Understanding the “Summer Camp Effect” – Why Brief Yet Intense Relationships Leave a Lasting Impact

“Why am I so attached to this person I’ve only known for an hour?

I don’t know anything about him, why are these things happening? ”

Some friends may have heard this narration by Shu Qi, which appeared in her voice work “Tram”. It was a story about wandering on the streets of Hong Kong, and then parting ways with a boy I just met.

This song “Tram” has been collected by more than 220,000 people on NetEase Cloud Music. In addition to Shu Qi’s voice and Nian Baili’s Hong Kong style, there may be another reason for this “fleeting” romance. Relationships feel fascinating, and emotional.

Many people have experienced such “an hour”, or “an afternoon”, “a few days”, or “a week”. For a very brief period of time, you share a very intense level of intimacy with someone, and people think, “It would be great if it could always be like this.” But the reality is that when the time is up, you can only go so far.

I had this feeling many years ago. A girl I met at a concert and I made an appointment the next day to go shopping in this strange city where everyone was visiting for the first time. Then throughout the morning and afternoon, we kept chatting and talked about a few people in this small city. Visited all the attractions. After the museum closed, one took a flight to the north and the other took the high-speed train back to the south.

Soon we were no longer in contact. Miraculously, I found that that afternoon was like an ant in amber. As time went by, it seemed to be constantly covered with new resin. When I recalled it, it became more and more dreamy and nostalgic.

As a result, after constantly beautifying my memories, I can no longer objectively recall the real details of that afternoon. I can only comfort myself: “If it is really so beautiful, I will definitely work hard to pursue that girl.”

For a long time, I didn’t know how to explain the ambiguity that quickly heated up in that afternoon, let alone how the climate beautified it over the years.

Until, not long ago, I heard such a word——

“Summer Camp Effect”.

The fleeting time,

It’s the emotional medicine

The “summer camp effect” is a very new concept. It was not even proposed by a professional psychologist, but by the American movie star Jesse Eisenberg when he recalled the experience of filming a certain movie. His exact words were this –

“When I make a movie with other people, I leave home for a long time and go to other cities.

During that time in that city, we would become the closest family to each other and spend the best and hottest summers together. It was like a summer camp trip.

And when the summer ended, our reasons for continuing to be together disappeared. We went back to our separate lives and stopped contacting each other. Because ultimately you and I are going to be on different journeys and take different paths. ”

To put it simply, the few months of filming together are like going through a summer camp, and the people on the crew will quickly become each other’s closest family.

Jesse Eisenberg

Jesse’s original intention was to express his feelings about getting along with his colleagues on the set, but the meaning of this passage was quickly extended in European and American cultural circles, and people found that it could be perfectly translated to those short, romantic, and independent of daily life. in other experiences. Thus, the term “Summer Camp Effect” was born.

People began to call the intimate connections experienced in short, accidental, independent and outside-of-life experiences, as well as the long-lasting nostalgia and beautification of memories that followed, the “summer camp effect.”

In fact, more than ten years before the “summer camp effect” appeared, the movie “Before Dawn”, which was loved by young people, told a classic story about the “summer camp effect”. It seems that the relationship between the male and female protagonists heats up quickly just because of the high degree of soul compatibility; but in fact, perhaps the “summer camp effect” also plays an important factor in it.

At the very beginning of the movie, the hero and heroine meet on a train and decide to get off the train and spend the day together. The whole process is full of chance.

The “summer camp effect” first requires serendipity, which you can also feel from Jesse’s words. When you enter a crew or a summer camp and spend some time with a group of people, you can never predict what this group of people will be like, what will happen during this time, even where you will go, and what you will encounter. Serendipity is the underpinning of the summer camp effect.

Vienna, the city where the protagonists roam in the movie, is also an absolutely unfamiliar place for these two young people from France and the United States. The day they spend here is more like an easter egg outside of daily life.

This feeling of “independence from daily life” is another characteristic of the “summer camp effect”. As Jesse said, “Spend the best and hottest summer together.” This summer is also unique and cannot be copied.

Of course, there is also the ending that will eventually come – at dawn, the boys will return to the United States and the girls will return to France. I even think that it was this ending that was known in advance that allowed their relationship to develop in a constant “rehearsal of reluctance”. There is nothing that makes people appreciate more than losing. If anything, it is knowing in advance that you will lose.

The premise of “time is limited and we will eventually be separated” is the soul of the “summer camp effect”. After all, summer camp wouldn’t be summer camp if it didn’t break up. And the most beautiful thing about summer camp is that this summer has to end.

Some people call the summer camp effect,

Called “the pinnacle of BE aesthetics”

Because of these factors, it is very logical that the “defective ending” in the traditional sense is the fate of these “summer camps”.

