In my previous post I suggested it takes a special person to befriend a TCK and the five ways we need your grace. In addition to being eternally grateful for the people in our lives for sticking with us, we, too, bring special grace infusing benefits to our relationships. Here are five ways:
- Carpe Diem! We know how to seize the present moment. Perhaps some of your friends always wait for a good time to grab coffee, or plan trips which never come to fruition. TCKs know what it’s like to say goodbye prematurely and we have learned to appreciate what today has to offer. We are eager to act on the potentials of now. We take risks easier, having practiced so often, and are less afraid to spend time with people even if their departure is imminent.
- There’s nothing you can do or say to make us love you less. When I talk with my TCK friends and talk about certain struggles: cancer, depression, divorce, loss, we are never surprised. Many TCKs grow up in small, tight-knit communities where everybody’s business is our own, we’ve heard it all. You can share your deepest struggles without fearing it will shock or cause us to fall away. Like family, we know people make mistakes and crap happens in life, but they are still family. We’re in it with you, through thick and thin. We know how to do it.
- You are not boring to us. Many monocultural friends often preface their conversations with, “I know this is not as exciting as Cindy’s story”, apologetic for their monocultural background as if less interesting. Hear this: TCKs, at some point in our lives, have been incredibly jealous of monoculturals. You have grown up all your life in the same town as your grandparents, relatives, and never had to say goodbye to friends? That’s not boring, it’s beautiful. Sure, it is very different from us and we might not know how to relate at first, but you have much to teach us about being anchored, honoring long-held traditions, and loyalty. We admire your ability to stay when we are alway struggling to go.
- We bring the UN to your door. When you know a TCK, you are quickly introduced to the wide network of relationships from all around the world. Meet my friend from Uganda, she works in Bolivia now but visits her parents in Korea on summer breaks. Need suggestions on what to do on vacation in Thailand? Chances are we know someone who lives there. You can’t always trust the strangers on Yelp or Tripadvisor, but if you have a TCK friend, you’re good to go.
- We are friends for life. TCKs are capable of a deep kind of intimacy. As mentioned earlier, we often come from close, tight knit communities, and we struggle with more superficial relationships because that’s not something we’re familiar with. Despite attachment issues, once we consider someone a friend, we don’t let go easily. TCKs also know the latest technologies of keeping in touch long distance, having spent an extended period of time across the ocean from loved ones.
Do you have a TCK friend? Have you found these to be true?