How to Build Effective Work Relationships for Career Success


We live in a fast-paced world where building effective work relationships is essential for career success. In today's highly competitive market, having strong connections with colleagues and managers can make all the difference in advancing your professional growth. These work relationships can support you, provide opportunities, and even help you navigate through difficult times. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, understanding the importance of work relationships is crucial. So, let's dive into this topic and explore the ways that you can build and sustain effective work relationships for your own success.

Understanding the Importance of Work Relationships

Building effective work relationships is crucial for career success. In today's professional world, it is not enough to just be good at your job; developing strong connections with colleagues and superiors can greatly enhance your professional growth and opportunities. As my friend Edison once said, "Your network is your net worth."1

At its core, work relationships are based on mutual respect, trust, and effective communication. These relationships not only create a positive work environment but also lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction. Research has shown that employees who have healthy work relationships are more engaged, motivated, and have a higher chance of success2 .

Strong work relationships are important for several reasons. First and foremost, they foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie in the workplace. When you have positive relationships with your coworkers and superiors, you feel supported and valued, which in turn boosts your morale and overall happiness at work.

Furthermore, work relationships contribute to effective collaboration and teamwork. When colleagues trust and respect each other, they are more likely to work together harmoniously, share ideas, and solve problems collectively. This collaboration leads to increased creativity, innovation, and the ability to achieve common goals.

Work relationships also open doors to career opportunities. Through networking and building relationships with professionals in your field, you increase your chances of discovering new job opportunities, getting recommendations, and advancing in your career. As Zig Ziglar famously said, "You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."3

Additionally, work relationships provide a support system during challenging times. When faced with a difficult task or a personal setback, having a strong network of colleagues who can offer guidance, advice, or simply lend an empathetic ear can make all the difference in overcoming obstacles and maintaining your well-being.

To summarize, work relationships are an essential aspect of career success. They contribute to a positive work culture, foster collaboration, open doors to new opportunities, and provide emotional support. As you embark on your professional journey, remember the words of Maya Angelou: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."4 Invest time and effort in building and nurturing your work relationships, and you will reap the rewards in both your personal and professional life.

Steps to Building Healthy Work Relationships

Building healthy work relationships is essential for creating a positive and productive work environment. When we have strong relationships with our colleagues, it improves communication, fosters trust, and enhances overall job satisfaction. Here are some practical steps you can take to build healthy work relationships:

  1. Developing a Positive Attitude: One of the first steps in building healthy work relationships is to approach your interactions with a positive attitude. As the Dalai Lama once said, "Choose to be optimistic, it feels better." Positivity is contagious, and by radiating positivity, you can create a warm and welcoming atmosphere in the workplace.

  2. Showing Respect: Treating others with respect is crucial in building healthy work relationships. Respect is not just about being polite; it involves acknowledging the value and contributions of each individual. Albert Einstein wisely said, "I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university." Remember, everyone deserves to be treated with respect, regardless of their position or role in the organization.

  3. Active Listening: Good communication is the foundation of healthy work relationships. One of the most important aspects of communication is active listening. When someone is speaking, give them your full attention, show interest, and validate their feelings. As Stephen R. Covey wrote in his book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." By practicing active listening, you show others that their opinions and thoughts matter.

  4. Building Trust: Trust is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, including work relationships. Trust is earned through consistent actions and open communication. It is vital to be reliable, keep commitments, and follow through on promises. As Rwandan humanitarian and activist Immaculée Ilibagiza stated, "Trust is earned when actions meet words." By being honest, transparent, and dependable, you can cultivate trust within your work relationships.

  5. Collaboration and Teamwork: Healthy work relationships thrive on collaboration and teamwork. Embrace opportunities to work together with your colleagues, share knowledge, and support each other's professional growth. As Helen Keller once said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."5 By fostering a spirit of cooperation, you can create a strong and cohesive work environment.

Remember, building healthy work relationships takes time and effort. It requires genuine care and interest in others and a willingness to invest in the growth and development of those around you. By following these steps, you can create a harmonious work environment where everyone feels valued and supported.

