The one question Rebecca Sparrow gets asked every time she talks to a group of teen girls.

Video by Mamamia Women's Network.

Being a tween or a teen can be tough. So can parenting one. So how do you get answers to questions you aren’t sure who to ask? That’s where Ask Me Anything comes in. It’s the short, sharp, car-trip podcast giving heartfelt answers to real-life anonymous questions from teenage girls. From friendship dramas to first crushes, author and columnist Rebecca Sparrow is here to listen and offer some advice. And today, we’re publishing one of her answers to one of the real-life question we received

Q. Dear Bec, How do I tell a girl I don’t like her?

Easy, Tiger.

I’m struggling to think of a situation where you actually need to go up to someone and say, “Hey, do you know if our maths homework is due today and BY THE WAY I THINK YOU SUCK.”

Honesty is important but it’s equally important to treat each other with kindness.

Listen to Bec’s answer here: 

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So, there’s someone at school you don’t like and maybe you have good reason. The thing is, there is little to be gained from confronting people and telling them you don’t like them. Nobody takes that information well and before you know it your high school days could turn into the TV show Riverdale. Nobody needs that. You have tests to study for.

So let’s go through two possible scenarios where you are dealing with a girl whom you don’t really like:

A girl you find irritating has started hanging around you or your group.

I know what you’ve done (or thought about doing): you’ve hidden from her at lunch and rolled your eyes when she speaks. And still, she’s hanging around you.

Here’s the thing. You will come to really, really regret behaving like this. When you’re older you’ll realise that this girl was simply lonely or feeling lost. So until she finds friends from her own tribe (and eventually she will) the right thing to do, the KIND thing to do, is to try and see her great qualities instead of the annoying ones. Do I sound like your mother? Probably.

One day, you might be the girl at school or uni or work who needs a friend.

A ‘mean girl’ wants to be your BFF.

What do you do when Cruella de Vil wants to be your new bestie? If you know her idea of fun is getting drunk in the park, trolling school friends on Instagram or skinning Dalmatian puppies to turn them into fur coats, what do you do when she wants to hang out?  Um, PASS but politely and in person. If she keeps harassing you and even asks you, ‘Don’t you like me or something?” then you play the ball not the person. (That’s a cricket analogy, which means keep the focus on her BEHAVIOUR not on her).

For example, you respond with “Cruella, it’s not that I don’t like you, it’s that I don’t like how you treat people and, err, puppies. I think it’s cruel making fun of <insert name> during lunch and I don’t want to be your sidekick. Also the RSPCA want to talk to you.”

Listen to the full 10 episodes of Ask Me Anything here:

I want to stress that when it comes to confrontations with your friends or ANYBODY try to do it in person or over the phone rather than via text, email or any other messaging app on social media which can be shared. It is unethical (and in some cases ILLEGAL) to share messages or photos that have been sent to you without the author’s consent. Don’t be tempted to do it yourself. And, as much as possible, avoid writing anything you wouldn’t want to see splashed across social media. Do I sound like I don’t trust some of your friends? I don’t.

As for this girl you don’t like – be guided by your integrity.  That way, you can’t go wrong.

This is an edited extract from Rebecca Sparrow's book Ask Me Anything. Subscribe to Ask Me Anything podcast here, Listen to it on Spotify here, and buy Bec's book Ask Me Anything at apple.co/mamamia

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