11 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because You’re An Only Child

Allegra Messina

1. You spend a fair amount of time on your own.

It’s not because you dislike people. Honestly, even if you’re an extroverted person who is super energized by connecting with a room full of people, you’ll still always feel that pull to have time that is completely yours- which can seem strange to any of your friends who have siblings and are entirely used to having their space invaded all the time. It will seem confusing at first, but you have always had a space that was just yours- and growing up with that kind of time cut out for yourself doesn’t disappear when you’re older.

2. Treating your friends as if they were your siblings.

Everyone has those best friends who they would do anything for, but you tend to take that pretty literally. You didn’t grow up with siblings, and so it was very likely that the friends you’ve bonded with the most over the years feel like family. The insane amount of protectiveness and undying love despite rough moments may seem strange to some, but as far as you’re concerned, these people are essentially your siblings- you just chose them for yourself.

3. Not being afraid to do things alone.

This isn’t about the fact of not wanting people to come along with you-you’re all for sharing your experiences with the people you love. Yet if things come up and no one else can go, you’re not worried about it- you’ll end up going anyways. Only children tend to be stereotyped as super codependent, yet a surprising amount of them have a solid independent streak in an attempt to forge their path. So when push comes to shove, if they want to do something, they’re not afraid to go for it by themselves.

4. Avoiding conflict as much as possible.

This doesn’t mean you can’t deal with conflict. It doesn’t even mean that you’re never confrontational when necessary. It does mean that you didn’t grow up in a house with multiple other people in your space, annoying you constantly, and giving you a thousand opportunities to fight and argue with them. You grew up mostly arguing with your parents (which didn’t go well and usually ended with you getting grounded), and so it’s most likely that even now, you try to avoid conflicts as much as humanly possible.

5. Taking the whole gift-giving thing to a very serious level.

For basically all of your life, your parents have only had to buy presents to for one kid- you! So it’s likely that you received a lot of incredible gifts over the years, and while that probably did contribute to the spoiled stigma, it also means that now, when it comes to giving gifts to your friends/significant others/etc. you’re constantly working towards/stressing out over the perfect gift to give. Even if they insist that gifts aren’t a big deal, or that you can just get them a gift card, you just aren’t satisfied with something that feels so impersonal and insignificant. It has to be perfect, and you’re determined to make sure of it.

6. Talking to yourself…often.

Okay, this seems weird. You know it is. But of course, you spent a lot of time by yourself growing up, and while you had parents or friends you could talk to, you still spent most of your time with yourself. You constantly rehearsed how to talk to your crush, how to prepare for an interview, or your acceptance speech for the awards you were clearly going to receive when you were rich and famous- and honestly you probably still do. So if anyone stumbles across you in the midst of any of these grand soliloquies it might seem strange, even humorous, but it isn’t as crazy as they might think. You’re not totally weird.

7. Constantly trying to disprove stereotypes.

This may not be an active thought in your head, but it shows up from time to time. As soon as people find out you’re an only child, people tend to size you up as spoiled, attention hog, and socially underdeveloped. You always feel like you have to prove yourself when you’re around others, and you’re subconsciously doing whatever you can to show that you’re a normal person who is just as awesome as someone with siblings (newsflash, you totally are).

8. Being drawn to friends who are older than you.

You may not think much of it, but there will always be a point in time where you realize that majority of the people who you hang out with are a few years older than you. This is probably in part to the amount of time that you spent with your parents at events with their friends- to the point where hanging with adults and older peers just felt like second nature. It could also be because you couldn’t handle hanging out with people too much younger than you- all the crazy antics and noise drove you a little too far up the wall. Eventually, you’ll find a balance, but it can seem strange when the whole group gets together, and you’re clearly the youngest member, sticking out like a sore thumb. Luckily, most people tend to think you’re mature for your age, so they like having you around.

9. You tend to feel incredibly guilty when you disappoint your parents.

You were the only kid that your parents poured all their hopes, dreams, and expectations on. So when you make choices as you get older- like not finishing college, picking an unorthodox career choice, or even not having kids at all- you feel guilty realize that your parents probably had different ideas for what you would do. Your friends or significant others with siblings may not get why it can be hard sometimes to make choices for yourself, but you can’t shake the guilt that if you don’t do those things, then there isn’t anyone else for your parents to hold out hope for.

10. You’re very protective of your stuff. Like very protective.

You have a habit of guarding your possessions with your life. You aren’t entirely against sharing, but it’s not something you are honestly used to by any means. Some people may not understand why it’s such a big deal to borrow a book you weren’t reading or curl up with that blanket your best friend bought you for Christmas when you weren’t using it at the moment, but that stuff is yours– and walking in on seeing your stuff being used by someone else will probably end up with you acting passive aggressive until the stuff is back exactly where it was found.

11. Actively admitting just how much you enjoyed being an only child.

Most people tend to pity you when they discover you were the only kid, even going as far as to list all the ways your life probably wasn’t that great because it was just you. Maybe you did grow up wishing you had siblings, but at the end of the day you appreciate all the experiences that being an only child gave you, and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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