Ways to be Popular
What are the hidden principles behind why some people are so popular?
Luckily, there’s an entire industry built around popularity: The movie industry. Movie creators know exactly how to make a character popular (or unpopular).
What is Popularity?
We define a popular person as someone who is admired, appreciated, loved and is someone who others want to hang out with. We recommend that you first define what popularity means to you. If you don’t, you may come to realize that you’ve lost sight of what you were working towards (and why you wanted it) in the first place.
Once you have defined popularity for yourself, it is important to set measurable goals. Measurable goals are quantitative goals that you can easily track as you make progress. These goals can include planning to spend time with a specific number of people each week or having a certain number of people contact you. While having more people calling you each week won’t necessarily make you happier, it will be a good benchmark by which you can measure your progress.
Ready? Great! Let’s uncover the 11 secrets that you should master if you want to become a popular person.
One of the biggest reasons superheroes are so popular is that they always help others out in a high-value way. They offer their help because they are good at what they do and can do things that other people can’t.
Like a superhero, becoming a person who helps others is something that will boost your popularity. You might not be able to fly or shoot spider webs out of your wrists, but there are plenty of things you can do those others will find helpful.
However, there’s a risk involved in being helpful– it has to be done in the right way. We all know at least one person who tries too hard to make friends by going out of their way to offer assistance. So why is doing favors sometimes good and other times almost repulsive?
Well, people notice when someone is being helpful just to make others like them. That person needs something in return (for example, friendship) and this is where the term “needy” comes from. Superheroes don’t help people as a means to an end; they help people out of a genuine concern for their well-being.
Make sure to distinguish between different forms of helpfulness– what are you offering and why? Is your offer conveying that your time is more or less important than the other person’s time? Let’s take a look at two scenarios:
- You are great at computers and help someone out with a technical problem they can’t solve on their own. (High-value help)
- You help someone out with writing a report in a field you both master in hopes that they will ask you to hang out with them. (Low-value help)
In the first scenario, you are showing that you value the other person’s time by offering help with something they can’t do by themselves, or that you can do more easily than they can. This is a high-value help.
In the second scenario, however, you are offering to do something the other person could have done with the same effort as you– not because you believe they have a genuine need for your help, but because you want something in return (friendship). The intention behind your offer is what makes this an example of low-value help. This type of offer can result in three potential negative outcomes:
- The person assumes you think you are more capable than they are of writing the report and maybe offended.
- The person assumes your time must not be very valuable (i.e. you don’t have anything better to do) and may try to take advantage of you in the future.
- The person assumes you are desperate for friendship by offering to do something for them that they don’t need help with (i.e. you’re needy) and is uninterested in spending time with you as a result.
Let’s be clear: often, part of being a good friend means offering to do things your friends could do just as easily as an act of kindness or simply to help.
For example, offering to do your friend’s dishes (even though they could easily do their own dishes) because they’ve had a stressful week does not make you needy– it makes you a good friend. It is not necessarily what you are offering, but the intention behind your offer, that determines whether it is of high or low social value.
2. Be the Glue
Do you have friends who don’t know each other? This is a great opportunity for you to tie them together. Now, you have the chance to be the one who connects people, and this will serve to both expand your social circle and position you in the center. The most popular people are the glue that holds their social circles together.
When you have plans to meet a group of friends for a social outing, make it a habit of inviting someone who hasn’t met everyone in the group yet (but be sure to check with the host of the event first!).
Arrange frequent parties and get-togethers for all of your friends. If you encounter someone you know while spending time with another friend, remember to introduce them to each other; otherwise, your friend will stay quiet and you will come off as socially unskilled.
Not only will your friends appreciate the opportunity to meet new people, but you will also be perceived as a more social person. A psychological principle called social proof tells us that we look at others when we try to evaluate things and people around us. When all of our friends have an iPhone, we will be more inclined towards buying one too because it seems to be the right thing to do.
Likewise, when people see others making friends with you, they will be more inclined towards making friends with you as well because that seems to be the right thing to do.
3. Be Genuinely Nice (But Don’t be a Coward)
At first glance, “being nice” sounds too obvious to even mention as a piece of advice. But this is a tricky subject, as “nice” people often seem to lack friends, while the “cool” people or “bad guys” become the popular ones. How does that happen?
The answer is that we often describe people who are afraid of conflicts as being nice. An example would be a person who notices his friend drinking too much but doesn’t want to bring up the subject. So, he lets the drinking continue, thereby risking the health of his friend. This is not an act of kindness, but one of the harmful passivity out of fear of conflict.
What you should do is become genuinely nice. Your life decisions should be based on your moral code and an understanding of what will do the most good for the most people. A legitimately nice person would go through the talk with his friend who drinks too much.
Most superheroes are genuinely nice people. But let’s look at some “nice” things that superheroes don’t do:
- Superheroes don’t do everything people ask them to do just because they are “nice.” There’s a fine line between “nice” and “pushover,” and it’s important to make sure that agreeing to do things for people won’t be a detriment to you or your other obligations before consenting to do them. Superheroes are rarely pushovers, and saying “no” when you need to will not make you less of a genuinely nice person.
