Is it ok to be a social recluse?

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  • #31
Chronos
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I hate asparagus. Seriously, you probably fear social criticism. The world is full of people who get their jollies by making fun of others to compensate for their own insecurity. Me, I fear telemarketers.
 
  • #32
HayleySarg
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We're constantly being told how to live our lives. How we should dress, what we should eat, where we should go, what kind of house we should buy, when and who we should marry, what we should study, etc.

The smart ones ignore this constant bombardment of social advice. What's so different about being less than sociable? We're told we have to be social, that it's the norm, but really, it doesn't matter as long as it doesn't impact you from getting what you want out of life. And what we want out of life is incredibly individualized.

I'm sorry people are being terrible to you, it seems though that it's the way of things. Humans picking on other humans about things that don't really matter.
 
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  • #33
turbo
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I am a social recluse, but not out of choice. My physical reactions to fragrance chemicals make it nearly impossible to be near others, unless there is a steady breeze and I can stay upwind. People who don't know me might find that strange, but people who do know me and have a clue understand. I don't dislike people, but I certainly dislike being incapacitated with migraines, breathing problems, and arthritis in my knees and feet for days after exposure. I live in the woods. I wish we'd had the money to buy a much larger plot and put our house in the middle of it. Dryer-vents cripple me.
 
  • #34
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Hopefully by now a few of you may have seen me stumbling around the forums and I just wanted to get some opinons from people. I'm basically a social recluse and I avoid social interaction at all costs, even to the point where I'll wait for my house mate to go back up to his room before I go down to make a sandwich.

I can't stand the social awkwardness of being in the presence of someone and not having anything to talk about. I very much enjoy being on my own and I never ever feel lonely. If you're wondering why I act like this then it's probably because I actually have Aspergers. That aside I wanted to ask people here if it's ok to live life the way I do? I understand there may be benefits from having a social life but the stress and effort it takes to make friends is not worth the pay off in my opinion.

Does anyone here think this is a wrong way to live?
Just because other people have difficulty relating with you, it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you. Using the random mass of people you happen to be geographically born into is a horrible standard of wrong or right ways to live.

It is your responsibility though, to learn how to not piss other people off because you don't understand them and the things that bother them. We are here to share this sudden gift of life, not accidentally ruin it all the time. Try as hard as you can to share your unique gift, and accept and understand the unique skills and abilities of other people around you. This, essentially, is the relatedness which you seek.

If other people do not accept and understand you very easily, so be it. What's more important is that YOU accept and understand who you are. After this happens, a flood of opportunities open up. You will be more able see that we all come from different circumstances, and with that diversity of form comes incredible potential for creativity, loneliness, and love.
 
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  • #35
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I don't have Asperger's, so I'm out of my element really. Wrong or right are just words. Personally, I would find it irritating that it can be so bleeding difficult to talk to someone, you say something, trying to get the conversation going, but it just won't happen - then again I can understand if someone seeks solitude.
My last bit was edited, so I figured a more polite way to express it:
Remember Newton's 3rd Law - If you won't cross them, they won't cross you.
 
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  • #36
Mk
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If wrong and right are just words, then why do you care about how the conversation goes?
 
  • #37
member 392791
I am somewhat anti-social as well. I prefer to be alone usually to being in groups, and I particularly dislike doing "group activities", they always feel awkward and unproductive to me. I don't mind having one on one dialogue with people though. I don't think it's good for the psyche to be a social recluse for too long, it must have some effects on it that are probably negative.

So the takeaway is to have social interactions, but you don't have to go out every weekend with a group of friends if you don't want to. It can be nice to have good company
 
  • #38
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I have Aspergers as well. I often find myself burying myself in endless sheets of graph paper to avoid conversation. And conversation that I do have with my few friends is often short and exhausting. I'm unintentionally cut off mid-sentence so often, that I eventually give up. Then I put in headphones for the sake of drowning out the constant "Did you hear what [PERSON 1] said about [PERSON 2]?" And "So how 'bout them [INSERT RELEVANT SPORTS TEAM]?"

Although I would like to say that I'm happy in my own thoughts, there've been resent studies that suggest that a hormone released during social/intimate interactions reduces stress. I honestly don't think a study was necessary to tell me that occasionally being hugged/kissed/spoken to alleviates the thumping headache caused by high school. The moral of the story is that if you're female, and see a seemingly heterosexual male nerd, hug him. Or just strike up a friendly conversation. (Note: works with an sex of any sexual orientation)
 
  • #39
Guy passing by
Of course there is people happy being alone. Social withdrawal is a bad thing when you are a recluse because of insecurity. So , the insecurity hold you from making what you wish , and people in this conditions usually are unhappy. I force myself to lose any social interation fear. Life is such a precious thing, and can be so beautifull when you live it fully. Being yourself without fearing people's opinion is much better than making a life full of regrets and than recognizing you could had lived much better. Never neglect your hapiness.
 