Improving Communication in the Workplace

Effective communication is the key to a harmonious and productive work environment. When communication flows smoothly, teams can collaborate efficiently, ideas can be shared effectively, and conflicts can be resolved amicably. On the other hand, poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and a lack of trust among team members. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize and continuously work on improving communication in the workplace.

The Power of Active Listening

One of the most important aspects of effective communication is active listening. When we listen actively, we not only hear the words being said but also pay attention to the speaker's tone, body language, and emotions. This helps us understand the full message being conveyed and allows us to respond appropriately.

As Albert Einstein once said, "I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university." By adopting a curious and open mindset, we can foster better communication in the workplace and show respect for all team members.

Clear and Concise Communication

Another crucial aspect of effective communication is clarity. It is essential to express ideas and information clearly and concisely, avoiding jargon and technical terms when they can be misunderstood. By using simple and straightforward language, we can ensure that our message is understood by everyone.

Tony Robbins, a motivational speaker, emphasizes the importance of clear communication, stating, "To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others." By taking into account the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of our colleagues, we can tailor our communication to be inclusive and easily understood by everyone.

Utilizing Different Communication Channels

In today's digital age, communication channels have expanded beyond face-to-face conversations. Emails, instant messaging platforms, and video conferencing tools have become integral parts of workplace communication.

When communicating through written channels, such as emails, it is crucial to be mindful of tone and clarity. A message that might sound polite in person could be interpreted differently when read. Therefore, it is important to re-read emails before sending them and ensure that the intended message is clear and respectful.

Video conferencing tools, on the other hand, allow for face-to-face interactions even when working remotely. This helps build rapport and strengthen relationships among team members.

Regular Feedback and Check-ins

Providing and receiving feedback is a crucial component of effective communication in the workplace. By regularly checking in with team members and providing constructive feedback, we can address any areas for improvement and foster growth.

As Maya Angelou once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." When giving feedback, it is important to be mindful of emotions and deliver it in a constructive and supportive manner. This helps create a positive and safe environment for open communication.

Improving communication in the workplace is vital for the success of both individuals and the organization. By actively listening, promoting clear and concise communication, utilizing different communication channels, and providing regular feedback, we can foster an environment where everyone feels heard, valued, and motivated to collaborate effectively.

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Embracing Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity in the workplace is not just a buzzword – it is a crucial aspect of building a successful and inclusive organization. Embracing diversity means recognizing and valuing the unique qualities that each individual brings to the table – whether it be their background, experiences, or perspectives.

Why is diversity important?

Diversity fosters creativity, innovation, and better problem-solving. When people with different backgrounds and perspectives come together, they bring a variety of ideas and solutions to the table. As the renowned business leader and philanthropist Richard Branson once said, "Diverse teams make better decisions, create stronger products, and contribute to a more inclusive society."

Benefits of embracing diversity

  • Increased creativity and innovation: A diverse workforce brings together individuals with different ways of thinking and approaching challenges. This diversity of thought can lead to creative solutions and innovative ideas.

  • Better decision-making: Embracing diversity ensures a range of perspectives are shared, leading to more well-rounded and informed decision-making processes.

  • Improved problem-solving: Diverse teams have the advantage of considering multiple angles and finding more effective solutions to complex problems.

  • Enhanced company reputation: Promoting diversity in the workplace helps organizations build a positive reputation, attracting top talent and clients who value inclusivity.

  • Increased employee engagement and retention: When employees feel that their unique backgrounds and perspectives are valued, they are more likely to feel engaged and committed to their work.

Creating an inclusive environment

Embracing diversity goes beyond simply hiring individuals from different backgrounds. It involves cultivating an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome and respected. Here are some ways to foster inclusivity in the workplace:

  1. Educate and raise awareness: Provide training and workshops to create awareness about diversity, inclusion, and unconscious biases. This can help employees understand the importance of diversity and create a more inclusive work culture.