- Superheroes don’t avoid tough conversations. Like in the example above, turning a blind eye to a serious problem that could end up bringing harm to someone is not nice, it’s cowardly. And cowardly is one thing superheroes are not. But you don’t have to be rude or insensitive to have a tough conversation with someone; click here to learn how to navigate a difficult conversation.
- Superheroes aren’t afraid to disagree with people. Although some people feel that disagreeing with others is rude, the truth is there’s nothing wrong with having and sharing your own opinions. There are certainly rude ways to disagree, but the disagreement in and of itself is not innately rude. Verbally agreeing with everything someone says (when you are mentally disagreeing) will take you from “nice” to “pushover” faster than Superman can save Lois Lane.
If these are things that genuinely nice people don’t do, then what are some characteristics of genuinely nice people?
First, genuinely nice people listen. Has anyone ever asked you how you’re doing, only to act like they’re not paying attention to your response? Or what about when you share a problem or concern you have with someone, and they immediately start talking about themselves? These are some of the easiest ways to tell if someone is “fake nice” and a genuinely nice person does the opposite.
People want to spend time with people who care about them, and this empathy and concern are key to be a popular person. Listening to the things people share with you and paying attention to them are critical components of being genuinely nice.
Ultimately, the biggest difference between a genuinely nice person and a fake nice person is the motivation behind their niceness. If you are nice to someone because you truly care about them, then you are genuinely nice. However, if you are having to constantly try to act nice because you want people to like you, then it may be time to reevaluate your intentions.
4. It’s Easy to be Easygoing
As humans, our decisions are determined by the way we balance our natural desires (the things we want and enjoy) and our moral codes (our personal beliefs about right and wrong). We do things like spending time with friends to induce the release of chemicals in our brains that bring us pleasure. It is in our nature to want to have fun and feel loved, needed and liked, and these are the desires that make us social beings.
This explains why it’s true that you will be more popular if people enjoy spending time with you. True friendships are rarely formed between people who don’t enjoy spending time together.
One way to make sure your friends enjoy spending time with you (thereby increasing your popularity) is to be easygoing. It’s important to have a positive attitude and avoid constant complaining.
Sharing your problems with others is a good thing– it’s actually a cornerstone in making close friends. But there is a time and place to have these serious discussions, and while repeatedly talking about problems people already know about might have a therapeutic effect on you, constant negativity will make it difficult for your friends to enjoy spending time with you.
Other characteristics of an easygoing person include:
- Having a good sense of humor; not becoming easily offended at jokes
- Willingness to try new things; not insisting on following the same routines every single time
- Flexibility in making plans (and changing plans!)
- The ability to have fun even it means looking silly; not refusing to have fun because you might embarrass yourself
If you think of the most popular people you know, you’ll probably notice that none of them are uptight. Being an easygoing person will make people more comfortable around you and allow them to have a good time, and this is sure to boost your popularity.
5. The Importance of Being a Good Listener (And Why You’re Probably Not as Good as You Think)
While the importance of being a good listener is widely known, most people don’t listen very well. Many of us think that we are far better listeners than we really are.
There’s an explanation for this: When your mind is somewhere else, you don’t hear what you don’t hear and you won’t know what you missed. Hence, it feels like you are a better listener than you really are.
The biggest cause of the “bad listener epidemic” is simple: Many people are so busy relating to what the other person is saying and thinking about how they’re going to respond that they don’t actually pay attention to everything that’s being said. In short, they’re handling the conversation selfishly by focusing more on themselves than the other person.
Even worse, some interrupt their friends while they are talking just because they have to tell them something they relate to. This causes people to feel ignored and can be very damaging to a friendship.
If this is something you find yourself doing, it’s okay; this doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad friend, it simply means you need to improve your social listening skills.
Paying attention when other people are speaking (and making an effort to really be present in the conversation instead of in your head planning your response) is the first step toward becoming a good social listener. When you are listening, show them that you are listening by nodding and making affirmatory comments such as “Yeah,” “Mhmm,” “Oh wow,” etc.
It’s also good to use your facial expressions to react appropriately when someone is speaking; for example, frown if they tell you something bad, smile if they tell you something good, laugh if something is funny, etc. This will convey to the other person that you are truly listening to them and will make them more inclined to share things with you in the future. On the other hand, if people get the feeling that you’re not listening when they’re talking to you, there’s very little chance that your social popularity will increase.
Another way to show that you pay attention when people are speaking is to follow up on things people have told you in previous conversations. This requires remembering what people have shared with you so that you can ask about it again in the future.
For example, if the last time you spoke with Lisa she shared with you that her nephew had broken his leg, ask her how her nephew is doing the next time you see her. Not only will this show her you were paying attention during your last conversation, but it will also convey that you have genuine care and concern for her.
Remember, popular people, are those who care about their friends and their well-being. Being a good listener is a crucial part of becoming popular.
6. Become Good at Something (It’s easier than most people think)
We are hardwired to admire people who are really good at something. If you think about it, it would be difficult explaining to an alien why there are thousands of people going to concerts, crying and screaming, waiting for hours just to catch a glimpse of someone because he or she is a good singer. Or why we value someone to millions of dollars because that person is good at a sport.
