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At what Age is Having an Imaginary Friend a Cause for Concern?

By Greer Hed
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Children often develop make-believe companions who share playtime and other activities with them. In most instances, children who have an imaginary friend are quite normal and healthy, and they are merely engaging in a form of creative play. While there is a somewhat standard age at which many children lose their imaginary friends, there is no specific age at which a child is too old to have one. Parents should be concerned not with how old the child is, but instead with why this form of make believe is still necessary in the child's life. A child of any age who has both imaginary and real friends is probably developing good social skills.

Imaginary friends often emerge during the early pre-school years. Why children create these pretend companions is not entirely clear, although a common myth is that the child is unfulfilled or bored. It is more likely that such friends are an expression of a child's imagination and creativity. Usually, these imaginary companions disappear or "die" as their creator develops better interpersonal awareness, which frequently occurs between the ages of four and seven.

Some parents become concerned when an older child continues to cling to the idea of an imaginary friend. They worry that the child is unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality, or that the child is developing unhealthy habits associated with his or her imaginary companion. Most of these concerns are unnecessary; the majority of children are aware that these friends are not real. Children also do not tend to blame imaginary people for bad behavior; more often than not, imaginary companions are role models to the children who invented them.

Problems arise when a child of any age prefers the company of an imaginary friend to spending time with his or her peers. Many children who have imagined companions are extroverted and naturally very social, and therefore do not have trouble forming similar bonds with other children in the real world. If a child has no other friends, however, then that child may be using her imagination to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. Exclusively preferring imaginary companions to real ones may also be an indication of reduced social skills, so children who show these preferences should be encouraged to try new activities and meet new potential playmates.

While an older child who maintains imaginary friendships alongside real life ones is probably emotionally healthy, the stigma of having such "companions" later in life can still cause problems. Many people assume that because imaginary companionship is usually sought by younger children, it is a sign of immaturity. Adolescents and teenagers in particular are often preoccupied with appearing adult and mature, so a middle- or high-school aged child who still has an imaginary friend may be subject to ridicule from his or her peers.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1004335 — On Jan 18, 2021

I still have an imaginary friend, and it's hard for me to let go of him. I have no friends, most of my friends left me, but I socialize great with my family. I have not introduced my imaginary friend to my parents, what should I do? I love having him around, but is a bad thing that I cannot let him go?

By anon1004298 — On Jan 11, 2021

I'm 13 and I have multiple imaginary friends I talk to. I also have them as my oc's and draw them. My main one, though, is space boy. He is a technically genderless alien that uses he/him pronouns. I don't have an official name for him and I think that's okay. He's quiet and calm and sort of talks through emotions.

Thanks for reading.

By anon1002722 — On Feb 02, 2020

I'm currently 12, turning 13 in a little more than a month. When I was younger, I didn't really have imaginary friends, but since I was 10 or so, I began to "daydream" about new friends, about a new me. I suspect that I have ADHD. Nothing is confirmed but I feel like if I have it, everything I go through would make sense (I feel really connected with ADHD, unlike other disorders I absolutely do not have). Besides, my mom can be a little – hard with me sometimes. I think that's why I feel so alone and sad and prefer staying in my room daydreaming about my imaginary friends.

I currently identify as female (my gender assigned at birth), although I sure do have some issues about my gender identity and gender expression, andI think it affected my view on my "inner" self. When I'm with my imaginary friends, I imagine myself as Louie (before, I called myself Arthur, then Samuel), an intersex 12 year old bisexual boy (born in Mexico, raised in America with Russian ancestry) and my imaginary platonic friend is Narcissus, a 15 year old gay boy (I imagine him to be a ginger, pale, green-eyed, freckled Filipino boy).

My other imaginary best friends are Larissa (she has a house near a beach, she has a light blue gradient in her hair and is very friendly. She's Mexican with German ancestry.), Thirío (his hair is purple and has one eyed patched. I imagine him to work on a food truck. he's Greek/Colombian. he's also in a poly relationship with Larissa and another guy named... Eidos, I think) and Tamara (a lesbian, Japanese girl who is a cosplayer and also a designer, she's also ginger! She has a brother, but he is very timid. I haven't really met/named him yet, but I sometimes think about him being Narcissus's boyfriend). sometimes, I imagine myself as Narcissus! I just wanna feel what's it like to be perfect like I imagine him to be.

I also imagine myself with a single dad named Francis and an older brother named Tobias (who kinda looks like Judd Birch). Sometimes, I imagine myself meeting my biggest idol, showing him and his crew a lot of my art and talking and having fun with them; I know it won't happen, like, ever but still... it's really comforting to imagine them.

