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8 Struggles Of Being An Only Child In Your Early 20s

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And you thought childhood was lonely.

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1. Dating.

It is an inevitable question on an already awkward first date, “So, do you have siblings?” they ask, “Nope…just me.” They look at you nodding thinking “strike one” and the conversation stops. You can’t complain because you have “has a big family” on your list of pros they should have, you hypocrite.

To follow, they go off about their newborn nephew and begin to show you picture after picture of them in a tiny pumpkin suit from Halloween. You could show him all of the pictures you have of your cat in his Halloween pumpkin suit. No. Strike two.

2. Nieces and Nephews.

If you’re in your early twenties, friends’ older siblings are probably in the baby-making stage of life. Because Facebook needs more infant pictures, they are now two kinds: A) The “look at my beautiful child” and B) the “I’m an AUNT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

You grew up with cousins that treated you like a sibling, (the always trusty “I’m not weird” disclaimer) but when they have children, you feel completely presumptuous calling yourself “Aunt (Your Name Here)”. “Aunt Genni once removed” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Then again, you’re used to being slightly removed from situations right? Ugh.

3. Skeptical Coworkers.

It will happen at your first team happy hour or lunch.  You will be asked the typical “So do you have any siblings?” and as soon as you answer “no”, the following responses will occur: A) your supervisor looks like they wants to reach in their pocket, radio into their boss and have you reassigned to a completely different department where you can sit in an office alone….where they think you belong. B) The rudest of your teammates, the one who may have been born with many siblings but should have traded one for a filter, will say “OH so you’re super spoiled, huh?” or C) if you’re lucky, you will swap stories with the other only about awkward vacations where you were forced to sleep in the same bed as your parents.

4. Awkward Vacations.

You are probably at a point in your life where the only great vacation you can take must be financially supported by your parents. Which means, you have to invite them…obviously, that would just be mean (spoken like a true only child). That being said, if you’re going somewhere for more than a weekend, you’re going to need a partner in crime who doesn’t have a bedtime before 10 PM.

So far, I’ve invited close friends, but at age 24, it’s beginning to feel a little late for that. I would have taken my boyfriend, but I see too many chances for disaster with my dad’s eyes constantly on him when his eyes might be on me in a bikini. Until things get a little more serious with the S.O., it looks like my friend and I will spend the whole vacation looking like sunburnt teenagers, out to dinner with the chaperones, having their first glass of wine.

5. Networking.

This is especially discouraging if you have close friends with older siblings. Networking is extremely time consuming and can feel like an overwhelming task to complete alone. When a friend easily lands a job through their superstar older bro, you turn a little green with envy and nausea.

6. Holidays.

Presents. One day it hit me, all of my friends are able to split the cost of their parents’ presents by 2, 3 or 4. So basically, my friends’ parents are getting Bluetooth speakers, Tory Burch flats and weekend getaways while my parents are getting cocktail napkins and t-shirts. So really, it’s my parents that are at a loss here. Sorry, guys.

Christmas dinner. Christmas dinner is limited to a very small portion of our dining room table since there are 3 of us and 8 chairs. Since I have to take a flight home already, we’re a little less likely to make the drive to visit my cousins who aren’t likely to make the drive to us with their aforementioned small children. Christmas dinner attendance has dwindled. Upside? Personal leftovers for days. My turkey.

The annual Christmas card. If you are an only child, there is no need for explanation. If you have received a Christmas card from single-child family, there is also no need for explanation.

7. Super weird body questions.

Am I dying if I have 5 black hairs on my face? How about my belly button? Anyone? Silence. Ok, yep it’s cancer. (Luckily I have my best friend to tell me it’s not cancer but I do need electrolysis pronto and her older sister to tell me to look forward to more during pregnancy).

8. Always the bridesmaid, never the maid of honor.

If you’re lucky, you have one best friend, with no sisters, who you know will undoubtedly be your maid-of-honor and you will be hers. However, if not, will you always be second string to the sisters? What if, because of number one, you are 50 when you finally get married and everyone has already NOT asked you to be their MOH. Will you just have an awkward, person-sized space in between you and your bridesmaids? No silly! You have your cat! TC mark     

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