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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear INTJs out there,

I'm in dire need of some advice on your preferences and needs - though I know that in the end it's all about the individual, I guess this is the closest I can get to knowing what to do (or not to do) in the situation I'm in.

I've got a very very good friend whom I've known for half my life (though I'm not particularly fond of the term I'd say my best friend) who's an INTJ. She's been in a lot of trouble with her studies in computer sciences lately because she was ill for a while and had to do tons of work which she missed out on while she was away. Now she's had to drop her studies - I don't know what the specific reason was, but I'm sure it was a good one, because she just is like that. In addition to having to drop her studies, her mother is probably terrorizing her because of it, that's what she seems to do best.

She has never been talkative about her feelings and neither have I, but I think I can understand what it feels like to have to give up on a goal like that - I know I'd be devastated. Though I haven't been able to get a lot out of her since it happened, one thing really struck me. I have only been able to reach her via text message and when I asked her if she was alright, she answered "No, not really." That's probably the most emotional thing I've ever heard from her considering negative feelings and I really can't stop worrying. I told her I'd be there for her if I could do anything at all for her and told her to take good care of herself, which she didn't answer to, but I didn't want to be pushy, so I left it at that. I asked if I could meet up with her, maybe spend some time doing fun things to get her mind off what happened, but she said she didn't feel like it.

Now that's basically the situation, and I really can't just wait and see what happens, I just can't, I'm just too worried.
Do you think there is anything I could do to help here, even if it is ever so subtle, or should I just stay put? I thought of many things (maybe a little letter in the letterbox, or a present, or just waiting and keep sending little texts, try calling every so often, just coming by uninvited,...) just come and discarded them all because I just don't know and came to the conclusion that I couldn't without consulting someone who maybe had a hunch what she needs. I've been wondering if it would help her if I was persistent and kind of 'forced' her to distract herself a little, but then again, if that's not helpful at all, it would be a terrible thing to do. Man, I just don't know.

Please tell me everything you can think of - I need all the help I can get.
Thank you all very much for listening and/or answering.

-Lycoris
 

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This is a tough one.

When I am stressed although I like that people notice and care that I exist or if I am suffering, ultimately I try to work out the problems in my own life by myself. I try not to mention the problem until it is solved. It is kind of annoying when someone tries to solve the problem, but ends up trying to fix something unrelated by guessing a wrong issue instead of what is actually happening.

Although I'd suggest you get a second opinion from the folks here, perhaps sending your friend a message reminding her that you care and are available for support if needed, before letting her continue as she sees fit, may be best.

But I can't say this is the best course with any certainty. But it is what I think I'd do in a similar situation.

I hope it works out.
 

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Ironically, becoming more "caring" in trying to help will probably exasperate the differences between INTP and INTJ. I wouldn't do it, because although your Temperament is the same, your methodologies of solving and dealing with problems are probably very different. This isn't necessarily a problem in a friendship when it's under the condition of an even keel, but when the two are on different ends of the spectrum with "where they are" mentally, it can cause things to spiral out of control.

The tricky thing is that while I would have called right away at seeing the text and said "all right, what's going on, spit it out," INTJ also do not take well to invasion - and it's their definition of what that is. If it's really your task to do something about the situation, an INTJ will come to you. Your first task should be to keep a watchful but silent eye over your friend, or to make sure that someone else can, such that if something sudden happened you could do something about it. And if you are asked, give your advice. But in a general sense, you need to empower an INTJ to deal with their own demons, not deal with them with/for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow, thanks to you both for taking the time and giving me your thoughts on the matter.
I guess being supportive, although in the background, really does seem like the best thing to do, and that's also quite reassuring since I'm not very good at actively comforting someone as some people might like it in a friend...
Thanks again, it was a good idea to get some insight here.
 

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Ask her what can you do to help. She might answer, she might not, but at least giving her the option may allow her to get practical support.

Actions are more important than words for intjs (i think?), if you decide to do something i'd suggest something objectively observable to her instead of empty platitudes.
 

