12 Things You Know If You’re An Only Child

Most people have siblings, and only children are definitely a minority in comparison. There are lots of misconceptions about us, and no one fully understands what it’s like to grow up without siblings. Luckily, we only children can relate to each other pretty well. If you’re an only child, here are 12 things that you know or experienced while growing up:


1. You talk to your parents every day.

I didn’t know it apparently wasn’t normal to talk to your parents every day until I started making friends who never did that. If you’re an only child, there’s no way your parents let you go far from home without being in touch with them at least once a day. You dread the reaction you know you’ll get when you do forget to call...

2. Sharing a room took you a while to get used to.

When you’re used to having a house pretty much to yourself, having someone four feet away at all times is a bit of a culture shock. Even if you get along with your roommate or the two of you become best friends, there was nothing in our childhood that could have prepared us for constantly having someone in our only space. 

3. You still need your alone time.

People often think that only children are loners. That’s definitely not true, but we do still need our alone time here and there. We’re too used to it and it’s not something we’re going to give up easily. No matter how much we love you, we need our occasional space - it’s just what we know. 

4. You never get good pictures on vacation.

As long as your only photographers are your parents, pictures will never go well. If your dad does the classic bending on one knee to snap the picture, it’s never going to go the way you want it - and with your parents gushing over you, you’ll never get the right feedback to try again. At least you’ve mastered the solo stance, since there’s never anyone to pose with.

5. You don’t understand the sibling relationships around you.

One roommate is best friends with her brother, the other never stops bickering with her sister - how does it all work? What makes them so different? These relationships always mystify me and I can never fully understand how they work. As a kid, I assumed that everyone hung out with their siblings all the time and they were all BFFs, but that illusion has definitely been shattered.

6. You’re either too independent or dependent.

It can go either way when you’re an only child. On one hand, your parents were likely very involved in your life and you’ve always been able to rely on then, so you may not have realized that you’re more dependent than other kids until you got to college. On the other hand, growing up with no siblings left you to do a lot on your own, and if your parents worked, you might have had more responsibilities than others did at the same age. Either way, we always tip to one side, because there was likely never a balance.

7. You’re not used to so much noise.

Not that we dislike it, but we’re just not used to it. When you grow up with siblings, there’s always people talking and a lot going on at one time; it’s different in an only-child household. Living in a dorm or apartment for the first time comes with a lot of surprises, one of them being the fact that there’s always so much noise around you. It honestly comes as a shock at first, because we just never had to factor it into our daily lives. Once we’re used to it, though, being back home in a quiet house feels too weird. 

8. There is an incomprehensible amount of photos of you.

As an only child, pretty much anything you did was a photo opp. Your baby pictures are adorable, no doubt, but there’s way more of them than your friends probably have. In all your boxes of old family photos, at least 75% of them are of you. We’re just lucky that we didn’t have iPhones when we were younger - we already know our parents would have taken advantage of those camera capabilities.

9. It’s hard to change your way of doing things.

By now, you’re set in your ways and content with the routine you’ve established over the years. It’s going to take a lot to make you change those habits, if it’s even possible. You grew up without anyone interfering in your routine, and you’re not ready to change your methods just yet. Having to try a new system doesn’t immediately sit well with you.

10. You’ve always known how to get along with adults.

You’ve spent your whole life sitting down for dinner with your parents, and either listened to or participated in their conversations. As a result, you’re naturally better at conversing with adults, which really comes in handy during the college and internship years. Most people have a hard time making phone calls, appointments, or wording a professional email correctly, but these things are a breeze for you. You’ve had an entire life around adults to prepare you for the actual adult world.

 11. You’re not great at confrontation.

You didn’t grow up having screaming matches followed by reconciliation ten minutes later, and then completely forgetting it happened by the next day. As a result, you’re not as good at confrontation and dealing with conflict like people with siblings are. It’s definitely something we can work on and improve as we go through life, but our lack of siblings didn’t exactly give us a head start.

 12. Your family dynamic is unique.

Lots of people think it’s sad that we don’t have siblings, but they couldn’t be more wrong. We get to have the best relationship with our parents and form our own family dynamic that others can’t understand. Being friends with your parents is actually really cool (even though it sounds lame), and I wouldn’t trade the relationship I have with mine for anything in the world. It probably stems from the fact that I’ll be calling them every day until I turn 50.