Chpt. 7: Liking & Disliking

Being attractive which means more that just beautiful!) is what matters when it comes to being popular. But, being popular isn’t that only thing that makes different types of students. Remember, there are three lines on the Student Map: popular, liked, and disliked.

Attraction might drive the popularity line but it is not what drives the liking/disliking lines. These two depend on how you treat other people (Factor #1) and this is a question of personality.


Liking and Disliking are lines 2 & 3

Being Liked and Disliked

Read the following two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Jay is an average boy. He’s 145 pounds, 6 feet tall, and not especially handsome. Although motivated, his hobbies are a little nerdy. He’s somewhere in the middle of the Hierarchy of Attraction. In contrast, Jessica is an athletic girl and part of the popular clique. In short, she’s high in the Hierarchy of Attraction. As you would expect, Jay and most of the other boys are attracted to Jessica. One day, Jay decides to act on his attraction and strikes up a conversation with her the next time they make eye contact. Unfortunately for him, Jessica is a total snob to anyone who is not in her own clique and so she doesn’t even answer him. Jay later learns that she is like this to everyone.

In this situation, the majority of the boys will learn that interacting with Jessica is not enjoyable. Unfortunately for them, they won’t be able to help themselves from getting “sucked in” every time she smiles at them—Jay included.

Scenario 2: There is another girl at the school named Meghan. Like Jessica, she’s upbeat, pretty, and definitely in with the popular clique. Once again, Input of Energy compels Jay (and all the other boys) to make an effort to get to know her. The next time he sees her in the hallway, he shoots her a friendly “Hi!” In contrast to Jessica, this time the response he gets is different. Unlike Jessica, Meghan responds with an equally pleasant “Hi!” She’s not attracted to Jay but decides to reward his efforts with quick and pleasant chit chat. In response, Jay feels great about himself! He leaves the conversation with his head high.

What Jay doesn’t know is that Meghan treats everyone in the same pleasant way. Unlike Jessica, she’s a genuinely agreeable girl. In time, the student body will learn that interacting with her is always a joy. With every pretty smile, they like her more and more.

Based on Jay’s interactions with Jessica and Meghan, it should be clear to you that how a student relates to others (Factor #1) and how the group relates to the student (Factor #2) are both important. Initially, it is Attraction that make Jay and the other boys to strike up friendly conversations. The two interactions have this in common. Constant Input of Energy puts both Jessica and Meghan into the “popular” half of the Student Map [anchor to 1.1, picture of student map]. The difference between the two girls, however, comes in their responses to Jay. In contrast to Jessica, who is manipulative and snobbish to anyone but her own clique, Meghan is a genuinely pleasant person to everyone. As a result, only the popular clique will like Jessica while the rest of the student body will learn to dislike her. On the Student Map, this moves her into the front, top right part—the Queen Bee. Everyone, including the popular clique, likes Meghan; this moves her into the front, top centre part—the Hollywood Protagonist.

As you can see from these examples, it is attractiveness that makes someone popular/unpopular. In contrast, it is personality that makes someone liked or disliked. In short, where an individual is on the student map is the result of who they are and what they are. You can see this by looking at the table below. The eight student types on the Student Map come from adding who and what traits.

Table 7.1

What Traits
(Factor #2)
Who Traits (factor #1) Student Type
• Physically attractive
• Athletic
• Wealthy
• Edgy or mature
• Large social network
+ Aggressive, sociable, extroverted = Queen Bees & Kingpins
+ Agreeable, extroverted, unaggressive = Hollywood Protagonists
+ Agreeable, introverted, unaggressive = Dumb Blondes & Hopeless Models
+ Aggressive, disagreeable, Machiavellian = Sidekicks
• Physically unattractive
• Not athletic
• Middle class
• Unexciting
• Small social network
+ Aggressive, sociable, extroverted = Wannabes
+ Agreeable, extroverted, unaggressive = Resigned Socialites
+ Agreeable, introverted, unaggressive = Happy Loners
+ Aggressive, disagreeable, Machiavellian = Misfits

If you want to understand how students take a place on the map, you need to think about Factor #1 (how you treat other people) and Factor #2 (how the group treats you). Where a student lands on the map is a complicated back-and-forth between these two factors.

Ideas for Being Liked, Disliked, or Some Combination of the Two

Ideas for Being Liked by Many, Disliked by Few

If you want to be liked by many and disliked by few, you can start by trying to make all of the time you spend with other people pleasant, enjoyable, and not awkward. I remember once standing with a Hollywood Protagonist and a group of our peers. I asked the group if there was a pay phone anywhere in the building because I didn’t have a cellphone at the time. Although we were just acquaintances, she was the first to answer. Holding out her cellphone she said to me, “I don’t know, but there’s a free phone right here.” We weren’t really friends so I was very shocked.

When I tried to be funny, this girl looked at me without scorn. She would ask me how my day was and didn’t make a point of pushing me away from her friends. Alas, I wasn’t special—she treated everyone like this. In my mind, she is the best example when it comes to making others like you.

Ideas for Being Liked by Many and Disliked by Many

The Hollywood Protagonist I just described had a friend who was a classic Queen Bee and the perfect example of how to be liked and disliked at the same time. She would smile at you when you were useful to her and be mean when you were not.

I shouldn’t make it sound as if this Queen Bee was all bad. When it was your turn to be in her friend, she was great. She was sociable, funny, and, at times, fun to be around. The problem was that she played favourites. The popular clique was always friends with her but the rest of the students could be promoted and demoted as she wanted. She was a master manipulator whose antics always left a bad taste in my mouth.

It’s not just popular students who can be liked and disliked at the same time. One of my high school peers is a good example. Allan desperately wanted to be part of the popular clique and he was ever ready to ditch people he judged “not cool.” After graduating from high school, it didn’t take long before he was forgotten by his friends. None of his high school friends were keen on keeping in touch. It’s not as if Allan wasn’t connected. His participation in various sports gave him lots of opportunity to mingle with different people. His problem was the same as the Queen Bee’s. Because he was constantly playing favorites, some people liked him and others did not.

Ideas for Being neither Liked nor Disliked

It is difficult to think of examples of students who are neither liked nor disliked. By definition these students don’t stand out. They generally mind their own business and are happy with the friends they have. They don’t headline controversial statements, engage in highly visible demonstrations, or make a point of acting exclusively. Instead, they go about their daily routine content to take what comes to them. Unlike Queen Bees and Kingpins, they don’t try to undermine other students nor do they stand up for victims. If a student wants to be neither liked nor disliked, they should keep their head down and try not to start any day-to-day drama.

Ideas for Being Disliked by Many

Of all four categories, it’s easiest to think of the ways to be disliked by many. Basically, treat everyone poorly and aggressively and, in general, act as an all-around mean person. Or, you can just be socially awkward all the time. One boy in my school made himself a rope belt—that didn’t go over well. Another girl would perform Ukrainian dance (complete with the outfit) by herself at school dances—that didn’t go over well either. Neither was Attractive enough to get away with these deviations from the social norm, so you can imagine the snickers that went through the school at their expense.

It is not necessary for a student to be rejected to be disliked by many. Although it is rarer and more subtle, even so called “popular” students can be equally disliked. Think of the sidekick who is always poking her head out over the Queen Bee’s shoulder. She has one powerful ally, the Queen, but everyone else cannot stand her. This is beautifully demonstrated in the movie, “Mean Girls.” Watch this clip from Mean Girls. Implied in this scene is the fact that being popular doesn’t guarantee being liked.

I don’t think that the point needs to be stressed further. If a student wants to be disliked by many, they need only be awkward and/or treat everyone poorly. It’s not complicated.


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