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Old 03-17-2007, 09:29 AM   #1
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Default How to combat timidity!

I'm planning on backpacking through Europe, but I'm a very shy person. I don't want to embark on a voyage that I cannot fully realize because of my being reserved. I also don't want to not travel just because I'm a shy person.

When I first heard about the hostel experience, I immediately thought that I wouldn't want to do that. Then I started thinking that that would be the perfect place to really get part of the experience of backpacking through Europe.

I'm a budding Linguist so I'm very familiar with many languages, but it's mostly on a technical level, not a practical or conversational level. I really want to expand from the technical side and learn how to (more) fluently speak the languages that I can read and write.

Are there any tips that any of you have for combating travel-anxiety?


Thanks,


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Old 03-17-2007, 11:55 AM   #2
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There's your solution! :D

But really, if you're traveling alone, you just meet people. I can be really quiet, and I'm pretty withdrawn at times, but when I was on the road by myself I was forced to interact with people - and the fun times just happened! I mean, not everyone I met became my instant best friend, but I realized that getting out of your comfort zone means asking people for help, asking people if they want to hang out - and most people are more than willing to respond and have a good time.

Other travelers are normally also always more willing to meet new people, and the locals in some places that I've been to have been genuinely curious to meet foreigners, and even when I traveled locally in my home country, the locals/staff were excited to see a local traveler. Just don't worry about it, but try to get yourself in an open mindset! If you want it to happen, it will happen. Good luck!
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Old 03-17-2007, 01:56 PM   #3
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You can master anything by simply using the law of repitition. Keep doing the same thing over and over and you learn to master it.

As freespiritz said, when you're out on the road you have to force yourself to talk to people. Many times you'll have no choice but to do so. And travelers do like to meet other travelers.

Seriously, a GREAT way to overcome your shyness is ON THESE BOARDS! Want proof? Go to the Past Meet Ups Forum.

All, or 99%, of these people in each of our past meetups have met through these boards. The minute you meet up with other TPunks, you feel a certain instant comfort level.

Make it your mission to meet or talk to 3 or 5 people a day. Do it now and you'll see that it gets easier and easier. And by the time you leave, you just can't wait to get on a plane so you can talk to locals or other travelers in different countries.

Sit down at Starbucks everyday or your school cafeteria, campus, library, ball game, event, etc... and force yourself to engage in conversation with others.

Get active on these boards! Our job is to help you get comfortable with the process and to have a great time doing so.

It is ultimately up to you to break out of your shyness.

Remember this one important nugget- "What you focus on, EXPANDS."

If you keep telling yourself that you are shy, then you will always be shy and will find it incredibly hard to break that pattern.

Instead, tell yourself 1,000 times a day- "I am an outgoing and friendly person and other people are attracted to me and want to talk to me."

Focus on this as you're saying it. Visualize yourself chatting away with everyone, all day long. At a cafe, museum, park, train, plane, airport, train station, on the streets, the lake, whenever and wherever.

Telling yourself this constantly throughout the day and believing it to be so, will also change your physiology. Your energy will pick up. You'll stand so your shoulders are not slumped over as if you're depressed. You'll walk and talk with confidence. You'll smile more and people will know that it is genuine and you'll start to naturally attract others.

Your energy is everything and EVERYTHING is energy.

Your subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between what is real and what is not. Therefore, whatever you keep feeding it, it will be so.

As goofy as this may sound to some- do it and keep practicing it.

Welcome to the boards too !
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Old 03-17-2007, 09:39 PM   #4
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Great advice everyone, i was also wondering how i will get on when i eventually get my butt o'seas as i am also quite a shy person at times.

I agree though, these boards definately are a way to make everyone more comfortable in their travels.
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Old 03-18-2007, 04:57 PM   #5
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I found that travelers are all pretty much willing to talk...most of us are traveling alone and we like having someone to talk to!!

An easy conversation starter is just simply asking people where theyve traveled so far and where they plan to go...it's actually useful information, too! I actually met quite a few people who i traveled on to the next city with because we had similar travel interests.

