The TCK Language: Miscommunication Builds Barriers

Photo Credit: http://imgfave.com/search/miscommunication

It’s hard to contribute your perspective when sometimes your perspective can sound to others like bragging. We’ve all been there, standing with a group of people who are talking, wanting to contribute, but feeling that if we do they might think we’re privileged snobs. We’ve learned not to talk because we’ve had that first experience which shakes our perception of ourselves.


It doesn’t matter how it happens, but usually it’s a stranger that points out just how privileged we are. We begin stories by saying things like: “When I was probably nine years old, we were traveling somewhere in Europe” and already the eyes begin to roll. Or we try to compare experiences: “I learned how to ski in France so I’m not really used to all the powder here” – What a snob! There seems to be no winning.


Photo Credit: http://sharondrewmorgen.com/miscommunication-the-reasons-the-cure-the-prevention/
Photo Credit: http://sharondrewmorgen.com/miscommunication-the-reasons-the-cure-the-prevention/


Sometimes it’s fun to poke at this miscommunication, in my family we always point out these little slips and exaggerate them into how it probably comes off to other people: “Oh when I learned how to ski in France it was just so wonderful and beautiful – oh you must go some day, eventually I suppose. But really travel is the only way to better yourself!”


By poking fun at this, we are also pointing out how we sound, making it ridiculous, and slowly training ourselves not to say those things anymore. There are different adaptions to this barrier of snobbery.


Some people stop telling their stories; they refuse to open up because they know that they will be met with disdain. Others choose to open up to only their closest friends – the people who know their story and wouldn’t judge them for having lived in an international setting. And then there’s the “screamers” who are the honey badgers! The screamers refuse to change the way their talk just because other people have a problem with it – they figure that if you think they’re a snob then you’re not worth their time.


There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Those who choose silence don’t have to deal with the judgment, but this can also be isolating and putting up these walls may not let very many people get close to you. There seems to be more of a balance with the people who share with close friends, but it makes leaving those friends harder. The honey badgers may be pushing people away by coming off as bragging, but those who stick around will probably be with you forever.


Photo Credit: http://imgfave.com/search/miscommunication
Photo Credit:


Opening up to people about your life is hard enough, and it’s even harder when you know that because of your life people may see you differently. Be conscious about pushing people away or isolating yourself from friends, you should be able to open up to those who care about you, if they care, they’ll stay.

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  1. This article is wonderful. I love the humorous pictures to go along with the article!

  2. This is a great article. Like Erin, I also enjoyed the picture. Having been born and raised in Colorado, it’s always interesting to get a TCK’s perspective on things!

  3. Thanks for this perspective! I never really thought of people thinking of how you talk about your experiences as ‘snobbery’ but I can definitely see how people perceive that. I think it’s unfortunate how, from your perspective, TCKs don’t have that level of comfort to talk about their life experiences with others! Spreading awareness can change this understanding.

  4. Really good points in this article! I think that this is a real thing that happens when trying to communicate with TCKS!

  5. Really awesome article Kenady! I love the way you perfectly express the trials and tribulations that TCKs deal with on a daily basis! You really express the feelings of vulnerability and connection that this community feels! Good Job! 

  6. I actually found a connection with this even though I am not a TCK, as I have been privileged enough to be able to travel around the world.  It’s difficult to break communication barriers when discussing being able to travel around the world with people who have not been as fortunate, because it always tends to come off as snobby no matter what I do. 

  7. Interesting perspective! I can definitely relate to this.  I travel quite often and there have been times where I’ve been perceived as a snob simply for stating that I traveled to a certain area.  Thank you for giving this subject attention!

  8. This is a really interesting topic. I never really thought about how explaining something as simple as a memory can be challenging for a TCK. I, for one, always love hearing people’s stories of them traveling or the experiences they had in a different country so it’s sad to hear that some people instead judge them for it. Overall, a very insightful article!

  9. Great writing! Really interesting to hear from the TCK perspective and the unique situations you find yourself in. I’ll try not to roll my eyes next time

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