What Would Your Imaginary Friend Say About You?

Imaginary Friend

Did you have an imaginary friend when you were younger? Aren’t they amazing? Imaginary friends are characters that do not exist in objective reality, yet they importantly and undeniably do in children’s imaginary world.

And they wield a lot of power.

Children attribute them an absolute freedom of will that, of course, matches their wishes – a child will rarely disagree with their imaginary friend. And so they have amazingly similar tastes and needs as the children who imagined them. They get hungry at the same time, they get scared of the same things and they enjoy playing the same games. Have a think back, did you have an imaginary friend as a kid? If so, you might remember situations where you’d avoid eating leek and potato soup  or brussels sprouts because your friend didn’t like them. Oh, those were the days.

Where do imaginary friends come from?

The most obvious answer is that imaginary friends become depositories of the child’s wishes, but there is a deeper layer. The child’s imaginary world is as important as the objective one. In fact, when we are born we live mostly in our imaginary world, and the objective reality slowly takes over the land of dreams where we lived as babies. As our sensorial, cognitive, intellectual and linguistic capacities develop, we slowly (or rather, amazingly quickly!) begin to interact with external reality. However, the imaginary world in which we dwelled during our first years of life will stay with us forever. Imaginary friends are a remnant of this world, and so are our fantasies, dreams, wishes, patterns of behaviour and every other base of anything sophisticated our mind may do.

When external reality does set in, it often brings the sudden realisation that we cannot in fact control everything, especially others. Babies very quickly realise that they need to cry to call mummy and let her know that they are hungry, uncomfortable, sleepy or scared. But no matter how quickly their mum responds, she is out of their control.

Imaginary friends are our way to negotiate with reality as children: if we cannot control it, we will make it so that we can, at least for a little while, at least in our imagination.

Imaginary friends & adults

Some children accept they cannot control reality very quickly; some do not accept it that easily and find temporary solutions in the form of imaginary friends. But what do these mean for our later life?

The good thing about having an imaginary friend is that the experience of controlling reality, for example making your imaginary friend fly, may encourage you to make fantasies come true as an adult as well. An adult that is able to make fantasies become real is what we consider a creative genius. And we can never have enough of those.

Happier in lifeWe’ve also seen an interesting correlation in VisualDNA quizzes – people who had imaginary friends as a child are 10% more likely to be happier in later life. Imaginary friends are a major sign of openness, and open people tend not only to be creative, but also intellectually curious and comfortable with change. Which all adds up to being more likely to see the sunnier side of things.

Life, as it happens, has its ways to show us that we are not in control of it. People that had imaginary friends may have never given up the desire to master the world, so careful about being told no and other little life disappointments.

Let us know in the comments: Did you have an imaginary friend when you were younger?

Comments

  1. LILLYANNE BAIRSTOW says:

    I HAD LOTS OF IMAGINARY FREINDS ROUND ME AS A CHILD, I NOW WORK AS A PSYCHIC/MEDIUM,SO,THEY NEVER REALLY LEFT ME, NEW ONES CAME IN AND ARE STILL WITH ME TODAY, BLESSINGS.X.

  2. Yes, I had an imaginary friend!

  3. I am Imaginary and I don’t say mean things about my creator….

  4. I had Five imaginary friends.

    A blue dragon.
    A construction worker.
    A snowman. Not like frosty, but wore a hat, trench coat, and sun glasses
    A chipmunk that walked, dressed, and acted like a kid
    A really start ainmal/person. he was really smart.

    I rarely had conversations with them. I mostly used to imagined them in their own world. Doing they’re own thing. they had powers, such as element type stuff (earth, water, fire, lighting,ice). Ironically the snow man had the power of fire and the dragon had the power of ice. Its kind of sad how much time I spent in dream land. But I would try to bring them in to the real world, but it never worked out. And I would try to bring myself in their world, but that never worked out either. Maybe it was a sign. but whatever.

    Now i don’t really talk or think about them much. but they lasted a long time in my childhood. till i turned 10 or 11. They were replace by me expanding my imagination. I realized there was a lot more things to daydream and learn about. So I moved on. But they still have a place in my heart. I’m studying to be a 3-D animator(cartoon maker), so maybe they’ll come out then. but for now their tuck away.

    when you fill out the “speck your mind” thingy, the part about the website, what do you put? I put my favorite website.

    • Victoria Room says:

      Thanks for sharing this. As you say, imaginary friends from our childhood may be gone but they still have a special place in our hearts. (Oh and the ‘speak your mind’ section is for you to comment in.) How are your studies going?

  5. ahlexus billups says:

    i had alot of imaginary friends when i was a kid because i was really lonly and shy ,so most of my imaginary friend was always outgoing and always have friend

  6. I have a bunch of imaginary friends.
    M.I(pronounced Mint for some reason) is a cat girl with mint green hair that represents my instincts in a way. Jared is the smarter half of a pair of long lost twin brothers (the other half is my friend’s imaginary friend). #3 is the perfectionist in me and is always serious. #4 is the shy part of me…that’s all that I really know about her…There are more but I think I got my point across.
    They all reside in my head, which is basically just a big black room with a door and a huge TV screen. If you were to open that door, you’d see a hallway with an uncountable number of doors that lead to wherever I need to go.
    When get upset I usually just need to stay alone for awhile, because it not only gives me time to calm down but lets me talk to them for their counsel. This usually involves them comically slapping me in the face and telling me to get over myself and that wallowing in my depressive fumes isn’t going to make me happier. This at the least calms me down and allows me to think things through
    I know they’re not real, but I think they help me greatly even if it’s just making me laugh with their ridiculous and over-the-top antics.

    • Victoria Room says:

      You have so many imaginary friends! We’re curious: how often do you chat with them?

      • Hmmm, to describe how often I talk to them, I think it’s pretty similar to having a little devil and angel on your shoulders. They’re always there commenting on what you’re doing and thinking. They affect the way you act sometimes as well.

  7. I had an imaginary friend :) i miss him sometimes :)

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  1. [...] Of course, the odd fantasy never did anyone any harm, and we’ve touted the advantages of having an imaginary friend as a child, but it’s important to be able to recognise whether you’re a fantasiser or a [...]

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