Dear American Girl,
I have a good friend who happens to be a boy. The problem is that my friends and brothers laugh at me for being friends with him, and they say I "like" him. When I say that's not true, they sarcastically reply, "Yeah, right." I want to continue a friendship with him, but I'm tired of the teasing. What should I do?
Here's your advice:
When these kids tease you, try your best to stay calm. If you make a big scene about not liking him, they might suspect the opposite. Show them that being friends with a boy is not a big deal.
-Allie, age 13, California
Who cares that you're friends with a boy? If you're having fun with him, ignore everybody. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. He's your friend.
-Stephanie, age 12, Washington
Just say to your friends and brothers, "Look, whether you believe me or not, it's still the truth." They might think twice the next time they're tempted to tease you.
-Holly, age 10, Indiana
Talk to your friends and brothers about how you feel. They probably mean the teasing to be lighthearted and don't realize how much it bothers you. If the teasing doesn't stop after you talk to them, discuss this with your parents or a counselor.
-Olivia, age 12, New York
The next time someone says that you "like" this boy, say, "Wow, I didn't know that. Thanks for telling me." He or she might get the message that you're not taking the comments seriously.
-An American Girl fan, age 10, Pennsylvania
Talk to your friends and siblings, and ask them how they would feel if you teased them about the same thing. It might help for them to put themselves in your shoes.
-Allison, age 11, Missouri
I have lots of friends who are boys, and my brother has teased me about me "liking" them, too. I just tell him, "Yes, I do like him. I like him as a friend." That usually puts an end to the teasing.
-Katherine, age 12, Massachusetts
Tell these kids that there is nothing wrong being friends with a nice person. So what if he's a boy? If he's a kind and great friend, that's all that matters. It's better to be friends with a kind boy than a mean girl.
-Aylin, age 10, Connecticut
Don't let these people get to you. They are just saying things to get a reaction out of you, and if they don't get one, you win. Just say nothing or walk away. That might make them stop.
-Paige, age 12, Washington
If your friends or brothers start to tease you again, jump in and change the subject. You could say, "Who wants to go play soccer?" or "I want to tell you about this funny movie I saw the other day."
-Alexa, age 9, Canada
Whatever you do, don't end a perfectly good friendship just because others don't understand it. Realize that these kids' attitudes are immature and the fact that you are friends with a boy is mature of you.
-Elodie, age 11, Washington
I think the best way to handle this kind of teasing is to just joke along with them. Instead of denying it, you could roll your eyes and say in a silly voice, "Yup. You guys are right. In fact, we're announcing our wedding date tomorrow!"
-An American Girl fan, age 13, New Hampshire
If these kids say that you "like" this boy, you could look them in the eyes and say, "Come on. Grow up," and leave it at that.
-Jacqueline, age 12, California
First of all, be proud of yourself for being loyal to your friend even in the midst of teasing. It takes a brave heart to do that. Second, if someone starts to tease you, look her in the eye and say, "I don't appreciate your comments about my friend, and I'd like you to stop." When these people see that you're serious, they might start to respect your choice to continue this friendship.
-Elena, age 13, South Africa