After years of answering question after question about being a twin, I can speak for the masses when I say that twins are a fascinating phenomenon.
It’s estimated that only 3% of the population is a twin and with such small odds, it’s no wonder why most people are so intrigued by the idea. Every time I’ve ever told someone that I’m a twin, I am met first with surprise and then intense curiosity – people want to know anything and everything about being a multiple.
So, in effort to help the other twins out there avoid those same endless questions, here is everything you never knew about being a twin.
Twins don’t have matching fingerprints or the same DNA.
Despite popular belief, twins are not clones of each other. Twins don’t share the same fingerprints for example because even though they share a womb, they sit in different places in the womb, which gives them a different set of prints.
They also don’t share the same DNA because studies have found that identical twins can have different DNA sequences.
While we’re on the topic of science, it’s also important to remember that boy-girl twins are almost never identical, but fraternal – except in cases of a rare chromosomal defect.
Having twins does not skip a generation.
There’s a popular rumor that having twins can skip a generation, but science doesn’t back that up at all. It’s a complete myth.
Having twins can, however, be genetic. Having identical twins is not genetic, but having fraternal twins can be. Women who have a set of fraternal twins as siblings are 2.5 times more likely to have twins than an average woman.
Twins come with a built-in best friend.
Excuse my cheesiness for a moment, but having a twin is like getting assigned a best friend at birth. Sure, there are hundreds of twins who may disagree, but more often than not twins have a special bond that can’t be denied.
After all, many twins shared their rooms, their clothes, and their parents’ attention, not to mention a womb. It’d be harder to not be friends with them.
Twins aren’t as competitive as you think they’d be.
Because of the fact that people are constantly comparing twins to one another, you might think that a twin would end up with a competitive nature. It’s actually the opposite though. Many are so used to comparisons that competition doesn’t affect them as much as it does other sets of siblings.
It’s said, however, that fraternal twins can be more competitive than identical ones.
Some people believe twintuition is real.
Some twins claim that they really can read each others’ minds, but far more often, you’ll find a twin who has at least experienced “twintuition.”
From miles away, some twins say they can sometimes sense that something’s up or that something might be wrong with their other half. Take these twins who realized they were both pregnant at the same time, or these twins who claim they can feel each other’s pain.
Each twin is a different person.
It might seem like common sense to view separate people separately, but for some reason, that notion goes out the window when it comes to twins.
Whether you’re trying to buy them a present or thinking of how to communicate with them, it’s important to remember that works for one twin doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work for the other.
Since they were probably raised in the same house by the same people, they will likely have a few things in common, but their interests might be few and far between. Witnessing this firsthand will make you think twice about nature vs. nurture.
There’s a weird sense of pride that comes with being a twin.
As strange as it may sound, twins are pretty proud to be twins. Many get excited when they meet other twins and will often share twin stories back and forth.
There’s even a festival every year that brings thousands of sets of twins together to celebrate the fact that they were born in twos.
There’s also a lot of pride in being the firstborn twin.
A big question that twins always get is “Who’s older?” It’s one question that the older twin is always quick to answer because to some twins, it’s a pretty big deal.
While some twins have been born hours apart, most are born within minutes of each other. Regardless of the timing though, the older one tends to feel superior. And speaking from personal experience, they will likely hold that insignificant fact over their twin’s head for the rest of their lives.
Being identical isn’t better or worse than being fraternal.
The first question out of anyone’s mouth when they learn someone is a twin is: “Are you identical or fraternal?”
In reality, there are identical twins that look don’t alike and fraternal twins that could easily pass as one another.
I’ve met fraternal twins that say they can read each others’ minds and know identical twins that are barely even friends, so why do the specifics of fertilization matter as much as they do?
It can be easier to raise twins than two different-aged children.
The phrase “you’re having twins” may sound daunting to parents, but having multiples can be a blessing in disguise.
They’ll always have someone to play with, which will let you off the hook if you’re busy. You will also only have to drop them off for school at one time of the day, and they won’t argue about bed times because they’ll have the same one.
And if you’re really lucky, they will have a few of the same interests, meaning their extracurricular activities will fall at the same time and place.
There are some things you will never understand if you’re not a twin.
Twins have been described as “a family within a family” because they tend to form an entire relationship with one another that’s completely separate from the rest of their family. Their relationship with their twin also develops into their primary relationship in a family.
This is why 40% sets of twins have their own languages when they’re young and why I’ve come across several twins that can’t stand being apart too much. These circumstances are hard to explain to someone who isn’t a twin and can make people frustrated sometimes, but it just comes with the territory.
And yes, answering all of your questions can get pretty old.
Every time I tell someone I’m a twin I get ton of questions: “What’s it like being a twin?” “Can you read each others’ minds?” “Did you ever switch places in class?” “You can you feel each others’ pain?”
In short, my answers (and surely many other twins’ answers) are usually, “What’s it like not being a twin?” and then “no,” “no,” and “no.”