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I would send a short text every few days. Just something like, "Would you like to talk," or "How are you" or you could even invite her to something (an exhibit or whatever she likes). When I'm really down, I appreciate small gestures like that; they remind me that people care. Just don't go banging on her door or send her something like "What's wrong?!?!!!!" That'll just irritate her.
 

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I know that when I'm in trouble, one of the worst things well-meaning people can do is try to 'get my mind off it'. I don't need my mind off a problem, if it's a problem to me. I'll be generalizing based on myself from here on, but . . .

INTJs are actually extremely tough people. When something is wrong - once they know that it's wrong - they'd rather meet the issue on its own turf and its own terms than try to pretend that it isn't there. I've always been extremely leery of other people knowing when I'm in trouble because my most important processes for eventually dealing with it look 'unhealthy' to well-wishers standing on the sidelines. It looks like wallowing, but in fact I'm probably processing the entire experience. I just do it very minutely and very silently and in ferocious detail. It tends to look to other people as if I've checked out, especially since I don't like to talk about my feelings while I'm in the deep throes with them. Bringing in external witnesses just confuses me and makes me lose track of them. It's a difficult standoff inside me, between the very human pressure to get ferocious emotions 'out' and expressed, and the fact that my introversion may actually process my emotions more effectively when they're left 'inside'. It's not totally emotional (pride, privacy, all that interpersonal stuff) either. It's partly cognitive too. My really fiercest emotional layer tends to be a closed system, where my own self generates my emotions and only my own self can deal with them too.

There might come a point (I wanted to say 'probably' but I'm leery of misguiding you) where she will want to talk. She'll probably let you know when that point comes. and if you're subtle enough already to know what 'no not really' means coming from her, it seems to me like your chances are good as far as her trusting you enough to maybe process a bit. If I were in her shoes I'd be madly caught up right now in purely functional 'what if' scenarios, trying to rewrite all the 'possible' alternative realities as a way of coming to terms with what the reality IS. it's a pain in the neck, it takes a long time, and all the time one side of me is busy with it, another side remains fully aware that the whole thing is irrelevant since that's not what happened. As far as other people's input is concerned, there's really not much that can be done until and unless i reach a point of wanting to say anything to other people.

I feel really helpless wrt the people around me who care when this is going on, btw. It's all as frustrating as hell, quite apart from being emotional hell in its own right. But there isn't much I can do about it. I'm always grateful to and for the folks who hang in and just stick with me on it.
 

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Shoot straight, tell her that you're worried about her and would like to talk to her about what is bothering her when she is ready. Then back off and just give her a little reminder that the offer still stands every once in awhile (like maybe every few days or each week) like a text saying how's it going. Once she's figured things out a bit in her own mind she will likely open up.

Here's another thread that seems similar that you might gain some insight from.

http://personalitycafe.com/intj-forum-scientists/135235-addressing-emotions.html
 

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Ironically, becoming more "caring" in trying to help will probably exasperate the differences between INTP and INTJ. I wouldn't do it, because although your Temperament is the same, your methodologies of solving and dealing with problems are probably very different.
I disagree, INTPs always supported me better than my fellow INTJs.

Ask her what can you do to help. She might answer, she might not, but at least giving her the option may allow her to get practical support.
Totally!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
INTJs are actually extremely tough people. When something is wrong - once they know that it's wrong - they'd rather meet the issue on its own turf and its own terms than try to pretend that it isn't there. I've always been extremely leery of other people knowing when I'm in trouble because my most important processes for eventually dealing with it look 'unhealthy' to well-wishers standing on the sidelines. It looks like wallowing, but in fact I'm probably processing the entire experience. I just do it very minutely and very silently and in ferocious detail. It tends to look to other people as if I've checked out, especially since I don't like to talk about my feelings while I'm in the deep throes with them. Bringing in external witnesses just confuses me and makes me lose track of them. It's a difficult standoff inside me, between the very human pressure to get ferocious emotions 'out' and expressed, and the fact that my introversion may actually process my emotions more effectively when they're left 'inside'. It's not totally emotional (pride, privacy, all that interpersonal stuff) either. It's partly cognitive too. My really fiercest emotional layer tends to be a closed system, where my own self generates my emotions and only my own self can deal with them too.

