The Disadvantages of Being a Twin

Having a twin means having someone to help you think through ideas, hang out with and who understands what being a twin is all about. However, being a twin also comes with some disadvantages. These disadvantages may or may not be the case with all twins. When you talk to an only child or someone from a large family, his ideas of what is good and bad about his family and sibling life will often be different from someone in a similar situation. The same is true of twins.


Twins who were raised where one was always held up as the "good" twin and the other as a "bad" twin may resent each other. They do so because they are upset that they were not treated as equal individuals as children. The good twin may think himself better than the other and be confident in himself and his abilities. The bad twin may think himself inferior to others throughout his life, according to Dr. Barbara Klein in her book on twins "Not All Twins Are Alike: Psychological Profiles of Twinship." Twins may feel overshadowed by their counterparts and unable to find a niche in life that is uniquely theirs. Follower twins may feel like they need the leader twin to help them accomplish things throughout their lives.

Grouped Together

One of the main disadvantages of being a twin is that people see you as one person in many cases. They may refer to twins not by their first names as individuals, but as the "the twins" or by their last names, as twins James and Richard Ashley-Smith reported to Joanna Moorhead in the Guardian in 2006. Twins may have a difficult time establishing their individual identities to the outside world.

Lack of Individualism

Twins may also have trouble feeling unique themselves. Richard Ashley-Smith states in the Guardian article that he was amazed when he went to university separate from his twin and he made friends that did not know James. He felt like an individual for the first time.

Lack of Privacy

Being a twin also comes with less privacy than being an only child or having older or younger siblings. Twins may share a room, feel like they have to share their thoughts and activities with their twins and be constantly around their twins. Privacy is a rare element in twins' lives at times.

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About the Author

Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.