  2. Promote diverse leadership: Actively seek out and promote individuals from diverse backgrounds to leadership positions. Seeing diverse leaders at the top sends a strong message that diversity is valued and encouraged within the organization.

  3. Encourage collaboration and teamwork: Foster an environment where diverse teams are encouraged to work together, allowing for a range of perspectives and ideas to be shared. This collaboration can lead to stronger outcomes and mutual respect among team members.

  4. Establish diversity and inclusion policies: Implement formal policies that promote diversity and inclusion. This can include equal opportunity hiring practices, establishing employee resource groups, and providing support for underrepresented groups.

Embracing diversity in the workplace is not just about ticking a box or meeting quotas - it is about creating a culture that values and celebrates the unique qualities of every individual. By embracing diversity, organizations can unlock the full potential of their employees and foster an environment of inclusivity, innovation, and success.

How Trust Enhances Work Relationships

Building trust is crucial for fostering healthy and effective work relationships. Trust forms the foundation of any successful professional bond, allowing individuals to work collaboratively and achieve common goals. Trust creates a supportive environment where team members feel safe and valued, enabling them to freely express their ideas and opinions. In this section, we will explore the ways in which trust can enhance work relationships and contribute to career success.

Trust breeds cooperation and teamwork

Trust is the glue that holds teams together. When team members trust each other, they are more likely to collaborate and work towards shared objectives. Trust promotes open communication, encourages brainstorming sessions, and fosters a sense of camaraderie. As a result, productivity increases, and innovative ideas flourish.

Trust encourages open and honest communication

In an environment built on trust, individuals feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and feedback without fearing negative consequences. Open and honest communication helps to avoid misunderstandings, resolve conflicts, and maintain transparency. As Stephen Covey, a renowned author, once said: "Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships."

Trust fosters a positive work culture

When trust exists within a team or organization, it creates a positive work culture where individuals feel supported and valued. Trust allows for constructive feedback, which promotes personal and professional growth. Employees who feel trusted are more likely to feel empowered, take risks, and contribute their best efforts. As Jim Kouzes, a leadership expert, once said: "Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work."

Trust enhances collaboration and problem-solving

In a trusting work environment, individuals are more willing to collaborate and share their knowledge and expertise. Trust enables effective teamwork, as team members rely on each other's abilities and strengths. This collaboration enhances problem-solving capabilities, as diverse perspectives and ideas are brought to the table. As Margaret Heffernan, a businesswoman, once said: "For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate."

Trust facilitates strong professional relationships

Trust is essential for building strong and meaningful professional relationships. When colleagues trust each other, they are more likely to offer support, provide guidance, and lend a helping hand when needed. Trust fosters loyalty, respect, and a sense of belonging, leading to increased job satisfaction and overall career success.

In conclusion, trust plays a vital role in enhancing work relationships and driving career success. Trust breeds cooperation, encourages open communication, fosters a positive work culture, enhances collaboration and problem-solving, and facilitates strong professional relationships. As business magnate Warren Buffett once said: "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." With trust as the foundation, individuals can build strong and lasting work relationships that contribute to their professional growth and success.

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Managing Conflict in the Work Environment

Conflict is inevitable in any work environment. It arises when different individuals have varying opinions, goals, or values. While conflict can be uncomfortable, it serves as an opportunity for growth and improvement. How we manage and resolve conflicts within the workplace can determine the health of our working relationships, as well as our overall career success.

Acknowledging and Addressing Conflict

The first step in managing conflict is to acknowledge its presence. Ignoring or avoiding conflicts will only escalate the situation, leading to further tension and potential damage to work relationships. As the renowned author and business consultant, Ken Blanchard, once said, "The more you can contain your ego, the more realistic you are about your problems. You learn how to listen, and admit that you don't know all the answers. You exhibit the attitude that you can learn from anyone at any time. Your pride doesn't get in the way of gathering the information you need to achieve the best results" .