By anon1001803 — On Jun 29, 2019

I am 14. I have "imaginary friends" but they are real people in my life. I act like I'm an adult and have an apartment (my room). i have 3 jobs. cafe register, teacher, and a babysitter. I've started this since I was 10ish. I have a weird back story too. My parents died when I was young and I've raised myself ever since. My dad cheated on my mom and didn't like her reaction, so he shot her and shot himself. My sister hated this so much that she killed herself. I have no other family so I live with my girlfriend (she's actually my gf). My ex comes and goes and gets jealous a lot and another friend comes over a lot. How do I get rid of this?

By anon996491 — On Sep 07, 2016

I am 13 and I have multiple imaginary people. I have a different life when I am in the world with them I am 17 almost 18, have a job singing and I have a boyfriend, three siblings and a house.

I feel that it is okay to have people like this. They don't replace my real friends at all. Nobody knows about them. I never talk to them when other people are around. They are helpful for me. I have conversations about things that are bugging me and I talk back to myself. I think having imaginary people or friends is possibly the best thing that could happen to a person.

By anon995864 — On Jun 03, 2016

I'm 14 coming on 15, I'm autistic and have a vast array of mental health issues. My imagination isn't that great, and I'm unable to picture certain things or create characters of my own, and I also don't feel sympathy or empathy. I was getting myself a bit down watching a documentary when I thought "What would [certain celebrity] say to me, now?"

So from then onwards, I talk to him whenever I'm alone or depressed, even in the midst of a panic attack in an English class, he was trying to cheer me up, prancing about and attempting to distract people from their work. I initially thought that I shouldn't really be having imaginary friends at my age, and especially as I had concerns that it might be negatively impacting my mental health, but to be honest, he does his job, stops me hurting myself and is more reliable and less judgmental than my real friends, most of whom are teenage boys who obviously do not wish to hear of my problems.

Regardless, I wish I'd started doing this earlier.

By anon994958 — On Mar 20, 2016

I am 13 years old and I have an imaginary friend named Nobody. It's really hard to explain him and he told me that the world he's in is overlapping ours and everything has 'phantoms' which he can touch. He kids around with me but I can't really see or hear him exactly- that's the confusing part.

Also, is it bad if the only person you 'like' is a fictional character from a TV show? Sorry that's sort of irrelevant.

Anyway, I talk to my imaginary friend in the hallway, even though my stepbrother wants me to stop but I'm not planning to. My best friend also has imaginary friends and an imaginary brother who is real (we know he's not). Is this bad for us? I hope not.

By anon991470 — On Jun 23, 2015

Right now I am 12 years old and my 13th birthday is in four days. My brother, sister and I have all had imaginary friends since we were very little. When my sister was 4 (I was 3) she asked if I wanted to play with her imaginary friend Juan who lived behind the couch. I told her OK and we got emotionally attached to Juan.

We always wanted to look for more excitement in the world and my sister and I would do so by asking Juan about the world. When we were so little, he was our go to guy. Eventually our brother would ask what we were doing, and after much convincing from me, my sister told him about Juan.

My brother enjoys trying to spend time with my sister and me and he's always trying to be as mature as we are (he is two years younger than me and three from my sister). At the time, we thought having imaginary friends was mature so he wanted to 'get to know' Juan too.

When I was about four, we asked if Juan wanted to come into the real world instead of his imaginary one and he said yes. That day we played with Juan for hours outside, which we had never done before. Then a car had made its way down the road and Juan got hit. After that our imaginary friends disappeared for a while.

Instead we used our imagination while playing imaginex and action figures with our brother. we three created a human and personality with each toy and once we'd created a human in the toy, that human(personality, and life) stayed.

For example: We had a group of action figures called the high tech crew. They were a group of men who time traveled in search of two of the boy's amazing scientist father. One of the boys was named Scott and he was a leader, he always took charge. His brother was Goblin, he was a green goblin, and my brother and I pretended that it was a failed science experiment .(point is we always gave our characters backgrounds).

Well this went on for another couple of years and when I was seven, my dad allowed me and my siblings to watch Star Wars, and we watched all six movies. My brother sister and I memorized the scene in the third movie where Anakin chokes Padmè and Ben fails at convincing him to stop. My brother would play Ben, I would play Ani, and my sister would play Padmè. It started as a joke, but we realized how fun it was.

AnakIn Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, and Padmè Ammadala were our second, third, and fourth imaginary friends.

