Sometimes I don’t like sharing opinions. I don’t like putting myself in a position where someone might not accept me. I know what you’re thinking: “Pff! Why should you care? It’s impossible for everyone in the world to like you,” and I would agree with you. Not every person can (or wants to) be your friend. So why do I care?
When meeting new people, I am very accustomed to being open-minded and politely quiet about my viewpoints. That does not mean that I do not share my goofy personality with them or deny them of my awful jokes. It means that I remain positively neutral about potentially touchy subjects in order to allow for a better chance to connect. I love listening to what other people have to say because chances are I can take what I hear and apply it to my way of thinking. It’s partly about reflection and personal growth.
No matter how your interactions with people go, if you can further your growth as a person then you’ve accomplished something. My opinions also don’t always stay the same. Like many people, I need to embrace the fact that things change. I’m a TCK! How am I not used to change yet? I am used to friends, schools, and houses changing but I dealt with that change by relying on things that stay the same like my family relationships and my personality. However, I have come to accept that there are shifts in identity and beliefs as well.
Everyone makes judgements about others, intentional or unintentional. It’s what you do with those judgements that matters. If you ignore them, then you are just denying their existence. If you agree or disagree with them and acknowledge that they exist, while keeping in mind that they may affect how you see and treat others, then you are being responsible with them. This is the logic I apply when I interact with others, especially those I do not know yet. Part of the reason I do not easily share my opinions is that I would rather have someone get to know my personality first so that they can feel more comfortable talking about deep and complex topics later. Because of my nomadic upbringing, my default is to observe constantly and gradually adjust myself to my settings. TCKs are known to be mature, sensitive to other cultures, and creative thinkers. We are good at reacting to circumstances and making the best of what we have; we are reactionary learners.
On the subject of reactionary learning, I realized that while it’s important to be that adaptable person, it is just as important to be open to conflict. Again, why? When you push yourself to be brave, even if only for a few seconds, you may be surprised at what you learn about yourself. The point here is that you have no idea what the consequences are — whether they are positive or negative — but something you can count on every time is that you will learn something about yourself. Even if you end up getting hurt a few times (it’s inevitable), you will walk away with a better understanding of the people around you, and of yourself.
I have come to understand that it is okay both to withhold opinions in order to adapt, and to share your thoughts. You will survive and you will gain experience.
Farah is a Thai and Dutch citizen studying Psychology and Management in the United States. She has lived in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, and France. Exploring new places, eating food (especially pastries!), organizing events, and going to concerts are just a few of the things she loves. LinkedIn