By: Sito

Dear Sito,

This summer my family is not going to Deal. It is because it costs a lot of money and my dad just started a new job. Last summer we also didn’t go. I don’t really care about Deal, but I know that when my friends come back they will all have stories about Deal that I won’t know. What can I do so that I won’t feel so left out at school when my friends talk about Deal?

Signed, Deal Deprived

Dear Deal Deprived,

It sounds like you had an experience this past year, when many of your friends came back from spending their summer vacation in Deal, New Jersey and you felt left out of the conversations. If the friends that are closest to you are going to Deal again this year and you are not, it is understandable that you would feel some anxiety about feeling left out again in September, when school starts and you can’t share in their conversations, private jokes and local references.

The first thing you should realize is that worrying about it is probably the worst part. Even if you felt left out last fall, you are a year older now and it’s likely that the same things won’t bother you as much.

With this in mind, you can also minimize the effect by making an effort to stay in touch with your best friends throughout the summer. Write letters or emails (include photos), arrange weekend sleepovers (invite your friends to Brooklyn or visit them in Deal), encourage your family to take a day trip to Deal so you could meet up with friends on a Sunday afternoon or during the weeks when there is no day camp, etc. Interestingly, I have noticed that when it comes to one of the most basic forms of communications, the telephone, some younger people especially, are sometimes too lazy or otherwise reluctant to call their friends. Perhaps you can overcome this and encourage your friends in Deal to make an equal effort to stay in touch at least once a week. If possible, you can even add novelty to your communication by scheduling a regular videoconference session on a properly equipped computer.

But even if you don’t stay in touch as much as you’d like to with your friends, remember that many people, like you, don’t go away for the summer, but still have a lot of fun and lots of stories to tell. You have a beautiful summer ahead of you – warm weather, long days, and no school work. Use the opportunity to make memories and new friends and try not to let needless anxiety over a few schoolyard conversations prevent you from having a blast!

All the best,