Persistent, but innocent or completely inappropriate behavior? Here’s how you can tell. Read More...

With the recent upswell of sexual harassment allegations both in Hollywood and Washington, victims of sexual abuse are starting to come out of their shells. Sexual misconduct isn’t happening more often, but victims now feel emboldened to share their stories and name the people who have mistreated them.

But for every victim stepping forward, there are still plenty who remain silent – often because they don’t fully understand the line between harassment and flirting. Sexual misconduct has always been vaguely defined by the masses, but that definition is starting to crystallize as the public turns to address the epidemic.

Like many women, I’ve experienced my fair share of sexual harassment, both in the workplace and elsewhere. Here’s where I draw the line.

What is the difference between flirting and sexual harassment?

The line between flirting and sexual harassment can seem hazy. What’s innocent and flirty to one person may be totally inappropriate to someone else. A kind smile can seem lewd to its recipient.

To me, the difference between flirting and sexual harassment is the frequency with which it occurs, as well as any escalation in the nature of the behavior. For example, telling me I’m pretty once is flirting – repeating it multiple times becomes sexual harassment. This is especially true if I’ve made it clear I have no interest in the other person.

When you view it that way, it’s easy to see the line between flirting and harassment. Men don’t have to worry about being accused of wrongdoing if they don’t continuously try to woo an obviously disinterested woman.

However, flirting can automatically become sexual harassment when it’s done by someone in a position of power. For example, I used to intern at a local magazine where the editor-in-chief had a reputation for pursuing the young interns. His actions were so widespread that multiple people warned me before I started working there.

Sure enough, a few weeks into the gig, the editor approached one of the interns and asked her out for a drink. She said no because she wasn’t 21 yet, and we tried to convince her to complain to HR about it.

“But he didn’t do anything bad,” she told us. “Maybe it was just going to be a friendly drink.”

At the time, I didn’t have the proper context for why an editor asking out an intern is problematic, but now I know. If you have authority over someone, treating them like a sexual object is always sketchy. They can’t say no without worrying about what it could do to their career.

The legal definition of sexual harassment.

According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, sexual harassment not only includes sexual comments or physical advances, but also general statements about one particular sex. For example, if a male coworker complains that all women are golddiggers, that’s sexual harassment.

The EOEC says sexual harassment becomes illegal “when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).”

Anyone can be a harasser, including a vendor, client, peer or boss. The harasser can be your same gender and have a similar or different sexual orientation from you. So yes ladies, you can be accused of sexual harassment just as much as men.

What you can do.

If you’re being sexually harassed in the workplace, the first step is to document everything. Successful cases are made when the accuser has details, such as where and when the harassment occurred and what exactly was said and done. It can also help to share what happened with people you know who can back you up.

After you’ve documented the instances of harassment, it’s time to go to your human resources department. Tell them you’d like to file a sexual harassment report and bring all the details with you. It’s even better if you have concrete proof, such as texts, emails or voicemails. The stronger your evidence, the more likely it is people will believe you and take action.

Don’t stop writing down what happens after the sexual harasser has stopped bothering you. It’s important to note what your company does in response, in case you want to sue them later on.

If you report sexual harassment to HR, you should know that many companies don’t punish people who are accused of sexual harassment. In fact, sometimes the person reporting it has to deal with blowback if the person blamed is popular or has significant clout in the office.

It’s also OK if you don’t feel like reporting it, just like my friend decided not to back in the day. Not every company has a strong history of defending accusers and reporting it can be more traumatizing than the initial interaction. Do what makes sense for you and your mental health.

What are your feelings or experiences on this timely topic? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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What’s the plan? Determine what goals for your work you’d like to reach by the end of the year — and make them happen. Read More...

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Do you feel stuck in a rut with your career? You’re not alone. Plenty of people feel stuck. What you need is to clarify your career goals for the new year. Whether you hope to start your own business, get a promotion, or find a better job, it’s time to put together a strategy that works.

