Popular is defined by Dictionary.com as “liked, admired, or enjoyed by many people or a particular person or group.”
I can say that being popular is highly overrated, because I was NOT popular, ever. Most people refer to “popular” as when they were in high school. I will stick with that for a minute, but then move onto real life.
High school is not real life. It may feel like it at the time, but we all know everything changes when you get out of high school. I did not like high school that much, as it always seemed to be a popularity contest and I always lost. I was not a “jock” or a “homecoming queen.” I kept to my batch of close friends and tried to “fly under the radar”, most of the time. I also had other friends outside of my high school that helped keep me out of the school politics.
I did keep up with the “popular” kids, because that is what teenagers do. Whether you liked the popular kids or not, you could not help yourself, as a teen, but to see what “they” were doing. I would tell my friends that I did not care about being popular, but that was because I was not!
I would watch the cheerleaders at football games with their cute, little outfits and shiny, bright smiles jumping about. I would see the football players strut down the halls of the school like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. I watched the pretty girls as they “held court” at their lockers in between classes. I saw the basketball stars swagger into the lunch room like a rock stars taking stage at a concert. None of this ever happened to me.
When I walked down the school halls, I looked like a TV episode of The Three Stooges. I would trip on my own feet or run into other people or a locker. I was forever dropping my books and late to class. My first year in high school was abysmal. It got a little better the next year, but not by much.
When I entered high school, it was grades 8 through 12, we did not have a middle school. My school was situated on a very large hill side. This meant that the 8th grade boys were constantly being tossed down the hill by the upper classman. This did not seem to happen to the girls, Shoo, at least I was a girl!
I did have one friend that I met in sixth grade and she was exceptionally popular in high school. Her name was Jennifer and yes, she was beautiful and a cheerleader. She was nice to everyone, no matter who you were. I loved that about her.
Jennifer was the one that taught me the “dark side” of being popular. She told me stories about her family and the pressures of being popular. She explained that there were times that she felt like she had to do things that she did not want to do in order to please the other popular teens. Of course, she had a boyfriend who was the star football player. She tired to break up with him several times, but the pressure from her peers always sent her back to him.
I realized that everyone has their own pressures and expectations placed on them by others. I felt bad for Jennifer as she always had to put on a happy face, when she was really sad sometimes.
What makes someone popular anyway? I could never figure that out or I would have done it!
After high school, I went onto college. There were still issues with being popular, but it did not seem to matter as much.
As an adult, popularity is not really an issue anymore. Your world is no longer defined like the way it was in high school. At least, not to well adjusted people. Some folks never get over their high school years and continue to live life that way.
Once I hit the working world, I found that there were still “popular people.” It could be with others at work, neighborhood people or organizations like volunteers at my kid’s school. I could pick out who the “popular parents” very easily, as they seemed to glide through life like a parade on Fifth Avenue. They seem to always be smiling and stop to chat with others along their way. I see some of the women dressed to “the nines”, while I look like someone just sprayed me down with a garden hose before I left the house. Who has the time to look that spectacular on a daily basis? I find that it takes way too much work and let’s face it, I am lazy.
What actually makes a person popular? Is it good looks, wealth or personality? Could it be athletic ability or being the “class clown”? Maybe it was something else.
From personal experience, I can tell you that being popular did not make your life any easier than anyone else’s. In fact, it could make your life even more difficult. This I learned from Jennifer.
These days, I am old and do not care as much about what people think of me. I do not worry about being popular, as I did in high school. I am too dang busy trying to keep up with life.
As I have aged, I find that I try more to worry about being kind instead of popular. (Still working on the kindness thing.)
If you are worried about being popular, you are wasting your time and energy. Focus on what really matters in life. Being popular is over-rated, too much work and there are no known perks. Just ask my friend Jennifer.