Dear American Girl,

My best friend and I have been buds for as long as I can remember. We have lots of fun together, and I like her because she doesn't get caught up in drama. That is, until now. All of a sudden, my friend can't stop gossiping! She's nice to me, but she often says unkind things about other girls in our class. I want my drama-free friend back. What should I do?
-No more gossip!

Here's your advice:

Try to change the subject to something you're comfortable talking about. You don't need to get caught up in the gossip, too!
-Jessica, age 11, Texas

Politely tell your friend that you'd rather not talk about people, because it might hurt their feelings and you wouldn't like it if somebody talked about you in that way. Telling her this might make her think about how gossip can hurt others.
-Kallie, age 13, Georgia

Talk to your friend about her gossiping. Coming up with a code word that you can say when she starts talking about others, such as "applesauce," might help her break the habit.
-Lauren, age 11, Wisconsin

One way to handle the gossip is to simply ignore it. The next time your friend starts saying unkind things about someone, pretend that it went one ear and out the other. Say, "What are you having for lunch today?" or "Wow, that test was hard!"
-An American Girl fan, age 10, Washington

If your friend gossips again, casually say that you don't like to participate in gossip because it's not nice. She might start to feel guilty and stop.
-An American Girl fan, age 11, Michigan

You can tell your friend, "I'd appreciate it if our conversations could be about our own stuff instead of other people."
-Molliee, age 13, Texas

My advice is to tell your friend how you feel. Make sure you aren't rude about it, though. If you two really are best buds, she should at least listen to your opinion. She will probably try to understand your feelings if she wants to continue to be your friend.
-Molly, age 12, Illinois

When my friend and I used to gossip, we got caught up in a lot of drama and almost ended our eight-year friendship. So we talked it out and made an oath to not gossip about others (or about each other). Doing that helped a ton, and we are much happier.
-Iris, age 11, Alaska

You could tell your friend that you're not interested in gossip. But if the problem continues, it might be time to talk to your school's guidance counselor or another trusted adult.
-Ella, age 10, North Carolina

Maybe your friend has something more going on in her life. She might not be feeling so great about herself and feels better when she puts others down. Talk things out with her and see if you can find out why she's suddenly gossiping. Be a friend.
-Vittoria, age 11, New York

Even though you're not the one being treated unkindly, you can still tell your friend how you feel. It takes courage to stand up for yourself and your friends. If she's a true friend, she'll understand and try to stop gossiping. You just might get your old friend back.
-Karalyn, age 8, Pennsylvania

One response to her gossip could be, "That's a rumor, and you don't know if it's even true. Let's stop talking about it." If she doesn't, say it again. She might get the hint.
-Natalie, age 11, Washington

If you talk to your friend about her gossiping and she continues to do it, it might be a good idea to distance yourself from her for a while. Why spend time with a girl who's negative all the time?
-Jillian, age 12, North Carolina

Talk about others kindly (the opposite of gossip). You could say, "I really was glad when I saw Kaitlin making the new girl feel welcome." Your nice words may rub off on your friend.
-Natalie, age 11, Wisconsin

Your friend might be gossiping because other kids in your class are gossiping and she feels left out. Don't start gossiping with her just to keep the friendship going. Instead, say nice things about the person she's talking about. Turn the negative comments into positive ones.
-Julianne, age 10, North Carolina

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