How to Be Popular

And Why There is Still Any Mystery

Anyone, and everyone, who has ever been to school has an idea about what popularity is. Many Youtubers and bloggers have excellent advice about how to be popular but, no matter how many videos you watch or articles you read, your answer always stays a mystery… This article explains How to Be Popular. It will teach you why. It will teach you how.

Step 1: Decide What You Mean When You Say, “Popular”

Mean Girls Aren't Really Liked, Adelaine Morin

Being popular is not the same as “being well liked.” When you think about “being popular”, what are you really thinking about? Many people will say that being popular is about being “well liked” but it is not.

Think about Gretchen Weiners from the movie Mean Girls. She is very popular but no one catches her as she falls from the stage.

Grechen Weiners Falls From Stage Gif
Jock Popularity

If Gretchen Weiners is popular, then why does no one like her? Researchers have shown that being popular is NOT the same as being well liked. Often the popular kids are actually disliked.

So, because being popular and being well liked are not the same, Step 1 is to decide what you’re talking about. Are you looking to learn “how to be popular” or “how to be well liked?”

Table of Characters and Cliches

Step 2: Learn Your People Skills. Learn to Be Well Liked

Many popular students have excellent people skills—it’s true. When you watch Youtube videos about being popular, people skills are obviously important. Here is a video about Chris Hemsworth and why everyone likes him: people skills!

You start learning people skills right away–everyone does. By 18 months old, you’ve already experienced empathy and embarrassment. By 3 years, most children share and have learned to take turns. By 4 years, most children play in groups and by 5 have a group of friends.

Learning to be social is lifelong but that doesn’t mean you can make a point to practice and get better. Here are some helpful tips. Click the pictures to watch the original videos.

To be popular, Don't Gossip
Tips On Being Hated, Makayla Lysiak
to be more popular, just be kind
Treat People How You Want to Be Treated, Just Jordyn
5 tips to increase popularity
How to Win Friends and Influence People

Probably the most well known and accepted guide to learning social skills is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. This excellent advice guide nicely lays out the fundamentals of how to be well liked.

Never forget, LIKING is about how you treat other people and this is Rule 6 of Popularity.

Of course, like every other skill, social skills and people skills, take practice. This practice, of course, happens where there are other people which is a big reason why you need to get out and be involved.

Step 3: Be in the Right Places at the Right Time

You cannot be popular (and you cannot be well liked) if you never meet anyone.

There are many reasons why being involved is important but to begin with, getting out and being around people is how you develop the people skills in Step 2. It’s also how you create opportunities to be popular. So, if you want to have any chance of being popular, you must to get involved where there are people.

There is no rule about HOW involved you need to be: just remember, the more involved you are, the more chances you will have to meet people, make friends, learn social skills, and be popular. Watch this short video:

Getting close to people by being involved is a part of Popularity Rule 8: Friendship and Cliques Happen for 3 Reasons.

Step 4: “Be” If You Want to Be Popular

To begin with, it’s important to remember Step 1. Being liked and being popular are not the same thing! If all you want is to be well liked, then steps 1 and 3 are enough. But, if you want to be popular, you must earn Special Attention and Special Attention means you need to develop and compete for the most important Advantages at school.

Think about it like this: If you ARE the team captain, people want to be on your team. This WANTING turns into the Special Attention that makes someone popular. The more things that you ARE, the more Special Attention you get and the more popular you become. This is Rule 5: Special Attention Creates Popularity

Look at these examples. Each one shows how an Advantages results in the people around you showing Special Attention.

The Advantage Example Special Attention
Advantage: Have Food(Adelaine Morin, 2015) Result: Get Attention(Makayla Lysiak, 2018)
Advantage: Take Pride in Your Appearance(Wikihow) Result: Get Noticed(Coronet Films, 1947)
Advantage: Be Excellent at What You Do(Wikihow) Result: Get Noticed(Beverly Hills 90210, 2008)
Advantage: Be Excellent at What You Do(Wikihow) Result: Get Noticed(Mitch Manly, 2018)
Advantage: Have Big Boobs(Shallon Lester, 2018) Result: The Boys Pass Even if You Can’t Catch(Mean Girls, 2004)
Advantage: Have a Nice Car(American Graffiti, 1973) Result: Receive Positive Attention(17 Again, 2009)
Advantage: Be Smart(Marissa Rachel, 2014) Result: Respect (Hailey BK, 2017)

The amazing thing about Special Attention is that everyone does it EVEN IF THEY DON’T LIKE THE PERSON! That means that if someone has food, or a nice car, for example, you can show them Special Attention even if you don’t LIKE them. This is Rule 4: Liking is NOT the same feeling as WANTING.

