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Rule 7: Who You’re With Changes Popularity

Rule 7:

Changing the Group You are in Changes How Popular You Are

In some groups, everybody will want you or what you have — in this group you will be popular.

In a different group, nobody might want you or what you have — in this group you will not be popular even if YOU are exactly the same.

The same is true of people liking you and disliking you. If you change the group you are in, how much you are liked will change.

Without changing anything about yourself, you can change the group you’re in and suddenly discover that you’re popular, unpopular, liked, or disliked.

the rules of popularity

College Is A Different Eco System | Shallon Lester, 2016

A different group means you can be a different person.

Changing who you're with allows the opportunity to reinvent yourself.

“In college though, it’s like there are whole different eco systems that don’t necessarily interact. For example, I was a Gamma Phi Beta at Cal. Poli. and we were the most popular girls in the Greek system… My point is, we were the most popular girls IN THE GREEK system. If you weren’t Greek, you had no idea what Gamma Phi meant–it didn’t mean anything to you. So although I was at the top of the food chain there, when I joined my improve team they’re like, “cool Gamma Phi…. whatever, nobody cares.” So that became like a different social ladder to climb which was great because it allowed me to live almost like, a bunch of different lives. I could be a different person with my sorority sisters, my theater people; I was in ROTC: I was a completely different person there.”


Social status depends on context.

No Longer “That Guy” | 17 Again, 2009

Mike was popular in high school but is not popular at work.

Being popular in school does not guarantee anything

During high school, Mike O’Donnel is the most popular boy. After graduating, having kids, and choosing his career, he realizes that he is no longer “that guy” and that he is no longer popular. He is sad and disappointed and wishes that he could relive the glory days when he was 17 once again.


Being popular in school does not guarantee that you will be popular once you are older and have a job.

Boss to Joker | Beverly Hills 90210, 2008

Navid is popular in journalism club but not with the lacrosse team.

popularity impacted by the people around you

Navid produces the school’s newscast and runs the journalism club. When working with this group of students, he is the well respected boss. Navid does not play lacrosse and is not a well respected jock. When confronted by the jocks, he is forced to defend himself, his ideas, and his jokes. In two different situations and groups, he is not treated the same even though he is the same person.


Mike–And what is he doing here? I mean, he’s not even on the team.
Navid–Yeah, I’m participating as a fan. I think I have a shrine to you|in my room, Mikey.
Mike–(sarcastically) Funny.

Link: Script


A well respected “boss” can be reduced to a not so funny “joker” by changing the people around him.

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