Your browser is not supported. We do our best to optimize our websites to the most current web browsers. Please try another browser.

10 Signs You Have Only Child Syndrome

Woman blowing bubble gum against neon signage

Maybe you’re an only child and have no siblings, or maybe you just act like one. While the only child syndrome has been debunked as mostly myth, this umbrella term captures behaviours typically associated with only children and can be an important reminder that some attitude adjustment may be required, whether you are an “only” or not. 

Woman sitting on the couch

Sign 1: You’re used to getting your way

If you’re used to getting whatever you want, when you want it, this is one sign of an only child. This is based on the idea that only children don’t have to compete for their parents’ attention and resources and so get the benefit from everything their parents get to offer.

See also: 10 signs you need to be a better friend.

Woman eating a pizza slice

Sign 2: You’re not used to compromise (AKA sharing)

Linked to the first sign, you have a hard time splitting precious resources when they could (should) all go to you…  If you’ve grown up having all the toys, always, you may need to manually override this tendency towards hogging all the resources, be they the last bite, comfiest seat in the house, or anything else. 

You may also like: Best self-help books in 2021: Here’s what’s on our reading list.

Woman's reflection in the mirror repeating into infinity

Sign 3: You seldom think of others

Again linked to the prior two, you rarely walk in others’ shoes, preferring instead to focus on you and your needs. Read: you can come off as self-absorbed. This means you’re not much of a team player when it comes to group goals or playing a supporting role. In fact, group goals? You don’t know her. You were that person… seldom pulling your weight or stepping up for others in a way that counts. 

See also: What is micro-cheating and are you guilty of it?


Woman sitting on coach with arms spread out

Sign 4: You’ve been called bossy

Not only are you used to getting your way, but you’re quick to direct others to what should be done. As with the other signs, Onlies aren’t the only ones who can exhibit this trait. While decisiveness and having a clear line of sight to what needs doing next can often be a positive attribute, if you’re constantly maneuvering others for your own gains only, this isn’t cute, and over time it gets tiresome. 

Related: 10 signs you’re actually the top.

Woman holding her face with window blind shadows on her face

Sign 5: You may have trouble socializing

If you’ve spent a lot of time on your own and haven’t been socialized to be around other peers growing up, you may have a hard time connecting with people your own age and may have poorer social skills. This may lead to some social awkwardness even. Fear not however, there are certainly steps anyone can take to work on their Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence, if needed. 

Related: 10 tips for coping with social anxiety.

Woman with glasses on the couch

Sign 6: You may be antisocial

Because of these feelings of discomfort in social situations, you may tend towards some antisocial tendencies. While many people can be introverts (with siblings or as single children), you are running away from something, rather than simply being drawn to your own company. 

See also: 10 signs you’re dating a sociopath.

Woman on a stretch of desert grasping at her head in exasperation

Sign 7: You feel lonely

As a result, deep down you may also feel lonely… While you may crave a meaningful way to connect, you may just not be sure how to navigate your way to nourishing, healthy relationships. Need to be a better friend? Face your deficits (we all have some!) and work on doing better. 

Related: How to make work friends while working remotely.


Woman crying behind a rainy window

Sign 8: You’re hypersensitive to criticism

You may be extra sensitive to what others say or think of you, preferring instead to project a veneer of perfection. Because of your troubles connecting with others, there may also be issues around letting others “in,” and showing your vulnerabilities because you may not have had a lot of opportunity witnessing others in this light. By accepting that nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes, you may take some of that pressure off yourself and in turn, be better able to establish strong, meaningful relationships.  

See also: 10 signs you’re emotionally unavailable for relationships.

Man with blonde hair looking directly at the camera in a fixed gaze

Sign 9: You’re independent

Being an only child certainly isn’t associated with only negative traits. Only children are also often seen as independent and self-sufficient. They’ve learned to carve their own paths, after all, unencumbered by the shadows other siblings may cast. In one study, Onlies were shown to out-achieve non-Onlies. 

Related: What your birth order means for your personality.

Woman in a school setting with a backpack and phone

Sign 10: You’ve matured earlier than your peers

This may also have meant that being your own point of reference also made you mature quicker than your peers, especially if adults were your main source of social connection. 

See also: 15 ways to keep your friendships healthy and thriving.

Latest News

This content is restricted to adults of legal age.
Please enter your birthdate to confirm.
Date of Birth