Meeting someone for the first time is always a delicate issue for me. Many is the time that I have begun getting to know someone, letting them know a bit more about me and then I unguardedly release the one piece of information that I shouldn't.
The effect is instant and damning, my character is called into question and I am denounced as spoilt, reclusive, self-obsessed and socially inept. Now some (or all) of that may be true, but I'd like the opportunity to ruin my reputation based on my actions rather than on preconceived ideas.
So what is it about me that is so deeply unforgivable and socially unacceptable? I am… an only child.
Yes, that is the shameful secret I carry. Since I can remember people have told me how spoilt and selfish I must be. I must admit, there are some advantages. I have a very high boredom threshold – many is the time that I have whiled away long hours with a lollystick and some pipe cleaners. My imagination was stimulated by the creation of several imaginary friends whose complex social lives and confidences became almost as real as my school friends. I was also absorbed into the inner sanctum of adult dinner parties, gradually getting sleepier and silently slipping under the table to have a nap with the dog.
No, it's not all bad being the only one, but I was informed today by my helpful housemate that for when the agonies of social exclusion gets too much, there is help at hand! There is a website dedicated to helping only children with social issues, loneliness or who just want to share their experiences. A breath of fresh air for when the burdens of unsiblinghood become too much.