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5 things we learned from our big brothers

 

Having an older brother is often a blessing in disguise. While he may drive you crazy when he voices an opinion on *every* decision you make, no matter how small, he can also give annoyingly perfect advice. When he pushes you to get out of the house and see your friends, or to make an effort to meet new people, it's hard to realize that he only wants you to have a healthy social life. It's tempting to tell him to mind his own business, but eventually you have to admit that he's just trying to help. No matter if you and he are two peas in a pod, or if you couldn't be more different; below, we've listed five lessons that our big brothers have taught us.

1. Stand up for yourself.
Isn't it hard to say no to the friend that's asking for a little *too* much help on the English homework, or the neighbor that constantly asks to borrow your stuff, but never returns anything? Maybe you also struggle to defy bullies, even when they want you to do something that's unfair to you, like take the blame for an incident that wasn't your fault. 

Older brothers seldom put up with that kind of mean behavior. They've learned from experience not to let others walk all over them, and how to stop bullies right in their tracks. Haven't we all heard from our big brothers that we need to "be more assertive" and "speak up"? Don't they constantly tell us not to begin our sentences with "I'm sorry," or to shrink away from confrontation when we know we're in the right? Girls are brave, no doubt about it, but nobody is perfect, and sometimes our older brothers give us the push we need to stand tall and proud.

2. Give your honest opinion.
We grew up rolling our eyes when our big brothers gave us advice but no matter how frequently we ignored what they had to say, they never stopped trying to guide us. This is a lesson we can transfer into our own lives. If you feel like your friend's new diet is right on the cusp of becoming dangerous for her health, or an intimidating classmate is teasing the shy, self-conscious girl in the school hallway, don't keep quiet. Tell them or a trusted adult what's on your mind, and don't give up if the first conversation has no visible effect. Do everything you can to help the people you care about, just like your big brother did with you.

3. Keep your standards high.
GL already has a post that goes through every stage of introducing your new guy to an overprotective big brother, and that struggle is real. He's only suspicious, however, because he's known you since birth, and therefore also knows that you deserve the very best. With a raise of his eyebrows, your older brother can let you know *exactly* what he thinks of your boyfriend, and the annoying part is that he's sometimes right. Every once in a while, look at your new BF through his eyes, and take a moment to consider whether your older brother has a point.

4. If you want that last piece of cake, take it before he does!    
Because you know he's not going to hesitate if he wants it. That goes for any kind of food.

5. Don't be afraid to march to the beat of your own drum.
Do you think your big brother cares if all of the other guys are trying out for football, but he likes soccer instead? No! He's going to do his own thing, and we bet he's encouraged you to do yours. Maybe he's the lone artistic boy at school, or he fits into his big group of friends like a glove; you know that if the pressure to change himself was getting strong, he wouldn't let it sway his resolve. He's going to pursue his own interests, regardless of what everybody else is doing, and you should, too.

What lessons has *your* big brother taught you? Let us know in the comments!

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by Bridget Curley | 5/14/2017
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