Does Birth Order Affect Your Personality?

Last week I touched upon the topic of birth order in my video response for the In My Opinion video meme. It was kind of a rush job because apparently tv is more important than a lot of aspects of my life, but I wanted to touch upon the idea of birth orders a bit more, specifically my birth order. While I am technically the oldest of like seven or eight children, I was raised an only child. What this means is that my parents divorced shortly after my younger brother (the first of many to come) was born and my father got custody of me, my mother got custody of my brother and for the most part we had little involvement in each other’s lives since then. My mother and I talk online a lot now and send birthday cards, etc. She went on to have a large family, making me technically the oldest of many, but since we are talking about the personality traits of being raised an only child and not the actual biological truths, that is kind of irrelevant for this purpose. I’m only mentioning all those other children because it seems heartless to not mention them at all, particularly given how awesome they all are, so far as I can tell from here on the other side of the country. 😉

Having grown up an only child I’ve always wondered what life with siblings might have been like and while I don’t necessarily begrudge being raised an only, it was part of my decision to have a second child. My husband grew up in a family of four children and is very close to his siblings. Our current plan is to go with the happy medium and we may likely stop at two children, but who knows.

Anyway, I went on a little scavenger hunt today for information about only children and what their personalities are typically like to see if I was right in my assumption in my video that I am typical of an only child personality wise. Here were my results:

iVillage tells us that:

Because you grew up with no siblings, you tend to interact well with adults and people in leadership positions. This is why you’re very comfortable working for high-status movers and shakers like senators, deans, presidents of corporations, and anyone who has authority by virtue of education, accomplishment, wealth or political power. You’re fascinated by tradition, you like reading biographies, and you love celebrity gossip. Despite what people say, you’re no more spoiled than any first- or lastborn. Like middleborns, you have a good combination of firstborn drive and lastborn creativity. Your best romantic match is a guy who has younger sisters. But if your mother is the older sister of sisters, your best match is a younger brother. This is because female only children tend to adopt their mother’s birth order personality. So if your mother was a firstborn, you’ll tend to have more leadership and dominance traits and should be highly compatible with laterborns. You have the same birth order as Brooke Shields. Your best celebrity love match is Keanu Reeves.

For more information, visit

I do admittedly have a thing for celebrity gossip, although I never would have attributed my birth order to it. Being a writer, I find the background info of people and the stories of their lives fascinating, so yes I do love biographies (preferring memoirs) and celebrity gossip. The behind the scenes stuff that you might not see if you aren’t looking. It’s good stuff. I definitely interact well with “grown ups” and have my whole life. My grandfather likes to tell stories about picking me up at the airport when I’d fly down to visit (I was flying alone by about the 2nd grade and did it frequently so that I could visit with family even if my father couldn’t get time off from work). I’d come off the plane in a crowd of “suits” and the business men would all be saying good bye to me in a way that made it clear we’d all become well acquainted. “Good bye Jennifer – we hope you have a great trip!” That kind of thing. It was cute. It was true. Grown ups make sense to me. I also moved around a lot as a kid and didn’t have an easy time making long lasting friendships so my family was my friends and a lot of my family was grown ups.

I like that this description says I’m not any more spoiled or less spoiled than others – that’s sweet of them to say even though it might not be true. I am pretty spoiled. The nature of my childhood left my father and close family usually treating me like a bit of a queen, maybe so as to make up for the lack of a “normal” family in my life. I was not silver spoon fed or anything, but my father took excellent care of me and made sure I had the things I needed and if I mentioned it, the things I wanted, when we could afford them. Perhaps it was because we couldn’t always afford them that I am not a complete brat. Oh and the dh has both a younger and older sister and a younger brother to boot, so I imagine that all my bases are covered there as far as our supposed birth order compatability goes. has a neat little list of common character traits for each birth order. Mine are:

  • Pampered and spoiled.
  • Feels incompetent because adults are more capable.
  • Is center of attention; often enjoys position. May feel special.
  • Self-centered.
  • Relies on service from others rather than own efforts
  • Feels unfairly treated when doesn’t get own way.
  • May refuse to cooperate.
  • Plays “divide and conquer” to get own way.