Also, its next to impossible to stay in hostels and not talk to people! Theres generally always people around and even if youre shy, just sit in the common area and someone is bound to come and chat with ya!
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Old 03-18-2007, 05:18 PM   #6
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^Brooke made a good point. The best travel advice (outside of TPunk of course ) was from other hostellers. I like to think I gave others good advice as well (even if the advice was more along the lines of this is what you don't want to do/see/stay)

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Old 03-28-2007, 06:40 PM   #7
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Hey! Absolutely don't let your shyness get in the way of having a good time. I'm probably one of the shyest people you'll ever meet, but I think you'll find that traveling will bring you out of your shell a bit. It's easy to talk to fellow travelers because they are excited about what they are doing and seeing. So start conversations with people to the tune of "What do you recommend seeing in this city?" or "Did you do anything cool today?" Then you'll find you have a lot in common with the people around you.

Also, if you haven't already planned a trip, maybe try something in a more structured environment. For my first trip alone (without friends or family) I went with Contiki Holidays. I was so nervous to be traveling with strangers because I'm so introverted. But because I was with the same people for 2 weeks it gave me the opportunity to make stronger connections with people. Plus, since we traveled across Europe on a bus, you pretty much have no option but to talk to the people if you want the trip to be enjoyable.

I guess what I'm getting at is go out there and have fun. Don't let your shyness be an obstacle!
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Old 03-29-2007, 03:41 AM   #8
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Another totally shy person here.
I hate meeting new people and trying new things... but I also love it!
I think when I spend all day walking around silently sightseeing I seem to build up a huge supply of words so when I get to talk to people in the hostel it all bursts out! I get very excitable... some people would never believe that I was shy. Just like some other people would not believe that I could be outgoing.
Staying in the same place for a while is a great way to get comfortable. Then you build up friendships and also you can be helpful to all the new people who arrive... introducing them, showing them stuff. So you get to act all confident and knowledgeable and thus you become confident and knowledgeable!
I did this spending a week in paris at a great hostel (kitchen parties every night) I made awesome friends. Then when I was leaving I started talking to someone who just arrived and I was so hyped up that they thought I was on drugs!
Please please go backpacking! You will NOT regret it! I moved to europe for a year and it was totally worth it! I have changed so so much. I think when I go back I am going to get sick of constantly being told how different I am. In a good way!
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Old 03-29-2007, 04:38 AM   #9
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you will build up your confidence and go home a different person, having learnt more about yourself, your interactions with other people and the world
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Old 04-01-2007, 09:15 AM   #10
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Let your penis lead the way.
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Old 04-01-2007, 09:34 AM   #11
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^ It shouldn't have legs.
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:24 PM   #12
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good advise guys. i feel alot like you do louse. i'm totally shy and like to be by myself, but after awhile i;m ready to jump into a group and hang out. my socialness waxes and wanes.

ryan, listen to travelpunk. he always has some mad good advise to give, that works!
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:46 PM   #13
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Hey... some people are just naturally shy and more quiet... but that's different from being a total shut-out and not talking to others... that's not what you are. =)

I think the trick is just to expect that whatever you say to another person, the other person will find interesting and talk back. And especially when ur travelling... there's tons of interesting stuff to talk about.

I am also going this summer by myself... but yeah, you have a legitimate fear. In a way, its sort of test, and I think that's the whole point of going by yourself... if it was just easy and you know you would have a good time, you might as well go with your buddies.

But its the excitment of meeting new people, and overcoming these situations that makes it backpacking, not vacationing. :D

Good luck brother. I'm not a shy guy, but I know how hard it is to go against what you were not born with... so yeah, I admire your couage...
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Vincent: "So what you gonna do?"
Jules: "Well, basically, I'm just gonna walk the earth."
Vincent: "What you mean 'walk the earth'?"
Jules: "You know, like Kane in 'Kung Fu'...go places...meet people...get in adventures."

Trips (only counting recreational travel):
FIRST TRIP (2005): FIRST EUROTRIP EVER! UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland
SECOND TRIP (2007): First Solo Trip! Greece, Turkey, Syria, Spain
2008: China (Beijing, Shanghai, Yangshuo) ...right before the Olympics!
2009: Japan & HK, Southern Spain
[size=1]2010: All over Lebanon, Ibiza (Spain), Oktoberfest (Germany), Thailand.
2011: India (Goa), Jordan, Jerusalem, San Sebastian (Spain), Amsterdam (again), London, Driving from Vancouver to L.A. (stopping in Portland, Seattle, San Fran and all the little stops), Montpellier (France), Geneva and Lausanne (Switzerland)

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Old 04-05-2007, 05:54 AM   #14
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You won't have any troubles finding people to talk to, people will just come up and start talking to you if your standing in the corner and have a look like your new to backpacking.