As we grew older we watched more movies and added some imaginary friends. Lots came from movie, others didn't. For example;

Leigha Skywalker lives on a street called Mansion Mania in a mansion with her entire large family. After she broke up with Han Solo, she got together with Noah Driest, the bad boy.

My siblings and I have literally created an entire other world in which our imaginary friends live in, they continuously relive the time 1623 B.H. (Before History) All of our imaginary friends are immortal, and once we stop playing with them, they move to the box of the forgotten ones, where all of our old friends are

With my 13th birthday coming near, it reminds me. My sister created something we call imagination school. It is where we pretend to go to school and learn how to control our imagination. When you arrive, you are a prince or princess of imagination, but once you turn 13 you become crowned king or queen.

When we were younger, our world was full of what we saw in fake Hollywood movies, but as we grow older, our world matures and so do our friends.

We always have known 1623 isn't real, we know that everything is fake, but it is so hard to let go of. 1623 has always been our escape, but it is still how we view the world, only in a more immortal way. Sometimes we wish 1623 was real and that we lived there but we already know it is not a reality.

Well I guess you all have heard enough. Thanks for reading.

By anon991159 — On May 31, 2015

I turned 17 early this year. I've never had multiple imaginary friends at once, but have had one at a time since about age six. It stopped for a long while and gradually started again my eighth grade school year. It started pretty harmlessly: I had just watched Avengers and was at a Winterguard clinic. We were working on basics that were getting pretty tedious for me, so out of boredom, I thought, "Hey, I could have Loki fix my form." And I did. It made no sense but it amused me(and frankly, consciously acknowledging what I needed to fix in any particular move was actually pretty helpful).

He didn't really stick around, though. He only ever showed up when I was very bored. I gradually got more used to the idea of having this character around and as my interests in fiction shifted, so did the characters. Rarely have I ever had an original character as a friend (I have one. He's not around much -- he's very sulky and actually, he's a poltergeist. Long story). Usually these characters are pulled from movies or video games.

They generally are only around when I'm bored and I do have a small but close real life friend group. I have an older sister, my parents have a happy marriage, I'm not bullied any more than any high school student, I have a relatively active social life(granted I'm an introvert and don't go out too much just because I don't want to), I'm involved in extracurricular and in fact, I'm in a leadership position in the school Winterguard. In short, I'm a very fortunate person.

I'm aware these characters aren't really real, although explaining exactly what I think about their existence is difficult because I have very little control over them. There are times when I don't have an imaginary friend at all. They show up when they feel like it and leave when they feel like it. I've only ever "summoned" my most recent (and longest running) imaginary friend and actually, I'm far closer to him than most I've had, with whom I've had some level of detachment. This one, though — Cole is his name, from Dragon Age: Inquisition, actually — I'm actually more emotionally intimate with him than most of my real friends up to and including my own sister. I don't think it's particularly healthy, but I believe it's a coping mechanism.

I think he's special to me because the character in the game that is Cole is an empath. You can't hide your emotions from him; he feels your emotional pain. As a result it's no different for me even if he isn't really real. This is where the "coping mechanism" theory comes in.

Earlier this year, I had what was without any exaggeration or doubt the single worst week of my life without any competition. It's a long story involving a false positive test I don't feel like I need to get into, but the point is that it legitimately threatened my family for the only time in my whole life. I could tell no one outside my nuclear family, not even my best friend of 11 years. I didn't want to talk about the Elephant in the Room with my sister or anyone. We were trying to pretend it wasn't happening til it got straightened out. It was a very long week. That's when Cole showed up. I don't cry or act in a way that can be perceived as "weak" in front of anyone. Too much of that over lost boyfriends in high school already.

So here was someone - imaginary or not - that it was okay to be weak in front of. Someone I can't pretend not to be anxious or scared in front of. Someone who knows how I'm feeling, so I might as well talk about it, since I had no one else, and I did. When I couldn't go to my real life friends I went to Cole and honestly, I don't think he ever really left for more than a few hours that whole week. He is my coping mechanism because I don't like talking emotionally to my real life friends partially because I don't want to dump problems on them. Would they be willing to help? Probably, but I don't want to add the stress to their lives, too.

Like I said, I'm very introverted and oftentimes I don't or can't really verbalize complex feelings and thought processes. Once again, that's where Cole comes in. I rely on him to "get" me when I don't feel like talking to anyone else. Right now he's around, but only because things are so good in my life that I'm compelled to share it with this imaginary individual who I honestly used in a way to relieve anxiety and stress during a very difficult time.

