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Best Not To Be Popular In High School

Ugly ducklings can become swans.

Ugly ducklings can become swans.

Good news for most of us – about 98% of us, anyway:

It’s best not to be popular in high school.

After following the lives of six outsiders and one self-proclaimed “popular bitch” cheerleader, that’s Alexandra Robbins verdict in her book, The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth.

Why? Read the rest of this entry

Best Not To Be Popular In High School

Good news for most of us – about 98% of us, anyway. It’s best not to be popular in high school.

After following the lives of six outsiders and one self-proclaimed “popular bitch” cheerleader, that’s Alexandra Robbins verdict in her book, The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth.

Why?

Well, what is popularity?

Oddly, “What the kids call ‘mean popular’ and ‘nice popular’ are actually what psychologists are coming to call ‘perceived popular’ versus popular,” says Robbins. “The kids who are perceived popular—the kids who are considered the top of the social hierarchy—they’re actually not very well liked, but they’re viewed as being socially successful.”

So part of the reason it’s best not to be popular is that people often don’t actually like you.

Perhaps that’s partly why high school status is not necessarily aligned with happiness. Popular people might be happy and they might not. Also true of geeks. But in fact, Robbins insists the so-called popular kids are often a lot less happy than the other kids in school.

That makes sense. When the minds of “mean popular” kids are full of misery – as in making others miserable – how could they be filled with happiness or joy?

But there’s more. Being popular requires fitting in. Cookie-cutter, mindless “groupthink” tuned toward conventional style. Lacking your own thoughts and opinions. Being pretty boring. Pretty and boring, that is.

Then there’s the focus on fashion and gossip. Fulfilling? I think not.

In an interview with The Washingtonian, Robbins declares, “Popular kids don’t necessarily know who they are because they’re so busy trying to conform. It’s the outcasts who are more attuned to who they are. They’re more self-aware, more real.”

Adolescence is a struggle between individuality and inclusion. “Nonconformity is a wonderful trait, and it’s going to be valued in adulthood,” Robbins reflects. “If you’re different in school, that makes you an outsider. If you’re different as an adult, that makes you interesting, fun and often successful.”

Original thought and expression will take you much farther, ranging from more interesting friends and conversation to creative, enriching, and contributing work, whether in business, science, academia, media, or the arts.

Lady Gaga is Exhibit A. Always one to express herself, she did not fit in, was not popular in high school, and was once thrown in a trashcan. But look at her now!

Not-popular people of the world, unite, and be proud.

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