You just get used to a new life style, it's surprising how easily you can adapt to it.
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Old 04-13-2007, 02:29 PM   #15
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Hey mojopin... this might be helpful http://www.travoholic.com/euro/articles/solo.htm

Backpacking Alone - How to Meet People


So you’ve finally decided to backpack around Europe – maybe even around the world – and your friends have bailed on you at the last minute. Or maybe you don’t have any friends, or maybe, like me, you love the freedom of solo travel and prefer to go it alone and meet new friends out on the tourist trail.

Whatever your reasons for going solo, the fact remains that (unless you’re a loner who loves wandering the streets alone and reading a lot of books) you’ll need to meet people on the way if you’re going to have a fun, memorable trip.

For some people making friends on the road is as easy as walking into a room, smiling and striking up a conversation with the first person who smiles back. For the rest of us, there is a certain level of apprehension that comes with being a lone in a strange place and a bit of shyness is certain to take over at times. I’ve put together some tips on breaking the ice and getting to know people along the way.

Backpacker’s Hostels
As a solo traveller, backpacker’s hostels will be your lifeline! Rather than being stuck away in a hotel room all on your own, hostels will have shared rooms and usually a kitchen, a common room and maybe even a pool or other outdoor sitting area. These are great places to meet other travellers. It can be a bit tricky striking up a conversation when everyone’s stuck in front of the TV, but dorm rooms and the kitchen are prime spots for a bit of banter.

Walking Tours
Many hostels offer free or cheap walking tours of their cities and these are a really good way to get chatting to a group of people. Walking tours will usually last a few hours which is plenty of time to build a bit of rapport with your fellow hostellers. Plus visiting the sights of the city will give you a good talking point as well.

Hostel Events and Outings
Many good hostels will put on social events to get people mixing and liven things up a bit. These sorts of things are geared towards getting people socialising, so you’d be an idiot to miss out on it if you’re trying to meet people! BBQs, pub crawls, movie nights and the like can seem scary at first if you’re on your own, but plunk yourself down at a table with other people and you’ll be comfortable in no time.

Day Trips
In Asia I found myself locked away in single rooms in cheap hotels most of the time. Because of this, meeting people can be a bit tricky unless you’re the type to wander into a bar by yourself and strike up conversations with random people. The best way to meet people for me was to take a few days trips here and there – snorkelling excursions, trips to secluded islands, a day cooking course etc. You will probably be sharing confined transportation and seeing some pretty cool things, so it’s pretty difficult not to get talking.

Alcohol, Booze, Grog
I can’t emphasize enough the power of the piss. Getting trashed with a new group of people is a great way of bonding, like it or not. Sure there are a lot of people out there who travel to see museums and have early nights, but who wants to meet them anyways? Backpacking is as much about having a great night out as it is about seeing the sights by day and rocking up to a hostel’s kitchen with a bottle of wine and offering it around is bound to be the start of a good night.

Everyone is in the Same Boat
I think the main thing to remember if you’re feeling a bit shy or timid is that the other solo travellers in the place are probably feeling the same way. Most people come travelling for a good time, to see a few sights and to meet lots of new people. I know that if I’m feeling a bit shy or intimidated in a new hostel, I’ll usually resort to reading my book… but that’s the last thing I actually want to do! I would much rather be sharing travel stories with a new person and I’m pretty sure that most people feel the same way.

Hostel Cliques
Sometimes in certain hostels it can feel as though there is an already established group. Perhaps they’re long-term residents or maybe they all just met each other a few days before you arrived. Either way, this can be pretty intimidating, especially if it feels like you’re the only one who’s not part of the group. I know a lot of people who shy away from groups like this and look on from afar half jealous and maybe half disapproving. My advice would be to do everything you can to muscle in on the group! If they’re hostel long termers (especially common in cities where people stay awhile and work like London, Dublin, Edinburgh) then they’ll know all the best places to go and will show you a good time.

