Popularity Happens the Same All Around the World
It was my first year in senior high, I resumed with the highest level of confidence. With most of my friends back in junior high still in the same class with me, I was really happy to resume. Having a lot of new faces is always inevitable at this time of the year, many transferred to my school and so more than half of my classmates were faces I’ve never seen before. I was only 14 at that time, just getting to experience feelings for the opposite sex, I really had little or no interest in girls prior to this time. For all I care, they were just my classmates sent to learn with me but I really did love football.
My name is Emmanuel and I have few close friends, David, Victor and Paul. We do almost everything together but I was the smartest of us all. My dominant trait is the ability to face and talk to anyone in my school excepts for teachers though. I made a new friend almost immediately after resumption, his name is Thomas, he was my new classmate and our seats was close.
One distinguishing factor that separated Thomas among the other friends I had was that, we had the same taste and idea for almost everything, most importantly girls. This was what bonded me with Thomas more than anyone.
Friendship is a Self-Sustaining Cycle The three predictors of friendship all contribute uniquely to the process: • Mutual proximity (face-to-face or facilitated by technology) is a practical necessity. • Mutual similarity ensures compatibility and the ability to relate. • Mutual attraction is what motivates two people to invest the necessary time and effort into the relationship. In real life, you will notice that none of the three predictors is independent of the other two. In scientific jargon, each is said to be correlated. In other words, each factor causes the other two and it is impossible to know which came first.
“There is a mutual similarity which kept my friendship with Thomas, we shared the same ideas about different topics, we shared the same classroom throughout high, this gave us proximity to share our ideas and discuss many things. We had mutual attraction to each other because we both wanted the same thing…”
“When we talk, we tend to share intimate feelings because of the similarity in our ideas and this leads to friendship.“
Similarity in belief -> the sharing of intimate feelings -> friendship
It was on a Monday morning, just immediately after break, Thomas called me to check something out. Lo and behold, what I saw that day will always remain fresh in my memory. She was walking down the stairs with her friend, light skinned, tall and beautiful, her body was athletic with glowing skin. Immediately I saw her, my mind travelled far into the future and came back in split second. The only words I could utter to myself was, “what a beauty”.
Attraction is the experience of wanting. It is the desire for a hedonistic reward. It is the magnetic pull that you feel towards objects, people, or places that are pleasurable and gratifying. The important point to remember is that attraction is motivated by the thought of future benefit.). This is exactly what happened when I set my eyes on Elizabeth, I was completely attracted to her, this was motivated by the thought of pleasurable moments with her.
I asked Thomas if he knew her name which he told me immediately. He also told me she had just transferred from a “girls only” school in the same town. The rest of my day in school was filled with the thought of how I was going to establish a relationship with her.
Her name is Elizabeth, just in the other science class we had then, her friend Esther is someone I do speak to occasionally, and that is how I started with my plan. I paraded their class more times than I have ever done, it was quite easy for me, establishing a friendly relationship with people has never been a daunting task for me.
INPUT OF ENERGY: attempts at seeking physical proximity
I got to know her more, my free times were mostly with her and I saw less of football action because of this. All my friends noticed this new development and started making jest of me unknown to them that they are going to initiated into the act.
Everything seem to be going smooth for me except for one thing, I could not get myself to tell her how I feel about her. It continued this way till the end of our first year in senior high.
I resumed second year with as much energy I had before and I was ready for new adventure. My academic performance had dropped a bit in my first year but I was still a cut above average. In my school, we usually have six classes of the same level, two each for science, commercial and art students. One of the two art classes had a very high number of transfer students, in the same class, there was a group of five girls, they were pretty, classy and smart. The name of their leader is Emmanuela. she was very outspoken, loved by almost every teachers and the majority of the student population.
Judging by the qualities of individuals in the group above, it is obvious that they all have something in common. (Similarity). They were all in the same and offered the same optional subjects. (proximity) and so they can share the same experiences on topics and bond even more. According to… A clique can only be formed via a process which is.
Similarity amongst group -> proximity amongst the group -> shared experiences and bonding amongst the group -> formation of clique).
She was way smarter than rest of them, a natural beauty too, not the prettiest though. My first impression about them was that, they were just a bunch of arrogant girls. I had a crush on Ella even though I thought she was arrogant. What attracted me most to her is her intelligence, she scores high marks in mathematics, more than many of us in science classes. I continued my admiration for her in silence, even though I could have walked up to her and started a conversation, I opted not to because she would probably shun me.
The feelings of attraction, liking and attachment are dissociable according to… I was attracted to Ella because of her intelligence and kind of attached to her because I was obviously crushing on her but I didn’t like her simply because I thought she was arrogant. This theory is true in case of my relationship with Ella at that time
Then I knew even my best trait had betrayed me.
Few weeks later, Thomas unknown to me had a crush on Elizabeth from the moment he saw her and had started nurturing the same for Ella. He had been going to art class in our free time. Then he took me along with him one day, I used the opportunity to start a conversation with one of the member of the group named Hope. Hope is short, dark-skinned girl with a round face, always smartly dressed but very arrogant in nature. My first impression about her was right after all unlike the other members of the group. My chat with her was very short as I could not bear her pompous attitude, I went back to my class hoping to get lucky with Ella as soon as possible.
By this time, I barely talked to Elizabeth even though I still retained my feelings for her. She was not returning the attention I gave to her so I had to let it go, more reason I wanted to establish something with Ella.
There was input of energy on my part towards Elizabeth but she wasn’t reciprocating what I had for her. This led to self-discovery on my part, I had realized that I could not get her to like me or establish a healthy relationship with me, so I shifted my input of energy towards a friendlier person while I still retained what I feel for her which only lasted for a short time.