Once conflict is acknowledged, it is essential to address and resolve it promptly. Here are some strategies to help manage conflicts effectively:

1. Active Listening

Actively listening to others' viewpoints can help foster understanding and promote open communication. When engaged in a conflict, focus on hearing the other person's perspective without interrupting or immediately responding. Reflect on what they are saying and demonstrate empathy. By validating their feelings and thoughts, you create a safe space for productive dialogue.

2. Find Common Ground

Seek areas where you and the other party can find common ground. Identifying shared interests or goals can help establish a foundation for resolution and collaboration. Focus on these shared interests rather than dwelling on differences, as this can facilitate the development of mutually beneficial solutions.

3. Collaborative Problem-Solving

Approaching conflict from a collaborative perspective can lead to win-win outcomes. Encourage brainstorming and invite all parties involved to contribute their ideas and suggestions. By working together towards a shared solution, conflicts can be transformed into opportunities for growth and innovation.

4. Seek Mediation or Third-Party Assistance

In some cases, conflicts may require intervention from a neutral third party. Mediation can provide a structured and impartial environment for resolving conflicts. A trained mediator can help facilitate communication and guide the parties towards finding common ground.

5. Learn from the Conflict

Conflict management offers valuable learning opportunities. Reflect on the underlying causes of the conflict and identify ways to prevent similar situations in the future. By addressing conflicts directly and openly, teams can learn to work together more effectively, enhancing overall productivity and morale.

Conflict is a natural part of any workplace, but how we handle and resolve it determines the impact it has on our careers. By embracing conflict as an opportunity for growth, actively listening, finding common ground, collaborating on solutions, seeking mediation if needed, and learning from the experience, we can better manage conflict and build stronger work relationships.

Effective conflict management is crucial for fostering healthy work relationships and achieving career success. By recognizing and addressing conflicts promptly, utilizing active listening, seeking common ground, engaging in collaborative problem-solving, and learning from the experience, we can transform conflicts into opportunities for growth and positive change. By embracing conflict as a catalyst for learning and improvement, we can create a more harmonious and productive work environment.

How Networking Influences Career Success

Building a successful career is not just about having the right skills and qualifications. It also involves cultivating meaningful connections with the people around you. This is where networking comes into play. Networking can have a profound impact on your career success, opening doors to new opportunities and helping you advance professionally. As Steve Jobs once said:

"Your network is your net worth."

Expanding Your Opportunities

Networking provides you with a platform to meet and connect with professionals from various industries who could potentially help you grow in your career. Attending conferences, seminars, and industry events can offer valuable opportunities for networking. These events give you a chance to learn from experts in your field and build relationships with individuals who possess valuable knowledge and experience.

Gaining Valuable Insights

Through networking, you can gain insights into different industries, job roles, and career paths. Engaging in conversations with professionals from diverse backgrounds allows you to learn about the challenges they face, the trends in their industries, and the skills that are in demand. This knowledge can be invaluable in shaping your career trajectory and making informed decisions about your professional development.

Opening Doors to Job Opportunities

Networking can often lead to job opportunities that may not be advertised or available through traditional channels. Sometimes, a referral or recommendation from someone in your network can get your foot in the door, giving you a competitive advantage over other candidates. According to a survey by LinkedIn, nearly 70% of people were hired at a company where they had a connection, showcasing the power of networking in job search.

Building a Support System

Having a strong network of professionals who support and motivate you is crucial for career success. In times of professional challenges or when seeking advice or guidance, your network can be a valuable source of support. Building genuine relationships with colleagues, mentors, and industry peers can provide you with a support system to rely on as you navigate your career journey.

Enhancing Your Professional Reputation

Networking also plays a significant role in shaping your professional reputation. When you build meaningful connections and establish yourself as a reliable and knowledgeable professional, others are more likely to think of you when opportunities arise. Your network can vouch for your skills, work ethic, and integrity, which can positively influence your reputation within your industry.

