Dear American Girl,

School is starting soon, and I'm not excited at all—my best friend will be going to a different middle school. We've been in the same class since kindergarten! How do I face middle school without my pal by my side?
-Friend-less

Here's your advice:

It will be hard going to a school without your friend, but that doesn't mean you'll never see her again. Plan to spend time together on the weekends or after school. Also, you and your friend could join a club or team together outside of school.
-MaKayla, age 13, Indiana

My best friend and I will be going to different schools, too. I'll miss my pal, but we've already worked out a plan to keep in touch. We're going to call each other every day after school, even if it's just for five minutes. We'll talk about our teachers, classes, and how we both are doing.
-An American Girl fan, age 11, Oklahoma

There are lots of potential pals in your middle school. On the first day of school, just smile, say hi, and be friendly. Even little gestures can lead to big friendships.
-Isabella, age 8, New Jersey

Try to look on the bright side—you may not be with your friend, but this is a chance for you to meet new people. You're not replacing your best friend. You're just adding new faces to your circle of friends.
-An American Girl fan, age 13, England

Before school starts, you and your friend should make things for each other that remind you of your friendship, such as bracelets, painted stones, or framed photos. Look at your keepsake whenever you miss your pal.
-Sabrina, age 10, California

If you're feeling nervous on the first day of school, here's an easy conversation starter: "What did you do over the summer?" It's a great icebreaker, and it's a topic most people will be excited to talk about.
-Hannah, age 13, Canada

It's normal to be scared, but remember that your friendship isn't over just because you're going to different schools. The weekend after you start school, ask your friend to come over for a sleepover. You can talk about school and help each other with problems.
-Mariah, age 12, Colorado

In your homeroom or in the hallway, look for a few familiar faces and strike up conversations with those kids. The more people you talk to, the more new friendships you can start.
-Brinley, age 10, California

If you have a locker, hang up a picture of you and your friend. Seeing that picture during the day could give you a little boost of happiness and remind you of your friendship with her.
-Nastasia, age 11, Georgia

School can be a busy time, so if you aren't able to see your friend very much, think of creative ways to stay in touch. Send things to her in the mail, such as a pack of her favorite gum or a picture of you two. Talk on a video chat, or text each other in your "secret language." There are ways to keep your friendship going, even if you can't see each other every day.
-Melina, age 10, Ohio

Just be yourself! That's how you made friends with your pal in the first place, right? Be friendly, smile, and keep your eye out for people you want to know better. Doing something without your best friend can be hard, but by being yourself, you'll at least start on the right foot.
-Jenna, age 12, Arizona

Remember, you are not alone. Your best friend is going to middle school without you, and I bet there will be lots of other kids who are facing crowds of brand-new faces. It might make you feel better to know that you aren't doing this on your own.
-Clarissa, age 11, Vermont

Start a "mini" club with your friend. Each week, meet to talk about a book together, make crafts, or think of ways to help an endangered animal.
-Abby, age 10, California

My best friend moved away last year. We'd been friends our whole lives, and I was really bummed. When I went back to school, I didn't want to make new friends. But then I joined a drama group, and once I started opening up to people, I made loads of friends. Don't let your sadness about your best friend prevent you from starting new friendships.
-Veronica, age 13, New York

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