More than just students are interested in popularity. Scientists study it to. Mostly psychologists who are interested in how students become friends and get into groups.
If you studied popularity, how would you define it? Take a moment and think about it. If your definition of popularity uses the word “liked,” you’re not alone. The dictionary definition is to be “liked or admired by many people or by a specified group.” One thing you will read many times on this website is that “being liked” is not the same as “being popular.” The dictionary definition of popularity is wrong.
Being liked and being popular are two very different things but this doesn’t mean that liking and disliking aren’t important. How much someone is liked is important and how much someone is disliked is also important.
Just because some of the students in a class are liked by some doesn’t mean that they are liked by everybody. A bully can be liked by his friends and disliked by the students he bullies. Doing this would make him both liked and disliked. The opposite is also true. A very quiet student who is forgotten might not even be noticed. This student would not be liked by any one nor would he be disliked by anyone. He would be forgotten.
Being popular is different from being liked or disliked. When it comes to figuring out what kind of a student someone is, you need to think about all three things:
- Are they liked by lots of people?
- Are they disliked by lots of people?
- Are they popular or not?
Picture 1: The three lines of the student map
By thinking about liking, disliking, and popularity, you can put students into eight different groups. To do this, put all three lines together to get a 3D picture. We will call the picture the “Student Map.” It is shown in the picture below.
The Student Map
Queen Bees & Kingpins: Popular / Liked by Many / Disliked by Many
Queen Bees and Kingpins are very easy to recognize. Every school has them. Who are the Queen Bees and Kingpins of your school? They are often the “bad guys” in high school movies and television shows. They are snobbish and think that they own the school. Even if they are jerks at times, they are still somehow thought to be “popular.” They fit lines 1, 2, & 3 like this:
- Between 10 and 20 because their clique likes them.
- Between 10 and 20 because the people they bully really dislike them.
- Between 10 and 20 because they are popular and part of the popular clique.
Sidekicks: Popular / Liked by Few / Disliked by Many
Hiding behind the Queen Bee is usually a Sidekick. Sometimes everyone but the Queen Bee has something to dislike about this person. She’s very mean to almost everyone and always seems ready to betray someone. Because she is friends with the queen, everyone is afraid of her. Kingpins can have Sidekicks too. Side kicks fit lines 1, 2, & 3 like this:
- Between 0 and 10 because only the King or Queen likes them.
- Between 10 and 20 because everyone else dislikes them.
- Between 10 and 20 because they are still part of the popular clique.
Dumb Blondes & Hopeless Models: Popular / Liked by Few / Disliked by Few
I named this category of students after the character Karen Smith from the movie Mean Girls. According to the movie she is “one of the dumbest girls you will ever meet.” In the real world, nobody ever hates the innocent and beautiful students who are just kind of dumb and/or uninterested. Unlike Queen Bees and Sidekicks, Dumb Blondes/Hopeless Models just aren’t as mean which means they aren’t as hated. In fact, they’re a little quiet and almost forgotten. Dumb Blondes/Hopeless Models fit lines 1, 2, & 3 like this:
- Between 0 and 10 because not many like them the most.
- Between 0 and 10 because not many dislike them the most.
- Between 10 and 20 because but they are popular and part of the popular clique.
Hollywood Protagonists: Popular / Liked by Many / Disliked by Few
Not all popular students are cruel or clueless. Some are really kind and great people. In addition to being part of the popular clique, they are also friendly with everyone else. Somehow, they are never jerks like some of the people they hang out with. In fact, these people are really, really, nice to everyone.
I call this group of students “Hollywood Protagonists” because they are almost too good to be true. They are everything a Hollywood movie star should be: intelligent, talented, beautiful, kind, compassionate, and so on. Hollywood protagonists are confident like Queen Bees and Kingpins but they don’t act snobbish. Hollywood Protagonists fit lines 1, 2, & 3 like this:
- Between 10 and 20 because they are liked by everyone.
- Between 0 and 10 because they are disliked by no one.
- Between 10 and 20 because they are part of the popular clique.
Wannabes: Not Popular / Sometimes Liked / Sometimes Disliked
Hovering around the edge of the popular clique are the Wannabes. Along with Queen Bees and Kingpins, you can probably recognize these students the easiest. Wannabes desperately want to be popular and they are constantly trying to be part of the popular clique. Wannabes are like “yes men.” As soon as a popular student says something, they agree. When popular students adopt a new style or trend, Wannabes are the first to copy them. Because Wannabes are always looking to please, they can easily get themselves into trouble by doing the popular cliques dirty work.
Even though they try really hard to be popular, they are never quite “in” with the popular group. Wannabes are sometimes being liked and sometimes disliked. They fit lines 1, 2, & 3 like this:
- Between 10 and 20 because sometimes people like Wannabes.
- Between 10 and 20 because sometimes people dislike Wannabes.
- Between 0 and 10 because even if they try, they are never quite popular.
Resigned Socialites: Not Popular / Well Liked by Many / Disliked by Few
Resigned Socialites aren’t popular but they are still great, genuine, people. Even if they are not part of the popular clique everybody still likes them. A resigned socialite happily gets to know anyone around them without picking favorites. They are usually, happy, pleasant people with lots of friends in lots of different groups. Resigned Socialites aren’t jerks to anyone and no one is a jerk to them. Even if they’re not part of the popular clique, it’s hard not to like these people. Resigned Socialites fit lines 1, 2, & 3 like this:
- Between 10 and 20 because everyone likes them.
- Between 0 and 10 because no one dislikes them.
- Between 0 and 10 because they are not really part of the “popular” clique.
Happy Loners: Not Popular / Liked by Few / Disliked by Few
Not everyone wants to be popular or even have lots of friends. Some students spend more time worrying about school, sports, music, and other things. You might know someone who is an introverted math genius who has almost no friends but remains happy. Happy Loners don’t have to be losers. They can be very friendly people. They might even have lots of friends if they tried. Really, they just don’t care. Happy Loners fit lines 1, 2, & 3 like this:
- Between 0 and 10 because no one really likes the happy loner.
- Between 0 and 10 because but no one really dislikes the happy loner either.
- Between 0 and 10 because they are definitely not popular, but they definitely don’t care.
Misfits: Not Popular / Liked by Few / Disliked By Many
For every Queen Bee or Kingpin, there is a Misfit who doesn’t seem to get along with anyone or have many friends. Misfits get bullied a lot more than other students. For some reason, they are often disliked by many for no good reason. Until they move to bigger schools and find each other, misfits are forced to spend time by them selves or with teachers or with one friend. Misfits fit lines 1, 2, & 3 like this:
- Between 0 and 10 because no one really likes the Misfits.
- Between 10 and 20 because a lot more people dislike them unfortunately.
- Between 0 and 10 because they are definitely not popular.
“Great, now how do I become a Hollywood Protagonist?”
You probably already new something about every type of student even if you have never drawn the “Student Map” before. Most students (except perhaps the Happy Loners) want to be popular at some point and so the rest of this website is all about answering the question: “how?” As you read, always remember that it takes three things to put a student onto the map:
- How many people like them.
- How many people dislike them.
- And how popular they are.