There might come a point (I wanted to say 'probably' but I'm leery of misguiding you) where she will want to talk. She'll probably let you know when that point comes. and if you're subtle enough already to know what 'no not really' means coming from her, it seems to me like your chances are good as far as her trusting you enough to maybe process a bit. If I were in her shoes I'd be madly caught up right now in purely functional 'what if' scenarios, trying to rewrite all the 'possible' alternative realities as a way of coming to terms with what the reality IS. it's a pain in the neck, it takes a long time, and all the time one side of me is busy with it, another side remains fully aware that the whole thing is irrelevant since that's not what happened. As far as other people's input is concerned, there's really not much that can be done until and unless i reach a point of wanting to say anything to other people.
Yeah, I guess a lot of those things do ring a bell for me about the both of us. I guess it's a bit easier for me to understand than it could be because I also want to be left alone to process things quite often.
And you're probably right about that point where she might want to talk too - she has actually told me before that she'll tell me if she needs anything. This seems especially probable to me because we have talked about bad things she experienced before, but never at the time they were actually happening to her, so I suspect she only felt like sharing after having had enough time to think everything over.
Somehow, it's just difficult for me to know how to react to people not feeling mentally well in general. I never know because there's all those different options and even if, in my mind, I have a pretty good hunch as to what the best one is, I can never trust myself on that.

But that's why I decided to ask around in here and every post I get makes me get a clearer view on what she's probably up to and what the best thing for me to do is, even if it's something as subtle as just reminding her every few days that I care that there's someone there who will listen if she needs to talk. And that's actually something I appreciate as well whenever I'm in trouble. Knowing I'm not alone, I always feel like I can face up to life a lot better and that's all it takes at that moment. Maybe it's similar for her.

Thanks again, all of you have been a great help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Shoot straight, tell her that you're worried about her and would like to talk to her about what is bothering her when she is ready. Then back off and just give her a little reminder that the offer still stands every once in awhile (like maybe every few days or each week) like a text saying how's it going. Once she's figured things out a bit in her own mind she will likely open up.

Here's another thread that seems similar that you might gain some insight from.
Great, I will work the 'shooting straight' part out as well, figuring out exactly how straight I can shoot in that matter, that is. Thanks for the advice, another valuable perspective.
The thread you linked me to is very interesting as well and could prove useful in the future...
 

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I hate giving up, and what makes things worse is when circumstance forces me to.

Until she figures things out I wouldn't expect her to respond to your help. Nobody will ever be able to understand my situations like I do.

Although you can try one thing.

Have her tell you what her situation is. Just listen.

Then possibly propose ideas, kind of like brainstorm.

I'm sure she hasn't given up on her goals in life. Life has only made things more difficult to get to those goals.

If there's nothing that can be done, wallow with her. :) there's nothing wrong with a fellow wallower.
 

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I thought about this some more on my way home today, and tried to go back to a time when I had to do the same thing your friend did. Different cause, but the same general picture, even down to the *cough* unsupportive parent in the background. It was a long time ago and I'm not 100% sure anymore about all that I felt, but for what it may be worth to you as insight on your friend's behalf, here's what I recall:

- rage. i remember enormous amounts of sheer rage that i had been knocked out of something i'd set out to do by pure circumstances. it was really hard to let go of the 'shoulds' and swallow the fact that the circumstances had happened to me. and i could not make them go away with my mind.

