Dear American Girl,

My best friend and I are on the same basketball team. I thought it would be fun to be teammates together, but since we started playing, she has become very bossy. If I make a mistake, she calls me out on it in front of everyone and embarrasses me. She's starting to feel more like a coach than my friend. What should I do?
-Not having a ball

Here's your advice:

Share your feelings with your friend. Take a quiet moment to talk to her (not during practice), and try to straighten things out. It just might help.
-Emma, age 11, West Virginia

Whatever you do, don't react to your friend's comments during practice by saying unkind things to her or getting angry. That'll just make things worse, and then your friendship could really fall apart.
-Chloe, age 14, Maryland

There are a couple of things you could say to your friend. You could remind her that every girl on the team is equal and there's only one coach. Or you could tell her that every person makes mistakes from time to time and you don't appreciate it when she points out yours.
-Alex, age 11, California

If you are nervous about confronting your friend, share your concerns with your coach after practice. Your coach may be able to handle the situation without having a big talk with your friend.
-Cara, age 12, Pennsylvania

Some people are really competitive. It sounds as if your friend wants the team to be successful. That's OK, but you should ask her to not comment on your performance during practice.
-Dianna, age 11, Texas

It sounds as if your friend is trying to take charge. The next time this girl calls you out on a mistake at practice, say, "Hey, I'm doing my best."
-Brooke, age 13, Kentucky

Tell your friend that you appreciate that she's trying to help you improve, but you'd rather ask the coach for extra help if you need it.
-Adelaide, age 12, Maryland

Take your friend aside and say, "I feel like your comments during practice are starting to affect our friendship. We've had a lot of fun times together, and I don't want a small problem like this to hurt our friendship."
-An American Girl fan, age 10, Kentucky

At practice, if your friend says something bossy or rude to you, ask yourself, Would a bully say that? If the answer to that question often is yes, then tell your friend that you're feeling confused and worried that she's acting more like a bully than your best friend.
-Allie, age 9, Texas

One way to respond to a bossy remark could be, "Thanks, but no one's perfect."
-Abby, age 13, Tennessee

Maybe your friend thinks she is helping or encouraging you, but you are seeing her comments differently. Talk to your friend and try to get on the same page.
-Brigid, age 11, New Jersey

Sometimes people say things that come across the wrong way, and they don't realize that they're being rude. If you talk to your friend and she continues to embarrass you, discuss this with a parent or another trusted adult who can help.
-Grace, age 13, Georgia

The next time your friend is bossy, say, "Hey, we're here to have fun!" or "Let's just focus on playing the game."
-Sarah, age 9, Virginia

Your friend might not realize that she's being bossy. Some people just tend to fall into more of a leadership role, but that's not an excuse to be bossy and embarrass you in front of others. You could say to your friend, "Sometimes at practice, your comments embarrass me in front of our teammates. I know you're trying to help me and the team, but I'd rather get the help I need from our coach. Let's just play together as friends, OK?" You can tell her how you feel and be kind about it, too.
-Allison, age 13, Kansas

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