Dear American Girl,
I've been friends with a few girls since we were little. They're fun to hang out with, but sometimes these girls have silly fights with one another. Somehow, I always end up in the middle and have to be the peacekeeper. I love my friends, but I'm tired of the fighting. What should I do?
Here's your advice:
Talk to your friends. Tell them that from now on, they need to solve their problems without involving you. If they try to draw you into a fight, just say, "Sorry, but this is between you two," and leave it at that. If you start to feel uncomfortable, walk away and give them time to resolve the issue. Your friends need to learn to work things out by themselves.
-Amy, age 13, Colorado
When people fight, sometimes it can lead to bullying, and you certainly don't want to get in the middle of that. If the fighting continues or gets worse, it might be time to hang out with other girls.
-Katie, age 10, Virginia
My friends fight about silly things, too. Whenever an argument starts, I interrupt and say, "Is this really worth fighting over?" Usually they realize that it's just a small thing and that being friends is more important.
-Cammie, age 12, New York
I had the same problem. So my friends and I decided to take a break from one another for a couple of weeks. When we met up again, we argued a lot less.
-Amrita, age 11, Washington
Whatever you do, don't pick sides—that'll only make things worse.
-Aqsaa, age 12, New York
There's a phrase I like to say: "Agree to disagree." It means that when two people don't see eye to eye, they can accept the disagreement and move on without continuing the fight. The next time your friends argue, say, "Hey, guys. Can you agree to disagree so that we can do something fun?"
-Lindsay, age 13, Arizona
If the fighting continues, it might be a good idea to hang out with each friend separately, at least until they both cool down. It'll give those two time apart, and you'll stay out of the fray, too.
-Hannah, age 12, New Hampshire
The next time your friends argue, change the subject. For example, if they're squabbling over who won a game, jump in and say, "Hey, speaking of games, don't you have a soccer game this weekend, Bridget?" Interrupt the fight and try to start a new topic.
-Marissa, age 9, Indiana
Ask these girls over to your house, or go to a quiet place where you can all talk. Try to get everything out in the open. Ask each girl to share her side, and calmly come up with solutions together.
-Lydia, age 10, Tennessee
Maybe your friends are frustrated, too, but don't have enough courage to talk about the problem. If you're not feeling comfortable about talking, write a note or an e-mail to each girl. Say how much you value her friendship, and tell her that these fights are making you sad.
-Mikairenne, age 12, Oregon
Your friends might not be aware of how often they fight. Calmly say to them, "You guys mean a lot to me, and being in the middle of your fights makes me feel uncomfortable."
-Jules, age 10, Georgia
Talk to your pals about their fighting. Suggest that you three pick a code word that one of you will shout out when an argument gets out of control, such as, "Pickle!" or "Ostrich!" That'll be the signal for them to stop. At least the word might make them laugh!
-Megan, age 12, Maryland
If this problem gets too big for you to handle on your own, you can always talk to a parent, a trusted adult, or your school guidance counselor.
-Mandie, age 13, New Jersey
When an argument starts up again, say, "If you guys fight, I'm leaving." If the fight continues, just walk away. They'll know you're serious.
-Sarah, age 11, Massachusetts
Try to lighten up the situation. If your friends start to bicker, say in a silly voice, "Oh guys, I can't stand to see you fight!" or crack a joke that always makes them giggle.
-Christina, age 13, Tennessee
My mom always says, "Girls are like trees. When you first plant them, they do fine when they grow close together. But once they become bigger trees, they need a little more space to grow." You and your friends don't have to be friends only with one another. Take a break for a while, and start new friendships with others. Believe me, your relationships with these girls can become stronger if you have room to breathe.
-Morgan, age 11, Oklahoma