DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm worried about my daughter. She is a live-at-home college student who is doing well in school, but she has hardly made any friends. Because she doesn't live on campus, she doesn't hang out there much. As a commuter, she is finding it hard to fit in. Plus, she really is a homebody. She loves being with our family, so she chooses to come home right after school to hang out with us. That is sweet, but I want to urge her to stay at school more, do her homework in the library and just put herself in the mix there. Otherwise, I worry that she will not develop the social skills needed for building her life. For now, we cannot afford to have her stay on campus. What can I do to get her to engage with the other students more? -- Too Close for Comfort, Washington, D.C.
DEAR TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: Talk to your daughter about her interests. Suggest that she join a club at the school that appeals to her, such as drama, music, science, political science, debate, chess or something else. By doing something that she likes, she will feel more confident about stepping out of her comfort zone, and she will meet other students who share her interests. Since she likes to come home right away, suggest that at least one day a week she should stay on campus later to study or go to wherever students tend to hang out.
The one time that young people easily get to meet lots of other young people, either as friends or even potential life partners, is during college. Tell her that this is an important time to be social, so she must make it a priority.