Today I share a 100% true story from my past.

I use to meet my little brother to eat together with him regularly, but any time his friends or others that knew him would meet me the conversation always seemed to go the same way. They would ask who I was but they never believed that I was just coming to spend time with my little brother. Most would insist we couldn't be brothers, but when I asked them why not they refused to tell me why they were skeptical.

That was until the end of the 'year' when I was invited to join them all when when they were going out somewhere special to celebrate one of the last times we would all be together. Again I meet an acquaintance of my little brother who was skeptical of my explanation of how we knew each other, but this time when I asked her why she didn't believe my she gave a good reason for her skepticism while pointing to my chest. I admitted to her that I was impressed that someone was finally willing to gave a reason for their skepticism, even if it wasn't definitive proof; but I still didn't end up giving an explanation to her confusion.

So can anyone explain to me why no one believed my little brother and I, or why no one was willing to explain their skepticism until that last time? Bonus points if you can guess why I wasn't immediately offering an explanation for their confusion.

Some hints to help rule out possible answers, generally ordered form less to more useful:

There is some knowledge that could help to inform this answer, but I decided not to include the knowledge tag as I decided the information was likely general enough to be known; and that one could probably guess at the situation without being aware of the specific piece of knowledge.

I knew why the friends were skeptical, but was intentionally refusing to acknowledge it until they explained.

I knew they may not be comfortable explaining their reasons for being skeptical, but I admit even I'm surprised no one ever gave the obvious answer.

figuring out where we would have met to eat will give context to some of the questions.

The time that someone gave an answer they gave a different answer then the one others refused to give

there was something different about the last meeting then the previous ones which explained why the final person was comfortable giving an explanation for her skepticism.

It was because we were going out somewhere special to celebrate that the final individual was in a position to give me a good answer.

Larger hints:

there was a significant age difference between me and my little brother.

I'm not biologically related to my little brother.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ That's a LOT of hints to start a puzzle off with. In general we encourage having less hints initially and then adding more as needed. $\endgroup$ – bobble Sep 28 '20 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ I'm pondering this for a while now. Thought I might be on a good track, but the larger hints don't fit my idea. Let me please ask for clarification: What exactly did they not believe you and your brother? What exactly is the question here? If they for instance doubted that he was your brother, as you say in the beginning, than your hint #9 gives a very good reason why they might have doubted and I don't get the question. (Wouldn't explain why they didn't say anything, but one hint says you you were surprised about that yourself, which basically renders that information useless anyway.) $\endgroup$ – Karsten Köpnick Jan 26 at 0:21
  • $\begingroup$ 'The year' you mention, is this in your case kind of a mandatory confirmation period? (I don't know the legal term here, but like a pair is required to live separated for a certain time span before divorce can be effected. - And no, I don't think you are hinting at a divorce, that was just an example for what I mean.) $\endgroup$ – Karsten Köpnick Jan 26 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ @KarstenKöpnick no it was not a mandatory time limit. In fact I suppose it was actually more like 3/4 of a year, but it felt like the end of a year considering. $\endgroup$ – dsollen Jan 26 at 15:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Today I share a 100% true story" => The real tag probably applies here, doesn't it? $\endgroup$ – xhienne Jan 29 at 13:39

OK, so I'll give it a try:

you not being biologically related to your little brother could easily happen if one of you was adopted, legally or de-facto, or if the parents you lived with at that time each had one of you as their child from a different partner. And you being significantly older could just be for the same reason. This could also easily make you two show features from different ethnicities, so you wouldn't look like siblings at all. However, not all of his friends should have had a general problem to point that out to you.

Now I start to heap several guesses upon each other:

So maybe

your brother was very sick at that time. When you met to eat together, it was in a situation similar to a hospital and you were helping him, maybe even feeding him. This was the first time his friends would cross paths with you, so they didn't know you from before. With you being significantly older, you probably never fit in with your brother's much younger friends. You already gave the explanation with being much older and not biologically related why the others didn't think of you as siblings. Maybe one of you also had a discernibly different accent.

I'll postulate further that

you all were required to wear extensive protective clothing to prevent contamination of the patients, and through all the stuff you were wearing, including the mouth cover, your features were too hard to discern for his friends. So they had only your muffled voice to go on. Not enough to properly base their suspicion on.

This does not really explain why nobody said anything. So I add

that your brother had a brain injury, maybe a tumor, or a severe mental condition, that might drive him to say strange things or having trouble with some memories. When he insisted you being his brother, they didn't take his word for granted, but nobody dared to say anything, as they wouldn't want to hurt or disturb your brother. Or look like a jerk, if it later turned out that he was right after all.

And I wager you in turn did not help clearing up the facts,

since not being biologically related could have meant you were no longer entitled to visit your brother, or maybe he would be no longer entitled to receive treatment, due to an open or pending immigration status, if any of this came to light.

The change came

when your brother was finally released (healed I hope). Your next meetings could happen at places were you would not be required to wear protective clothing and so they could finally get a good look at you. Maybe you met at the beach or a similar place and the skeptical girl hinted at the color of your skin, which was finally clearly visible, different from your brother's, and a better explanation than your alleged accent.

As for the heading

you might be referring to your biological family who maybe caused you to abandon them.

So to add a final guess,

you could be gay and your biological family is abunch of ..... and couldn't stand it, causing you to having to leave them (to put it mildly). This would add a potential suspicion for the friends of your new little brother, if you for instance behaved somewhat cliche every now and then, and would also add to their discomfort talking about it.

All a bit far fetched and contrived and still much guesswork, I'm afraid, but it's worth a try.


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