When you’re a twin, everyone and their mother seems to wonder what it’s like to have a look-alike sibling. Is the “twin sixth sense” real? How did your family tell you apart growing up?
Below, fraternal and identical twins break down those and other common questions people have about the twin experience.
1. We’re used to people mixing us up (even our parents do it).
“We get it, it can be a little confusing at first. It’s rare but even our parents or brother will mistake one of us for the other, but we just laugh it off. We understand that it’s a mistake and it can take time to pick up on differences.” ― Allie Byers, a 24-year-old identical twin from Austin, Texas
2. Identical twins don’t always look completely identical.
“While some pairs of twins look exactly alike, some don’t ― especially when they grow up! There are two types of twins: monozygotic (or identical twins) develop from one zygote, which splits and forms two embryos. Dizygotic (or fraternal twins) means that they develop from two different eggs. In fraternal twins, each twin is fertilized by its own sperm cell. In our case, we are identical twins, but we definitely have different features and facial structures.” ― Gabby Byers, a 24-year-old identical twin from Austin, Texas
3. Yes, we often finish each other’s sentences.
“Not to overgeneralize, but many pairs of twins are very close and can easily pick up and infer what the other is about to say. It’s not an act or scripted thing or meant to confuse anyone, it just happens! Think about your relationship with your best friend ― it’s just like that.” ― Allie Byers
4. No, opposite-sex twins are definitely not identical.
“You’d be surprised how many people ask if my brother and I are identical. I guess it’s the first question most people think of when they think of twins. But it’s not biologically possible. He’s male, I’m female. Need we say more?” ― Lisa Gordon, a 34-year-old fraternal twin from Boston, Massachusetts
5. Contrary to popular belief, twins aren’t always trying to outdo each other.
“While I think we are both competitive in nature, my sister Jennifer and I have never competed against each other. In fact, being the older twin I always felt I had to take care of Jennifer. We are territorial about birthdays, though. I was born 30 minutes before my sister. I distinctly remember when we turned six that I was crying because I thought I only got to celebrate my birthday the first 30 minutes and Jennifer got the rest of the day to celebrate!” ―Beth “Biz” Velatini, a 49-year-old identical twin from the Chicago suburbs
6. We don’t like the same things.
“Growing up, I was a cheerleader and my sister Biz was the athlete, but we didn’t start getting different gifts from family until we were well into our 20s. We always had to find the exact shaped gift with the same wrapping paper to open them up at the same time.” ―Jennifer von Ebers,a 49-year-old identical twin from the Chicago suburbs
7. Twin telepathy feels very real.
“In high school, my sister and I had a few classes together. Anytime a teacher or a student said something that we knew would strike the other one as odd or funny, without missing a beat, we would turn and look each other at the same time and probably try not to laugh out loud. The same goes for gatherings with extended family we may not see so much. Anytime someone says something sort of bizarre or off color, we immediately make eye contact. We could even be across the room from one another. There’s not really anyone else I have that kind of connection with.” ―Truman Ports, a 21-year-old fraternal twin who lives in New York
8. We’re not less close just because we’re a boy-girl twin set.
“I consider my sister my best friend in the entire universe, and honestly, I relate to her more than I probably have to anyone ever. There seems to be a misconception that different gender twins can grow older and become more aloof from one another, but I think our differences ― especially our gender ― have made our relationship stronger and actually brings us closer. We complement each other well in how we differ. We’re comfortable with one another for what and who we are, as well as our experiences.” ― Truman Ports
9. Being asked what it’s like to be a twin is a very strange question.
“An an identical twin with no other siblings besides the two of us, I don’t know what it’s like to not be a twin. I can’t imagine not having a person who always has my back, who is close enough to give me raw honesty, but who never, ever has made me feel judged. I wish everyone in life could experience this kind of sibling love. I’m grateful to have been born an identical twin.” ― Jennifer S. White, a 37-year-old identical twin and author of A Quiet Kiss