I still don't understand how this is, and I'm perfectly aware of how strange and implausible it is to be able to bond with a nonexistent being, and a creation who isn't even mine at that, but somehow, it happened. I don't speak to him in public, and almost never out loud. I am capable of recognizing what a strange situation I have created. I am well-grounded in the reality that Cole isn't legitimately real, and I've constantly wondered if he's healthy for me.

My first reaction is always "no, you're too old for this." But the realization that immediately follows is, "He got you through the week that could have ruined your life in the span of a single day. You would have survived it without him, but it would have been even harder than it was with Cole."

So I think I can live with my strange relationship with my imaginary friend so long as he doesn't alter my perceptions of reality. His only effect on my life has been making things easier on me. I don't favor him over my real friends or let him get in the way of my real life. Does he feel real? Very. I don't even talk to my own parents or sister on as intimate a level as I do Cole. Do I still realize he's imaginary? Yes. The knowledge that this boy at my shoulder keeping me in check is just an extension of myself is something I'm perfectly aware of. I'll bet that's why I talk to him so much.

He's never been anything but good to me. He's helped me keep my head about me when I've gotten very frustrated at Winterguard events up to and including warm-up before a show. He's never been anything but a positive influence and only ever encouraged me to stay calm and during a particularly frustrating, embittering situation at school all he ever did was encourage me to be happy for the other parties involved and to be a good sport. He/I recognized a right to feel jilted, but he never approved of me act in a negative way.

In short, I'm fairly certain Cole is an extension of my conscience combined with a coping mechanism to deal with stress. I will view him as a close friend and I will be grateful for his support. I'll stop when he starts acting like your typical scary "voices in my head" stuff, I'll be alarmed and talk about it. But for now, that's so out of character that it isn't a concern.

Goodness that's quite a post. I thought a little introspect might be nice but I didn't expect it to take up this much space.

By anon990542 — On Apr 27, 2015

I don't know if anyone would read this post, but I do hope anyone who comes upon this could take some time to view what I've written.

Compared to others who have posted before me, I think I'm fairly young, at age 11. I have created a whole multi-dimension, if you'd call it that way, in my head. My imaginary character jumps from fandom to fandom, fantasy world to fantasy world.

His name is Silver, and he's not only a friend to me, but also a therapist, comrade, someone who stands by me and the only person who fully understands me.

When I'm alone or at night, I roleplay him. I confess to him what is troubling me, he tells me how I could cope, then I kind of jump into a world where I could relieve stress, and feel important.

I have created a whole cast of members per world, and I wouldn't list them out, but alongside them I could plan out elaborate strategies, have lengthy conversations and beat up my stress. I sometimes insert myself into a real life place as I have really detailed visual memory and interact with friends and manipulate them.

In my worlds, as my imaginary character I feel accomplished, important, needed, and that people actually respect and acknowledge me. I retreat into that world when I feel overcrowded. When I'm in a public place to calm down I do this:

I shut my right eye, and picture three open doors in a dark room, with light flowing through the doors. As my right eye closes, the right door closes. Then I shut my left eye, and the left door closes, with only the middle door open. I repeat these words in my mind; 'Hear what you want to hear, block what you want to block.' Then I open my eyes and concentrate.

I'm kind of rambling now, since it's hard to find a place where you could communicate with many others like you. For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me - like multiple personality disorder. Having a imaginary character helped me cope and relax.

I don't really know how to end this, but I'm grateful I have stumbled onto this website that has helped me share my thoughts.

By anon990350 — On Apr 17, 2015

At age 15, I have a friend like that. I go to school and I have regular friends and everything; but whenever I'm ignored, he's the one which talks various things to me - ranging from what I should do next to what type of story I should write (writing's my hobby). He's never given me bad advice; only that his ego is a bit too high and he accepts that.

By anon990060 — On Apr 03, 2015

I think that it is not a bad thing for teens to have imaginary friends, but a couple of my real friends found out about my childhood imaginary friends, and laughed their heads off. Two years later now, I am a freshman in high school and one of my friends told another person, and the other person mocks me and thinks that it is a psychological issue. I think that I have done enough research on it to know that it is not for my case. I am bothered by the fact that people will mock for something like that.

