Q.: I am about to leave my summer job to go back to school, and I'm feeling sad. I have become good friends with the other people who work at the camp where I have worked as a counselor. We all live in different parts of the country, and I feel like we are just going to go our separate ways and that will be that. Part of me wants to stay in touch with them, but I don't know how practical this is. We are all in college and have busy lives. I want to ask them if we can stay in touch, but I'm afraid I will get my feelings hurt if I ask and they don't want to do it or don't follow up. Should I just keep my idea to myself or go for it? – Sad to Go, Boston
A.: It's wonderful that you forged positive bonds with your co-workers. I definitely think you should say as much and let your new friends know that you would like to stay in touch. Be honest and express your concern that your lives might be too busy to keep connected, but offer that you would like to try. Get their contact information and be the first to reach out. Don't expect them to communicate all the time. When you think of one another, send a note or make a call.
Q.: My mom had a big job at a top retail company for years. She traveled internationally and was, by all accounts, a big shot. She was fired from her job the other day, and now I am worried about her. She has worked so hard on her career and is so identified with her job. I don't know what she's going to do.
My mom was the principal breadwinner, even though my dad works. I think she and my dad have enough money, at least for now. But it's not the money; it's her. She seems so sad. What can I do to help her feel better? I'm a college student, and she always tries to be there for me when I'm sad. – Worried, New York
A. What makes your mom smile? Think about her favorite foods and favorite activities. While you are at home this summer, invite her to do fun things with you. This may be a chance to spend quality time with your mother that you wouldn't otherwise have because she would have been so busy. Ask your mom to take a break with you and just have fun. Ideas include a day at the spa, a walk in Central Park, going to the movies, hanging out at home or cooking for the family. Pamper her.
You can also trust that your mother will find her way. Anyone who gets fired stings for a bit afterward. But your mother didn't achieve her level of success without being tough and strategic. She will appreciate your tender loving care right now. And she will be back on her feet soon.