I like my little sisters alright, but I think if we were all being entirely honest with ourselves, the 'rents could have stopped after my brother and me. Of course, they had no way of knowing that I would grow into such literal human perfection that anything they created after me would be redundant (IS IT COLD IN THE SHADE I AM THROWING, FAMILY?!), but I guess I can't complain. Being a middle sibling has its challenges, sure, but it's kind of undeniable that there are things middle children are better at than anyone.
If it sounds like I'm tooting my own horn here, then my bad. I'm not tooting a horn. I'm BLOWING A MEGAPHONE. We put up with the shining brilliance of our older siblings and the pukey adorableness of the babies of the family all the live long day, so yeah, I'm taking the floor on behalf of all middle siblings right here and right now. (This is the part where I'd make a sassy gesture if I could do it confidently without tripping on myself.) You know us, you love us, you occasionally forget us at Arby's during family road trips, but we're here, world. And there are some things that you just can't deny middle sibs do better than the rest of the world:
Making Friends With Pretty Much Any Breathing Creature On The Planet
I do not have enough fingers and toes to count the puppies I've made friends with in the elevator this week. I think our friend-making prowess can be explained by two things. One is that we relate to a more diverse age and personality range than our peers, because we're sandwiched between them in our family. Another is that we are chronically desperate for attention, so if you smile at us, WE'RE YOUR BEST FRIEND FOREVER.
When an older kid does something, it's all novel and groundbreaking and everyone is gobsmacked. When a little sibling does something, it is all nostalgia and tears and "Oh em gee this is the last time we'll ever attend a high school graduation!" When middle kids do something ... it's kind of like going to the bird exhibit of the zoo after seeing Jurassic World. So yeah, we work extra hard to make the bird exhibit of our lives seem interesting, and we are not above using aggressive jazz hands to do it.
Making Compromises In Relationships
There is no #blessed time in a middle kid's life during which they are the only priority. It's not anybody's fault (*glares at my mom's uterus*), it's just the way it is. The oldest and the youngest will inevitably be the only one at home at some point, but middle kids are constantly sharing their rooms, compromising on Netflix marathons, and sitting in the dread b*tch seat in the back of the Windstar. When it comes to relationships, we're pretty damn flexible and understanding, compared to the rest of the world. So go ahead. We'll sit through three hours of you hogging up the television with whatever you do on the Xbox, but we're having grilled cheese for dinner, dammit.
Making A Scene
Every now and then, a middle kid's gotta do what a middle kid's gotta do.
Being Empathetic Listeners
We're constantly right in the middle of people who are experiencing sharper, more immediate drama than we are— watching our older siblings eff up for the first time, or our little siblings deal with their first bully. Sure, we go through all those things, too. But more often than not, there is a kind of dull surprise to it for middle kids, because we spent a lot of time letting our other siblings air it out to us. Being in the middle of two ends of that drama gives a kid a lot of perspective on ~growing up~ that transitions into a lot more empathy in adulthood.
No, there is no science to back me up on this, but FORGET SCIENCE. Middle siblings are always smack dab in the center of those awkward sibling selfies, and we shouldered the burden of snapping those pics like pros. Our arms were the original selfie sticks.
Filling Awkward Silences
You know how there's a friend in every group who fills in conversational holes like a social Band-Aid? Someone who laughs at unfunny jokes to spare everyone their mortal shame? That friend is a middle child. I promise you.
Being Social Chameleons
Most people have one or two main "friend groups," but middle kids have no fewer than one million. We spend so much time trying to find our "thing" growing up that we end up making a ton of friends along the way. (Even if we will never go near a horse again, so help us God.)
In our ongoing quest to be remarkable and get as much attention as we possibly can, we are in constant pursuit of our "thing." It only makes statistical sense that we fail way more often than everyone else, because we try way more often than everyone else. While we probably don't fail with much finesse, we are hella more prepared to pick our sad selves up again and get on with the next challenge. (WE WILL BE FAMOUS. YOU'LL ALL SEE!)
Prioritizing Life And Time
Nobody's got that work-life-family balance down quite like a middle kid. We're so in practice with keeping everybody around us mellow that we can easily find that harmony in our own lives. Even Hannah Montana is jealous of our ability to have the ~best of both worlds~.
Figuring Out Where The Free Food Is
"EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF!!!!" — An ancient proverb for middle children everywhere. We already knew growing up that nothing was sacred, nothing was safe. My steak leftovers have been fed to my mom's shih tzus. Basically, when it comes to free food, we would sooner dropkick the guy in line in front of us than miss out.
Being Shameless In Every Way, Shape, And Form
When you're a middle kid, there is no way to casually drift off on a family vacation and be all, "Oh no, I'm not with them. I just happen to have the same general genetic features and be walking nearby (help)." You don't just endure your own humiliation; you endure the constant secondhand humiliation of your annoying little sibs and bullheaded older ones. At some point, you just become completely numb to it. Like, guys, I'm wearing a Little Mermaid dress right now, and I'm a fully-grown adult human woman at my place of work. I can't get any more middle child than this.
(And inventing verbs.) Seriously, though — we are all about sneaking up on people by being secretly baller at stuff. Nobody ever suspects us, because we are skilled at blending in ... until we unleash our secret powers of fleek sauce. I'd like to take this opportunity to rub this in the face of everyone at that swim team watermelon-seed-spitting contest circa 2008. All y'all were wrecked.
Getting In The Kind Of Trouble That's Actually Worth It
There is a fine, fine line between taking a healthy risk and taking a risk that is totally destructive, and middle kids walk it like tightroping champions. We have enough YOLO in us to streak the lawn of our school drunk in 26-degree cold, but also enough sense not to casually experiment with cocaine for funsies. We make way more awesome memories than we have regrets.
Secretly Picking People's Brains
I did not need a psychology major to start cross-analyzing all my friends' weird hangups and social tendencies. Since we're often the ones bridging gaps in our fams, we're a little quicker to be able to put ourselves in other people's brains and understand them better. Middle kids know what you did last summer.
Owning Both Our Successes And Our Mistakes
It's hard to not be self-aware when you have an older and younger version of yourself reflected at you at all times growing up. We have constant reminders of what we were and what we could be in our own sibling's faces. It makes you hyper aware of yourself and the consequences of your actions, good and bad, in a way that no other sibling position in the lineup can. So yeah, we're not afraid to admit when we're wrong — and we're not afraid to stand up for ourselves, either.
Everything, Forever And Always
Sorry not sorry that middle kids win at life.
Images: ABC; Giphy(15)