Advice and Help for Teens

How to Be Popular

When you’re not in their group, the popular kids seem like they’re dipped in gold. They shine with confidence and good clothes and a huge group to sit with at lunch. How easy their lives must be, right?

Wrong. I am telling you. I work with every kind of teenager, from all over the world. They tell me the stuff they hide from everyone else. Truth bomb: the popular kids don’t feel popular. They zero in on the one thing they’re insecure about and think everyone else is talking about it behind their back. Long short: they’re exactly as anxious as you are.

So the answer to the question of how to be popular is not, “Get perfect hair/clothes/skin.” That stuff is just the popularity costume. Yeah, costumes can help cover up the real you, if that’s what you want. But there are other ways for how to be popular.

First step: do some soul searching.

  • If you were suddenly popular, how would life be different?
  • That different way of life—is that what you really crave?
  • What would you have to give up if your life was like that?
  • Is it worth giving those things up?

Next step: do some people watching.

  • How do the popular kids act and speak? What’s their body language like?
  • Can you act and speak and be that way? Do you want to?
  • Is there someone on the fringes of the popular group who might be easier to become friends with?

Final step: consider not giving a shit

In my post about the ways to be cool, I explain that the secret is not caring what anyone thinks of you. Just totally, 100% being yourself. If you can do that, it’s like this magic trick for how to be popular: people are suddenly drawn to you.

True story: I was completely unpopular in high school. Like, legendarily. I tried everything to make people like me. Nothing worked.

Finally, after two decades of people rejecting me, I turned fuckit. Deep inside, I was like, “Fuck you all. I like myself. I like books. I like nature. I don’t need friends. I’m just gonna do what makes me happy.”

From that moment on, people started loving me. I’m serious. Now I’m like beating people back with a stick. This is not a thing I can explain, but humans seem to be magnetically drawn to people who don’t need, want or care about whether you like them or not.

So here’s a crazy question.

There’s something about you that shines like it’s dipped in gold. What is it?

Figure this out, focus your time and attention on that thing, and watch the magic happen. I promise.

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