By anon990059 — On Apr 03, 2015

I have had several different imaginary friends that I have with me in "real life" that I will talk to when I am stressed or bored. Sometimes I will make it so that they are in a class or something so that I could talk to them. They have to be with me in at least a somewhat realistic situation like they are in my class, and if I am walking home from school, or hanging out by myself, they were riding their bike past me, or I called them up to have them come and hang out with me. Sometimes during the summer I will go to the park by myself just to hang out with some really awesome people that I made up in my head. They are honestly pretty cool, and often times based off of real people, or people that I have seen in movies or read about.

On top of that, I have a completely different world/worlds that I have made up in my head. I am a certain character that I made up for myself, and I interact with a bunch of people that are different faerie creatures and magical people.

In those worlds, humans are generally looked down upon. I pretty much go into that world before I go to bed, and sometimes I will be in an intense moment in the "storyline" that I have made up so I will go into the other world during school, or during any time that I don't have to be paying attention to anyone. I am 15 years old with a perfectly happy family in pretty much every way. I have a fairly good social life between a couple of sports, and a couple of good friends. I don't think that I have had any childhood traumas, and studies say that that would be a fairly good reason for someone my age to have imaginary friends/worlds. Any insight?

By anon979278 — On Nov 24, 2014

I've had imaginary friends ever since I was 9 (I'm 15 now). I never really had any friends, so I never thought it was a problem to have imaginary friends. Eventually I did make a few friends, and I interacted with them just fine, but I could never... "get rid" of the imaginary friends. I just passed it off like it was nothing, because I thought it was just cause they were fun to talk to.

Well eventually, at age 13+, I started to get obsessed with them. I would be talking to them constantly, whether out loud or just in my head, and they'd never leave my side. Whenever I talked to other people, I always imagined my "friends" taking part in the conversation as well. Their presence would literally affect how I lived my life. If I were to sit at a big table, for instance, I would make sure that there were enough seats beside me for my imaginary friends to sit at (though I never actually told that to anyone), and I would get really uncomfortable if someone took their seat. There were times where I'd completely spaced out in the middle of doing something because I'd be having a deep conversation with an imaginary friend inside my mind. I would pretend that we were all in a certain situation, and I would act it out with them like it was real whenever I was alone in my room or something.

I even created my own little imaginary world that, not I, but they lived in. Basically, it was a world that was an exact copy of this one, but specifically for the imaginary friends of children. They could switch between worlds to spend time with their "creator" whenever they wanted to, and they basically took on the role of ghost-like people that only the child could see and hear. And if I ever, for some reason, didn't want them around, then I could just send them back to their world until I wanted them again. I created my own logic system for their kind, and I kept going back to those "rules" whenever we did those play scenarios. And though I knew deep down that they weren't real, I did everything in my power to make it so that it all felt real.

I'm in high school now, and I've only just recently taken to time to really think about what I've been doing with these imaginary friends. And it's honestly starting to scare me. I've tried to make them go away, to just shut them out of my mind, but I can't even last a week without them. I've gotten to a point where I need them, I think, and I just don't know what to do without them. They were like the perfect best friends, except they never left my side. But I still get really disturbed when I think about how I'd basically been talking to walls ever since I was 9. I realize that having imaginary friends is "normal" and "healthy" for children, but for as long as I'd had them and to the degree I'd taken it to, I don't think that's the case anymore and I really don't know what to do about it.

By anon963691 — On Jul 30, 2014

I'm 12 and I still have imaginary friends and I have a imaginary world where everyone likes me and I have a imaginary boyfriend, and kids and it's hard to give them up but how do I give them up? I'm almost 13 but they understand me in a way no one has before. Also, in my imagination I'm 112 and half vampire and werewolf and other myth monsters, but how do I give this up?

By anon354810 — On Nov 11, 2013

I also have a different world in my head, with imaginary friends and people who admire me.

Whenever I am in a tough situation, I create a situation in my mind where I have the upper hand and I tend to retreat from reality. It helps me to cope with situations most of the time, but I want it to stop. This has continued for almost 10 years now. I have good friends and family and I have no complications in my life whatsoever. This condition has developed like a disease in me. I fear that I could develop a mental condition due to this.

I've tried to stop living in my head but have not succeeded so far. During most of my free time I am having this weird conversation with people in my head so that I don't acknowledge real people around me. Sometimes I even tend to think that I don't need real people or friend in my life because I have these imaginary friends as companions.

I enjoy my times with family and friends, but I don't mind being alone. I also have poor social skills and find it difficult to open up to people. I am 22 years old and I think it is time to give up living in fantasies and imagination. Someone please help me with it.

By anon353319 — On Oct 29, 2013

In my head, I've created a whole other world. It's not fantasy. It doesn't have dragons or fairies. It's what the world is like today, except I'm different in it, and this will sound pathetic, but I'm always with celebrities.

