Sex & Relationships

The Reason Coronavirus Has Turned You Into A Bossy Older Sibling Again
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No shade to Myers-Briggs, but no personality test could have possibly prepared you for knowing how you would handle a global pandemic. Whether you've started to meal-prep for your whole house or have been posting lots of inspirational memes, social distancing can bring out sides of yourself that you never even knew were there. If you've been a little more maternal than usual or craving extra attention, you may have your sibling birth order traits to thank.

According to Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear, old childhood and family dynamics can easily arise during times of heightened stress or anxiety.

"It’s common for old behaviors (negative and positive) to pop up during challenging times," Dr. Manly tells Bustle. "The manner in which an individual handles stress and anxiety results from a combination of genetic factors, modeling by caregivers, and other interactions."

As Dr. Manly shares, the way you process stressful situations as an adult is often inspired by your childhood and family dynamics. While your birth order (i.e., the order that you and your siblings were born) doesn't dictate everything about you, it can impact the way you handle say, a global pandemic like coronavirus.


Oldest Siblings: You're Planning Zoom Parties & Trying To Get Your Roommates On A Schedule

"Often rule-based, older siblings may move into the role of caregiver, parent, or authoritative manager," Dr. Manly says. "Older siblings may create guidelines and set the stage for appropriate conduct."

Dr. Manly says that older siblings are often proactive caregivers and enjoy establishing a structure for others to follow. Perhaps you've been posting about your daily routine or have been sharing easy recipes to make with frozen veggies. Or maybe you've been the one to group chat with your college friends or organize Zoom happy hours for your coworkers. You enjoy taking the initiative, and want to ensure your friends know that you're there for them.

Middle Siblings: You're Helping Your Roommates Rearrange Their Space To Practice Yoga

When it comes to baking, the middle is the best part of the cookie. When it comes to family dynamics, the middle child likes to see the best in everyone.

"Middle siblings may strive to diffuse anxiety and stress," Dr. Manly says. "The middle child may be prone to adopt a 'fix-it' role and strive to maintain a sense of calm."

Middle siblings are like a big sibling and a little sibling, in one body. Their ability to see problems from different perspectives makes them great at keeping their cool and being level-headed during times of severe stress. If you're a middle sibling, you may be great at listening to your loved ones vent right now and helping them find little solutions to their problems. From creating a chore-chart to nip roommate fighting to finding new ways to rearrange the living room so that everyone has space, middle siblings are all about solving problems and lessening stress.

Youngest Siblings: You're #Stressed, But Making It Fashion

Dr. Manly shares that youngest siblings can be more prone to feeling extra emotional during times of unrest. "Particularly when raised in overly-protective environments, the younger sibling may become highly anxious or stressed," Dr. Manly says.

Of course, their empathy and emotional intelligence can be their greatest asset. "The younger sibling may also manage anxiety and stress with relative ease," Dr. Manly says. "And can [provide] calming support to others."

Younger children can be a little rebellious or unique in the way they express themselves. If you're a younger sibling, you may find yourself thinking of ways to break up the boredom of being at home all day or finding creative ways to spread some zen and happiness to your friends. Maybe you send check-in texts during the day or suggest that everyone in your house learn the TikTok dances.

Twins: You're Bonding More Than Ever

If you and your sibling(s) were born at the same time, Dr. Manly shares you may be doing some hardcore bonding right now. "If siblings who are born at the same time have maintained a very close relationship, they may face challenging times by teaming up in a very proactive way," Dr. Manly says.

Whether you switch-off bringing groceries to your grandma every week or have started a podcast about something you're both into, you're likely using this team to really be in tune with each other — and all the other people you care about.

Only Children: You're Full Of Ideas Of Things To Do At Home Alone

The queens of self-isolation! You're used to making your own fun and spending a lot of time at home alone, so social distancing is easy and breezy. Maybe you send your friends different creative writing prompts each day or have mastered how to make the best green smoothies. Whatever the case, your loved ones are living for your out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving right now.