DEAR HARRIETTE: I am in a fight with my dad about my summer plans. It is not a fight that has interfered with our relationship, but there is a little bit of tension, and I know that he is angry with me. He wanted me to get a job at my old summer camp and spend one last summer away, enjoying campfires and canoeing before it's too late. I chose to stick with a local job in town, because I am going to college next year and I thought one last summer with my school friends would be fun before we moved on. Still, though, I see his point, and I realize that I am going to have a lot of time with little to do. It is too late to get a job at the sleepaway camp, but I am seeking a way to simultaneously mitigate the tension and experience an amazing summer. Do you have any suggestions? -- Stressing About Summer, Westchester, N.Y.
DEAR STRESSING ABOUT SUMMER: It is uncanny how often parents have good reason for their recommendations, isn't it? I do not say that to rub it in. I remind you of this because as you go off to school, do remember to listen to your parents and take their recommendations to heart. This does not mean you have to do everything they say. You are becoming an adult and are learning to make your own decisions and live with the consequences, as you are seeing in this situation.
Do not despair. You can craft a great summer for yourself. Do research on free activities in your town and in Manhattan. Because you are so close to the city, you can do lots of exploration on your own or with friends. On your days off, go on fun adventures. Make the big city your campsite! A few suggestions include: rivertorivernyc.com, cityparksfoundation.org/summerstage/ and shakespeareinthepark.org.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a big falling-out with a good friend, and we have hardly spoken since. That was about two years ago. I saw her recently and realize how much I miss her. How can we come back together, given that a lot of time has passed? -- Missing My Friend, Jersey City, N.J.
DEAR MISSING MY FRIEND: It is possible to mend old wounds. Reach out to your friend and tell her that you miss her. Be that direct. Apologize for so much time passing without your reaching out. Rather than rehashing what happened two years ago, suggest that the two of you get together. If you can be specific about a date, time and location for when you can meet, that would be perfect -- it makes it easy for her to respond.
When you do get together, be present. There may be no need to talk about any of the hurt feelings of the past. Talk to each other. Catch up on your lives. Be a good listener. See if you two can choose to revive your bond.