In this episode, we talk about how you can come up with realistic career goals this year, and the steps you can take to achieve them.

Concepts

  • How to figure out what you really want out of your career this year.
  • Understanding the why behind your desire for a change at work.
  • What types of career goals and strategies make sense for you?
  • How to set realistic goals.
  • How to integrate your career goals into your overall life objectives.
  • Tips for setting goals that might take more than a year to achieve.
  • Who to talk to if you need guidance.
  • The importance of knowing what you need to accomplish your goals.
  • How to find free and paid resources to help you proceed.
  • Tips for turning your goals into a strategy that works.

Our DO NOWs are all about getting started ASAP. We talk about figuring out the kind of work you want to do and researching what you need to make it happen. Then we encourage you to take that first step toward your career goals.

What happens when you’re happy with your job and your parents want to push you to be “more”? It can be tough to deal with this type of situation. We talk about what it means to be content, and why it’s ok if you don’t want to always be chasing more money.

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Resources

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Make THIS the year you get out of that career rut. Read More...

If you’re a young person trying to succeed professionally today, you’ve probably found yourself in a career rut at some point.

Chances are, you’re in one right now.

While showing up on time and getting your work done used to be enough to gradually ascend through the ranks, today’s career-savvy professionals need to stay active. That could mean changing positions, changing companies or even changing industries.

Mostly, it just means changing something.

Before you act, you need a plan. As we approach the end of 2017, it’s time to come up with a clean, effective career strategy for the new year.

Determine your goals.

You can’t create a roadmap until you know the destination — and you can’t have a great career until you know where you want you to go. Do you want to enter the private sector after working in the public space? Do you want to advance to a managerial role? Do you want to change industries entirely?

Write down what you want your career to look like at the end of the next year. It doesn’t matter how far-fetched the goal seems, just write it down. For example, my goal is to be earning 50% more. It sounds extravagant to want 50% more money in just 12 months’ time, but that’s my goal.

Your goal will form the basis for your career strategy going forward.

Your goals should follow the SMART rule and be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

For example, it’s one thing to say, “I want to earn more money.” Someone with a SMART goal would say, “I want to be earning $65,000 annually by December 2018, and I will do so by applying to new jobs at larger companies.”

Look at the goal you’ve written down. Is it specific and relevant? Does it give you a clear set of directions or are you unsure how to put it in motion? Remember, the people who actually reach their dreams aren’t always the smartest, most talented or hardest-working. They’re the ones who have a clear sense of where they’re going and how to get there.

Identify your weaknesses.

Once you know your goal, it’s time to figure out what’s standing between you and your dream. For example, if you want to work part-time hours for a full-time income, identify what’s holding you back. Are you charging too little? Are you targeting the wrong customers? Is your workflow not efficient enough?

It will probably take some time to figure out what you’re missing, so don’t rush through this part of your career strategy. I consider myself a pretty insightful person and sometimes it takes weeks before I figure out where I’m going wrong.

Find solutions.

Once you’ve identified your weaknesses, you can figure out the best way to fix them — and take your career strategy to the next level. For example, if you’re currently underpaid, you know that you need to negotiate a raise. But if you’re bad at negotiating and standing up for yourself, then asking for more money might be like walking on hot coals.

What should you do? Read every book about negotiating, visualize the scenario in your mind and practice with your friends. Then, you can go to your boss and negotiate for real.

Another way to reach your goals faster is to find a community of like-minded people striving for the same thing. When you’re around people who share your dreams, you can find resources and information faster than if you’re going at it alone.

If you find a community that seems too big, consider creating a mastermind group with two or three other people. You can hold weekly calls and keep each other accountable. I’m in a mastermind group with other female freelance writers and it’s been a huge comfort throughout my years of self-employment.

You can find your community online or in person at networking events. It’s probably easier to locate a group on Facebook, but don’t underestimate the power of meeting people IRL.