Starting That Conversation
All it takes to break the ice is usually a simple question like ‘what time is it?’ I find that asking if you can take a look at their guidebook for a minute is a really good way to bust in. If someone wants to chat you can usually tell, and if they don’t then no harm done, move onto the next person.
__________________
Vincent: "So what you gonna do?"
Jules: "Well, basically, I'm just gonna walk the earth."
Vincent: "What you mean 'walk the earth'?"
Jules: "You know, like Kane in 'Kung Fu'...go places...meet people...get in adventures."

Trips (only counting recreational travel):
FIRST TRIP (2005): FIRST EUROTRIP EVER! UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland
SECOND TRIP (2007): First Solo Trip! Greece, Turkey, Syria, Spain
2008: China (Beijing, Shanghai, Yangshuo) ...right before the Olympics!
2009: Japan & HK, Southern Spain
[size=1]2010: All over Lebanon, Ibiza (Spain), Oktoberfest (Germany), Thailand.
2011: India (Goa), Jordan, Jerusalem, San Sebastian (Spain), Amsterdam (again), London, Driving from Vancouver to L.A. (stopping in Portland, Seattle, San Fran and all the little stops), Montpellier (France), Geneva and Lausanne (Switzerland)

"Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it."
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Old 04-13-2007, 02:30 PM   #16
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Hey mojopin... this might be helpful http://www.travoholic.com/euro/articles/solo.htm

Backpacking Alone - How to Meet People


So you’ve finally decided to backpack around Europe – maybe even around the world – and your friends have bailed on you at the last minute. Or maybe you don’t have any friends, or maybe, like me, you love the freedom of solo travel and prefer to go it alone and meet new friends out on the tourist trail.

Whatever your reasons for going solo, the fact remains that (unless you’re a loner who loves wandering the streets alone and reading a lot of books) you’ll need to meet people on the way if you’re going to have a fun, memorable trip.

For some people making friends on the road is as easy as walking into a room, smiling and striking up a conversation with the first person who smiles back. For the rest of us, there is a certain level of apprehension that comes with being a lone in a strange place and a bit of shyness is certain to take over at times. I’ve put together some tips on breaking the ice and getting to know people along the way.

Backpacker’s Hostels
As a solo traveller, backpacker’s hostels will be your lifeline! Rather than being stuck away in a hotel room all on your own, hostels will have shared rooms and usually a kitchen, a common room and maybe even a pool or other outdoor sitting area. These are great places to meet other travellers. It can be a bit tricky striking up a conversation when everyone’s stuck in front of the TV, but dorm rooms and the kitchen are prime spots for a bit of banter.

Walking Tours
Many hostels offer free or cheap walking tours of their cities and these are a really good way to get chatting to a group of people. Walking tours will usually last a few hours which is plenty of time to build a bit of rapport with your fellow hostellers. Plus visiting the sights of the city will give you a good talking point as well.

Hostel Events and Outings
Many good hostels will put on social events to get people mixing and liven things up a bit. These sorts of things are geared towards getting people socialising, so you’d be an idiot to miss out on it if you’re trying to meet people! BBQs, pub crawls, movie nights and the like can seem scary at first if you’re on your own, but plunk yourself down at a table with other people and you’ll be comfortable in no time.

Day Trips
In Asia I found myself locked away in single rooms in cheap hotels most of the time. Because of this, meeting people can be a bit tricky unless you’re the type to wander into a bar by yourself and strike up conversations with random people. The best way to meet people for me was to take a few days trips here and there – snorkelling excursions, trips to secluded islands, a day cooking course etc. You will probably be sharing confined transportation and seeing some pretty cool things, so it’s pretty difficult not to get talking.

Alcohol, Booze, Grog
I can’t emphasize enough the power of the piss. Getting trashed with a new group of people is a great way of bonding, like it or not. Sure there are a lot of people out there who travel to see museums and have early nights, but who wants to meet them anyways? Backpacking is as much about having a great night out as it is about seeing the sights by day and rocking up to a hostel’s kitchen with a bottle of wine and offering it around is bound to be the start of a good night.

Everyone is in the Same Boat
I think the main thing to remember if you’re feeling a bit shy or timid is that the other solo travellers in the place are probably feeling the same way. Most people come travelling for a good time, to see a few sights and to meet lots of new people. I know that if I’m feeling a bit shy or intimidated in a new hostel, I’ll usually resort to reading my book… but that’s the last thing I actually want to do! I would much rather be sharing travel stories with a new person and I’m pretty sure that most people feel the same way.

