Dear American Girl,

The kids who ride my bus are hard to be around. They're loud and mean, and they say bad things that upset me. They're not bullying me directly, but being around all of that negativity can put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day. I don't really have a choice for which bus I ride. How can I stop absorbing these kids' negative feelings and stay in a good mood?
-Human sponge

Here's your advice:

Can you change seats? If these kids sit at the back of the bus, try sitting at the front of the bus and see if that helps.
-Colette, age 12, Minnesota

Some people try to block out bad things in their lives, but for me, it's different. I have talk to people about it, because even if I block them out, I still know what they are doing. Walk up to these kids when they start acting mean and say something such as, "Hey, could you stop talking like that? It's really bothering me." Depending on their attitudes, they might stop and think the next time they do it. Hope this helps!
-Biddy, age 12, Tennessee

As you get off the bus, tell the driver what is happening. The driver might be able to help. Then go see a friend or do something that you enjoy.
-Hope, age 12, New Jersey

A bunch of fifth-graders on my bus gossip and say negative things. What I do is read and focus on my schoolwork. When that isn't enough, I think about ways that I'll set a better example when I'm one of the "big kids."
-Molly, age 10, Arkansas

I can definitely relate to you on this one. There are some kids on my bus who hit little kids and say mean things to everybody. With them, it all depends on your response. If they say something like, "You're so stupid!" we just say "Yeah, I guess." They only want a reaction and usually will stop if you are calm. You can also try being as nice as possible. Keep a smile on your face, and never let your temper get the best of you. That might stop them from being really mean, and it'll keep you in a good mood, too. Good luck!
-Maya, age 10, Florida

If you hear anything bad, try to ignore it. Listening to music, talking to a friend, or reading a good book could help.
-Mckala, age 11, Washington

Reading, knitting, and meditation have calming powers. Try them!
-Lyn, age 12, California

However scared you might feel, show the bullies that you don't care. This reaction could make them uncomfortable, and they might stop.
-Jane, age 10, New York

That's what it's like for me on my bus. What I do is always sit in a window seat so that I can stare out the window and daydream. That way, I don't notice a lot of what's going on.
-Bailey, age 12, Florida

You could say something to these bullies, even if that seems scary. Say, "You know, it's really not cool to hurt people's feelings." And leave it at that.
-Sarah, age 13, Oregon

It can be very hard to not be influenced when it seems as if everyone around you is making bad choices. I am home-schooled, so I don't know if you would be allowed to do this, but maybe you can bring earbuds and listen to music. Or ask the bus driver if he or she can address the negativity. I hope this helps!
-Olivia, age 13, Kansas

Try saying, "Please don't talk that way. I would appreciate it if you'd stop. Thanks."
-Halli, age 9, Vermont

Have a nice friend sit with you. Talking to a friend could help you ignore the others.
-Billie, age 9, Massachusetts

Reading a good book is an option. Some people are better than others at blocking outside noises while they are reading, but if this works for you, I find that it is a great way to keep my mind off other things.
-Amy, age 14, Colorado

Ask your parents if they have any ideas or if they could get in touch with your school about this problem.
-Laura, age 11, Georgia

There is probably someone else on the bus who doesn't like all of the noise and rude comments, so sit with that person and have a nice conversation.
-Elle, age 12, Canada

Those kids might not know that they're hurting people's feelings. How about telling them? Try, "Hey, let's try to keep it kind here" or " That hurt my feelings. Can you stop?"
-Scarlett, age 9, Michigan

Think of their meanness as a disease that you are determined NOT to catch.
-Evelyn, age 10, Pennsylvania

I have the same problem with the people I ride home from school with. One thing I've found to help is thinking back over my day and remembering all the good things that happened so that I won't be distracted by the negativity around me. The other thing I do is talk to those kids so that they're focused on a conversation with me instead of being negative. Hope this helps!
-An American Girl fan, age 13, California

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