Consider confiding in your closest friends and family members about your situation, even if it seems like they can’t help. I often tell my friends about issues I’m having because they can offer a different point of view than what I’m used to.

Stay focused.

Once your career strategy is set, ignore the squirrels. A squirrel can be an exciting conference or a marketing strategy that promises to solve your problems – anything that draws you in by promising the world. Usually, though, squirrels are distractions that lead you away from what you’re working on.

The simple career strategy you’ve already set is almost always better than chasing squirrels, and the more time you spend distracted, the less time you spend getting things done. When I get a tantalizing email with a catchy headline, I ask myself if it’s a squirrel.

Most of the time, I end up deleting these emails because I know I’m already on the path to success.

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There’s a good chance your first job out of college will be shitty. Here’s how to cope when reality doesn’t live up to your degree dreams. Read More...

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Show Notes

Ugh. Does your first job out of college suck?

Join the club.

One of the first harsh lessons of adulting is that sometimes you don’t get your dream job when you finish your degree. But just because the job sucks, doesn’t mean you can’t learn something.

Lindsay VanSomeren from Notorious D.E.B.T. joins us to talk about her terrible first job after college — and what she did to get out of the rut. It’s your first job, not your permanent job. Learn, survive, and move on to something better.

Find Lindsay on Twitter and Facebook.

Watch the video above or listen to the audio podcast below.

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Great idea? Check. Good Response? Not so much. Here’s what to do from here. Read More...

We’ve all been there. One day your boss asks for feedback on a program, project, or concept that your team is working on. You spend hours working on your concept: the wording, why the idea rocks, and how your team can start rocking out your new idea. You’re nervous, but you know that they will love it.

An hour passes by, then two, and then your boss says the following: “I’m sorry but we’re not going to use your idea.” You’ve been shot down and it hurts.

If you’re really emotionally invested in your job, having an idea shot down may feel really personal and you might find yourself wrestling with some self-doubt about your value to the team. Before you go down that rabbit hole of crazy, let’s walk through some of the things you should do to keep this situation in perspective.

Rejected.

Unless your boss truly hates you (and sometimes they do) don’t take the rejection of your idea personally. If there are several people who work on your team, it’s possible that your immediate supervisor may have opted to use a different idea.

Hey, it happens.

You might not be aware of a last minute change to the project concept so you’ve ended up presenting something that is no longer relevant. If you’re defined by the work that you do, the rejection of ideas can feel intensely personal. Keep things in perspective, walk away if you’re feeling hurt or angry – don’t lose it on your boss and colleagues. Never let them see you sweat.

Time to regroup.

Spend some time away from the office regrouping and getting into a positive headspace. Don’t let your ego get in the way of all the hard work that you’ve done previously.

If you find that you’re feeling especially demoralized, watch the movie Office Space and imagine how good it would feel to beat up one of the printers that always seems to jam. But don’t do it. You have an imagination for a reason.

Now that you’ve calmed down and are thinking rationally, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Was I clear about the scope of work?
  • Would what I suggested truly move our project on forward? Or, was it an ego-driven suggestion? (Yes, I went there.)

Then, ask yourself, “Am I clear about the overall goals of my team and department?” You may feel like you’re clear on the overall objectives, but things do change. It’s never a bad thing to ask your team lead, “What is the ideal outcome you would like us to arrive at via our work efforts?”

Again, you might not be aware of changes that may have been communicated from the top down – but, not to you. Your team lead will (typically) appreciate that you’re zeroed in on achieving positive outcomes with any suggestions that you may share.

Is this boss an ally?

If you suggest something to your boss, will they truly be open to any suggestions that you make? Do you have a boss who has basically checked out mentally and just goes through the motions?

They may perceive your suggestions either in a positive light (this employee has ideas that I can piggyback on) or, they may feel threatened and think that you’re angling for their job. And, you could be. Remember that the phrase “office politics” exists for a reason.

