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Emotional intelligence

Are third culture kids (TCKs) are able to monitor their emotions, and register societal norms and cues more adeptly?

Do you feel more sensitive to other people’s emotions and able to deal with them better than friends or colleagues?

Most of our respondents found this harder to answer than the first question. They agreed that they have more empathy and that this helps them with others. Some said that being a TCK hadn’t played a large role in this — showing that expat living isn’t always the most influential factor in forming character.

Tom: “I am certainly very aware of other people’s emotions (and my own), but I am not necessarily sensitive to them. My apparent insensitivity is more of a coping mechanism developed while at boarding school in my teens, rather than my formative years abroad.”

Alexander: “Most kids who've grown up in different places certainly have a chameleon-like ability to learn and adapt to new environments quickly.

“When you're a confident adult your difference and what makes you, 'you,' is something to be celebrated. When you're a kid you just want to fit in and at the very least be left alone, and so you become versed in registering cues and flying under the radar.” 

Lisa: “I think I am fairly adept at recognising cues in other cultures as well as my own. I've developed a career in communications and know that sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it that matters. Maybe that’s a result of soaking up different cultures, people and places as a child.”

Lucy: “I feel comfortable when mixing with different nationalities. I can get on with anyone and have more flexible opinions than some of my friends who have only ever lived in the UK.”

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