- shame. i had myself held to a different standard inside my head, in which circumstances had made it all into a fight and i was going to 'win'. in guy-heavy study disciplines like computers (still, from what i hear) it's too easy to swallow all the feisty-girl movie storylines out there, where the girl always 'wins' against all the odds. and probably some one special guy sees her special qualities and falls in love with her too. real life is a brutal reality check now and then. it took me quite some time before i stopped hating myself for 'failing' and started deconstructing those internalised standards instead. i had failed. that's still true. it just takes time to get to the point where you'll forgive yourself

- grief. i dunno from your friend. maybe her mom pushed her into the program for some reason nobody knows, but in my case i had wanted that program, so fiercely it was a taste in my mouth the whole time. the sense of loss was incredible.

none of this is anything other people can help with, too much. what can they say? it's all varieties of my internal logic that i have to chew through all by myself until i'm ready to let go of it and find something more humane and forgiving to hold myself to. it's basically 'me' kicking the shit out of 'myself' in a dark corner somewhere. eventually 'myself' gets tired of it and starts to defend herself, until somehow or other the two of them figure out a way to live together again. it's a pretty internalised fight. other people's opinions and intervention attempts are just aggravation, you know? no matter what you might say, you'll be contradicting one of the two combatants and they'll probably both turn on you and then have that mess to deal with as well. with that said though, of course your friend isn't me, and i do know that once i get myself re-integrated again i might go and find my old friends and report on the battle to them.
 

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A little present or a note, or even something funny (not sentimental) that you found online on her Facebook might be a great thing to do.

Sometimes when I'm feeling terrible, a little reminder that people who don't suck (i.e. people I like) are thinking about me can really knock me out of the shadows. It doesn't need to be something big (in fact, it's better if it isn't), just unexpected and kind of thoughtful. You probably shouldn't drop by every day--but if you haven't seen her for a couple of days, it's not weird to visit... especially if you're really close... because you're probably on her "people who don't suck" list, and she might like to see you.

Or Facebook message her. Or see if you can drag her out of her room (the light! the light!) to get coffee. Or a beer. If she told you she's not doing great, that may mean that she might want to talk with you about it--but even if you guys don't talk about it at all, just hanging out might cheer her up.

And if she's got big decisions to make (when you say she has to "drop her studies" is she leaving college, taking a break, or switching majors?)--some friendly support could be quite helpful, because she's going to have to drag herself out of the "I'm a failure" cycle, and then expend even more energy on getting things set up the way she wants them. So, I say don't give up, but it keep it low-key, and expect that she may be kind of grumpy and a little askew until things start to look up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I hate giving up, and what makes things worse is when circumstance forces me to.

Until she figures things out I wouldn't expect her to respond to your help. Nobody will ever be able to understand my situations like I do.

Although you can try one thing.

Have her tell you what her situation is. Just listen.

Then possibly propose ideas, kind of like brainstorm.

I'm sure she hasn't given up on her goals in life. Life has only made things more difficult to get to those goals.

If there's nothing that can be done, wallow with her. :) there's nothing wrong with a fellow wallower.
Yes, I think having to give up with no other option left is incredibly hard, I feel the same way.
I never really did, actually... I've known for so long now, and I know she's always sorted things out on her own just fine, and probably best. I've realized already when I wrote the first post here, that in a way I needed reassurance that what I thought I should do was actually the best choice. But as I'm a person who's usually very careful in difficult situations like this, I wouldn't have thought of doing more 'daring' things, like wallowing with her because I'm afraid I'll touch the wrong nerve by doing something like that, since she's told me that she hates people pitying her and that she might mistake my wallowing with her or just empathy in general for just that, which I really want to avoid.
But if I tread carefully, I'll know soon enough if that's a good idea or not and trying can't hurt - which I wouldn't have considered doing without you. :)

I thought about this some more on my way home today, and tried to go back to a time when I had to do the same thing your friend did. Different cause, but the same general picture, even down to the *cough* unsupportive parent in the background. It was a long time ago and I'm not 100% sure anymore about all that I felt, but for what it may be worth to you as insight on your friend's behalf, here's what I recall:

- rage. i remember enormous amounts of sheer rage that i had been knocked out of something i'd set out to do by pure circumstances. it was really hard to let go of the 'shoulds' and swallow the fact that the circumstances had happened to me. and i could not make them go away with my mind.

