Sibling relationships are complicated. The same person that laughs at you when you trip and hurt yourself also hugs you when you need it most. But there's something a little different about having a little brother, and although it's hard to describe (as all sibling relationships are), you'll know if you have one. Maybe you'll even learn a little about him too; I know I did.
1. You're the role model.
Did you know that older siblings tend to have higher blood pressure? The worst part about having a little brother is that he is so annoying sometimes. And when I try to tell my parents, all they do is say, "It's just because he loves you". For a long time I thought that wasn't a valid excuse, but over the years I've come to see what "he loves you" actually means. Being an older sibling in general means that you go through everything first; first day of every school, SATs, college applications, etc. I would know much about firsts, because I'm also the first grandchild. So basically, the younger siblings and cousins look at what I've been through, use the knowledge that I've learned, and apply it to their own lives. I've only been in college for a few months, and I've already dished out plenty of expert advice on the college process, because I've been through it. Sometimes it's a lot of pressure, having to set a good example for my little brother, because every mistake I make, he subconsciously takes into account. But then I realize, I've never had to live up to the expectations of my older sibling and actually have to make an effort to be my own person. Of course, I know plenty about expectations and effort, but sometimes having a guidebook makes it harder to figure things out for yourself. So when my parents say he's interrupting my homework because "he loves me", he's not just trying to piss me off for the heck of it, he's really just looking for a type of guidance that I never had. Lucky.
2. You share a bond stronger than sharing clothes.
For brother/sister relationships, sharing clothes is a one way street most of the time (I took a couple T-shirts to college with me), but sharing moments is about as mutual as it gets. When it comes to siblings, I experience emotions with a twist. When I'm really angry at my brother, it's a type of anger that I know is short-lived, even though in the moment I don't want it to be. When we make fun of each other, we both know the limit that separates kidding and seriousness. When I'm sad, he either knows how to make me feel better or worse, and I usually end up laughing in the end.
3. You get another perspective, take advantage of it.
We might look alike, but we are completely different. But being different is good, because then you both have separate interests, and nobody competes to see who is better (okay, maybe sometimes). A little brother can also understand and interpret different situations very differently, which not only allows you to observe how he thinks, but how his thinking differs from yours. And that's always a good skill to have.
4. Seek your little brother's approval isn't a bad thing.
Believe it or not, I've found myself trying to impress my little brother on the occasion. I want to seem cool enough that he can hang out with me and be one of my best friends, and because he's that way in to how a guy thinks (I think some of us could use a little of that). I want him to think that he can tell me his secrets so that I can tell him mine. There are a lot of things I want him to think about me. And one of them is not that I don't care what he thinks.
5. They understand you better than you think they do. And vice versa.
It probably has to do with the fact that you have the same blood. Somehow, no matter what you've been through, siblings always know, because they would probably react in a similar way. I admire characteristics in my little brother that I don't have as much of, like his patience, and the fact that he is there to even out my stubbornness has really helped me in the past. We know how to help each other out, and we always will, just because we know we'd do the same thing for the other.