According to Science, This is How Being the Middle Child Affects Your Personality

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Photo of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor28 November 2017

There’s a theory in psychology that the order of birth—whether you’re the oldest, youngest, or middle child—has a profound influence on your character. Although you and your siblings were all raised by the same set of parents, your upbringing was entirely different depending on where you fit within the family structure, directly influencing your individual strengths and challenges.

When you were born, middle child, you detracted attention away from the oldest, who was previously the sole apple of your parent’s eye. Then, when your younger sibling was born, they reshuffled the priorities of Mum and Dad even more. At times you’ve probably felt overlooked—as if you’ve faded into the background compared to the beloved first born or baby of the family. Because of this you’re very independent. You’re not afraid to deviate from the status quo and forge your own path.

Middle children are more likely to venture outside the family from a young age, cultivating a wide social circle. In many ways, friends are even more important to you than family. You’re diplomatic, empathic and willing to compromise—traits that make you popular at every stage of life. You’re not afraid to travel solo, knowing you won’t find it hard to meet new people along the way.

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The fact that you’re an agreeable person who places a lot of value on non-familial bonds also makes you a great romantic partner, who might be less likely to cheat, according to Dr Catherine Salmon, author of the book The Secret Power of Middle Children.

Feeling as if you didn’t have a defined role in your family dynamic growing up has made you competitive. This trait, coupled with the fact that you’re a skilled negotiator, means that entrepreneurship suits you. Or perhaps a career in politics, like your fellow middle children John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln.

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