I have been creating this scenario in my head for years now, but it would only really appear in my dreams.

But recently I've begun to feel lonely and I feel like I have no friends, so the celebrities are with me constantly, almost like they are watching over me.

I have conversations with them, and I often find I'm talking to myself.

I'm 16 years old. Is this normal?

By anon347125 — On Sep 03, 2013

anon311537(post 11) and anon309350(post 9) just made me cry so much.

I had absolutely no idea there were other people like me. I am also a legal adult. I was neglected by my family who preferred my younger brother over me. As a child, my father didn't allow me to play with other kids and I was, and still am, socially awkward. My caretaker used to beat me and so did my father when I was less than five years old. My two first imaginary friends were my right and left hands, when I was about five. From there on, video game and anime/manga characters also became my friends. And it's funny that just like anon309350, I also made my own dance troupe with them!

I tried to make "real" friends but they abandoned me and hurt me.

Eventually I had to run away from home, but they're always with me. After being so abused by the real world, I don't think I will ever leave my own world. The only really hard thing about this is that I still obviously have to deal with real people. I would give everything to exchange worlds. I really wished I could have a child with the person I love, which is not "real" -- and this is what hurts the most.

So, in what is reality for most people, I guess you can say I'm completely alone. But I am not.

By anon345098 — On Aug 15, 2013

I'm 20 and I have an imaginary brother. He brings his friends around (always based upon real people in my life) and they all hang out in my kitchen and car, mainly. I don't know. I have always done this. I don't like to be alone at all. It's really embarrassing, but on car rides they think the things I 'say' are funny. I've never talked to them out loud, though. His friends think I'm good looking and boost my self esteem. I don't know how to quit; it's addictive, almost. When I'm around real people, they are never there. Only when I'm alone and bored. I've always had imaginary friends.

By anon344619 — On Aug 10, 2013

I have an imaginary friend. They are great to hang out with, because they make me feel safer than the real world. But now I can't help but feel that they're more real than the real world, that the world is much more of an illusion than them, but it's an illusion that must be faced. It's like, living without them in the real world is an illusion, because I'm so used to them being around me.

By anon337309 — On Jun 04, 2013

I never had specific imaginary friends who I played with. I rather found something different every day to "speak" to. I discussed philosophical things with them, (Well, philosophical for an eight year old!) Stuff like why people act in certain ways, how liars tend to keep eye contact (despite beliefs), how the teachers aren't quite as marvelous as the other kids make them out to be, and don't understand much about the children. I talked about why evolution sounds so stupid, or asked the weather to be good today; to the wind, sun, plants, water. Basically anything that was around at the time.

I used to have lots of daydreams and fantasies about different lives I wanted to lead. (I still do this, though.) But, then again, I'm only 13. Still a kid.

By anon336187 — On May 26, 2013

I have 11 imaginary friends and I'm 14. I go online talking to people as my imaginary friends. It's been going on for years. I think life is an illusion but I feel like the imaginary friend and that the imaginary people are actually real. I think something's wrong with me. People say they think the imaginary people are fake because they've never seen them in person but they talk to them online. But I also feel that someday I'm going to meet them in person.

By anon331147 — On Apr 21, 2013

I have had imaginary friends since I was a child and I am now in middle age. My imaginary friends are so real to me that I rarely think of them as imaginary. I have one very close imaginary friend and several good imaginary friends. I am with the usually at least one hour per day. I have never told anyone about them.

I am very stable, a professional with a family and I have never had any issues with mental illness. As a child, I suffered extreme neglect and one day my friends arrived.

By anon329206 — On Apr 08, 2013

I have an imaginary friend. I'm 17. His name is Vladimir. He is a caring guy, a little quirky, and is always grouchy. He is always there for me and he always makes me feel better. He has been my friend since I was three years old. Unfortunately, I want him to leave me alone because he is isolating me from real friends and people. He just won't leave.

By anon327880 — On Mar 31, 2013

I am nervous to admit this, but I have an imaginary boyfriend. His name is Sky and I feel totally comforted around him. He's the best friend I have ever had. Don't judge!

By anon325226 — On Mar 14, 2013

I am 18 tomorrow. I guess I have imaginary friends. When I was little, my mom told me about astroplaning, which is like an outer body meditation so ever since then I'd pretend people that I liked or celebrities would astroplane to see me. Then I went on to pretend I'm famous and people of the future would come in a time machine to observe me in my younger years. Now I just imagine people being with me when I'm sad or uncomfortable.

