The silliest fight I have had with someone was about leftover Chinese takeout. It was a snowy day in Boston, and I had just spent the past six hours listening to my professors babble on about who knows what. The entire day, I could not stop dreaming about the leftovers sitting in my mini-fridge, just waiting to be devoured.
I walk into my dorm room to the smell of hot-and-sour soup, chow mein, and roasted vegetables. Sitting on the sofa was my roommate, the takeout thief, eating my Gourmet China House leftovers. To top it off, she was drinking a glass of my cabernet sauvignon and had the audacity to ask, “Would you like some?” Instead of addressing the situation in a mature way, I stormed off and moved out the following week. To be fair, we did have unaddressed issues. The chow mein and cabernet were the last straw.
But come on, wouldn’t you be a little riled up, too?
The thing is, I am an only child. This was my first time ever sharing a room, let alone a suite and one bathroom with seven other girls. Growing up, my parents never touched my food, used my skincare products, or borrowed anything of mine without asking. So, when I decided to leave home and trek across the country for school, I was not prepared for the army of girls rummaging through my makeup bag, tearing apart my closet, and poking around in my snack drawer.
The stereotype that we are bratty, bossy, attention-seeking narcissists is total B.S. In fact, there are studies that show only-children are creative thinkers, independent, and easy-going. Plus, spoiling is a parenting problem, regardless of how many children they have.
Even though the stereotypes are unfair and not true, there are some ways being an only child can influence a person's development. Though, none of it makes us the overly-emotional monsters we are thought to be.
The benefit of being raised as an only child is that it taught me how to survive on my own and be self-sufficient from an early age. I quickly became a social butterfly and felt comfortable around adults and authority figures. While other kids were watching TV with their siblings during gatherings, I was sitting at the grown-up table conversing with my parents’ friends.
Being surrounded by adults as a child made me mature faster and grow intellectually. Yet, with this came a lot of internalized pressure to succeed and live up to high standards. Only children are known to push themselves pretty hard and can be self-critical when they don’t do as well as they had hoped.
We are also labeled as loners, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Being comfortable with solitude is a positive trait. I actually enjoy going to lunch, the museum, or hiking alone. It’s a way to unplug, be silent, and clear my mind.
So, now it’s your turn: If you’re also an only child, what has the experience been like for you? What are your thoughts on the stereotypes that come with being an only child? Can you relate to any of them? Tell us all about it in the comments below for a chance to be featured in a BuzzFeed Community post!