In conclusion, networking is not just about exchanging business cards or attending social events. It is about building genuine connections with professionals who can enhance your career journey. By expanding your opportunities, gaining valuable insights, opening doors to job opportunities, building a support system, and enhancing your professional reputation, networking can have a profound impact on your career success.

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Importance of Mentorship in Career Growth

Mentorship plays a crucial role in career growth and development. Having a mentor can provide guidance, support, and valuable insights that can help propel your career forward. As the saying goes, "A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourself and helps bring it out of you." This quote by Bob Proctor truly captures the essence of mentorship.

Mentors are experienced professionals who have already walked the path you aspire to tread. They have gained wisdom and knowledge through their own experiences and can share valuable lessons to help you navigate your career journey more effectively. They can provide advice on career choices, help you set realistic goals, and offer guidance on how to overcome obstacles and challenges along the way.

Mentorship provides a unique opportunity to learn from someone who has been there and done that. By observing and interacting with a mentor, you can gain valuable insights into the industry, learn about best practices, and develop new skills. This can significantly enhance your knowledge and competencies, giving you a competitive edge in your career.

Moreover, a mentor can also serve as a source of motivation and inspiration. They can help you tap into your full potential and push you to aim higher. A study conducted by the American Society for Training and Development found that people who receive mentorship are five times more likely to advance in their career compared to those who do not have a mentor. This demonstrates the significant impact a mentor can have on your professional growth and success.

Furthermore, mentorship provides a safe and supportive environment for personal and professional growth. Mentors can serve as trusted advisors and sounding boards, allowing you to discuss your aspirations, concerns, and challenges. They can offer guidance and feedback, helping you identify areas for improvement and offering suggestions for professional development.

In addition, having a mentor can expand your professional network. Mentors often have established connections and can introduce you to influential individuals in your industry. These connections can open doors to new opportunities, collaborations, and career advancements.

In conclusion, mentorship is an invaluable resource for career growth. Having a mentor can provide guidance, knowledge, support, and inspiration that can propel your career forward. Whether you are just starting out or looking to advance in your field, seeking a mentor can be a game-changer in your professional journey.

Role of Empathy in Strengthening Work Relationships

In today's fast-paced and competitive work environment, the ability to build strong and meaningful relationships with colleagues is crucial for career success. One key element that plays a significant role in strengthening these connections is empathy.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It involves putting yourself in someone else's shoes and truly grasping their emotions, experiences, and perspectives. When empathy is present in work relationships, it can have a profound impact on how we communicate, collaborate, and resolve conflicts.

Building Trust and Connection

When we approach our work relationships with empathy, we create an atmosphere of trust and connection. By taking the time to understand and acknowledge our colleagues' emotions and experiences, we demonstrate that we value them as individuals. This fosters a sense of respect and psychological safety, making it easier for everyone to be open and honest with one another.

As Brené Brown, research professor and author, famously said:

"Empathy is connecting with the emotion that someone is experiencing, not the event or the circumstance."

Enhancing Communication

Empathy also plays a crucial role in enhancing communication in the workplace. When we are empathetic, we actively listen to others, seeking to understand their perspectives and feelings. This helps us to respond in a more compassionate and effective manner.

By showing empathy, we can build bridges of understanding and promote healthy dialogue. The renowned author and leadership expert Simon Sinek once stated:

"Empathy is the ability to listen to and understand what someone else is experiencing from within their frame of reference."

Resolving Conflict with Compassion

Every work environment encounters conflicts at some point. However, how we handle those conflicts can make a significant difference in the strength of our work relationships. Empathy allows us to approach conflicts with compassion and understanding, seeking to find common ground and work towards a solution beneficial to everyone involved.

By genuinely empathizing with our colleagues, we can de-escalate tensions and find mutually agreeable resolutions. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said:

"The root of conflict is rooted in ignorance and intolerance. The only way to overcome conflict is through empathy and understanding."

A Culture of Support and Collaboration

Empathy not only strengthens individual work relationships but also contributes to a positive and supportive work culture overall. When empathy is ingrained in an organization's values and practiced consistently, it fosters a sense of camaraderie and collaboration among colleagues.