The fact that LIKING and WANTING are two different feelings is the reason why popular students can be popular even if no one actually likes them. It is the reasons why mean girls are popular. People WANT them even if they don’t LIKE them. Special Attention creates popularity and Special Attention happens because of WANTING, not LIKING.

Notice: being liked is about WHAT YOU DO. Being popular is about WHAT YOU ARE and everybody knows this. No one can deny it. It is the reason why the most popular boy and the most popular girl are always the students with most important Advantages at school:

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The cliched image of popularity.

So what now? The answer is simple? Just be the best: the most attractive, rich, and talented individual in your school? The problem is obvious. Not everybody can be everything:

To being with, it’s important to remember Step 1 and Rule 1. BEING LIKED and BEING POPULAR are not the same thing! If all you want is to be well liked, then Steps 1 and 3 are enough. But, if you want to be popular, you must earn Special Attention and Special Attention means you need to develop and compete for the most important Advantages at school.

Ladies Love Jocks

Problem 1

Be warned, competition is brutal and someone always gets hurt. That someone might be you. If you want to be the tough guy, you might literally need to fight for it. Competing to be the most stylish and most beautiful wont end in a fight… but it’s a competition like any other: someone will win and someone will lose.

Competition Is Brutal

Problem 2

Also, if you pretend to be something you’re not, the world will happily tear you down: laugh at you; make sure you know your place.

Problem 3

And finally, you actually have very little control over what you are (especially when your young and in school). So, the single most important thing you can do is get lucky when it comes to being popular at school.


Not surprising, at this point, the simplest advice is to be yourself. This is obvious but really excellent advice.

But accept it, we want to be popular… so what should we do?

Being Rich Helps with Popularity

Step 6: Forget About Trying, It Will Never Work

The secret of popularity is a mystery for two reasons. The first is: Trying to be popular will NEVER work. Being popular is about earning Special Attention. If you try and be popular, all you will do is making the people around you more popular. Look at these two examples:

You can’t be popular without a boyfriend.
(Amber Swab, 2018)


If you follow this advice you will:

Find a boy -> show Special Attention -> making the boy more popular

Find “Gretchen Weiners” and invite her to stuff
(Shallon Lester, 2018).


If you follow this advice you will:

Identify a popular girl -> show Special Attention -> make the girl more popular

Both of these Youtubers actually make really excellent observations: boyfriends/ girlfriends and popularity go together and being friends with all members of the popular clique is important. These are good observations but TRYING to be popular by finding a boyfriend (or girlfriend) and TRYING to be popular by being friends with the popular clique will only make them more popular.

Remember, Special Attention Creates Popularity so showing Special Attention to the people around you only makes them more popular, NOT you.

The Wannabe’s Paradox:

Unfortunately, you want to be popular (which means you’re not popular) and to be popular, you need to be what you’re not. But, if you try to be popular (and pretend to be what you are not), you only make the people around you more popular. So, if you decide to be yourself, then you’re not popular and that was the problem in the first place!

Step 7: Be the Best You Can Be, In the Right Places, and Don’t Forget About How You Treat Others

So what’s the answer?

Well, to be popular you MUST have advantages that earn Special Attention. This means you need to be the very best that YOU can be. Then, you need to get out and be involved in places where your best qualities shine through. Never forget though Rule 1, just because someone is popular, doesn’t mean that they are well liked so don’t forget your people skills!

If it’s so simple, what’s the mystery? Well, what is your potential? What are the things you do best that will earn you Special Attention? Nobody knows. Not even you. Uncovering and reaching your potential is a life long endeavor. Your potential remains a mystery. A mystery that only you can solve.