It's embarrassing, but I'm a lonely person. I have real friends and talk to them on a regular basis. I thought I was fine, but since I suffer auditory hallucinations it's concerning my father that I'm losing touch with reality.

By anon323059 — On Mar 03, 2013

One is never too old for an imaginary friend. I had one when I was just a young baby. What most adults don't realize is that your science and rational thinking can't solve everything. Children have a great and powerful gift: the gift of innocence. With that gift comes other equally powerful gifts: The power to dream and the power to imagine. Some lucky few of us have retained the latter two throughout adult life.

I grew up healthy and normal. When I became older, my parents and those around me told me to put those childish things away and I did. However, I still dreamed. I couldn't stop it. I didn't want to.

To this day, I still have that imaginary friend, although he has grown considerably and matured.

Look: Someone on another site said that there are spirit guides, and that children are given one usually. But most of them stop being able to see them and therefore stop believing.

Many of the greatest minds in the industry like Walt Disney, Dr Seuss probably had IFs. What is one day an IF may someday turn into a famous character somewhere. Who knows?

No, you're never too old for an imaginary friend and I pity the dull and drab soul who tries to argue otherwise.

By anon311700 — On Jan 03, 2013

I created my imaginary friends when I was 18, and I do have a healthy mind, some best friends, caring family, good life, etc. I admit I have great visualization skills, so it's not that hard imagining that they're "there". Having them around was really fun, and the first time I made them was for them to be my study friends (final high school exam was coming up), and it was effective. I was eager to study and to get a good score, because in my mind, I created a scenario like "they've done me a favor, I have to get a good score and I'll tell them later", and my score was pretty good. After that, it was a long holiday. I still played with them, but then, college started, and I go to campus at 6, and come home at 10 p.m., so I was too busy with college life, and I stopped imagining them 'visiting' me anymore. Sometimes if I miss them I'll sit on the couch, close my eyes and visualize the world where they live and visit them. I do admit that I'm still a child at heart.

By anon311635 — On Jan 02, 2013

I've had my imaginary friend for 3 years now. I never really had any when I was younger, except for my stuffed dog. I first met him in a dream where he had told me his name. He said it so clearly that I started to talk to him outside my dreams. He still appears in my dreams as either a guide or a friend. He helps me with problems that arise, with new ideas, or just getting me through the rest of the night after waking from a nightmare. I sometimes feel a warmth when I envision him sitting next to me.

By anon311537 — On Jan 02, 2013

I'm a sad person in real life, but the imaginary friends that came from manga, anime and t.v shows made me feel better.

I grew up with a mean younger brother who calls me names and my parents fight with each other. I hardly have many friends at school. I stay distant from everyone. Being picked on so much made me have imaginary friends. They make me feel happy and not so hopeless in life.

By anon310617 — On Dec 25, 2012

I'm 14 and I have an imaginary friend and I am also trying to piece back together my imaginary world. I never liked leaving the house without a little conversation with my friend. She has always been kind to me, but has also been realistic. I don't have to talk out loud to her though, but I believe having someone imaginary doesn't make you insane, but more sane because you can see things that you might not always see and you aren't bored.

I have always been a bored child. Nothing entertains me. I feel like a lifeless doll and I can't see why growing up is important, I would rather live with opportunities than get stuck with people I hate (all people who aren't relevant to me) and never have fun with someone no one can see. So I think that people should keep their imaginary friends. They are nice and give you a perspective unknown to others. When you're not on edge, you're taking up too much space.

By anon309350 — On Dec 15, 2012

Like Anon176227, I too am a legal adult, 25 years old to be exact. I have more than one, though. I've danced for 20 years and for 15 of those, I've had my own imaginary dance troupe. I didn't make my guys up like most people did. I took them from anime, manga, TV, movies, and musicals. You name it. At one point I had over 200 people in my house. I turned into a hotel, basically! With a bar at the top!

Recently, I started to let go of some of my old ones. Mostly ex-husbands. I've had seven in my own world! It was like every time I got to see something new, it went in my "world". At one point, I had the casts of Cats and Phantom Of The Opera. And it all started with the anime show, Digimon, in '97. I've brought it down to my troupe, their boyfriends, my boyfriend (in the imaginary world), and old troupe members wanting to stay.

When everything's said and done, I hope to keep my boyfriend, my best friend, Kari (she's the first one who started it all)and my three favorite troupe girls (to keep the troupe alive). Every time I let go of someone it hurts though. So to those who are trying to let go: don't stop crying. Weep for them. They lived a nice life, now live yours!