  • #40
reenmachine
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People are always second-guessing social recluses , loners , introverted people , and I think it's about time we call out the social , extroverted people.What's so enjoyable about being with a crowd of people where no intelligent conversation can survive for very long due to the variety in interests , intelligence level , knowledge? What's so fun in having to follow social rules , having to hide a part of yourself to "fit in"? What's so lovely about people and their unpredictable behavior? What's so great about the fact people that are naturally more respected due to physical appearence or other similar factors will always convince the group more easily and control it no matter if they are right or wrong? What's so attractive about being in an environnement where emotions and their unwritten rules are running the show?

Now of course not all groups are created equal and if you can find a group of people sharing your interests the situation can be better , but here I'm talking about people that will socialize no matter which situation they are put into.
 
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  • #41
Mockingjay
The problem is not that you are a social recluse, but rather that YOU see it as a problem which in turn has a bad effect on your personal confidence. People are usually scared to talk to other people because of the fear that they of not being liked and thus rejected, so if you don't even like yourself you wont think anyone will like you.

No being a recluse isn't bad, as a matter of fact during my time being a recluse I gained so much confidence in myself and discovered who I really was without all these outside opinions.

In the end though there is nothing wrong with being a recluse, you might learn a lot from it, and it's not forever once you do.
 
  • #42
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I have Aspergers as well and I totally understand where you are coming from.

IMO, the easy way out is not the best solution in the long run. I've been rejected, outcasted, bullied, defriended, been given weird looks, gone through lots of friendships, gotten in nasty arguments and so on. In the end, each of these painful experiences taught me a lesson so that now I can talk to people freely. And now I have flexibility. Some days I might just want to come home from work and stay home alone playing video games the whole day, but whenever I need to, I can make friends and find people to talk to.

So yeah, you can isolate yourself if you want. You won't experience any pain, but you won't learn much either. And in 5 years from now, you'll say to yourself that you're still in the same position you were years ago and you could have improved but you didn't.

It's your choice.

How do you get over rejection, fear of painful experiences and so on? I often avoid meeting new people because I'm scared of rejection and due to more complicated reasons, I can never truly be myself around others. Because of this I often prefer to be alone and I know it's a terrible plan in the long run. I should be meeting new people and learning how to socialize with different kinds of people. I find that although I have a good sense of humor, I'm kind of a serious person and I don't like small talk. All of this mixed with a bit of social anxiety makes it impossible to develop new relationships.
 
  • #43
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I can't stand the social awkwardness of being in the presence of someone and not having anything to talk about. I very much enjoy being on my own and I never ever feel lonely. If you're wondering why I act like this then it's probably because I actually have Aspergers. That aside I wanted to ask people here if it's ok to live life the way I do? I understand there may be benefits from having a social life but the stress and effort it takes to make friends is not worth the pay off in my opinion.

Does anyone here think this is a wrong way to live?
I don't think it is a wrong way to live if it doesn't stress you. If it stresses you to wait for your housemate to go so you can actually eat, then it is a wrong way to live. Or at least you have to escape to a place in which you don't have to hide and be caused stress because of it. I'm not telling you to change but to improve your life quality by moving to a place where you can be who you are. I repeat: If it doesn't cause you stress, there is no need to change.

[PLAIN said:
http://favim.com/image/1215821/]After[/PLAIN] [Broken] changing to fit into society, you are eventually going to want your old self back sooner or later.
And I agree. In fact psychologist shouldn't try to change a person who is happy living alone into a social person for the stress may actually cause stress-related diseases that may in the end reduce the patient's lifetime.
 
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  • #44
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How do you get over rejection, fear of painful experiences and so on? I often avoid meeting new people because I'm scared of rejection and due to more complicated reasons, I can never truly be myself around others. Because of this I often prefer to be alone and I know it's a terrible plan in the long run. I should be meeting new people and learning how to socialize with different kinds of people. I find that although I have a good sense of humor, I'm kind of a serious person and I don't like small talk. All of this mixed with a bit of social anxiety makes it impossible to develop new relationships.

IME, you don't. Well, you can, but only really up to a point. More for some, less for others. The amount of positive and negative experiences you have interacting with other people throughout your life will either etch away at that fear or further solidify your insecurities, respectively. Unless you manage to convince yourself that some negative experiences are not due to your own shortcomings but that of the people treating you poorly, but that takes a bit of an ego which you probably don't have to start with.

