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Middle Child Syndrome? 15 Things Only Middle Children Will Understand

Middle Child Syndrome? 15 Things Only Middle Children Will Understand

On the big stage of life, we tend to NOT be the main act.  Are we happy to be the center of attention at the after party?  No, not that either.  We middle born are content to conduct the whole performance without accolades but with a sense of fulfillment that comes from a lifetime of patience and perseverance.  Known as the diplomats of birth order, we have the ability to approach others in a conciliatory manner and bring together successful outcomes without the angst of being the “needy baby” or the contentious firstborn.

1.  Middle of the pack?  We like it!

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    Forced by circumstance to wait behind an alpha child, then wait while the omega child caught up, we found our niche moving within a pack.  Our parents tended to let us excel at our own pace (no attention span left for us) and with that came the chance to actually understand what gave us the most satisfaction.  One successful middle who took of advantage of this and freely explored the world and his potential was none other than Theodore Roosevelt Middle trivia:  Of all the presidents since 1787, 52% have been middle children.

    2.  The good stuff is always in the middle.

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      All middles know that the juicy tidbits of life are buried within the crusty confines of family drama.  It’s that knowledge that allowed us to be eager recipients of older siblings’ rants (messy and valuable family details to be exploited later) as well as the soothing listener to the over-indulged baby (if the baby got something, then we all did just to be fair.)  Our siblings gave us the first taste of getting “something for nothing” in the way of information or product.  We learned at their sides that we didn’t have to be LOUD to be successful; we could quietly take advantage of a situation without threatening our own well-being.  One quiet but determined entrepreneur was very good at this!  Bill Gates

      3.  Middle Child Syndrome Misconceptions

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        Can’t we all just get along?  This phrase may be mostly what middle children are known for; media depictions of the oft neglected “other child” have helped to cement that status.  These CRAZY CHARACTERS aren’t indicative of real life success but add to the stereotype of what it means to be a middle child.  Although the lackluster middles may make the most noise about being ignored, etc., statistics prove they’re well prepared to be as successful or more so than their siblings.  READ MORE

        4.  Creative is our middle child name!

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          Who has time to be creative in today’s world?  Um, we middles have always had the advantage of time.  Whether we were stuck waiting with our parents for the older child’s activities to finish OR waiting around for the younger one to catch up, we were stuck!  All of that extra time honed our patience and also expanded our imagination.  Whether art, literature, or gaming, we got in a lot of time-filling practice.  Middle trivia:  Madonna, Julia Roberts, David Letterman are later born creatives.

          5.  Pressure points

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            Common sense dictates that if something is going to explode, it will go through the top and/or bottom.  And we learned this early on by watching the tribulations of our siblings.  The eldest was often held to an unrealistic expectation of success and when they fell short, kaboom!  The youngest was prone to playing “catch up” with the hindrance of age and inexperience catapulting them to failure…kaboom!  We middles are known to complain about never being noticed for our accomplishments but we enjoy our pressure free zone, failing or succeeding at our own pace.

            6.  Measuring Expectations of Middle Children

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              It’s happened to all of us later born children.  If we attend the same school as our older sibling(s) then their success or lack thereof is tied to our perception.  Teachers tend to remark early on about our differences and then we are exposed to that bias.  We have been put on notice that we will be be observed NOT for our contributions but how we compare to our sibling.  UNFAIR!  But that’s life and we middles learned to accept it early on.  Fortunately, scientific research has yet to prove a perceptible difference in IQ due to birth order.  At most, they think it may cause a 1 point reduction in IQ for each subsequent later born child.  And how do most middles respond to that?  Who cares.  The study was probably done by a first born anyway….

              7.  Births of a feather flock together.

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                Years of dealing with family dynamics, the highs and lows of birth order, we who are middle born tend to find ourselves later with others of the same mindset.  In fact, recent studies point to the fact that we are drawn to people who reflect our experiences and values.  Could that mean that our natural tendency to be conciliatory would lead us to more successful relationships than our brethren?  The jury is still out on that one but it doesn’t stop this ONLINE dating service from offering its advice to the lovelorn.

                8.  Can I add “middle” to my résume?

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                #workplace station MGD©

                  The workforce is finally recognizing our many talents!  We are a valuable commodity to employers and it’s time to make room on the job application for birth order.  With references like THESE, we should be able to occupy the corner office in record time!

                  9.  Forget the high ground, we rule Middle Earth!

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                    Since ALFRED ADLER introduced his birth order theories in 1928, siblings have been categorized according to an accident of  timing.  Middle borns have become stereotyped as the “sandwich” child, the diplomat, or the rebel.  For the most part, we have kept the peace (in true fashion) and not made much fuss about our lot in life.  Some even argue that we have SECRET POWERS and that in itself is a departure from our obscurity.

                    10.  Surprise!  We middle children don’t care that much.

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                      We are in the middle of making a living, forming relationships, educating ourselves and becoming productive world citizens.  One thing that we rarely do is FRET over our birth order.  It is interesting to see others relegate us to the forgotten category of family member.  Although it makes for good copy, middle borns aren’t out in droves protesting against our elder and younger siblings.  What we understand is that everyone can struggle to find where they belong in the grand scheme of things.  Our perspective is broad based and if that is because of our birth order, who cares?  We’re happy to share our good fortune.

                      11. Middle children don’t depend on an arbitrary number to get our point across.  Who needs 15 points when 11 will do just fine.

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                      1 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 2 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 3 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 4 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

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                      Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                      How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                      How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                      For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

                      If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

                      Example 1

                      You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

                      You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

                      In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

                      Example 2

                      You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

                      People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

                      You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

                      Example 3

                      You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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                      The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

                      Example 4

                      You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

                      Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

                      If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

                      Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

                      • Understand your own communication style
                      • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
                      • Communicate with precision and care
                      • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

                      1. Understand Your Communication Style

                      To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

                      In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

                      Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

                      2. Learn Others Communication Styles

                      Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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                      If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

                      “How do you prefer to receive information?”

                      This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

                      To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

                      3. Exercise Precision and Care

                      A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

                      On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

                      Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

                      I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

                      I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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                      In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

                      The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

                      Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

                      4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

                      Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

                      In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

                      “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

                      Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

                      Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

                      It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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                      It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

                      It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

                      Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

                      Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

                      The Bottom Line

                      When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

                      I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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                      Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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