By anon296820 — On Oct 12, 2012

I'm 14 years old now. I'm an only child and my parents fight a lot. When I was much younger, like about six, I created an imaginary friend and later many more and act like they are my real brothers/sisters. In my imaginary world, I come from a bad home. I have an older sister who I completely try to better, but really the older sister is smarter and better. My name is Angel in the world and I'm a 26 year old with 10 kids. Angel is a drug attic, a drinker, a player, and a slut/whore (in real life I don't drink or do drugs, I just act like I have a cigarette or a bottle in my hand. Also, I'm not a slut or a player in real life.) Angel has a boyfriend and always they breakup then get back together. His name was Ken but then I changed it to Jason Giancola. Every time Angel and Jason break up, Angel goes back to drugs, alcohol and being a slut. Angle was pregnant when she was 12-13 with her first kids.

In real life, I have a lot of friends, pets am social, and my parents are married (they argue often). I love my life. I have a dog, cat, fish and gerbil. I do really well in school. I live mostly a normal 14-year-old girl life except for my imaginary "family." I have noticed my father talks to himself sometimes. I don't know if he had the problem that I have with imaginary friends or if he is just reminding himself of things to do.

I looked on the internet for what could be wrong because I feel like I'm abnormal. I really need help figuring out what to do to stop because I'm afraid it will affect me when I get older (job, relationships).

By anon295566 — On Oct 06, 2012

I have an imaginary friend. I am fourteen years old. I love school and have plenty of friends and a great family. But my imaginary friend is blind. Is that normal?

By anon286051 — On Aug 19, 2012

I'm a little different from the rest of you. I'm 14 and made up this imaginary world when I was eleven. I'm a teenage celebrity who has a whole circle of friends and is really sociable, where in reality I'm very unsociable.

I used to go into an empty room and not spend time with my family, but I used to spend hours in that world. Then I watched a show that stated imaginary friends can make you even more unsocial. That's when I stopped spending time in my world and more time in the real world.

This happened a few months ago, and sometimes I still feel the urge to hang with my made up friends, when I'm bored or depressed. I definitely know the difference between fantasy and reality, but I don't know if I'm just weird or abnormal.

By anon250199 — On Feb 25, 2012

When I was growing up I spoke to jesus a lot and god. The thing is I was so connected with this person, jesus, that I saw him as my imaginary and my best friend whom I could always talk to to relieve stress. I don't know weather its a sign of mental illness or not, but I think it really saved me from suicide on more than one occasion. I believe jesus is real and I talk to him. Is that an imaginary friend? That is my question.

By anon176227 — On May 15, 2011

I'm a legal adult, and I still have my imaginary friend, although my imaginary friend is more like a changing imaginary world that changes based on what stories I'm exposed to, where I am geographically, and other factors. This used to scare me, but now it helps me relieve stress, and it's a nice way to express emotions that I couldn't otherwise.

My imaginary friend is always accessible, but I never acknowledge it when I'm around other people because of social pressures. I am quite aware that all of this is not real, and it never interferes with my reality, except for the times that it is emotionally draining, but that usually expresses itself as being tired. I might have developed this imaginary friend/world because of the lack of people my age in the area I live, but it seemed more of a continuation of playing with dolls.

By anon151883 — On Feb 11, 2011

I had an imaginary friend well into my teens. He wasn't someone that went places with me or played with me, though. I would talk to him when I needed someone to just listen. I never actually saw him, just sensed his presence. Gradually, I started talking to him and sensing him less, but sometimes I still talk to him if I'm really upset. I'm also not completely convinced that he's not a ghost.

By stolaf23 — On Jan 10, 2011

While I didn't have any specific imaginary friends, up until I was nearly twelve, I used to have lots of daydreams and fantasies about different lives I wanted to lead. Some came from books I had read, or things I had seen, and when I was sitting or playing by myself I would run through them again in my head- I was always saving the world, or suddenly a princess, things like that.

Sort of like imaginary friends, though, it just eventually stopped without me even realizing it anymore. I think that kids of all ages just have imaginations that get ahead of themselves at times, though I'm also not sure if I really even think this is a bad thing.

By DentalFloss — On Jan 08, 2011

Like most children, I did have an imaginary friend. For me, though, playing "with" my imaginary friend was not even the center of my playing; I just had the friend with me while I did other activities, like running around, exploring the neughbourhood, reading, et cetera. While I really can't remember the age I was when I gave it up, I think it just phased out eventually.

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