I went to interview several “summer camp” stories, and none of them were sad——

Not long after graduation, I went to Kenya to participate in an aid project in Africa. I would only stay there for a year. There, I met a local staff member who connected with us. He is a boy who returned to Kenya after studying in China. He took me to see the sunset on the savanna, to watch animal migrations, to visit residential areas in the city, and to eat all kinds of strange things… Quick, we both knew we were in love with each other. But we also know that a year later, none of us will be able to overcome the distance and cultural barriers.

Today, I have not seen the sunset on the African grassland for ten years. I still often look at the sunset outside the window and think of my African boy and my African dream.


My “summer camp” was very short, as short as a night road.

When I was in college, I returned to school at two o’clock in the morning one night. A girl at the school gate asked me if I could walk back to the dormitory with her. She was scared. The school is quite big, and we walked there for about twenty minutes. From their respective majors, favorite singers, to why they came back so late, the chat filled every second. Soon, she arrived at her dormitory. I still remember that feeling of reluctance, but I can’t be too proactive because I am also a girl.

What is very unfortunate is that I have never seen her again since then. It has been nine years since I graduated. Sometimes when I walk at night, I feel that it would be nice if she was here.

——MC Jun

On a business trip on a train, I sat next to a man. Then, the plot was very similar to “Before Dawn”. We met on the train and started chatting. Of course, we didn’t get off the train and go somewhere, but we were on that train for seven hours, and during those seven hours, there were a few moments where I was pretty sure I felt some pink bubbles. I think this man must have felt it too.

Later, he got off the bus first and we exchanged contact information. Unfortunately, I looked at his circle of friends and found that his style is very different from the person I met. I’m afraid that if I continue to chat, I will be even more disappointed. So, I didn’t have much contact with him afterwards. Let the people you know from summer camp stay at summer camp.


Due to space reasons, let me share these three stories with you first.

If you open a book now and search for “summer camp effect”, you will see someone saying that it is “the pinnacle of BE aesthetics.”

There are so many life plots with “BE aesthetics”, why is the “summer camp effect” the pinnacle? This may be because, in ordinary “BE”, regret is a result. The reason why those endings are bad is because people have failed in the process of fighting and escaping regrets again and again.

But the “summer camp effect” is premised on regret, which means that two people in the summer camp clearly and voluntarily accept regret, but also have to be happy together for a while first. It’s like happily riding a train together that will eventually rush off a cliff. This is reminiscent of what Romain Rolland said is the only heroism in the world: “Recognize the truth of life and still love life.”

Not only that, the reason why the “summer camp effect” can be generated is because this regret will be transformed back and forth. Before the ending comes, it can make the process more romantic and passionate than ordinary romance. You can even say that the happiness in this process is all the flesh that grows from the destined regrets.

It’s no wonder that this relationship, filled with a sense of fate and sacrifice, is called the “culmination.”

Summer camp is over,

But everyone will have their own souvenir

However, we don’t necessarily have to look at the “summer camp effect” with a particularly sad mood.

I still remember that at the beginning of the article, I described that “summer camp memory” as amber. After stretching the length of time wider, I often feel that I am very lucky to have had such an experience. It is now a beautiful amber and will always embellish the timeline when I recall the past.

Moreover, in the process of constantly thinking about this experience, I gradually began to know better what kind of people I like and how to get along with each other. Some of the elements in this “summer camp” can be brought into my own. Later in love.

Therefore, I can establish a more stable “summer camp” in my daily life.

On the other hand, after understanding the “summer camp effect”, I also understood that the reason why those short-term experiences seemed beautiful was probably because they were short and special, so I continued to beautify them.

(Your brain is not honest. Reply to “Memories” in the background of the official account to see how memories deceive you.)

You can also take this opportunity to recall more carefully. Is the person who has been missed really so beautiful? Or does it appear beautiful when he is integrated into the experience?

If you are already in a relationship, you can actually take advantage of the “summer camp effect” by creating a summer camp with your partner.

As mentioned earlier, the three elements of the “summer camp effect” – “accidentality”, “independence from daily life”, and “limited time” – can actually provide some inspiration for our intimate relationships.

For example, don’t just be satisfied with maintaining daily life together and repeating the daily routine of daily necessities. You should also occasionally plan something new for your relationship, such as a short trip or a novel experience. This is okay;

Or, you can create surprises unilaterally, or try not to arrange a particular outing or date in any detail, leaving room for “accidents to happen” and creating a sense of “accident and surprise” for everyone;

Of course, these “adventures” are destined to be short-term, but this is exactly what we need – a time-limited romance that can add points to a relationship.

It seems a bit abstract to say this, and I think of a couple that can be used as a reference – Phil and Claire from “Modern Family” (pictured above). The couple already has three children. Every Valentine’s Day, they play the role of a businessman, Clive, and his mistress Juliana.

None of them know what surprises “Clive” and “Julianna” in front of them will bring to them this Valentine’s Day. This classic comedy will use this incident as a joke almost every season. But the laughter is still there. The middle-aged couple can still maintain their pure passion for each other, and it is inseparable from this “summer camp” that they reserve for themselves every year.

Okay, I hope I can give you some inspiration.

error: Content is protected !!