Is your boss a little…flaky? Do you find yourself wondering how on earth they got the job? Are they easily influenced or super open to team input? If they are open to suggestions, create a strategy where you share new ideas without being annoying or come across as a brown-noser.

It’s ok to Jedi-Mindtrick your boss…as long as you’re using your powers for good.

Finally, if your idea has been rejected, ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to have an open and candid conversation with your boss. In fact, I would strongly encourage you to become comfortable asking for helpful feedback from your supervisor or boss.

Creating an open line of communication may also signal to your boss that you’re professional and invested in creating change in your job. Good luck!

Have you been knocked down at work? How did you bounce back? Tell us about your experiences in the #Adulting Facebook community

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You need a crew ready to back you up. Read More...

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Do you want a better job? You need professional references to help you reach the next level.

As always, who you know matters. You don’t necessarily need to know someone on the inside, but you do need to have references who matter. As you apply for jobs, make sure you have the right references to make a difference in your career search.

Concepts

  • Reasons your professional references matter so much.
  • How the right references can build your credibility.
  • Tips for choosing the right people to serve as your references.
  • The difference between personal references and professional references.
  • How to approach potential references.
  • Things you need to let your references know if you want to make the most of the situation.
  • Why you need to be prepared to write your own letter of recommendation.
  • What to do after your reference has agreed to help you out.
  • Tips for leveraging your network down the road.

For this week’s DO NOWs, we take a look at how you can identify professional references and practice how to approach them. Then we ask you to take action and make contact with one reference this week.

What happens if you don’t have anyone who can give you a good reference? This week’s reader question tackles the thorny issue of winning over a reluctant reference.

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Show your boss how valuable you are. Ace that performance review. Read More...

It’s time for annual performance reviews. You can hear the business world release its collective angst-filled sigh.

Employees with barely enough time need to fight for their jobs and hopefully eek out a nominal raise. Managers with too much work to do must toe the bottom line while still encouraging their employees to return to work.

As George Carlin says, “Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.”

Suddenly, it’s your time to fight for yourself. And don’t forget that you want your pay to keep up with inflation in Hunger Games for the workplace. But, if you haven’t prepared all year long for your annual performance review, what can you do at the last minute to get that raise or promotion?

1. Prepare to sell your best of self.

Get your game face on. Overcome that limiting belief that you’re not good at sales or that selling is slimy. If you want any hope of convincing your boss that you need a cost-of-living increase, a raise, or a promotion, you need to sell yourself and the value you bring.

Yes, you bring value to your company. The better you can convince your boss that you’re an asset, the better the chance you’ll walk out of your annual performance review meeting happy. Everyone, including your boss, seeks love or satisfaction and avoiding pain. Use this to your benefit, even if you must bite your tongue.

2. Review saved emails and files.

A lot can happen in a year. It’s easy to forget accomplishments from 11 months ago. While that compliment you got from your boss’s boss in February made your day, you might have forgotten it by now. That one project that kicked your butt for an entire week early second quarter might be a distant memory today.

Review your email history, saved emails, and the files saved on your computer. Take notes and be prepared to use this information to sell the value you add to your boss and the firm. These examples of your competence are vital as you sell yourself as deserving of a pay increase or promotion.

3. Use last year’s annual review and this year’s goals.

Annual performance reviews are measurements. Measurements need at least two data points. For projects and responsibilities that lasted more than one year, use last year’s annual performance review as the basis to show how far you’ve come.

Be prepared to address every previously established goal for this year. If your goals changed mid-year, share how far you got with both your original and new goals.

4. Be specific and brief.

If you report to a senior manager or an even higher-up, be prepared to be specific and brief. Your boss will see through your façade if you go on forever. They’ll think your bloviating at best and lying at worst, both of which are a waste of their time. No one likes to have their time wasted.

Keep it simple and stick to the facts.

5. Support all your success with benefits.

Busy bosses sometimes need reminding of how valuable you are to them. You’re an expense to your boss and firm. That’s fine if you’re providing enough value, so be clear with the value you’re providing. Use the Actions/Benefits Formula.

