1. Childhood TV Shows were (and still are) your archenemy. Full House? How about, “Two Parents one Kid?” Wait, that doesn’t sound entertaining.
2. You lied about having siblings. When I was in first grade, I had an imaginary brother who was in college and was, in my mind, a tall alcoholic with black hair. Yeah, hypothetical brother is never going to come to my dance recital because…I guess he doesn’t exist?
3. There has been a Christmas when you asked your parents for siblings. Obviously before you realized Santa Claus was fake, maybe even after… (I’m still waiting, Santa.)
4. Grandparents. Love. You. For some grandparents, you are their only grandchild, which means Christmas revolves around you. When you are a tot, this is awesome — I mean, a Barbie car AND new roller-skates for Christmas? Thanks, Grandma! Lets not forget to mention how much essential bonding time you get to share with your grandparents. They really are amazing people and receiving their undivided attention at a young age helps you realize this.
5. You loved playing at the houses of friends who had lots of siblings. There was so much energy, so much action! There was a built in playmate one room away and they had THEIR friends over too. You envied these people; you wanted their life.
6. You grew up religiously reading, writing, doing art, or playing a sport.
I learned to read when I was 3. By age 8, I had a collection of short stories, and by 5th grade I was published (via an elementary school contest). You know how I achieved all of this at such a wee age? I had no friends! (Kidding. Maybe.) While most normal kids were playing with their siblings, I wasn’t, so when my friends — both real and imaginary — were busy, I had to find other activities to occupy my time.
7. You have always felt like an old soul (and still do) I feel that only children mature much faster than children with siblings. I spent a lot of time hanging out with my parents, learning their viewpoint and watching the news with them. My attention came from older relatives, aunts and uncles, grandparents etc. It’s inevitable that only children mature faster. Even in elementary school, I felt my maturity was way beyond that of my peers. Other children were obsessed with throwing a ball and bullying each other and I’m just in the corner like, “Can’t we all just get along? Namaste?”
8. You are sensitive Only children can’t help it! We haven’t had siblings to bully us, to put us down and call us ugly. It is very hard for only children in school because if someone says they don’t like our pink shirt — well shit, the world is over. We have to learn how to handle criticism, rude remarks, and cruel behavior.
9. Fighting is a foreign concept. Unless you enjoy karate or Kung Fu, only children do not receive the free fighting lessons that come with having a sibling. We are typically peaceful individuals who do not see the point in unnecessary fights, drama and bullying.
10. Your friends or peers have called you “annoying.” While the majority of children have siblings to play with or tease after school, we did not. So of course, we either seek undivided attention from our peers, or go for the complete opposite and hide ourselves away in a corner while other kids run around and play during recess. We don’t have older siblings to show us the ropes of social navigation, so we’re kind of left to figure it out for ourselves.
11. Your parents have told you the story of “why.” Why you’re an only child, why you don’t have siblings. It’s an assortment of various reasons-from pregnancy complications, illness, death, finances etc. The list is endless but every only child has a story of why.
12. Imaginary friends weren’t an option — they were ESSENTIAL.
13. People automatically think you’re weird. How many times have I told someone I’m an only child and then they look at me like I’m green and say, “oh, wow, what was that like?” Well, I could probably write a dissertation on the negatives and positives, but lets just assume that you already think I’m an oddball because my siblings growing up were American Girl Dolls.
14. You envy those with siblings, and constantly wonder what your siblings would have been like. This is obvious, but only children always wonder what it would be like. Maybe they’d make my parents proud? They would probably be the complete opposite of me, focused, goal oriented, driven. Unfortunately, I am the free spirited creative child of two intellectual conservatives; yeah a sibling would’ve helped.
15. You don’t understand sibling affection. Should you really be sitting on your brother’s lap in that Instagram picture? I mean, isn’t that kind of weird? Yeah, only children do not understand sibling affection whatsoever. It weirds me out when I see brothers and sisters who are super close, but honestly, I have no idea or experience of what their relationship is like, so I’m just going off my own jaded perspective.
16. During your first roommate experience, you were a… really bad roommate.
As only children, when we first begin to live with others, it is very hard for us to adjust. We have to learn the basics like: don’t eat their food, respect their privacy, clean the living room. Some only children don’t have to do this, but for me it definitely took a few living situations to learn the unspoken rules of being a roommate.