Your only goal should be to avoid people who think like this:

Don't really have much tolerance for social ineptitude - interesting people generally are competent enough to at least socially interact correctly.

and not avoid (or *gasp* approach) people who think like this:

I find people interesting, and a weird person is no exception.

I would say that I get interested, but rather, I find such people interesting, and I'd treat them as though they were not 'weird'.

I'm not sure about the 4th option. It's not that I don't care, because I care about anyone and everyone I encounter, but rather I'm not alarmed, or i.e., I'm not concerned.

IME, this practically translates to not making much if any friends below the age of 30. Your teens and 20's are almost guaranteed to suck if you are not a social butterfly.

If you want to put yourself in uncomfortable situations that stress yourself out, at least make sure the benefits wholly outweigh the drawbacks for you. Living with constant anxiety is not healthy. I've managed to pull it off for getting work and going to school, one year of which was done in a city that is ~10-million strong. It is actually not that bad. In fact I think it's about as almost easy as living in total solitude since in mega-cities most people keep to themselves if you avoid social events altogether.
 
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  • #45
jim hardy
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How do you get over rejection, fear of painful experiences and so on? I often avoid meeting new people because I'm scared of rejection and due to more complicated reasons, I can never truly be myself around others. Because of this I often prefer to be alone and I know it's a terrible plan in the long run. I should be meeting new people and learning how to socialize with different kinds of people. I find that although I have a good sense of humor, I'm kind of a serious person and I don't like small talk. All of this mixed with a bit of social anxiety makes it impossible to develop new relationships.


How do you get over rejection ? Make a joke of it. I used to say , with firmness and authority "I can handle rejection" then bury my face in the crook of my arm and wail out an exaggerated "Arrghh ah-boo hoo hoo".

To be more serious about it, you'll find out an awfully large proportion of people have the same feelings .. You're really not atypical. And you're okay;; when you discover that you'll suddenly become more comfortable in a crowd. It's okay to be a quiet person.

I'd suggest a public speaking course, maybe at local community college adult education. Public speaking works wonders for people's self confidence. Sorta like old Demosthenes - he forced himself to do what was difficult for him and became famously good at it.
 
  • #46
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How do you get over rejection ? Make a joke of it. I used to say , with firmness and authority "I can handle rejection" then bury my face in the crook of my arm and wail out an exaggerated "Arrghh ah-boo hoo hoo".

To be more serious about it, you'll find out an awfully large proportion of people have the same feelings .. You're really not atypical. And you're okay;; when you discover that you'll suddenly become more comfortable in a crowd. It's okay to be a quiet person.

I'd suggest a public speaking course, maybe at local community college adult education. Public speaking works wonders for people's self confidence. Sorta like old Demosthenes - he forced himself to do what was difficult for him and became famously good at it.

I'm able to be confident about certain things. Like about a week ago I was doing a presentation on a biology lab report for part of my comprehensive examination for my D.E.C (CEGEP thing), and I was totally able to talk in front of the class and answer questions. I just presented my results naturally while he rest of my group had a hard time doing so. They were all a lot more social-able than me and seemed like they all had pretty healthy social lives yet they relied on cue cards and were really nervous in front of others. I'm a good public speaker, I am confident in my ideas, I'm just terribly insecure about my social skills.

I don't want to turn this into a blog but I've had periods in my life where I have been able to be confident about my ability to socialize but they were all temporary delusions about myself that allowed me to feel confident. I can put on a mask if I need to, to appear normal, but this doesn't last very long. Eventually people realize that I'm terribly disinterested in socializing with them. The problem here is that I do get lonely sometimes and it will only get worse as I get older. I'm only 19. I've been debating on speaking to a psychologist or not but that stuff is expensive and I'm only going to be working minimum wage this summer.
 
  • #47
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I'm able to be confident about certain things. Like about a week ago I was doing a presentation on a biology lab report for part of my comprehensive examination for my D.E.C (CEGEP thing), and I was totally able to talk in front of the class and answer questions. I just presented my results naturally while he rest of my group had a hard time doing so. They were all a lot more social-able than me and seemed like they all had pretty healthy social lives yet they relied on cue cards and were really nervous in front of others. I'm a good public speaker, I am confident in my ideas, I'm just terribly insecure about my social skills.