Hostel Cliques
Sometimes in certain hostels it can feel as though there is an already established group. Perhaps they’re long-term residents or maybe they all just met each other a few days before you arrived. Either way, this can be pretty intimidating, especially if it feels like you’re the only one who’s not part of the group. I know a lot of people who shy away from groups like this and look on from afar half jealous and maybe half disapproving. My advice would be to do everything you can to muscle in on the group! If they’re hostel long termers (especially common in cities where people stay awhile and work like London, Dublin, Edinburgh) then they’ll know all the best places to go and will show you a good time.

Starting That Conversation
All it takes to break the ice is usually a simple question like ‘what time is it?’ I find that asking if you can take a look at their guidebook for a minute is a really good way to bust in. If someone wants to chat you can usually tell, and if they don’t then no harm done, move onto the next person.
__________________
Vincent: "So what you gonna do?"
Jules: "Well, basically, I'm just gonna walk the earth."
Vincent: "What you mean 'walk the earth'?"
Jules: "You know, like Kane in 'Kung Fu'...go places...meet people...get in adventures."

Trips (only counting recreational travel):
FIRST TRIP (2005): FIRST EUROTRIP EVER! UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland
SECOND TRIP (2007): First Solo Trip! Greece, Turkey, Syria, Spain
2008: China (Beijing, Shanghai, Yangshuo) ...right before the Olympics!
2009: Japan & HK, Southern Spain
[size=1]2010: All over Lebanon, Ibiza (Spain), Oktoberfest (Germany), Thailand.
2011: India (Goa), Jordan, Jerusalem, San Sebastian (Spain), Amsterdam (again), London, Driving from Vancouver to L.A. (stopping in Portland, Seattle, San Fran and all the little stops), Montpellier (France), Geneva and Lausanne (Switzerland)

"Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it."
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Old 04-13-2007, 02:31 PM   #17
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Sorrie posted twice... something didn't work the first time =)
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Vincent: "So what you gonna do?"
Jules: "Well, basically, I'm just gonna walk the earth."
Vincent: "What you mean 'walk the earth'?"
Jules: "You know, like Kane in 'Kung Fu'...go places...meet people...get in adventures."

Trips (only counting recreational travel):
FIRST TRIP (2005): FIRST EUROTRIP EVER! UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland
SECOND TRIP (2007): First Solo Trip! Greece, Turkey, Syria, Spain
2008: China (Beijing, Shanghai, Yangshuo) ...right before the Olympics!
2009: Japan & HK, Southern Spain
[size=1]2010: All over Lebanon, Ibiza (Spain), Oktoberfest (Germany), Thailand.
2011: India (Goa), Jordan, Jerusalem, San Sebastian (Spain), Amsterdam (again), London, Driving from Vancouver to L.A. (stopping in Portland, Seattle, San Fran and all the little stops), Montpellier (France), Geneva and Lausanne (Switzerland)

"Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it."
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Old 04-29-2007, 01:00 AM   #18
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Dude don't even worry about it. When your in stuck in a tiny little room with 5 other people, sharing a shower and bathroom, your gonna meet friends. It is almost guaranteed that you will meet someone cool in every city you go to. Just think positive, law of attraction buddy.
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Old 05-04-2007, 08:37 AM   #19
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I love this thread! I used to be super shy in my travels. When I took a plunge and lived in Latin America for 3 years, that all changed. Travel Punk's advice is dead-on - it is about repetition. It is unfortunate that the only way to get over a fear is by doing that which you fear (no way around it)!

On the other side, and in light of US status overseas, I am finally overcoming the compulsory apologetic timidity and frame of mind. First, it is not too often to find Americans backpacking as other nationalities, but those who do - stop apologizing for who you are. Yes, we are not so popular right now, yes our government has made a mess of international relations, but the best international relations can be done at a grassroots level.

Bottom line, my last trip, I started off very apologetic and with a timid and somewhat fearful perspective. I quickly realized that I don't want to befriend anyone who automatically rejects me based on my nationality - the best anyone from any country can do is just be who they are and let people see you for it and they will respect you. If not, screw 'em!
- OK, rant over!

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Old 05-11-2007, 07:56 PM   #20
 
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Just remember this: It doesn't matter what they think of you 'cause you don't have to see them again anyway.
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