As Daniel Goleman, psychologist and author, aptly stated:

"Empathy is the glue that binds people together. It allows us to create a supportive network of connections in the workplace."

Empathy is a powerful tool in the workplace that can enhance work relationships, communication, conflict resolution, and overall work culture. By cultivating empathy and practicing it in our daily interactions with colleagues, we create an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued.

As we strive for career success, let us remember the words of Barack Obama:

"Empathy is at the heart of who we are as human beings, and it's something that should be at the heart of what we do as professionals."

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How to Sustain Effective Work Relationships

Building effective work relationships is an ongoing process that requires effort and dedication. Once you have established a strong foundation with your colleagues and superiors, it is crucial to sustain these relationships to ensure long-term success in your career. Here are some key strategies to help you keep your work relationships strong and thriving:

1. Maintain Regular Communication

Regular and open communication is essential for sustaining effective work relationships. Make an effort to stay connected with your colleagues, both professionally and personally. Schedule regular check-ins, whether through face-to-face meetings, phone calls, or virtual platforms, to keep the lines of communication open.

"Communication is the solvent of all problems, therefore communication skills are the foundation for personal and professional success." - Peter Shepherd

2. Foster Trust and Reliability

Trust is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, including work relationships. Be reliable and follow through on your commitments to earn the trust of your colleagues. Trust can take time to build, but it can be easily broken if you fail to keep your promises or act in an untrustworthy manner. Remember, trust is earned through consistency and integrity.

3. Show Appreciation and Acknowledge Achievements

Take the time to acknowledge and appreciate your colleagues' contributions and achievements. Everyone likes to be recognized for their hard work and efforts. A simple "thank you" or a note of appreciation can go a long way in sustaining positive work relationships. Celebrate successes and milestones together, creating a sense of camaraderie and support within the team.

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." - William Arthur Ward

4. Be a Team Player

Collaboration and teamwork are crucial for a harmonious work environment. Support your colleagues and offer assistance whenever needed. Be willing to share your knowledge and expertise, and be open to learning from others. Being a team player not only strengthens work relationships but also enhances the overall productivity and effectiveness of the team.

5. Handle Conflict with Grace

Conflicts are inevitable in any workplace. It is essential to handle them with tact and grace to avoid damaging work relationships. Instead of letting conflicts escalate, address them promptly and constructively. Actively listen to the concerns of others, find common ground, and work towards a mutually beneficial resolution.

6. Foster Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is vital for sustaining work relationships. Remember to prioritize self-care and set boundaries between work and personal life. Encourage your colleagues to do the same and support each other in achieving a proper work-life balance. By maintaining a healthy balance, you will be able to bring your best self to both your personal and professional relationships.

In conclusion, sustaining effective work relationships is essential for long-term career success. By maintaining regular communication, fostering trust, showing appreciation, being a team player, handling conflicts gracefully, and fostering work-life balance, you can ensure that your work relationships thrive. Remember, a strong network of relationships can open doors, provide support, and contribute to your overall job satisfaction and professional growth.


Improving communication in the workplace is essential for fostering strong work relationships. As Bill Gates once said, "Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess." By actively listening, expressing ideas clearly, and seeking feedback, we can build trust and understanding among our colleagues >to ensure that objectives are met and conflicts are resolved in a timely manner.

Furthermore, embracing diversity in the workplace is not just the right thing to do, but it also enhances work relationships. As Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo, stated, "Diversity and inclusion are not about quotas; they are about making sure that everyone is valued and respected." By embracing different perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds, we can create a more inclusive and innovative work environment. >This can lead to better problem-solving, increased creativity, and higher levels of employee satisfaction and retention.

In summary, to build effective work relationships for career success, it is essential to prioritize communication, embrace diversity, foster trust, and seek mentorship. Developing strong connections with colleagues and superiors can lead to a more fulfilling and impactful career journey. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "The only way to have a friend is to be one."

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