It’s day 23 of Whole 30. I’m so close to being done that I can practically taste the bubble tea! The weekends are definitely the hardest so thank goodness I just have to get through one more weekend and by next Wednesday I’ll be done!!
Today, I wanted to talk about being an only child. In case you didn’t know, surprise, I’m an only child.
One of my closest friends at work is an only child as well and we always laugh at our only child tendencies. But, what really inspired this post was a recent game night I had. My boyfriend has two older brothers and a bunch of cousins so he’s always been used to being surrounded by people. A few weekends ago, we had a game night with his two brothers, his sister-in-law and his mom. He’d been trying to get me to a game night for a while and I kept putting it off because my anxiety set in. It’s sounds silly, but the idea of playing games with five other people… It’s a no for me. What if I look stupid? What if they laugh at me not with me? My boyfriend of course thought I was being ridiculous and didn’t understand what I was saying. I will say, I did have a lot of fun and I actually love game nights. But, it was frustrating that he didn’t understand that what came so natural to him, wasn’t natural to me.
So I wanted to share my experience on being an only child especially with all the stereotypes out there. I once had a “friend” who told me she didn’t understand how I didn’t have sibling and she couldn’t imagine living without her brother. I mean, what? Rude and a dumb statement. It’s not like I chose not to purchase a brother at the sibling store and instead opted for a dog.
The funny thing is, since I’m an only child, I always just assume everyone else is too.
BEING AN ONLY CHILD – WHAT IT IS LIKE:
I’M SO CLOSE WITH MY MOM
Not only am I an only child, but I was raised by a single mother. So I’m so incredibly close with my mom. When I was in college, some of my roommates would talk to their parents maybe once a week. Whereas I would talk to my mom a few times a day to keep her in the loop on my life and would always call her before I went to bed.
She’s my best friend and as I’ve gotten older, our relationship has only grown stronger. Whether I need to vent about something, celebrate something, have the dumbest question or the smallest inconvenience I know I can rely on her to listen to me. She’s my biggest supporter in everything I do, whether it’s helping me stick to Whole 30, supporting my blog and being my photographer and listening to every crazy idea I have.
Sure, everyone can be close with their parents, but I think being an only child gives you a special relationship with your parents. Growing up, we didn’t have sibling to talk to and rely on, it was either deal with it alone or open up to your parents. So I do think I have an extra special relationship with my mom.
I’M NATURALLY AN INTROVERT & FIND IT HARD TO SHINE IN LARGE GROUPS
I think it’s no surprise I’m an introvert.
Again, I didn’t grow up surrounded by a big family, I grew up with just my mom. And when we went to visit family, it was an aunt and uncle here and there. I grew up reading, watching movies, playing computer games and hanging out with my mom. I’ve always been shy and prefer to keep to myself. It takes me a while to get comfortable with people and I’m not really myself until I am comfortable.
When I went to Vietnam, I was surrounded by so many cousins and their family and as much as I love my family, I just wasn’t used to it and I found myself a little bit anxious and trailing my mother’s every step because she was like a comfort blanket to me. When I had game night with Eddie’s family, I was particularly anxious whenever it came to my turn or if some kind of attention and spotlight was on me because I’m just not used to it.
It’s funny because at work, I have a pretty big personality and I’m pretty confident. I’ve been there for over a year so I’m pretty comfortable with my team and the teams I work with. Recently I’ve started working with some new partners at work and even I can tell the difference in my personality. I don’t speak up as much and I’m more quiet and take a back seat to the conversation. It’s something that I’ve always noticed about myself even when I went home with college roommates who had big families, I was the type to sit back and just watch rather than jump in on the conversation.
ALONE TIME IS AN ESSENTIAL
It’s funny because as much of an introvert as I am, my friend at work is an only child and she is a social butterfly. But, the one thing we do agree on, is that we need our alone time.
Growing up I didn’t have siblings to play with, I had to entertain myself and keep myself busy. Being alone wasn’t a strange thing for me. On those days where I had a snow day, but my mom had to go to work, I was alone. When I got older and no longer needed a baby sitter, I spent most summers alone since my mom had to work. It’s something I’m used to and something I’ve come to need.
As much as I love my boyfriend, and I do very much, I could spend a whole weekend with him and by the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, I need him to leave, enough bonding thank you very much. Even at work, I sometimes look forward to those small tedious task, because it gives me a quiet moment to be by myself and focus on something else rather than having to socialize all the time.
My friends know I am a notoriously bad texter. It’s something that started when I worked at Cosmo and a habit I’ve been struggling to break. I don’t mean any harm by it, sometimes I’m just not in the mood to strike up a whole conversation. As a blogger you would think my phone is glued to my hand, but I’m actually not as addicted to my phone as you think. I like my space and I need that alone time to recharge so I can continue to tackle the world.
A lot of my friends who have siblings and are extroverts, can’t stay home and have a quiet moment in. They get bored or feel as if they wasted the day, whereas I love a quiet moment at home, just reading or bing watching a show, I just find that it really helps me recharge.
FRIENDSHIPS ARE SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT
Most people I know are incredibly close with their siblings. I obviously never had that. Besides my mom, I never really had that person in my life that influenced me and argued with me, but still loved me unconditionally.
For a lot of people with siblings, they can have a ton of best friends, but at the end of the day, their siblings are their best friends, it’s like a guaranteed maid of honor. Whereas for me, a best friend was a best friend.
I’ve never been one to have a large group of friends, I’ve always had a small, intimate group of friends and I prefer it that way. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a good friend and I expect the same out of my friends. I believe in loyalty, in always being there for a friend, being their champion in everything they want to do, being honest even if that includes tough love and basically being that ride or die friend. I definitely have a high standard for my friendships and for the company I keep and because of that, I’m not one to have “acquaintances” where I keep people around just to tolerate them.
Friendships take a lot of work and effort since a friend doesn’t have to love you and put up with you like a sibling does. I definitely think as an only child, I put friendships on a certain pedestal because my friends are the closest things I have to siblings.
WE HAVE TO PAVE OUR OWN WAY
I find that people with older siblings always look up to them and in a sense the older sibling paves the way for them. Take my friend Dana for example. When she talks about her career in fashion, she always starts with the fact that her sister wanted to and did work in the fashion industry and that’s what inspired her. I remember when we were graduating college, she was so confident in everything she did and she just knew she would break into the industry. I never had anyone to pave the way for me and guide me. I didn’t realize you could work in fashion until my senior year of high school and even then I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t know what was out there and all the different sections of the industry. Whereas she was confident, I was a mess of anxiety and fear.
Older siblings also have to deal with the over protective parents and they deal with all the backlash from their decisions while the younger siblings are smooth sailing. For me, I didn’t have anyone to make those mistakes and ease my mom into certain ideas, I had to do that. Something as small as going to the movies alone with my friends, I had to ease my over protective mom into the idea. I remember the look on her face when I brought Eddie around and we started dating. And don’t get me started when I asked her if I could go to Miami with my friends as a college graduation celebration.
Not only was I the first kid, but I was the only one so I really had to pave the way for myself, introduce my mom to certain things, get the backlash and keep pushing forward.
CONFRONTATIONS & SMALL ARGUMENTS DON’T SIT WELL WITH ME
As tough as I like to think I am, I hate a confrontation!! Especially with a friend because I literally think the world is ending and the friendship is over. It’s always just been an uncomfortable position for me.
Most people I know with siblings always talk about arguments they get into with their siblings. I’ve seen friends be slightly annoyed over small arguments with their siblings and I’ve had friends be scary angry over fights with their siblings, but of course at the end of the day they make up and it’s water under the bridge.
I obviously don’t have first hand experience, but from what I’ve heard and observed, siblings bicker and argue and they make up and its a constant cycle. I never had that constant banter with someone so it’s not something I’m used to or comfortable with. I’ve always found it hard to have arguments with friends because I didn’t know how to approach it and never thought we could make up from it. You can tell I have a sense for the dramatics.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve worked hard to be honest with friends and to address issues head-on, but come from a good place where I can air my grievances, but still say I love you, it’s just definitely taken a lot of effort to work up to this point.
I HAVE STRONG OPINIONS & I’M STUBBORN & SENSITIVE
Growing up, I was a party of one. I kept myself entertained and when playtime rolled around, I did what I wanted. If I wanted to color, I colored. If I wanted to play with my Barbie dolls, I played with my dolls. I didn’t have to split my computer time with someone else, I only got off the computer, when my mom needed to use the phone (lol throwback to dial up internet).
The point is, I didn’t have to argue with someone over what to play or had to share my toys or had to cut my tv or computer time in half. I was a party of one and because of that, I have strong opinions on just about everything and I’m pretty stubborn. I can totally admit that. I didn’t have someone try to convince me to color when I wanted to play with my dolls, I just played with my dolls because I wanted to and that was what I was gonna do. I didn’t have someone try to convince me who was the best Spice Girls because it was Baby Spice and I was right and everyone else was wrong, not that anyone told me I was wrong because again party of one and again I’m right.
I didn’t have someone constantly challenging my point of view or trying to influence me, I always just had my own opinions and wanted to do what I wanted to do and I did just that. Again as I’ve grown up and dealt with friends and entered the work force, it’s something I’ve had to work on, but it’s also who I am.
And I’m incredibly sensitive. As tough as I think I am, I’m actually really sensitive and emotional.
Again, I didn’t have that banter with a sibling. I didn’t have someone tease me or make me the butt of a joke or disagree with me. So I’m quick to take everything personally. Like I mentioned before, I find arguments with friends difficult, but I also find work arguments so challenging. I used to think if someone disagreed with me or had a different opinion that they were attacking me. I’m always quick to put up a defense. And I hate being the butt of a joke, it’s just not something that I’m used to.
But, as I’ve grown up it’s something that Ive worked on and I know disagreements aren’t always personal. And anyone close to me knows I’m always one for a good joke. My humor is sarcastic and it just comes out at any time so I’ve learned that if I can dish it then I have to take it and frankly if I tease you and have that banter with you it means I love you, which I’m pretty sure is what siblings do.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed todays post and learnt about what it’s like being an only child. It was a little different, but between my game night anxiety and the fact that pretty much everyone I know has a sibling so I’m the odd man out, I was inspired to share my experience a little bit.
Thank you so much for reading, have a great week!