to the younger but really has no desire to be friends, only she is a friend and would just never admit it.  The younger child looks at the older with something akin to hero worship.  Wow, the youngest does want a friend, one specific friend.  She is best friends with her sister.  She doesn’t care about those other kids at school because they are not her sister. 
As an older sibling, I can tell you that this is lost on the older child.  I imagine at some point growing up that my brother looked at me as his best friend.  I can tell you that he is probably my best friend currently.  If I were going to talk about something private with someone, I would call him.  It would be him.  But growing up, I didn’t think of him as my friend, he was my brother and he was always trying to hang out with me and my friends.  His is the only friendship that has lasted though. 
I wonder how many siblings that were close enough (age and geography) to play together as children grew up to be best friends.  I have a sister too, but nine years is a huge gap and we didn’t grow up together.  We don’t have the same bond. 


SteveB said...

My brother is six years older than I am. I remember growing up IDOLIZING him, but I wouldn't say that we were friends. He was good to me most of the time, but his affection for me was definitely different -- like a puppy.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My brother is just a couple years older but we were never really close. We played together when we were really young, but it wasn't long before he no longer wanted me around. I did have friend though, just not my older brother. Be grateful for your relationship with your brother.

Pat Tillett said...

I think the atmosphere in the house where they grow up has a lot to do with it. My house was so crazy and dysfunctional, that none of us four brothers are close. It was truly, every man (or boy) for himself.

We have 5 adult kids and they are as different as snowflakes.