17. You ALWAYS have to explain to people that you are not a spoiled brat. My parents still had to take out loans for my college and I have worked since I was 14. So no, I am not automatically entitled or spoiled just because I grew up with absolute attention.
18. You get a little sad when you remember that you may never be an aunt or uncle. Unless you get married, of course, but its not the same.
19. You have found yourself saying you want to marry into a big family. Because, why not? It’s something we never really had. We want in-laws that can become our pretend brothers/sisters in times of need. Plus, all those Christmas movies made me jealous of how dreamy and surreal Christmas dinner seemed with a big, bustling family.
20. If you want to have kids, you want more than one. Two, three, four? Yeah, the more the merrier, and its like a built-in taxi once they turn 16. All jokes aside, you just want your future children to experience a life you didn’t and maybe their relationship with their siblings can teach you lessons you never had the privilege of learning.
21. You find yourself giving advice to friends or strangers who say they only want one child. “Just don’t…they need someone to play with. I was lonely, it was hard, don’t subject your child to that…but…. (List all the positives).” Yeah, we are your one stop shop for advice on how many kids to have and we will probably enjoy the free therapy session.
22. Every best friend you’ve ever had has siblings. It is only natural that in our qualifications for “BFF,” we were subconsciously seeking a person who has siblings. Seeing that we will be spending lots of time at this person’s house and going on family vacations with them, it’s our chance to see what it would be like. But at the end of the day, it makes us thankful we don’t have someone to beat the shit out of us for no reason then take the last soda.
23. You realize there are two types of only children. For the first type, think of a child prodigy, who lives and fulfills every expectation of their crazy obsessive parents’ dreams and wishes. Too extreme? Ok, how about, a person who seems to be the perfect “only” child for these two individuals. Then, there are those who are the complete opposite of their parents. They loathed family vacations, college expectations, and more than likely rebelled at a young age in a subconscious “F you for making me an only child.”
24. You feel kind of rare. Like a white tiger, only children are unique and one of a kind. Even if you feel that everything else about you is mainstream and normal, just the fact you’re an only child makes you different than the majority of people. With that being said…
25. You’re kind of weird. There is no denying that only children are a bit odd. I mean, we grew up by ourselves, with little to no social interaction besides play dates, school, and sleepovers. We had to occupy our time by doing creative endeavors and after school activities. Also, seeing that only children seem to be more mature, being way beyond our years means we’ve already meditated on all of life’s big questions by age 13 (or earlier).
26. You always feel that you owe something to your parents. No matter what you do in life, you always feel a tinge of guilt if it’s not exactly what your parents wanted for you. You’re their only hope at creating a worthwhile, successful human being. Now that you’re getting older and possibly thinking about having your own kids, you realize how much it means to them just to see you live up to your full potential. But…
27. Your parents are overbearing. They can’t help it, you are their one and only. My father didn’t speak to me for a year after I transferred schools and changed my major from political science to English. He wanted me to follow in his footsteps because I was the only one who could. As an only child, you desperately wish you had someone else who understood your parents like you do.
28. As you get older, you’re kind of thankful for being an only child. You realize what you have, and what could have never been attained if other siblings were in the mix. College, shopping and even your first car were (somewhat) guaranteed to happen.
29. You subconsciously seek attention. Maybe you were an only child because your parents were career driven, which meant you felt abandoned and alone growing up. This is a hard one; because it is the divider between only children — some were spoiled to the nines while others were thrown on the back burner. Either way, most of us are still humble but we still seek attention. Especially in relationships, we expect our partners to go above and beyond, or feel shy with freely given admiration. Regardless, we are screwed up somehow and cant put a finger on some of our behaviors besides just saying, “well, guess its cause I’m an only child.”
30. You can’t help but be slightly introverted. Even if you are an extrovert, you have grown up and adapted to this thing called “being alone” it is like second nature.
31. Being alone is never a bad thing. Since we’ve been learning how to occupy our time since age 3, being alone is like a holiday for us. As we get older and are forced into social situations daily, either through work or school, we seek the alone time we had as children.
32. You instantly connect with other only children. This is a duh, but they understand. They know you’re not a weirdo, that you actually do have social skills and they understand how it hard it was to grow up as an only child. Besides, who else knows you better than a fellow only child? We want to feel connected, to know there are others out there. That we’re not weird, just… unique.