With each statement of value, complete this formula: “I did A, which resulted in B,” where A equals your action(s) and B equals the quantifiable benefit(s).

When you’ve completed that formula for all the benefits you include in your annual performance review, rephrase your statements for the same results to not sound monotonous. You don’t want your boss to fall asleep on you.

Practice ahead of time for best results.

6. Be real.

I’ve already addressed not being too bullshitty. You can bullshit a little if you’ve got the data to back it up. Include too much, though, and your boss will dismiss your review. That could mean no bonus or promotion, and that’s no bueno.

Being real means including challenges in your annual performance review. You’re human, and to make it appear otherwise is inauthentic. Your boss wants an authentic performance review so they can work with you.

Be open to their feedback. Write their feedback down. Follow up with clarifying statements to prove that you hear what they’re saying.

Be realistic, but don’t show all your cards. Don’t admit mistakes. Instead, frame them as “challenges” and “opportunities” the way a politician would.

7. Going forward, prepare all year long.

Can you wait until the last minute, like your midterm presentation in college, to score yourself a good performance review? Sure, and it’s possible. However, you want to make more money, right? Do you want to climb that corporate ladder? Then, don’t shoot for a C or even a B.

Go for the A+!

As soon as you turn on your office computer in the new year, create a folder in your email and a file folder on your computer both titled for the current year.

Whenever you receive a positive comment or review, file it and save it. Anytime you’ve completed or been a part of a successful project, save the supporting documentation. Start immediately. It’ll make preparing for next year’s annual review much easier.

Don’t include every positive quote or successful project in your next annual performance review, just the biggest, the best, and the most important. These give support for the amazing sales pitch you’ll give next year for more money and more responsibility.

When you rock your annual performance review and get yourself that raise or promotion, use your increased income to build a more financially secure future by increasing your retirement plan contributions, paying off debt, and investing.

Taking on more responsibility and increasing your income does you no good — if doesn’t reduce your financial stress or truly improve your quality of life.

With the right preparation, you’ll feel more comfortable in your next performance review, and your confidence will show, potentially landing you higher pay and a better position.

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Create your dream job. Glitter optional. Read More...

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Today we don’t have a video, but we did talk to Lillian Karabaic from Oh My Dollar!. We talk about finding your dream job. Lillian has had several interesting jobs in her life, and she’s done what she can to enjoy what she does.

Sometimes, your dream job isn’t what you think it is. And sometimes you have to create your own dream. No matter your path, though, it’s possible for you to enjoy yourself and make a difference.

Lillian brings a dash of glitter to everything she does, from personal finance to job hunting. Let’s make it happen. With kittens!

Oh My Dollar! on Twitter.
Oh My Dollar! on Facebook.

And make sure to join us at the #Adulting community on Facebook!

Listen to the audio podcast below.

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Leave the cat memes and gifs on facebook. If you’re serious about networking and growing your career, you have to get your LinkedIn game up. Read More...

The vast number of social networking opportunities can sometimes leave the people overwhelmed and confused about which social media networks to focus on and the best practices for each platform. What works on one platform probably won’t work on another.

If you’re a social media holdout, I get your confusion. It seems like almost everyone is on Facebook, but it’s a dizzying space with a mix of political rants, favorite recipes, pictures of babies, and vacations. If you’re looking to connect with people professionally, Facebook presents some very specific challenges that most professionals would be wise to avoid.

Twitter is the land of sharing the occasional crazy thoughts and funny memes. Again, professionals could set themselves up there, but the temptation to stray from professional decorum is too great, so again, professionals should continue to seek another platform to set up their professional profile.

What sets LinkedIn Apart.

Fortunately, LinkedIn provides a great space to set up business profiles that will hopefully resist the urge to descend into craziness and connect users with great professional opportunities.