I have no idea about the incompetent thing – I’m either not understanding it or it just honestly doesn’t apply to me. We already covered the spoiled / center of attention thing. I certainly feel special. I think I am a bit self centered, as much as I think of the needs of others and have a tendency to be a people pleaser, the root of that pleasing is probably for my own benefit. It really wasn’t until becoming a mother that I stopped thinking about myself at all. I do not rely on the service of others, at least I don’t think I do. I have always been a hard worker, perhaps because my father and I were not wealthy growing up, I can value good work. However my husband might agree with that statement a bit, given that every morning I stumble into the kitchen moaning about how hungry I am and then wait for breakfast and coffee to appear in front of me… Hmm… The rest? I don’t know – I don’t like the negativity of this list. Surely there are good things about being an only child, hmm? has a creepy picture of Brooke Shields next to their description and tells me that:

Female only children like to have a patron helping them throughout life. Brooke Shields is a perfect example, She was helped by her mother throughout her career. Unlike the male only child, career is not as important to you. Brooke Shields, for example, ended a budding film career to pursue romantic interests with various high-profile men. Your best romantic match is an older brother of sisters. However, you must also consider your mother’s birth order since you, more than other girls, learn from her how to interact with men. If she’s a firstborn, your best match is probably going to be a lastborn guy. (Photo: Brooke Shields. Copyright © 1978 Paramount Pictures.)

So, hmm, did I mention the creepy picture? Yeesh, anyway, a patron helping my throughout life? What? That sounds weird. Does my husband count as a patron? I will agree that my career is not terribly important to me – I find motherhood much more rewarding, but I didn’t decide on this until shortly before becoming a mother. As a kid I did assume I’d go on to some snazzy career, which career that would have been changed week to week though. says of onlies:

Imagine if you grew up never having to share the bathroom, your toys, or the TV? Do you think this would affect your personality and relationships?

“Only children” spend a lot of time with grown-ups, so they can often be confident and well-spoken. Sometimes people even think of them as “little adults”! At the same time, they can find themselves under a ton of pressure to succeed.

Here are some common personality traits of “only children”:

Confident: Only children are usually not afraid to make decisions and are comfortable with their opinions.

Pays Attention to Detail: They like things to be organized and are often on time.

Good in School: Onlies tend to read a lot and have a good memory for facts and figures.

It’s MINE!: Only children might have difficulty sharing or going second because they have always been first in line for everything.

Overly Critical: While being a perfectionist is not such a bad thing, you may have a tendency to take this to extremes and be really critical of yourself and others.

I thought this was excellent and largely true. With the exception of the first, I do not consider myself terribly confident at all and I loathe making decisions. Can’t win em all, eh? I was frequently considered a “little adult” growing up, lost in my own little world of good books when I wasn’t hanging out with the grown ups and doing what they were doing. I was very good in school, at least until college and even then I was better than a lot of the other kids. I don’t think I’m terrible at sharing, but I also don’t think it came up much. I am very very much overly critical of myself, and maybe a little bit of others.

I am clearly very similar to the average “only child” – if only because when I took this quiz at blogthings to see what my birth order was, it had me pegged easily.

You Are Likely an Only Child

At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.

At work and school, you do best when you’re organizing.

When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.

In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.

Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.

You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.

What does your birth order say about you?

2 responses to “Does Birth Order Affect Your Personality?”

  1. jen@ourdailybigtop Avatar

    Interesting stuff. I’m going to have to check out what it says about 1st borns.


  2. Karen Avatar

    Jen, this is SO COOL that you took one of the questions and expounded on it. Bravo!!

    Birth order really does fascinate me and you really found some great information!