The second year is when the school prefects will be chosen from among us, I wasn’t expecting to be picked, I never had the thought, because even if though I was intelligent (above average), my dressing is quite the opposite. I played football very well now and so most times I am always rough. My class teacher hinted me one day that I could be picked but I didn’t believe him.
It all happened fast, I was on the football pitch with my classmate when the ladies in my class came to call us. “Mr. Morak is calling for you in the school library” they reported to about three of us on the pitch. I picked my shirt, wore it immediately as sweat rushed out from the pores of my skin, I tried as hard as possible to clean it but it seems to coming from an ocean inside me. The other two guys did the same and we rushed down to the library. On getting there, I was told we were called to be interviewed, I looked around and saw Ella and Hope, they had been called too. That moment, I was glad to be called, even though I did not want it initially.
The idea of having proximity with Ella was what made me glad because I know if we were both appointed prefects, I would have more time together than before. The only time I had with her before was only during the optional subjects we were taking together prior to this time. This will probably create similarity between us to establish relationship.
I was called in with Ella, a guy named Abraham and a girl named Victoria. The last two were from the science class and we have been called to be interviewed for the position of the four senior prefects. (senior boy and girl with their assistant). Trust me, it was the last position I expected to be interviewed for.
The interview went smoothly until the principal asked, “which of you is from L class here?” (the name of my school is Olivet and all the six classes represents each alphabet). I reluctantly raised my hand because I knew what was coming. “Your class is known to be the most notorious class in this school, how would you improve the behavior of students in this school if you are appointed a prefect?” the principal asked, I stammered uttering nonsense from my mouth as different memories of how my classmates had behaved in the past, flipped through my mind. I finished whatever I had to say and we were excused.
The following Monday, we were presented to the school as the new set of prefects, I was appointed as the assistant senior prefect boy, while Ella was the senior prefect girl. Abraham, the senior prefect boy was appointed mostly because of his leadership quality, that I think. He wasn’t the smartest but he was always well dressed. I had also noticed that he was especially close to Elizabeth which made me loathe him for some time. Nevertheless, it was a great opportunity for me to start something with Ella and I maximized it.
There is another girl named Joy, she was part of Ella’s group, she was the prettiest among them, smarter than others except for Ella, she is light skinned, black eyes with great accent. Unknown to me, Joy had always crushed on me, she still does till now. I walked up to Ella and Joy one day after our exams, we had just been given our math scripts and Ella unsurprisingly was among the top scorers. I did well too but not like Ella and Joy, we all joked about our score 71 and Ella left moments later leaving me with Joy and David, my own friend who had followed me to see Joy. (remember David, one of the first few friends I’ve always had. He was crushing on Joy and always requested me to hook them up). Joy faced me neglecting David and made many jokes that cracked my ribs that day, but part of me was still thinking about Ella.
I registered for an external examination that year, so I had to take tutorials during the break. Fortunately for me, Ella came for the same tutorial even though she didn’t register for the exam. We bonded quickly because her face was the closest thing to familiarity for me. We became best of friends during our time at the tutorial center, I got to know her home and she visited me too. We helped each other academically also. My relationship with her grew so much faster than I had anticipated.
My friendship with Ella grew fast because we attended the same tutorial which gave us proximity, we shared similar belief in academic excellence, so we could help each other academically (similarity) and lastly, I was attracted to her because of her intelligence, beauty and her cool attitude towards everyone around her, I really cannot say what attracted me to her but I know we shared these three predictor of friendship and we kept on repeating the cycle which made our relationship grew very fast.
Few weeks later, I sat for my examination and we resumed for our final year in senior high school. Everyone noticed the latest development between I and Ella, it cannot be hidden as she is a popular figure in school, and, added to that is the fact that we were both senior prefects in school.
I wasn’t sure of what I had for Ella so I felt very reluctant to ask her out as it was against my believe. I continued my friendship with her even though the urge to ask her out was growing stronger each passing day.181 Almost everyone thought we were dating already, when I tried to deny it, they still wouldn’t believe me. Meanwhile, Joy was relentlessly after me but I decided not look at her side because my friend liked her. I tried many times to set them up which failed every single time.
It was hard to tell what really caused the failures in setting Joy and David but after reading popularity explained, a theory can be applied. For friendship to occur, there must mutual similarity, proximity and mutual attraction, In the case of Joy and David, all three were absent. Joy offered the same optional subjects with I, Ella and her friends while David offered another optional subjects which created dissimilarity and gave no chance for proximity because that was the only time they could be together. There was no mutual attraction between them, even though David was attracted to Joy, she wasn’t and so the input of energy from David’s part could not be appreciated.
Dissimilarity -> missed opportunity for shared experience -> missed opportunity for bonding
I could remember a particular time Joy and Ella celebrated their birthday which is just a day difference. I got a gift for Ella but somehow forgot to get one for Joy.
Page 78 of Popularity Explained described input of energy as helping behavior. Getting a birthday gift isn’t a helping behavior exactly but it explains it very well. I was able to get something for Ella because I find her attractive and somehow forgot to get it for Joy. If Ella had asked for a favor, I would more than willing to do it but the same cannot be said in the case where the recipient of my help would be Joy.
She confronted the following day, “where is my gift? Why didn’t you get a gift for your first love?” she asked. Who is my first love? I replied, she told me she was referring to herself. Even with this blunt confession, I still counted it as nothing and waved it. My relationship with Ella was growing stronger with each passing day till we finished our final examination yet I was reluctant to ask her out.
After we graduated, we spent so much time together, processed our admission into the same university, it was then I knew I had been a coward hiding behind believe all through my secondary school days. We gained admission together and went to school to continue our healthy relationship. By this time, I had decided that she would remain my friend as feeling were gradually fading. It wasn’t love after all but just infatuation.
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