I don't want to turn this into a blog but I've had periods in my life where I have been able to be confident about my ability to socialize but they were all temporary delusions about myself that allowed me to feel confident. I can put on a mask if I need to, to appear normal, but this doesn't last very long. Eventually people realize that I'm terribly disinterested in socializing with them. The problem here is that I do get lonely sometimes and it will only get worse as I get older. I'm only 19. I've been debating on speaking to a psychologist or not but that stuff is expensive and I'm only going to be working minimum wage this summer.
Does your school have psychological services available? I don't mean to sound alarmist or anything, but I would take advantage of it sooner than later, before your social anxiety develops into something worse (very usually depression). I finally got around to seeing one at the age of 26 and a good deal of my character was already set in by then, so there are aspects that I am stunted for life in. The earlier you address it, the better, as you may have realized putting up a facade only gets you so far (and IME, the approach has diminishing returns).
 
  • #48
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Does your school have psychological services available? I don't mean to sound alarmist or anything, but I would take advantage of it sooner than later, before your social anxiety develops into something worse (very usually depression). I finally got around to seeing one at the age of 26 and a good deal of my character was already set in by then, so there are aspects that I am stunted for life in. The earlier you address it, the better, as you may have realized putting up a facade only gets you so far (and IME, the approach has diminishing returns).

I have no idea, probably not. Cegep's are practically free and are really a bridge between uni and highschool over here. I don't really feel comfortable seeing someone for that who is tied to my school either. I wouldn't ever want to run into that person or have to make incredibly awkward small talk in line at the cafeteria or in the atrium, etc. I wouldn't want anyone to know about it either. And this might be my avoidant personality talking, but I feel that if my mom knew that I was going to see a psychologist it would stress her out and she would most likely tell other people. She's doing radiation right now and doesn't need more things to worry about. The weird thing about when I get depressed is that I never really feel sad. I just get really numb. I don't mean to sound like a sociopath, I think I'm a morally upstanding person. I'm just a bit emotionally stunted because of some stuff that I went through when I was younger.

What was your experience like with your psychologist? Was it beneficial to you? You sound like you weren't satisfied with the results, but would it really have been better if you went when you were 19?
 
  • #49
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I have no idea, probably not. Cegep's are practically free and are really a bridge between uni and highschool over here. I don't really feel comfortable seeing someone for that who is tied to my school either. I wouldn't ever want to run into that person or have to make incredibly awkward small talk in line at the cafeteria or in the atrium, etc. I wouldn't want anyone to know about it either. And this might be my avoidant personality talking, but I feel that if my mom knew that I was going to see a psychologist it would stress her out and she would most likely tell other people. She's doing radiation right now and doesn't need more things to worry about. The weird thing about when I get depressed is that I never really feel sad. I just get really numb. I don't mean to sound like a sociopath, I think I'm a morally upstanding person. I'm just a bit emotionally stunted because of some stuff that I went through when I was younger.

What was your experience like with your psychologist? Was it beneficial to you? You sound like you weren't satisfied with the results, but would it really have been better if you went when you were 19?

Psychologists are sensible people. If they ever see you outside of therapy sessions they have the sense to not engage in small-talk with you unless you request it, much less tell anyone about it. They're all too familiar with the stigma that goes with visiting a shrink.

The experience with a therapist is largely what you make of it. It is important to have realistic expectations of what you'll get out of it. For me the net effect was positive, I hope it did not sound like I was dissatisfied.

It did not cure anything by itself and neither did medication, but the combination of both with a lot of reflection with a pen and paper did yield a better living situation than what I had going into it. My self-esteem is roughly the same, but I have noticed that I'm a lot more comfortable with being socially retarded and don't worry as much about how I am perceived because of it. Which helps in making day to day life more tolerable. I regained some of the hobbies and joys of life that I had completely lost for a good portion of a year (music, exercise and video games), I think that is a good thing.

It may have been better had I sought out help earlier, but I really don't know, no sense in dwelling on that now. There are still things I yearn for like some female attention for instance, nearing 30 and never having gone on a date sucks. But that is neither here nor there and more than likely to interfere with my career ambitions, which I am pretty hard-headed about at this stage.
 
  • #50
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Psychologists are sensible people. If they ever see you outside of therapy sessions they have the sense to not engage in small-talk with you unless you request it, much less tell anyone about it. They're all too familiar with the stigma that goes with visiting a shrink.

The experience with a therapist is largely what you make of it. It is important to have realistic expectations of what you'll get out of it. For me the net effect was positive, I hope it did not sound like I was dissatisfied.