- shame. i had myself held to a different standard inside my head, in which circumstances had made it all into a fight and i was going to 'win'. in guy-heavy study disciplines like computers (still, from what i hear) it's too easy to swallow all the feisty-girl movie storylines out there, where the girl always 'wins' against all the odds. and probably some one special guy sees her special qualities and falls in love with her too. real life is a brutal reality check now and then. it took me quite some time before i stopped hating myself for 'failing' and started deconstructing those internalised standards instead. i had failed. that's still true. it just takes time to get to the point where you'll forgive yourself

- grief. i dunno from your friend. maybe her mom pushed her into the program for some reason nobody knows, but in my case i had wanted that program, so fiercely it was a taste in my mouth the whole time. the sense of loss was incredible.

none of this is anything other people can help with, too much. what can they say? it's all varieties of my internal logic that i have to chew through all by myself until i'm ready to let go of it and find something more humane and forgiving to hold myself to. it's basically 'me' kicking the shit out of 'myself' in a dark corner somewhere. eventually 'myself' gets tired of it and starts to defend herself, until somehow or other the two of them figure out a way to live together again. it's a pretty internalised fight. other people's opinions and intervention attempts are just aggravation, you know? no matter what you might say, you'll be contradicting one of the two combatants and they'll probably both turn on you and then have that mess to deal with as well. with that said though, of course your friend isn't me, and i do know that once i get myself re-integrated again i might go and find my old friends and report on the battle to them.

Haha, it's kind of amusing how I can comprehend all those things but just not as much as completely. If done a lote of them myself, like kicking the crap out of myself, hating myself, mainly the things directed towards myself. I also have a hard time forgiving myself, often for things which aren't even my fault.
I think what I do is similar but not exactly the same, so guess in a way, by understand myself, I can also understand her to a degree, which has actually worked very well in the past. It's funny how we're so similar yet still different on many levels. Maybe that's a weird INTJ/P thing?
Anyway, thank you for your thorough analysis, it's incredibly helpful. I don't even know what to say anymore to keep up with the scale on which all of you people answering are helping me. You're all so great.

A little present or a note, or even something funny (not sentimental) that you found online on her Facebook might be a great thing to do.

Sometimes when I'm feeling terrible, a little reminder that people who don't suck (i.e. people I like) are thinking about me can really knock me out of the shadows. It doesn't need to be something big (in fact, it's better if it isn't), just unexpected and kind of thoughtful. You probably shouldn't drop by every day--but if you haven't seen her for a couple of days, it's not weird to visit... especially if you're really close... because you're probably on her "people who don't suck" list, and she might like to see you.

Or Facebook message her. Or see if you can drag her out of her room (the light! the light!) to get coffee. Or a beer. If she told you she's not doing great, that may mean that she might want to talk with you about it--but even if you guys don't talk about it at all, just hanging out might cheer her up.

And if she's got big decisions to make (when you say she has to "drop her studies" is she leaving college, taking a break, or switching majors?)--some friendly support could be quite helpful, because she's going to have to drag herself out of the "I'm a failure" cycle, and then expend even more energy on getting things set up the way she wants them. So, I say don't give up, but it keep it low-key, and expect that she may be kind of grumpy and a little askew until things start to look up.
Sounds great to me! Especially just dropping off a little present, I've thought about doing that and I'm probably going to in the next few days. Being the way she is, I don't have to worry about being taken as insensible or anything like that as other people might. At least that's what my brain tells me. I hope I can trust it.
Though I must say, I'm kinda afraid she might take 'dragging her into the light' as an intrusion. She's always been a very private person and likes to be left in peace with whatever dark battles she's fighting in her head.
Actually that's exactly what I was considering too, just kind of making her hang out with me and try to relax a little. But I'm just too afraid I might do that against all of her - even unconscious - wishes which in turn could affect the way she sees our relationship. We're quite close and I know I'm the only one she ever trust with personal details and I don't want to cause any of us to lose that precious bond. (Getting all cheesy, oh my.)
By 'dropping her studies' I meant that she is not going to keep on studying computer sciences, but I don't know what she's planning on doing now because I haven't seen her since shortly before she made that decision and I don't want to push her for information... That's actually what's most delicate to me. I just don't know what I can and can't do so she won't feel uncomfortable or pushed, that'd be the last thing I want.
(Also, I'm not familiar with the term which is used to describe 'dropping one's studies' properly, I'm not a native, but I hope what I'm saying makes sense.)

