Dear American Girl,
I just saw my class list for this coming school year, and I found out that none of my friends are in my class. In fact, I don't get along with several of the kids who are in the class. I'm scared that for the whole year, I'm going to be friendless and bullied. Even though I'm nervous, I want to make the best of things. What can I do to improve this situation?
Here's your advice:
Surely there are one or two kids in your class with whom you can connect. Try to find others who are similar to you and stick by them. Avoid the bullies as much as you can, and if they do end up causing problems, talk to an adult.
-Zoe, age 11, Texas
None of my close friends have ended up in my classes. I see every year as an opportunity to make new friends in my class, plus I get to see my best buds at recess, during lunch, and after school.
-Sam, age 9, Pennsylvania
Even though it might seem impossible, this could be a chance for you to befriend those kids you don't get along with. If they spend more time with you, they might realize that you're a great girl and they were wrong about you.
-Sadie, age 12, Washington
Think of this as a chance to be less distracted by your friends. You might pay attention more during class, resulting in better grades.
-Mackenzie, age 10, Washington
It's likely that in your class, there will be kids like you who don't feel comfortable. Strike up a conversation with someone who looks lonely or anxious. Helping someone feel more comfortable might help you feel better, too.
-Michelle, age 11, California
If you aren't getting along with your classmates, you can always say, "I think we've gotten off to a bad start. Could we try again?"
-Julia, age 8, Massachusetts
Even though you've had trouble with these kids in the past, start your new school year with a clean slate. Don't think of your classmates as bullies, and try to start fresh. You might end up developing some surprising friendships.
-Lainey, age 11, North Carolina
You and your friends can decide to pass a journal to each other between classes. Write down jokes or talk about how your day is going. Just be sure to write in the journal when you have free time, such as during lunch or when your homework is finished in study hall.
-Brittany, age 12, North Carolina
If the kids start to bully you, ignore them. Once they see that they aren't getting a reaction, they might back off. If you're still worried, ask your teacher for the seat farthest from the bullies. Tell your teacher, "I'm not really getting along with the kids who sit near me. Could I sit over here where I won't be distracted?"
-Autumn, age 9, Ohio
The best thing you can do is to be kind and civil to the kids in your class, even the ones you don't get along with. If you stay out of their way, they might stay out of yours.
-Nicole, age 12, Louisiana
You may have had a knee-jerk reaction when you looked at your class list. Take a second look at it—you could have missed a few nice kids on the list. Remember, not everyone in your class will be a bully.
-Sarah, age 11, Massachusetts
Talk to your school counselor—she might be able to help you with this problem.
-Hannah, age 12, Washington
My mom says, "You don't have to like everyone—you just need to try to be nice to everyone." It's great advice, and it has helped me when I haven't gotten along with others.
-Elizabeth, age 13, California
On the first day of school, take a deep breath, walk up to someone in your class who looks nice, and ask her about herself. When I didn't know anyone in my class, that's how I made a new friend.
-Abby, age 8, Missouri
Instead of imagining all of the bad things that could happen, think of the great things a school year could bring, such as meeting new friends, working on cool projects, or joining a team. Have a positive outlook about the upcoming year.
-Rebecca, age 12, Virginia
Remember, you don't have to be friends with just the kids in your class. You can make friends with kids in other grades, too. I have lots of friends at school who are older or younger than I am.
-Elena, age 11, North Carolina
I'm having the same problem, so my friends and I are joining an after-school art club together. It will be a great way to hang out, even if we can't be in the same class.
-Chrissy, age 12, Texas
Show up for class with a smile and a good attitude. Say hello to your classmates and ask how they are. Trust me—it'll make a big difference. I used to be a bully magnet, and now I'm a bully buster because of my strength and optimism. Believe in yourself, and know that you are a wonderful person.
-Pauline, age 13, North Carolina