The REAL reasons some people are well-liked and some people, well, aren't.
Most movies (and actual schools) portray high school as a hierarchy, with the popular crowd at the very top. They are jocks or cheerleaders who look over, boss around, bully, and have a holier-than-thou attitude toward other students.
I call bullsh*t on that. It might not be true in every unique situation but there were popular kids in my high school and most of them were kind-hearted people who just wanted to be like everyone else — well-liked and accepted for who they really were.
Then why is it that we consider popularity to be so negative? An Australian study, conducted by The University of Queensland, suggests that popularity comes from the way children interact with their classmates and peers.
Children who understand the needs of others by showing sensitivity are more likely to be popular.
The study measures two types of popularity, one that classifies kids in early education and the other with kids in high school: "There are 'perceived popular' kids, deemed 'popular' by others and who enjoy high social status. Then there are 'sociometrically popular' kids, who are nominated by others and are well-liked."
It all comes down to why kids are popular: they enjoy the status OR their peers genuinely like them.
Virginia Slaughter, professor of psychology at the University of Queensland, suggests that " ... sociometrically popular, likeable children are kind and pro-social, good communicators, and low on aggression ... Perceived popular children with high status are also good communicators, but also more inclined toward relational aggression such as gossip, exclusion and manipulation." So, it really comes down to whether or not the person accepts their popularity as a means to an end.
With that said, now that you're an adult, here are 3 skills that will help you use adult popularity positively:
1. Selflessness in your relationships.
Since relationships are about a give and take balance, showing selflessness and understanding toward issues that arise with your partner are beneficial skills. Bad communication is a leading cause of failed relationships, but approaching conflict with an open-mind and acknowledgment is a great way to truly connect with your partner. With the right mindset early on, you can become a relationship master.
Maybe it's partially due to intuition but people who understand the needs of those around them have a higher chance of seeing through the bullsh*t. Meaning, if someone is lying, being sarcastic, or trying to play you for a fool, you can "read" what they're really trying to say or do.
Of course, many people show untruthfulness by certain ticks, facial expressions, and the way they speak and present themselves. But being perceptive to emotions and others' needs allows you to sense someone's true intentions.
3. Showing empathy for your friends.
Have you ever had that friend who just didn't quite understand? You try explaining a problem to them but all they focus on is why you can't just "get over it," or view your problem as "not really a big deal."
People with higher sensitivity and empathy probably tend to have more friends, as caring really does go a long way. If your friend has a problem, you tend to ask, "What can I do to help you?" or lend a shoulder to cry on. THAT is true friendship.