DEAR ABBY: I'm a 24-year-old male. My younger brother, "Chaz," is 22 and has always been extremely popular with everyone -- parents, grandparents, guys, girls. He is the better-looking, more talented, smooth-talking brother.
Chaz and I have been close growing up, sharing the same hobbies and doing the same things. But ever since I can remember, people have walked past me on their way to flock around him. The only time girls talk to me is when they ask about him. Chaz juggles three gorgeous girlfriends who know about each other but are still crazy about him.
I don't consider myself ugly or awkward. I do OK. I'm thought of as the nicer, warmer one who people can talk to. I'm not bad at what I do, and I do get compliments on my talents, but often it's followed with, "But your brother ... wow!"
I know I shouldn't compare myself to Chaz, but it hasn't been easy living in his shadow and being seen by everyone as "just his brother." It has done a real number on my self-esteem. What can I do to not let this affect me so much? Should I move someplace where nobody knows him? -- CHAZ'S BROTHER
DEAR BROTHER: Let's follow that last sentence to its logical conclusion. You move far away from Chaz -- and then what? Pretend you're an only child? What if he comes to visit? What if you meet someone special and want to introduce her to the family? Only as a last resort should you take such drastic action.
It's time to start working to beef up your sagging self-esteem. One way would be to schedule some sessions with a psychologist who can help you appreciate the traits that distinguish you from your brother. Another important step would be to involve yourself in activities separate and apart from Chaz, which will help you to cultivate an identity of your own.
You are far more than just someone's brother. You are already considered the "nicer, warmer one who people can talk to." Recognize that those are important qualities and something you can build upon.