How Your Siblings Shape Your Personality
What experts say about their power of influence
One of the few joys in the weeks of recent, unending awful news surrounding the novel coronavirus has been the emergence of Andrew and Chris Cuomo as sibling rivals. We’ve watched Governor Cuomo, the elder brother, and Chris, the CNN anchor, bicker on-air about calling their parents and which one is their mother’s favorite. We’ve heard about the younger Cuomo’s fever dream in which his brother donned a ballet costume. (Chris Cuomo was diagnosed with Covid-19 at the end of March.) It’s funny to think about these two people, who are major voices in the world right now, growing up under the same roof — the ways in which their early years together might have influenced the public figures they are now.
As a kid, I often felt like my younger sister and I were in the lyrics from a bad pop song. The kind that uses two very different types of women as foils for each other. She was class vice president and a cheerleader and I couldn’t dance or win an election if I bribed people to vote for me. (Which I might have considered, unlike my sister who would never.) Real life is, of course, more nuanced than a Top-40 tune. School came pretty easily for me, largely because I enjoyed it. For Bailey, my sister, it was more a means to an end. (We work for the same company now, so really it all evened out eventually.) Bailey was quiet, whereas I fed on talking to anybody and everybody. The short of it is we both spent a decent amount of time in our formative years trying to become more like each other. Now that we’ve grown up and can look back with the perspective and necessary humor that hindsight affords, it’s interesting to think that during all those years we spent fighting and growing and bonding we were actually shaping the adults we would grow to become.
I’m certainly glad for that experience, but I figured I should ask my sister, too. Give her a chance to have a say in the matter, something I didn’t always do when we were younger. “I think since we were living under the same roof, I was often influenced to do a lot of the same things as you,” Bailey said. “It wasn’t until we were older that I think you specifically influenced my personality. Or at least influenced my personality enough that I was aware of it.” She mentioned the time she…