(Also, you're all so great. I'm still stunned and I feel stupid for telling you over and over.)
 
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Yes, I think having to give up with no other option left is incredibly hard, I feel the same way.
I never really did, actually... I've known for so long now, and I know she's always sorted things out on her own just fine, and probably best. I've realized already when I wrote the first post here, that in a way I needed reassurance that what I thought I should do was actually the best choice. But as I'm a person who's usually very careful in difficult situations like this, I wouldn't have thought of doing more 'daring' things, like wallowing with her because I'm afraid I'll touch the wrong nerve by doing something like that, since she's told me that she hates people pitying her and that she might mistake my wallowing with her or just empathy in general for just that, which I really want to avoid.
But if I tread carefully, I'll know soon enough if that's a good idea or not and trying can't hurt - which I wouldn't have considered doing without you. :)
I too hate being pityed.

The best way to approach this is to look up the words sympathy and empathy. Understand the differences very well. When people sympathize with me I feel like they are insulting me. I feel as if they are telling me yeah you suck, and you couldnt get this done. Its kind of an arrogance that comes off with them. With empathy you are telling me that I am being understood, and that there was a time that you felt that way, and you sucked just as much as I do now.

You are showing me that you aren't better than me, cause the least I want is competition in an area that doesn't require it.

In a practical sense how would you do this?

by sharing times you had similar to hers.

Ive heard xNFJs say, "whenever I tell them about my feelings, they always turn it around and put the focus on themselves." That's not what happening when you run into that. People are empathizing with you, so don't call the empathizer self centered during that time. They are trying to wallow with you. Recognize that.

people need different methods of comforting. They do to others what they would like done to themselves.
 

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By 'dropping her studies' I meant that she is not going to keep on studying computer sciences, but I don't know what she's planning on doing now because I haven't seen her since shortly before she made that decision and I don't want to push her for information... That's actually what's most delicate to me. I just don't know what I can and can't do so she won't feel uncomfortable or pushed, that'd be the last thing I want.
'Dropping studies' means you're not going to complete the courses you're in. By the sounds of it she doesn't want to keep studying in the field either. If she trusts you, she might want to talk a little bit about why, is my thought. Not in order to justify herself, or necessarily decide what she's going to do next. More just to get the whole experience off her chest, emotionally. Listening, non-judging, leaving the discourse open-ended might help.

I do feel for her. Only a few years ago one of the custodial staff came to ask me for 'advice' about her daughter, who was struggling with an artificial-intelligence programme at one of the universities here. So much for 'level playing field'. From what she told me the daughter was telling her, it's no easier now than it was in my time. On the social front it's just brutally, bitterly hard. Let her articulate her experiences, any way she feels all right with - chances are she's still pretty hesitant even within herself about noticing or admitting some of the difficulties. They tend to be pretty indirect and emotional, such as being [basically] invisible and non-existent. As an INTJ I found it genuinely confusing to realise that non-existence in the eyes of others could affect me, since I'd always taken it for granted I didn't need 'interaction' in order to keep my footing. But it can and it does, even for introverts.

It's really hard to get beaten by anything, but it's especially murderous to get beaten by such an army of shadows.
 

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I haven't read the whole thread, but I find that I do appreciate having someone close to me that I can just tell them what is bothering me. I'm not looking for advice or support or anything, I just feel better and can focus better after I talk about it.

I have never been through as stressful of an event as your friend is going through though, so I don't really have any good advice to give.
 
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