Popular, I Wanna Be Popular! (Episode 287)
Remember the song in the musical Wicked, "Popular?" Popularity seems to be the desire of so many tweens and teens as they try to figure out their independence - and their place - in the world.
But what does it really mean to be popular? Is it sitting with a certain group at a lunch table, or do your actions lay it out?
We shared our survey last year and I heard more requests for our 10-year-old daughter, Juliet, to join me, so this episode and blog topic were chosen by her!
What does it mean to be popular?
Jules was inspired to discuss this topic due to a new book she got over Christmas that she's been enjoying, Think Positive for Preteens.
She shared the definition of being popular: liked and admired by many people.
It doesn't say that being popular is the person who is the biggest bully in school. Yet doesn't that oftentimes tend to be the one leading the "popular" table?
Jules is quick to point out that being known for something isn't really the true definition of being popular. If everyone avoids the "cool kids" who are mean to them, are they really the popular ones, or are they simply the kids people know to steer clear of due to how they are treated?
As Juliet poignantly nods to in the episode, oftentimes the ones tearing others down are the ones feeling the most lost, insecure and hurting.
Popularity isn't a rank in who can put others down best. It's not about being in a group that's "better than" anyone else.
Popularity is the magnet that draws people to you because they are positively attracted to you. Not out of fear or force.
#1 - Be A Helper
Juliet talked on the podcast about how people are drawn to the helpers. When people help out, others see someone looking beyond themselves to care for another.
And it's a pretty awesome thing to be known for being a helper. To be seen as someone that can help instead or harm, lift up instead of belittle, and encourage and challenge in a positive way.
If you want people to be attracted to you, look for ways to help them out.
#2 - Be Kind
"Above all, practice being KIND over being RIGHT." My mother used to say this to me on repeat. Sometimes when we're trying to find our place in the world, it can be easy to establish where you stand by telling others where they rank.
Yet voicing others' insecurities, putting people down, attacking and name-calling in no way deepens connections and draws people to you.
The truth is people avoid those who make them feel bad about themselves. And I have first-hand experience with a "best friend" who made it a point to belittle me in front of others to build herself up.
I wanted that friendship. And I tolerated a lot. And, in the end, when I really saw my own self worth, I recognized what she was doing, what struggles she was living in, and I determined I would no longer be a doormat to her insecurities.
Be kind. Any time you're hopping on the bandwagon of "fun" at someone else's expense, know that you may be only getting that "popular" card for the ones who are willing to hurt others. That's a smaller boat, and, like Jules read in her story, that little "popular" table of those who teased got smaller and smaller as all those who had been teased by them formed a bigger, happier group of encouragement and support.
#3 - Be You
It's a lot harder to keep up a façade of something you are not. With every coaching client I take on, often the first thing we do is dig into the Namaste Snapshots. With these assessments, it's not to label someone or excuse toxic behavior. It's about understanding we all see through different lenses in this life, and have a variety of ways to recharge, connect, and respond to various situations.
The more you know what truly does excite you, motivate you, and trigger you into reactive mode, the more authentic you can be. The more you can learn to live in those sweet spots of joy that really recharge and revitalize you instead of feeling trapped in reaction-mode and frustration for others.
When you know about your own tendencies, you can also learn more about others and how they may differ. You'll start to recognize the people you want in your crowd who draw you out and bring the fun in, or the ones you can count on to make quick decisions under pressure, or the loyal friend who always seems to have your back no matter what.
Knowing personality styles helps you really meet people where they are in a way they will respond best and feel most heard.
So as a reminder, here are your three great keys to being popular. If you're wondering where you rank on the popularity scale, start here. How are YOU doing in these three areas?
- Be Kind
- Be Helpful
- Be You
Show who you are, and help others learn who they are. We are all always growing.
We believe the world is our school and everyone is our teacher. We all have the opportunity to grow and learn and change and shift.
The more you are true to who you are, the more you find joy within that. And that joy bubbles up like a contagious wellspring of life that spreads to others. We are drawn toward joy, happiness, and light. It's a beautiful thing, and the more we can create it, the more energy supports it.
This is not about being the best at whatever, or the perfect one, or the one who makes everyone else feel "less than." What are you attracting? Is it just a few who have passed your judgment? Or is it wide open on who can and will be attracted to you?
Don't isolate yourself around a wall of judgement. Popularity can be a magnetic draw of positivity - not a rank for being a "cool" kid that ends up isolating who and what you can be and who you can hang out with.
Be helpful, be kind, be you. And remember, the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste