80% of people in the U.S. have siblings so being an only child is something a vast majority of people will never understand or experience. I am one of the 20% who have no siblings and I wanted to just talk about some lessons I learned from being an only child.
The first thing is probably something you may not think of if you have a sibling and it's probably something you would have wished for when you were younger but it's how to be content being alone.
What I mean by this is, for most of your life you are alone with just yourself and your parents. You learn how to entertain yourself because your friends are not always going to be readily available to see you or do things with you like a sibling would, especially when you are younger. For me, it has helped me to develop maturity at an earlier age because the people you get most interaction with are adults. (This also means that if something happens, you have no one to blame except maybe the dog and I doubt your parents EVER bought that.)
I learned how to be social. I am driven by extroversion and being surrounded by people and I do think that has to do with being an only child.
I had to learn how to be social because I didn't have anyone else in my immediate family besides my parents so I learned how to be outgoing and I think that also carries into my adult life today. I was very shy when I was younger but I had to learn how to make and keep friends if I wanted to have anyone around my age to play with. Fast forward to today and I am very extroverted and love meeting new people and I make my friendships a priority because they are my non-related chosen siblings if you will. If you are an only child like me, this is probably #sorelatable. I know that one of my best friends (who is also an only child) feels the same way because we have had this conversation before and we feel like our closest friends are so special to us because we don't have anyone closer to us than them.
I think being an only child has shaped my personality. If you know me you would know that I love attention which I think is something most only children learn to love because when you are an only child you are constantly in the spot light. Any big life moment or birthday is celebrated and you are thrown into the middle of it by yourself with no one else to share the limelight with and I think that is why I was so shy when I was younger but as I have grown older I like being in front of people and speaking in public as well as meeting new people and I feel that comfort has come from being an only child.
While I am happy being an only child now there is always a part of me that wishes I could have had a sibling. When I was younger for every holiday or birthday I would always ask my parents for a brother or a sister. That is all that I wanted and I don't think that want will ever go away but it just wasn't in the cards for my family.
I'm sure if you had siblings when you were growing up you learned important lessons such as sharing at an early age and I'm sure you who have siblings are probably WAY better at sharing than I ever was because you had to do it in so many cases and probably still do.
I learned so much and still do from being someone who doesn't have any siblings but I think the biggest thing I take away from it is the care and love I have for everyone who is in my life, related or not.
Are you an only child or do you have siblings? What is something you feel like you have learned from dealing with the struggles of either? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @thejesslauren