It did not cure anything by itself and neither did medication, but the combination of both with a lot of reflection with a pen and paper did yield a better living situation than what I had going into it. My self-esteem is roughly the same, but I have noticed that I'm a lot more comfortable with being socially retarded and don't worry as much about how I am perceived because of it. Which helps in making day to day life more tolerable. I regained some of the hobbies and joys of life that I had completely lost for a good portion of a year (music, exercise and video games), I think that is a good thing.

It may have been better had I sought out help earlier, but I really don't know, no sense in dwelling on that now. There are still things I yearn for like some female attention for instance, nearing 30 and never having gone on a date sucks. But that is neither here nor there and more than likely to interfere with my career ambitions, which I am pretty hard-headed about at this stage.

Lol this is basically my situation but I'm a little younger. I wouldn't give a damn if I didn't have have any social skills if I could have a girlfriend without them. The main reason I feel obligated to learn how to socialize and meet new people is so that I can get a girlfriend. I have people I can hang out with if I wanted to, I just haven't been hanging out with them nearly at all because I don't need to anymore since they have their own new college friends. I just want that female attention so I feel bad that my lifestyle is putting me down a path where it's going to make it hard for me to feel satisfied in that respect. Of course I want to become a great physicist, but my primary ambition is to have the family that I once had when I was little.
 
  • #51
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How do you get over rejection ? Make a joke of it. I used to say , with firmness and authority "I can handle rejection" then bury my face in the crook of my arm and wail out an exaggerated "Arrghh ah-boo hoo hoo".
Ha! That was funny.
How do you get over rejection, fear of painful experiences and so on? I often avoid meeting new people because I'm scared of rejection and due to more complicated reasons, I can never truly be myself around others.
My 2 cents: With training. Get rejected over and over and over and over... ad infinitum. Just like you gain physical resistance by training, you will gain rejection resistance by training. The six pack will eventually form itself. :wink:

The problem is dealing with the stress the initial rejections may create. If one gives meaning to "rejection", then one is going to feel the blow of it, but if one dismiss its meaning, nothing should happen. I think that should work.
 
  • #52
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Ha! That was funny.

My 2 cents: With training. Get rejected over and over and over and over... ad infinitum. Just like you gain physical resistance by training, you will gain rejection resistance by training. The six pack will eventually form itself. :wink:

The problem is dealing with the stress the initial rejections may create. If one gives meaning to "rejection", then one is going to feel the blow of it, but if one dismiss its meaning, nothing should happen. I think that should work.

Ahahaha I like the analogy. By similar analogy, I might argue that if I continually cut myself in a specific spot, initially it might hurt, but I'll develop tougher skin. Unfortunately, this might leave me scarred! Some people have thicker skin than others, but some might bleed profusely. I definitely think there's some truth to what you're saying though. Change in environment generally leads to adaptation, that's our nature. If I force myself to continually expose myself to other people, eventually it will become natural to me.
 
  • #53
jim hardy
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Like about a week ago I was doing a presentation on a biology lab report for part of my comprehensive examination for my D.E.C (CEGEP thing), and I was totally able to talk in front of the class and answer questions. I just presented my results naturally

Well i'd wager there were several young ladies in the class who noticed.

You will be perceived by others pretty much as you perceive yourself.
So focus on your successes like the good speech, make light of your social mistakes, and always be kind.

Some enchanted evening...
 
  • #54
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Ha! That was funny.

My 2 cents: With training. Get rejected over and over and over and over... ad infinitum. Just like you gain physical resistance by training, you will gain rejection resistance by training. The six pack will eventually form itself. :wink:
There is such a thing as taking an analogy too far. You can also overload and tear a muscle clean off the bone with enough repeated weight training if your form isn't right, and there is not much recovery from that.

You will be perceived by others pretty much as you perceive yourself.

My shrink liked to say most people don't see you the same way you see yourself. They are not aware what your insecurities are, so use that to your advantage.
 
  • #55
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Okay, I know it's hard in social situations, so here is a somewhat crude way look at it. If the people that say their are your friend really are, you have no need to do anything but be you. To those that do not accept you for who you are because you do not live up to their expectations (the crude part) then furk them . Who said that you have to live up to anybody's expectations but your own?

Look up the definition of friend in the dictionary, yeah I know it's a book, but look anyway. It may shed some light on your situation or at least a different view and a better handle on people in general.

As far as The Big Bang goes, you are supposed to see a group of people with limited social skills, anything else is pure conjecture on the viewers part. Anyone here ever see Friends' Joey or Seinfeld's Crammer, or any of the other mindless comedy's buffoons?

Anyone want to take a stab at the label on those two?

Good luck in your endeavors and ignore the rest of the noise.
 

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