First, users of LinkedIn need to be clear about what the purpose and goal of LinkedIn is: it’s a social networking platform that professionals use to connect with other professionals and companies. You typically will not see cat memes, baby pictures, or the other random-ass stuff that you see on other platforms.

These people mean business. I will be the first to admit that I find LinkedIn to be…aesthetically underwhelming. It is not a space that focuses on being pretty. It unapologetically focuses on the process of connecting professionals one connection at a time.

Building your profile.

That approach especially applies to the picture that you share on your profile. Again, it should be a professional picture. Your hair should be neat, your clothing unobtrusive (and, maybe a bit boring). Basically, think of it this way-you’re presenting yourself as a professional. You want a picture that screams “hire me” or “work with me.” Not, “I’m crazy” or “last one to play beer pong.”

Next, begin filling out your profile details-being mindful that these will be viewed from a business professional lense. People will look at your details with the thought of: would I want to work or collaborate with this person? As you fill out your profile be careful to avoid trite catchphrases, but figure out the best way to communicate:

  • Leadership roles that you’ve been in. Are you the president of your local professional association? Do you run workshops that help other business professionals? If you do you would be considered an influencer?
  • How you helped organizations that you’ve worked with. Did you help them make more money? Attract media mentions? Grow their clientele?
  • Or, are you an entrepreneur and have helped people grow their income? Find confidence to grow their own business, etc.

As you share your details, be a bit unemotional about it, but, do share the details.

Don’t get sucked into the great 3rd person vs. 1st person profile language debate. Every since LinkedIn was founded people have argued (sometimes in circles) about the choice of pronoun that you should use when working on your profile. My advice is to use the language that you feel will best highlight you and stick with it.

Master social etiquette.

Time to get social. LinkedIn has a feature where you endorse other people’s skills. Feel free to endorse your connections’ skills. Comment on people’s posts and projects that they’ve shared on their timelines. Be genuine in your interactions. You will find that your contacts will also share the love!

Don’t forget to share projects that you’re working on, resources that may be useful to your contacts, and connect people that you feel may be able to help each other in their business.

LinkedIn also has a pretty fantastic blog offering tips and ideas for users of the platform. It’s definitely worth a look. In fact, LinkedIn’s online resources are much easier to use than Facebook’s (which tends to be way too techy).

Finally, like all social media platforms, remember that LinkedIn functions like a search engine. What that means is that certain keywords and phrases will make your profile easily found by other professionals and businesses looking to potentially partner or hire people.

Spend some time typing in phrases that you would use to search for people or resources. Look at how those profiles are set up.

LinkedIn may be the “unsexy” social media platform, but it absolutely gets the job done.

Do you have any good LinkedIn tips to share? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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You may want to take this job and shove it, but the best thing to do is much more boring. Read More...

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It’s really tempting to quit your job with a flourish. We’ve seen the stories of the souls who launch into a tirade and stick it to the soul-sucking company they’ve been working for years.

It’s a nice thought, but an office meltdown or dramatic exit as you leave customers in a lurch probably isn’t the best way to quit your job. When you burn bridges, you run the risk of having your behavior come back to haunt you later.

Today, we talk about how to quit your job without destroying your career, and while keeping your network intact.

Concepts

  • Reasons your current work relationships matter.
  • The importance of maintaining connections for networking purposes.
  • Why a dramatic exit might feel good but could cost you be ruining your reputation in an industry.
  • How to approach your boss about having the talk about you quitting.
  • Tips for having the conversation with your boss, without telling your coworkers.
  • The importance of talking with HR and making sure you understand the terms of your employment.
  • What you need to know if you plan to work for a competitor.
  • How to respond if your boss is being unpleasant.

This week’s DO NOWs address the steps you need to take in order get ready to quit your job. They include double-checking the terms of your employment before you talk to anyone, as well as creating a script.

Our listener this week really wants to be mean to everyone in their toxic work environment. However, that might not be the way to go. We talk about the merits of being professional no matter what — even if you don’t want to maintain relationships with those around you.

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