Dear American Girl,

The girls in my class have been talking behind my back. When I walk by the girls, I hear them whisper my name and laugh. I have been nice to them, so I don't know why they're saying mean things about me. It's starting to hurt my feelings. What should I do, and how can I stay strong?
-Sad

Here's your advice:

You should go to a parent or teacher right away. Tell him or her how you feel, and you can come up with a solution together.
-Kate, age 12, South Carolina

When you walk by these whispering girls, look them straight in the eye and say, "I don't like the way you're talking about me. Please stop." You'll feel much better after standing up for yourself.
-Grace, age 11, Pennsylvania

It sounds as if these girls might feel insecure about themselves. Whenever you hear them whispering about you, hold your head high and ignore them. Seeing you get upset will encourage the gossip even more.
-An American Girl fan, age 12, New Hampshire

Build up your courage and face these girls. The next time they're whispering and you hear your name, go up to them and ask, "I heard my name. Is there something I can help you with?" It might catch them off-guard, and they could be surprised by your directness.
-Kathryn, age 11, Kentucky

One comeback that usually works is just, "Grow up." If that doesn't work, get back-up support from someone who will stand up for you when she hears these girls gossiping.
-An American Girl fan, age 10, Massachusetts

I've overheard girls whispering about me, too. When it happens, I just say, "Hello!" to them with a big smile on my face. It throws them off. Try it, and those girls will see that they're not getting to you.
-Gabrielle, age 12, North Carolina

The next time you hear these girls talking about you, look around the room. Is there a girl sitting on her own who isn't a part of that whispering, giggling group? Approach her and say hi. She may be going through the same thing you are, and you could end up being friends. Also, remind yourself that you are unique and special, and nobody can take that away from you.
-Katie, age 13, New York

Do you consider these girls to be friends? If so, they are not true friends. Seek out trustworthy friendships with girls who care about your feelings and don't gossip behind your back.
-Kayli, age 12, Florida

The next time you hear the girls talking about you, walk up to them and say, "Hey guys, that's not cool. Please stop," in a strong, confident voice while making eye contact.
-Lucy, age 10, Iowa

Make a list of all of the things you like about yourself. Are you good at sports? Have an ear-to-ear smile? Make great gifts for your friends' birthdays? Thinking about how awesome you are might get your mind off of those girls' mean comments.
-Megan, age 8, California

Try to stay positive. Remember that you can't force those girls to like you, no matter how hard you try, but you can always like yourself.
-An American Girl fan, age 10, Pennsylvania

Pretend that you don't care. If you appear to be strong and confident, eventually, you might convince yourself to really feel that way. Your confidence might put a stop to the gossip, too.
-An American Girl fan, age 13, Colorado

The same thing has happened to me. I went to my guidance counselor about the situation, and she told the girls to stop. Life at school was a lot better after my guidance counselor helped me. If the gossiping is getting to you, it might be time to talk to your counselor.
-Lauren, age 12, Wisconsin

Don't show these girls that they're making you sad. Instead, go home and write about it in a journal, walk in your neighborhood to clear your head, or punch a pillow. Just don't let them see that they're getting to you.
-Alexis, age 10, Florida

If you hear these girls saying something about you, look at them, smile, and say, "Thanks!" Once they realize that you don't care about the things they say, they might stop.
-Madeline, age 11, California

Stick with your true friends and don't let these girls get in the way of living your life. Stay strong, and don't be afraid to be exactly who you are!
-Lexi, age 12, New Mexico

Make these girls think about their behavior by asking, "How would you like it if I talked behind your backs?"
-Mattie, age 10, Florida

There was a girl in my class who was mean to me. I wanted to get angry with her, but after I thought about it, I decided to try to be nice to her. After all, if I were unkind to her, I would be acting as she was. After trying the "nice" approach for a while, she left me alone. I think my kindness was making her feel guilty about her behavior. Even though it's hard, continue to be nice to these girls and be the bigger person.
-Kalie, age 12, Iowa

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