Have you ever suspected that the order of your birth plays into your personality?
It’s something eldest daughters everywhere have been spruiking on TikTok, with the hashtag #eldestdaughter racking up 408 million views. In the videos, eldest daughters claim to be the low-key rocks of the family, from remembering the Wi-Fi password to soothing disgruntled family members. But is there any truth of it?
Think of it like a horoscope-meets-personality test that can help you to understand yourself and the sort of partner that would suit you best.
To put together this new framework, Otten utilised Austrian doctor and psychotherapist Alfred Adler’s ‘Birth Order Theory’, which suggests a very similar thing to what we’re seeing anecdotally on TikTok’s #eldestdaughter hashtag.
His theory is that birth order may impact positive and negative life outcomes, and that the experiences of the eldest, middle and youngest children are different.
He categorises these into three main categories: eldest (ambitious), middle (adaptable) and last born (charming). He also has a framework for the only child (self-assured).
“Birth order theory illuminates our understanding of how our position in the familial constellation can leave imprints on our relationship habits,” says Otten.
“Remember, your birth order may predispose, but it does not predetermine. So whether you’re a responsible first-born, a compromising middle, a charming youngest, or a self-assured only child, you hold the power to navigate, negotiate, and nurture your dating life in your own unique way.”
To assist you in using the Birth Order Theory to inform your dating choices, Otten has broken down each type into ‘green flag tendencies’ and ‘red flag tendencies’, offering her own commentary as an experienced sexologist that helps many couples with different backgrounds and family upbringings.
Here’s what you need to know to find your perfect match using this theory.
Green flag tendencies: Organised, ambitious, takes charge
Red flag tendencies: Dominant, controlling
Chantelle says: “Dating a first-born means you’re partnering with someone who is organised, ambitious, and naturally inclined to take charge. Embrace these strengths as they can lead to a relationship where goals are set and dreams are pursued passionately. However, their preference for dominance or control can sometimes feel overwhelming. Open communication is the key here. Encourage your first-born partner to trust in your abilities and understand that a relationship is a shared journey, not a one person show. Together, you can navigate towards a balanced and mutually fulfilling partnership.”
Green flag tendencies: Adaptable, peacemaker, mediator
Red flag tendencies: Craves attention, people pleaser, compromising
Chantelle says: “Dating a middle-born invites you into a dynamic where adaptability and compromise are priority. These traits can lead to effective conflict resolution and a more harmonious relationship. However, you should be mindful that their tendency to seek attention and to please others might sometimes overshadow their own needs. As their partner, it’s crucial to continually reassure them of their value and affirm their feelings. Encourage open dialogue about their wants and needs, and underline that compromise in a relationship does not require them to put their own desires on the back burner.”
Green flag tendencies: Sociable, charming, loving
Red flag tendencies: Temperamental, irresponsible, self-centred, risk-taker
Chantelle says: “In a relationship with a last-born, you’re likely to experience their sociability, charm, and abundance of love. Their engaging personality can add a layer of adventure and spontaneity to your partnership. However, you might also find yourself grappling with their mood swings, irresponsible episodes, or instances of self-centredness.
Address these challenges by maintaining open communication about your expectations and boundaries. Encourage your last-born partner to strike a balance between their naturally adventurous spirit and a necessary sense of responsibility. Appreciate their vibrant personality, while gently reminding them that a successful, long-term relationship requires mutual effort and contribution.”
Green flag tendencies: Mature, independant, ambitious
Red flag tendencies: Spoiled, lonely, sensitive, bossy
Chantelle says: “Dating an only child, you’ll encounter a unique combination of maturity, independence, and ambition. These qualities can contribute to a strong and goal-oriented relationship. Yet, having been the exclusive focus of their parents, they may at times exhibit bossiness, sensitivity, or feelings of loneliness. Navigating this requires empathy and understanding. Create an atmosphere where they feel safe expressing their feelings, but also remind them that a relationship thrives on shared experiences and decisions. Encourage them to utilise their strengths, while understanding the importance of compromise and emotional sensitivity in a lasting relationship.”
Birth Order Theory Pairings , According To Bumble’s Chantelle Otten
First Born And Last Born Pairing
According to Otten, first borns, who like control, pair well with last borns who can be more dependent. However, this pairing can easily veer into a parent-child-like relationship. In terms of how to give love to one another, first borns do well with compliments and validation, while last borns will respond to fun and spontaneity.
Two First Borns
When two people want to take charge, competition can arise, says Otten. However, they are both ambitious and will see eye-to-eye on other things. Giving each the ability to be in control in various parts of life is a great way to make each feel important.
First Born And Only Child Pairing
It’s easy for the competitive nature of first-borns and the self-assuredness of only children to clash. In this instance, negotiation is essential. Asking each other questions and communicating in a space where there is no right or wrong can ease tensions.
Last Born And Only Child Pairing
This can be a brilliant pairing where the last born has absorbed some of the maturity and social graces of their wider family, and can impart this with the only child, who may be less collaborative in nature.
Middle children typically pair well with anyone because they tend to be so adaptable. However, in the same way they can be a bit of a wild card and may not always act as you expect. Two middle children together is as fun and spontaneous as it is chaotic.
Otten suggests finding mutual interests to connect over with middle children.