In middle school, popularity functions as currency in a convoluted social economy of favors and invitations. Being popular is fun and loaded with perks like people offering to help you with your homework and always having a date to the school dance. Unfortunately, popularity isn’t something you can permanently lock down.
Your popularity can plummet for a host of reasons, including moving to a bigger environment, having less in common with your friends, or even going on vacation with your family for a little too long. Whether you want to up your clout or learn to move past the fall from the top, here are a few options:
- At the risk of sounding preachy, it’s a good idea to keep the wise words of Horace Greeley in mind: “Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.” Think less about a specific spot on the social ladder, and more about yourself and what makes you great.
- Make more friends by being generally pleasant to be around. Invite people to hangout, study, or eat with you and start making real connections. One can never have too many friends; just make sure you maintain relationships with people you actually hold dear.
- Focus on things that make you happy. Do exactly what you want to do and not what you think others would like you to do. By throwing yourself into the activities you love, you’ll build a natural network of friends. You’ll stabilize yourself socially without stressing about an ever-changing social hierarchy.
- When in doubt, throw a fantastic party. There’s something about handing out exclusive invitations that automatically puts you on everyone’s radar. Consider celebrating a non-event so the pressure stays off (instead of celebrating your birthday, you can celebrate the birthday of Lindsey Lohan).
- If all else fails, transfer schools. Use the mystery and buzz around your arrival to boost yourself to the top or swim against the current as a cool and sexy rebel.
Have you ever experienced a shift in popularity? How did you cope?