How to Make Polite Party Conversation…Don’t Ask If They’re Twins!

During the past few weeks, my family and I attended a number of holiday parties where we didn’t know all the guests. As my twin sons are nearly 15 years old, they mingled among the crowd solo, politely chatting it up with neighbors and old friends. Their ability to make conversation with other grown ups in the room was impressive; it was the grown ups’ questions to each of my twins that had me baffled.

For instance, I heard one woman ask one of my sons, “Do you and your twin brother like to do everything together?”(Really? Is that the best question you can think of to ask?)

He said “no,” and then proceeded to list their differences as if to convince her otherwise.

When my twins were very young, I patiently fielded the silly twin questions: “Who’s your favorite?” or “Who’s the good baby and who’s the bad baby?” But now that my babies are young men, they’re on their own responding to a whole host of new and ridiculous inquiries simply because they were born on the same day. When they were in elementary school, my boys got their share of “Who’s taller?” and even, “Who’s smarter?” from fellow classmates. But those questions came from kids who lacked life experience. They had a legitimate excuse. But adults? Perhaps I’m being just a bit too harsh as most adults are just trying to be polite and engage my boys. But shouldn’t they be a bit better at the art of making conversation?

A table covered in party confetti.

Image by Simon Howden &

In thinking about all this, I wonder if I had a small hand in it. Maybe I helped encourage this recent onslaught of annoying twin questions. After all, I’m the one who made them both wear navy blue blazers to the party. Maybe that drew too much “twin attention?” (But then again, their father wore a navy blue blazer, too. Aren’t navy blue blazers pretty darn common in men?) Or, perhaps I should have told them not to sit near each other on the couch? Come on! Really? Should parents of twins force their kids to separate at every function thereby throwing the other guests “off the twin scent?”

Of course not. Because even though they’re separate, individual people, they are twins, two brothers who get along pretty darn well and enjoy each other’s company. Obviously the solution lies in my twins learning how to navigate it all on their own as it will probably continue throughout their lives.

When I asked each of my sons what they thought of all those questions concerning their twinship, their responses were funny but not fit to print here. (Let’s just say they found them annoying.) But they also realize that it’s part of the twin landscape and that if they want to continue socializing with singletons and in the world at large, they need to handle these “twinisms” with humor and patience.

And from what I can tell, they’re doing a great job at it.