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I have a younger brother who is 19. We don’t have anything in common. I’m a quiet person and don’t like to talk about irrelevant things. My brother doesn’t understand that I’m different, he thinks I am a cold, emotionless person. His main way of building relationships with people is talking about irrelevant things, like what kind of furniture do I want once I have my own place. My main way of building relationships is just spending time together, talking about the person’s life, giving them advice if they have a problem.

Anything we do together (movies, etc.) has to be on his terms. We can't watch movies I choose, because he finds them boring. He has told me on many occasions that my life and hobbies are boring, that no one will ever like me, and that I don't know what real friendships and real relationships are. I don't take any of this seriously.

I am fine being alone, but he constantly needs me to keep him company and spend time with him. The only time I have to myself is when he is busy on his phone. He loves to talk and keeps asking me irrelevant questions. Every once in a while, he asks interesting questions like ‘who do you look up to in life?’ but no matter what I answer, my answer is always wrong.

Six months ago, we took a family holiday to a remote, rural place where there was poor internet connectivity, so he was on my case 24/7 asking me to spend time with him, watch movies with him (always his choice) and so forth. I had my own things to do, and in the end I got so annoyed that I flat out refused and said I just wanted to be alone.

He was very angry with me, and for the next few weeks he just ignored me. If I tried to speak to him, he would say something like 'you wanted me to leave you alone, so why are you talking to me now?' I thought it would blow over, so I didn't argue further.

After the holiday, he returned to university which is in a different country from where I live. I messaged him every few days to ask how he is, how his classes are going, but he ignored my messages. Again, I didn't say anything because I thought it would blow over. But we eventually reached the point where he had been ignoring me for more than 2 months.

I asked him what the big deal was, and he said my actions had made it clear that I don't really care about him, and that we don't have a real sibling relationship. He felt my messages were automatic, my questions boring (questions like how are you doing, or how do you spend your free time). He felt I was just keeping in touch with him for the sake of it.

My parents tried talking to him, but he refused to listen to them, and they eventually stopped because they were afraid he would cut them off as well. It has now been 6 months since the initial argument, and he is still angry. I haven't done anything wrong but he doesn't see it that way. I never thought he would still be angry after more than 6 months.

Apart from this, he has never shown any interest in my life or my problems, even since before the argument. I didn't realize it until now, when he started complaining about me. In fact, when I was away at university, he never bothered to message me or even speak to me on the phone, because he was always busy doing something else that was more important.

I keep messaging him every few days in the hopes that he'll see sense, but he's still ignoring me. If we talk on the phone, he either refuses to speak to me, or says hello and leaves it at that.

During group video calls with our parents, he's occasionally mentioned minor problems he’s having, like a subject that’s hard to understand, and when I give him advice, he makes some snarky comment about how that won’t work. Basically, anything I say is wrong. A few weeks later, I’ll find out that he actually followed my advice, and it solved his problem, but he'll refuse to admit it was my idea (he genuinely seems to forget that I was the one who suggested it). This has happened several times now.

Should I keep doing what I'm doing, or try something else? I just want to resolve the argument. We don’t need to be best friends or anything, but he should at least talk to me.

  • 2
    Question is: Do you want to? Is there anything, aparts from the "family" argument, that make you want to keep this relationship? It's a two way street, if he's not willing then why would you feel obligated to do his part? You cannot fix somebody else problem by treating it as yours and trying to fix it at YOUR side. – SZCZERZO KŁY Jun 10 at 8:29
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    Well, he is my only sibling. If this was a friendship then it would be easy to just let things fall apart. Apart from the family thing, my main reason to keep the relationship is because if things fall apart, it should be for a major reason, not an insignificant one like this. – souzan Jun 10 at 8:43
  • Have you tried apologizing? If not, would you be willing to, even if you feel you did nothing wrong? – Kat Jun 10 at 10:47
  • Some comments removed - please don't answer in comments but instead write an answer if you have advice to give, following our answer guidelines. – Em C Jun 11 at 17:49
  • i don't kknow how it's like to be a clingy brother, me and my bro respect each others privacy – Salmaan Al-Faaris Jun 13 at 23:37
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Try to see where you might be wrong

It sounds like you've got some pretty common older sibling traits. Check here for more details but the key one is:

Serious/solitary – Babies aren’t much fun for the oldest child to play with. Little brothers and sisters can be OK if they are close in age, but the oldest child will prefer his or her peers or parents until siblings are much older. Even then, oldest children can have an aloof, snobbish attitude toward siblings.

Reading between the lines hints at another side. You don’t

"talk about irrelevant things"

One of your accepted social interactions is

"giving them advice if they have a problem"

You say

"Every once in a while, he asks interesting question...no matter what I answer, my answer is always wrong."

and

"mentioned minor problems...when I give him advice"

Everything is fairly judgemental - his conversation topics are irrelevant until he's struck on one of the topics you've deemed worthy. Furniture choices is as big an indicator of a person's interests and personality as who their idols are - idols just require certain knowledge and that seems more adult (points to the earlier older child issues).

You also seem to always need to give advice. Sometimes listening is all a person needs - I doubt he mentions his problems to your parents with the view that they'll solve them (unless they work in the same field). Sometimes a person just needs to unload, especially if he is studying in a foreign country.

Family is important - perhaps its easier to believe the other person threw it out on a whim but you might find, when you look deeper, that there is a big issue there. Big issues can be made of lots of small ones repeated over 19 years and the last small issue was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

Before you talk to him I'd suggest thinking deeply about how you interact with him, analysing how you would feel if things were reversed. I'm far from saying he doesn't have faults too, just that recognising that your own may be what is stopping him from contacting you is important too.

Once you've done that try to start the conversation from there. Admit any faults you've found and try not to get too defensive of any more that he might suggest. Hold back on pointing out his faults too - no doubt he has them and anger could make you want to blurt them out.

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I have 2 suggestions:

First, as Kat mentioned, you could apologize.

Next, If you don't think he'll be receptive to communicating with you, you can try a third party other than your parents (i.e. a mutual friend or another relative etc.). He may be more likely to listen to a friend or someone outside of your immediate family.

I once had a falling-out with a relative that lasted 2 months, and then they texted me on my birthday, and we reconciled. Although six months is a long time, I say it's still not impossible. You can only try, but I wish you luck.

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  • 4
    Apologize what for? – puck Jun 11 at 8:04
  • For telling their brother that they want to be left alone. They may not have meant it offensively, but I can see how he'd take offensive. (I do think holding a grudge for six months over this is excessive.) – Gemini Jun 11 at 8:07
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    You can see my comment to the original posting. I think the brother is clearly over-demanding souzan and treating souzan not as a sibling, so apologizing would not help in this situation but make it even worse. – puck Jun 11 at 8:16
  • I actually agree. Personally, it doesn't sound like there was much of a relationship to begin with. However, I answered based on Souzan's desire to resume the relationship. – Gemini Jun 11 at 8:18
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    @Kat I do understand your goal, that is OP's purpose. I just predict, if OP apologizes and things keep going the wrong way as it happened up to now, the same problem can be expected to arise again quite soon. – puck Jun 12 at 6:44

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