Growing up, I was constantly told how lucky I was that I didn’t have siblings, or how spoilt I must have been because those are the main two factors that sum up being an only child apparently . Well I’ve found a few more realities that I thought I’d share with you:
1. We don’t all match the stereotype.
This should be a given since stereotypes are a generalization which not everyone will fall under. We can be a lot less spoilt than a lot of you ‘normal’ people out there and we’re not all completely self-obsessed.
2. We’re very comfortable being alone.
A bit too comfortable even . Who can blame me? I’m so used to being by myself throughout my childhood (apart from the times I was surrounded by a billion cousins…) that I’ve learned to enjoy my own company and I like it. I love spending time with friends and family but not constantly, and they’ve learned not to take it personally, I think…lol. Sometimes I like to be alone with my thoughts, evaluate where I’m at mentally, reflect, and sometimes it isn’t even that deep, I just want to enjoy solitude. But I don’t let it get to the hermit level, being in my field, I have to get out and be social so I tried to find the right balance…sometimes.
3. We are impatient.
We’re not used to having to wait for what we want, or wait our turn after other siblings since we have none so when we want something done, we want it done now or would rather get it done, instead of waiting for someone else to do it. This is me completely, I’ve gotten much better over the years but I generally don’t like having to wait on people to do things for me and would rather do it myself. But being in the real world, I’ve had to learn that may not always be an option, unfortunately. Sucks, but oh well…
4. Your mom calls you EVERY SINGLE DAY, multiples times a day.
It’s probably even worse when you come from a single parent home like myself. You’re your mother’s confidante, her bestie, her baby for life, her everything. So she can’t go a day without calling to check that you’re ok or just to hear your voice and you just have to get used to that. I don’t particularly like talking on the phone constantly or speaking to one person on the phone every day (apart from my husband of course) as I don’t really see what you will be talking about every single day, it gets repetitive and boring for me, But I’ve just had to get used to it and realise that while it may seem like a chore for me at times, it’s probably one of the highlights of her day hearing that I’m ok and I aim to keep her happy :-).
5. We can be sensitive.
Thankfully I’ve developed tough skin over the years but generally, we can be more sensitive than people who grew up with siblings as we weren’t used to constantly being teased or picked on.
6. People automatically feel sorry for you.
Being an only child isn’t a disease, but you would think it was by the way many people react when you tell them you are an only child as if you’ve been deprived of love and friends your whole life. I actually find that we tend to be more open to making friends and being more outgoing than those with many siblings because they already have enough company, why the need for more? We are also stronger than they think and don’t need to be showered with extra buckets of love and attention because we didn’t grow up with siblings, that will just bug me more because as you read earlier, I’m comfortable being alone
7. We’re not very competitive.
This should be self-explanatory. We didn’t grow up having to compete with anyone as it was really all about us, so we didn’t grow up with that competitive spirit. We still love to win of course but would rather not have to compete to win. That went out the window for me when I was in university running for the ACS (Afro-Caribbean Society) team, and I won of course lol. Then obviously you learn to be competitive when you enter the workforce, but being competitive isn’t necessarily a bad thing…
8. Being an only child is your most notable character flaw.
During secondary school, whenever my mom would travel and take me along, or if I got the latest phone or trainers before anyone else, or if I was able to change my school bag every term, I was told ‘it’s because you’re an only child’…arghhhh. It’s probably one of the most annoying comments I got, even in my adulthood. If you ever make the mistake of reminiscing about the summers, Easters, Christmas breaks you spent away, or how amazing you remember your birthday parties were (that weren’t every year o, only on the key milestones i.e. 1st birthday, 5th birthday, 10th birthday, 16th birthday, 18th birthday, 21st birthday etc, it’s obviously alllll because you were a spoilt only child. Surely because children with siblings didn’t enjoy similar things or more right? *rolls eyes*
9. We talk to ourselves.
I don’t even know when I do it sometimes, I just call it thinking out loud lol.
10. We love to read!
Spending so much time alone, we learned to find other ways to occupy our time so for many of us, particularly myself, we spent a lot of time reading, and in turn adding the imaginary cast into our lives as buddies (sounds weird but hey…) and over time developed a love for reading
11. We are not abnormal!
We are honestly just like everyone else, seriously! So no need to keep reminding us that we grew up as an only child, we’re sensitive about it…lol
Writer – Mimi Osakwe is a Public Relations & Communications Professional, freelance writer, art enthusiast, glorified foodie and a lifestyle & culture blogger at ramblingsofmissmimi.wordpress.com who rambles on all things to do with life including relationships, career, societal pressures, places to go and so much more.