Dear American Girl,

There's a girl at school who thinks we are best friends. She always says, "I'm so glad we're best friends," but I don't feel the same way. I think she's nice, but deep down, I know that she's not my best friend. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I don't want to be dishonest with her either. What should I do?
-Not a best friend

Here's your advice:

When she says you two are best friends, you could say, "Well, rather than one best friend, I like to have a few good friends, and I'm glad you're one of them."
-Ava, age 9, Washington

Instead of being negative about this situation, look on the bright side. If this girl likes you a lot, that must mean that you're a kind, awesome person. The next time this girl says you're her best friend, think about it in a positive way and say something nice back to her.
-Ashley, age 10, Pennsylvania

Instead of thinking about how you feel, put yourself in this girl's shoes. Maybe she wants to be best friends with you because she needs some friends to lean on. Even if you aren't best friends, just try to be a friend to her.
-Christine, age 13, Florida

It sounds as if this girl likes and admires you. Even if you don't feel the same way, make an effort to hang out with her now and then. You don't have to be 100% best friends, but you can show that you care.
-Daisy, age 9, Pennsylvania

The good news is that you don't have to be this girl's best friend. Be nice to her, hang out with her, and be her friend. There's nothing dishonest about being nice.
-Evelea, age 12, Illinois

Keep spending time with this girl at school, sleepovers, or anything else that you might do as friends. Maybe you'll get to know her better and you two will get closer. It's not a bad thing to see where this friendship might lead.
-Emily, age 8, Maryland

If this girl says, "I'm so glad we're best friends," you could say, "Yeah, you're a great friend." That way, you won't have to admit that you don't feel the same way, and you're still being kind to her.
-Allison, age 13, California

If you feel that you and this girl should not be friends, slowly edge away from the friendship. You don't have to tell her that you're not best friends, but at the same time, you can choose to not encourage the friendship. Check in with this girl once in a while, but spend time with other friends, too.
-Sarah, age 12, Texas

It sounds as ifthis girl might just be trying to be nice to you, and this is her way of doing it. Focus on what made you friends with this girl in the first place, and try not to think about whether or not you're "best" friends. It doesn't matter.
-Lia, age 13, Washington

If this girl asks you if she is your best friend, just smile and say, "I don't rank my friends. I value all of them equally!"
-Elsie, age 10, New Hampshire

Be careful with this girl's feelings. Remember, when you have a choice between being right and kind, you can choose kind.
-Ria, age 12, California

Don't tell this girl that you're not best friends—it could really hurt her feelings. Instead, be as nice to her as you would with any other friend. "Best friend" is just a title, and it doesn't make a friend any more special. You don't have to choose a best friend. If this girl asks if you're best friends, you could respond, "All of my friends are wonderful, including you, so I don't want to give anyone the Ôbest friend' label." Hope this helps!
-Abby, age 13, Tennessee

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