There are many advantages to being agreeable, understanding and influential. If you are one of those who has these desires, you have already learned that you can’t treat all of your acquaintances the same way you treat some of them. It’s no secret that all that people have different personalities. One of the reasons for this is the influence that birth order has on personality.
Psychologists have become very interested in this and have made some interesting discoveries that may be helpful to know about. Psychologists have discovered that firstborns are more sensitive than later-borns and much more conscientious, organized and achievement-oriented. Since they don’t have an older sibling to learn from or pattern after they learn to think for themselves and became leaders in most of the things they set out to do. They have proven to be more assertive and dominant. They are status-conscious. Since they were alone in the family initially, they usually adopt their parents’ values and standards.
The later-borns, soon discover that they can’t get their way by force or bluster, and so become negotiators who are social and agreeable. They become peacemakers. Those who have siblings older and younger learn to enjoy socializing and working in groups. They often become salesmen and seek other occupations that involve meeting new people and making new friends.
Now what about the ones that are down at the end–the last-borns? If they just become a pattern of those older than themselves, they don’t attract much attention. So they tend to take off in different directions than those older than themselves–choose different professions. They subconsciously try to distinguish themselves from those older and become strivers and achievers. The last-borns usually develop a good sense of humor which makes them entertaining to be around.
And that leaves us with the characteristics of the only child. The only child is a little less predictable but seldom takes on the characteristics of a firstborn with no siblings to lead or boss. They are more accustomed to being alone and don’t crave the group activities the middle child group does.
So what should you do with these newly acquired insights? One thing would be to get to know the birth order of your associates and use this information for all it’s worth. You can give them what they crave and influence them in a way that will enable you get what you want out of the association.
--ARTHUR S. ANDERSON