If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Senior year is approaching, which means my school is about to get extra-cliquey. All the fun senior traditions like Halloween and prom are heavily rooted in social groups. Unfortunately, I don’t exactly have a definitive friend group. During lunch, I wander from table to table talking with whomever I happen to see. None of my friends seem to get along with one another, so I don’t think there’s any chance of me forming my own group. Plus, all of last year and part of the year before, we were at home, unable to meet up in whatever groups we had. Everything feels awkward now as I think about going back to school. I don’t want to feel left out or sad when it comes to these events. What should I do? — High School Cliques
DEAR HIGH SCHOOL CLIQUES: Many students are feeling awkward about what the next school year is going to be like. Social life is important in school, and many students have missed out on more than a year of being in one another’s company. Chances are, some of the previous cliques will have disbanded as other friend groups have emerged.
Rather than focusing on who ends up where, set your sights on your intentions. What do you want to have happen in your senior year? Which events do you want to attend? With whom would you like to attend them? Pick a couple of teens you think are friendly and not part of any previously set clique. Start spending time with them. Do your best to build a bond with them now so that you naturally feel an affinity toward each other. Talk about the social activities early on to get a sense of whether they have interest in attending. Suggest that you go together.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My friends always want to go out to a restaurant or go clothes shopping at the mall. My dad recently lost his job at the bank, and I don’t have that kind of money right now. On one hand, I think my friends would understand if I told them I couldn’t afford to spend so much money, but I also don’t want them to know my family is struggling financially. The last thing I want is pity. Do I tell my friends or keep my family’s troubles to myself? — Scared and Alone
DEAR SCARED AND ALONE: Is there anyone in your friend group with whom you can confide? I agree that you may not want to broadcast your family’s situation to the whole group, but it would help if you had someone who could be your confidant. Do your best to pick someone who will keep your secret.
Know, however, that there is no shame in a family dealing with reality. Thousands of Americans lost their jobs during the pandemic, and many have yet to recover precious income that will support their households. If your friends do find out, they should be supportive, but we can never be certain of how others will act.
You can go shopping with your friends and enjoy the experience without spending money. My mother used to call it window shopping. Sometimes we would literally just enjoy the fashion through the glass. Other times, we would go in and try things on. Sometimes we would make small purchases. You can look, try on and put back. That can be fun in and of itself