Dear American Girl,

I started at a new school this year, and even though I'm almost halfway through the year, the kids still call me "the new girl." All the kids are already in friend groups, so I often feel left out, especially when I sit alone on the bus. The other kids don't include me in their games or conversations, and it makes me mad sometimes. Is there anything I can do to not feel so left out?
-Not the new girl

Here's your advice:

I started at a new school this year, too, and I've learned that if you wait for people to reach out to you, you might be waiting for a while. So, reach out to them. Compliment someone on his drawing or congratulate a classmate on getting an A on a test. See what happens.
-Sabrina, age 11, Indiana

If someone calls you "the new girl," all you have to say is, "You know what? I'm not new anymore. So you don't have to call me that anymore."
-Elizabeth, age 8, South Carolina

Try to make friends with girls who aren't already in friend groups. Look around your school and see if there are a couple of ungrouped girls who seem nice. I tried that, and now we're starting our own book club.
-Shelby, age 10, Indiana

Instead of focusing on your own problem, keep your eyes open for a girl who may be having the same problem as you. If you're on the bus and you see someone sitting alone, ask her if you can sit down and get a conversation going. It could be the start of a great friendship.
-Madi, age 11, Georgia

Start a conversation by giving someone a compliment. You could say, "Hey, I like your shoes. Where did you get them?" Giving someone a compliment can lead to a conversation, and you might find out that you have something in common.
-An American Girl fan, age 12, Michigan

There's nothing wrong with being new. Remember, every person will be "the new kid" at some point in his or her life.
-Tiffany, age 11, Michigan

Try to make friends by getting out of your comfort zone. Talk to people more, and even crack a few jokes. People might want to be friends with you, but they might not want to push you because they think you are shy. Be yourself and you could have some new friends before you know it.
-Greta, age 10, Connecticut

Instead of waiting to be included in a game during recess, ask if you can play and jump right in. You could not only make a new friend, but have someone to sit with on the bus, too. Being the new girl shouldn't stop you from making friends.
-Katie, age 11, New Jersey

If you feel like you're carrying around these lonely feelings all day long, pour them into a diary instead. You could feel a lot better and it could become easier for you to make friends.
-Maggie, age 9, Indiana

I've moved a lot, and the best advice I can give you is this: don't change who you are to join a group. Be true to yourself, and you'll make friends who like you for you.
-Zoey, age 10, Indiana

Sometimes kids won't be friendly to you unless you are friendly to them. Try smiling at a girl who seems kind or start a conversation about her bracelet. If you're not the new girl, you should stop acting like you are one and think of your classmates as your friends.
-Abby, age 11, Washington

One good way to make friends is meeting kids who have similar hobbies and interests similar to yours. Start by joining a club that focuses on something you're interested in, and you just might meet people who are as awesome as you are.
-Mackenzie, age 12, Ohio

Could it be that you're not trying hard enough to be included? Sometimes I feel left out, too. My mom says that I need to socialize more, and not wait around for other people to make the first move.
-Agnes, age 11, Pennsylvania

If this problem gets to be too much for you to handle on your own, it might be time to talk to a teacher, parent, or other trusted adult.
-Camilla, age 10, Hawaii

I know how you feel, because at my school, I'm the new girl, too. It can be hard to make friends when the others have been friends for a while. Try to make friends with people who seem nice and invite them to your house for one-on-one time to get to know them better. Always be kind to everyone, and you'll find your place eventually. Hope this helps!
-Krishnaya, age 11, California

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