LOS ANGELES -- Lindsay Lohan knows we can't all get along all the time.
The 17-year-old star of the new comedy "Mean Girls," about the brutal backstabbing and Machiavellian manipulation of high school life, has had at least one high-profile catfight herself: a feud with fellow teen star Hilary Duff.
That quarrel involved a reported tug-of-war over pop heartthrob Aaron Carter and a verbal squabble at the premiere of Duff's film "Cheaper By The Dozen." It ended a few months ago when Lohan extended a public olive branch by declaring a truce on "Good Morning America."
Duff aside, Lohan says, she generally got along with people when she was in high school, which she finished early two years ago.
"I was playing different sports, and was involved in cheerleading and art and all that kind of stuff," Lohan told The Associated Press. "I kind of flitted around with every group and, luckily, girls were not that mean to me."
Here are some of Lohan's views on the art of high school war:
- Stay happy by refusing to let others define you:
"Don't change who you are to be accepted. I think in high school it's difficult for people now. They just want to kind of be popular and they'll change who they are for other people to like them. And it's not satisfying, in the end."
- Consider whether you want to make a long-term enemy:
A fight you start when you're a freshman can linger until graduation night - so ask yourself if it's worth it. "Girls like the drama. It gives them something to do in high school. It's enjoyable to get involved with drama ... but then when you get older it's kind of a hassle. It's just not something that's not fun to deal with."
- If you don't have anything nice to say - be careful who hears you say it:
What you say to your best friend may not stay with your best friend. Or you may be wrong about where your "best friend's" sympathies lie. "Don't talk about someone behind their back ... because they'll find out eventually," Lohan said.
- Don't spread nasty gossip unless you're ready to get the same in return:
What goes around comes around, Lohan said. Thin-skinned people like to dish it out, she added, but they can't always take it. "I think people who are insecure tend to talk about other people to hide their own insecurities."
- Beware of leading phone calls - they may be a setup:
Three-way calling is a trick girls use to trap each other, Lohan said. "My girlfriends and I have done it to each other, oh totally. You would just call each other and have one person not know that the other person was on the line." Girl A calls Girl B to ask what she thinks of Girl C. Girl B unloads a scathing attack about Girl C - never realizing that Girl A and Girl C are in cahoots against her. Girl C is silently listening in, hearing the incriminating gossip firsthand.
- Don't get grown-ups involved unless the fight gets out-of-hand:
Nothing can be as embarrassing as having mom or your big sister step in to settle a feud. "A little girl was being mean to my sister (who is 7 years younger than Lohan). I don't remember why or what the situation was," Lohan said. "Then I got the little girl's number and was going to call and say something." Did she? "No. My sister was like, 'Lindsay, I can handle it."'
- Seek advice from those who've been there:
Although you may not want parents or an older sibling to fight your battles, they can still help indirectly without causing you to lose face, Lohan said. Moms and dads can offer advice by recalling their steps and missteps in childhood fights: "Adults have been through high school and that's something for them to look back on and teach their kids to help them through it."
- Don't be afraid to wave a white flag:
Surrender and make peace, as Lohan did with Duff. It takes two to fight, so even if your opponent retains hard feelings you'll be free of the conflict. In many cases, two people who fight become best friends by making up. "It's always crazy when you're fighting with someone, but it's funny. After, you laugh at it," Lohan said. "Just be yourself and that will come through."
- Remember, apologizing can be a show of strength:
"If you did something to offend someone, don't deny what you did," Lohan said. Everybody has been wronged, and everybody feels right. Try to see things from the other person's perspective and don't make excuses.
- Don't be a pushover:
Some fights are justified. If you're locked in battle with a bad person, don't try to enflame them - but don't back down either. "Give them a chance, three strikes and you're out," Lohan said. "Then find another friend."