I will warn you in advance that there isn’t exactly a point to this post, it’s more of a musing. A few of you said you liked hearing my more personal stories, so tough luck, now you have one.
I started thinking about this after reading my sister Annabel’s post about how birth order effects achievement. I’m the first born child and display a lot of the typical characteristics – I’m probably regarded as the sensible one in the family, I have a first class economics degree, completed with toddler in tow, and have done alright for myself fashioning a ‘career’ out of playing on the internet. (I life in fear of people one day realising they are paying me to do a made up job, but let’s not dwell on that.) I should add though that Annabel does have a post-graduate qualification and I do not, so she wins on that front, much to my disappointment.
I started thinking then about the other people I knew, and whether they had the sort of personalities you’d expect, given their birth order. I wracked my brain, but found it very hard to come up with more than a handful of good friends who weren’t also the eldest of their siblings. I wondered if this might be a Thing.
When I took it a step further, I realised something even more surprising – every serious relationship I have ever had has been with a first born child.
I have had three properly serious relationships in my life – all lasting for years rather than months and all where we have lived together. (Nobody in this time has actually ever asked me to marry them, but that’s a whole other post for when I am feeling less emotionally fragile and more inclined to question why no one would want to promise anything in front of witnesses.) All three of these men though have been the eldest of their siblings.
Now I have a economics degree, I know that you can’t conclude anything statistically significant from a sample of three, but I found it interesting as I’m not sure it had ever occurred to me before just how many of the important relationships in my life, both with friends and partners, were with first born children. Do you think that we are simply drawn to people with similar experiences and outlooks on family life? Do we seek out people who will understand us? Or is it purely coincidence?
Where do you sit in your family? Are your friends and partners the same?