“I wish that I could be like the cool kids, 'cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in.”
Sound familiar? Popularity – everybody seems to want it, but very few actually have it. Have you ever asked yourself what the jocks and cheerleaders have that the nerds don't? Or wanted to be a cool kid? Are you worried about fitting in at school this year? Then this card is for you. Especially if you've ever thought about questions like...
Is popularity important?
Why do we care so much about it?
And how can you be more popular in school this year – in the ways that matter?
Defining Real Popularity
Okay, so first, what is popularity? The dictionary says: “the state or condition of being liked, admired, or supported by many people.” Humans are social creatures, so maybe it’s natural that we want everyone – or almost everyone, anyway – to like us.
I remember not long ago, when I was in middle school, high school, and even college, how much popularity mattered to me. I desperately wanted the “cool kids” to like me, because their approval meant I’d be “cool” too. But what is coolness, anyway?
Cool Story, Bro
In middle and high school, the cool kids are often the ones who appear to care the least. They’re too cool to care about grades, or trying to succeed, or forging good relationships with the adults around them. They spend their energy on impressing each other, having the most attractive girl or boyfriend, wearing the most fashionable or expensive clothes.
At some point, I realized – hey, wait a minute – maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t care about those things. I wear clothes because they’re comfortable, or because I like them. I strive to form real, meaningful friendships, instead of relationships based on fakeness or mutual insecurity. I try to do my best in school, and cultivate interesting hobbies on the side. I like who I am. And isn’t that pretty cool?
The truth is, real coolness isn’t about being the bad kid or the class clown or the girl with the designer handbag. It’s about knowing who you are, and finding other people who like you for exactly that. It’s about being confident in the way you choose to live your life. And as for real popularity?
Real popularity doesn’t come from everyone knowing how cool you are. It comes from everyone knowing how kind you are. People like nice people. That’s the truth. In middle and even high school, sometimes kids are just jerks who tease people they don’t understand, even really, really nice people. That’s the sucky reality. But at the same time, if you’re consistently kind to those around you, people respect that.
I learned that in high school, where I made it a priority to truly care about serving those around me. I helped with class fundraisers, went out of my way to greet people and talk to them, especially the people that others often ignored. I showed how much I cared about my classmates. And not long after, I was elected class president. I’m not the prettiest or the most fashionable or the coolest by any stretch of the imagination, but people liked that I cared about them. And so when the day of my senior prom came, I was named prom queen. It was the strangest thing, because I am not the person you think of when you think prom queen! I’m just a kind of quiet, slightly nerdy, goofy girl who tries to help people when she can, and make sure everyone feels cared about and included. And somehow, that was enough to make me the most “popular” girl in my grade – not for being cool, but for being kind.
Tips for Being Popular
So how can you be more popular this year? Here are a few tips:
Be true to yourself. Don’t change who you are to suit what anyone else thinks. At the same time, be someone you’re proud to be.
Reach out to the kids who feel left out. Is there that one girl in class who nobody talks to? Say hi to her. Try to make her feel more accepted and comfortable. You’ll be surprised – reaching out to others helps you feel more at ease, too.
Take chances, and talk to people even if you’re worried they’re too cool for you. Just say hey, and ask how their weekend was. Get to know their interests, and ask about them. People are always surprised and flattered when people ask them about themselves.
Don’t gossip. Refuse to be a part of the negative rumor mill. That always leads to people getting hurt, feeling left out, or people getting mad at you for spreading their secrets. Instead, talk about positive accomplishments, cool things people did, or how awesome someone’s hair looks that day.
Notice when people try. If someone looks like they took a lot of effort on their outfit that day, or if someone does a really good project in class, compliment them on it. Try to give 5 compliments a day. People love when their efforts are noticed and appreciated.
Don’t exclude anyone. If you’re the person who makes everyone feel included, people will flock to you, because you make them feel comfortable being themselves.
Stick up for what you believe in, without being offensive. Be true to your moral code, and don’t be afraid to speak up for what’s right. At the same time, don’t shout down anyone else’s point of view – everyone is entitled to their opinion. Respect it. People appreciate being listened to, even if you don’t necessarily agree with everything they’re saying.
Be socially sensitive. Try to pay attention to the unseen currents that flow in social situations. Notice when people feel uncomfortable, or when people react in a certain way to indicate that you’re coming on too strong. People send out a lot of signals that will help you adjust your social interactions with them – you just need to know how to read them! And I find that usually, popular people know how to read social signals.
I was inspired to write this card after reading @B1A4BTS5ever's card on switching schools, and how difficult that can be. Thank you for sharing your story with us @B1A4BTS5ever! I'm glad to hear that things have been going better. ^.^ I'm tagging some people from the original card, as well as a few of my other Vingle friends – maybe you guys will like this one too!
@majesticx @Taijiotter @NinjaGirlEmber @amazingangelini @justmeplz1998 @Emealia @caitlind9898 @sherrysahar @tayunnie @AmbieB @MattK95 @VixenViVi @B2utyrisa @DianaCastaneda @shannonl5 @PrettieeEmm @DeadlyCyanide @CrystalBlunt @yehet27 @LiNaHyun @B2STANG88 @VeronicaArtino @jaywoveu @LaurenAntoine @BangtansArmy @TashaBitner @ninachan @deemonster100 @JessicaChaney @poojas @melineptune @lamrotamrot @PassTheSuga @netchtiBates @MinionPeach17 @CassidyCathell @TheKS3D @PamelaPenaloza @yehet27 @RochelleDiamond @StephyBAP @danidee @Safaa12 @EddiePozo @rodiziketan
And if this card doesn't apply to you, I apologize for the tag!! At the very least, you can enjoy the fun Geeks vs. Cool Kids dance battle above :D
What are the cool kids at your school like?
Do you think popularity is important?
And what are your tips for fitting in this school year?
I’m looking forward to talking about all that and more in the comments :) I hope you’re as excited as I am to make some new friends this school year (especially on Vingle)! :D