Undoubtedly, there is a connection between skill and popularity. It seems like the skill can be almost anything; even our favorite superheroes have their own unique areas of expertise.
What do you enjoy doing? Have you ever done something that people have told you that you are good at? It’s time to improve that skill.
Perhaps you can even earn your living on performing what you are good at. In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell suggests that there is no such thing as “being born without a skill,” but it requires thousands of hours of practice to truly become an expert at it. Once you have identified something you like doing and think you can be good at, invest the time to get better at it.
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what you’re good at it. Often we are blind to our own gifts and abilities, but our family members and close friends can see them clearly. Asking people you are close to what they believe you are good at is a quick way to get a better idea of your gifts and talents.
Another way to find out what your natural inclinations are is to take a detailed personality test. This personality test is known to be very accurate and provides great insight into your personality-specific talents.
Once you have decided which skill you would like to improve, the following resources can be very helpful:
- Personal development/self-help books relating to the area you are seeking to improve
- Working with a mentor who is an expert in your area of interest
- Free local or online classes, such as those at Coursera.org
- Paid local tutoring or classes
- Joining a local Facebook group pertaining to your skill/interest
- Set goals using these goal-setting sheets from Develop Good Habits
Not only will your skills, talents, and hobbies increase your popularity in your social sphere, improving your career-related abilities will improve your popularity in your workplace as well.
According to one study, employees’ work-related knowledge, skills, and abilities are directly related to their popularity in the workplace, which is in turn directly related to their career satisfaction.1
As you can see, increasing your talents can be beneficial in many ways. Your skills and talents allow you to provide value to the people around you, which we will discuss in the next section.
7. The Power of Positivity
Popular people are seldom needy; they don’t need anything from others to be happy. They don’t hang out with friends because they would feel lonely otherwise, they hang out with friends because they want to have fun with them. They give their friends positive energy instead of taking energy from them. They make sure that their friends enjoy their time together and focus on the well-being of others, instead of focusing only on their own needs.
The truth is that people who complain about life and are more pessimistic have fewer friends. Even worse, since people tend to spend time with others who are similar to them, the friends they do have are typically also pessimistic.
As a rule of thumb, make an effort not to say anything negative until you have first said at least five positive things. This can help you prevent others from viewing you as pessimistic and make you a more uplifting person to spend time with.
8. The True Danger of Talking Behind Someone’s Back
Have you ever seen a superhero movie in which the superhero beat the bad guy by whispering something rude about him into someone else’s ear?
This is because talking behind someone’s back will never solve your problem.
The bad guy goes behind the superhero’s back by trying to persuade others to come to his side, but in the end, his efforts are for naught. The superhero, on the other hand, confronts his enemies directly and addresses the problem face-to-face.
This isn’t a coincidence; movie producers and comic book writers know that talking behind someone’s back is an ineffective way of getting what you want. It’s a great way of telling the audience: “This is a bad person.”
Popular people understand that talking behind people’s backs will cause them to quickly lose friends; when you speak negatively about other people, the person you’re talking to can reasonably assume you would speak negatively about them when they’re not around as well. Because relationships grow deeper the more we reveal to each other, it’s important for your friends to be comfortable confiding in you without worrying that you will talk about them to others.
Many people attempt to justify their gossipy behavior by saying “I’m not talking behind anyone’s back, ‘I’m just telling the truth.’” While this may be the case, it is still not an acceptable excuse; some issues need to be addressed with the person in question and that person only. There is a difference between simply explaining a situation to a friend and speaking badly about someone, and it is very important to watch what you’re saying about people behind their backs.
9. Depreciation in General
You should not just avoid talking down on others, you should also avoid talking down on things in general. If you depreciate a TV-series, a part of town, a nationality, or an artist, you risk breaking rapport with the ones that you talk with.
This does not mean you can’t disagree with someone, but it does mean that your disagreement should be respectful. For example, saying, “I’m not a big fan of that show,” is a respectful way to disagree, while saying “That show is so stupid. I don’t see how anyone can watch it,” is a depreciating way to disagree.
If you have a habit of being openly depreciating about things, you will likely find yourself regularly meeting people who don’t share your point of view– and there’ a good chance they will be offended. As a rule of thumb, avoid expressing negative opinions around people you’ve just met.
There’s one exception. According to the rules of interpersonal psychology, you will build rapport with a negative person if you also act negatively. Our advice is to be careful not to get carried away in negativity though, as you will be perceived as a negative person and attract other negative people while simultaneously causing positive people to avoid you.
When you are around your closest friends, you should express yourself whenever you feel the need to. However, if your negative expressions have become a part of your jargon, you risk tiring even your best friends.
A common fear is that if you don’t express negative opinions, you will be considered to be an opinion-less zombie. However, the reality is the opposite: You will not influence others or change anyone’s mind by being negative about things. People who are successful at influencing others tend to behave in a different way: They tell stories about experiences without adding their own opinion, to make people make up their own minds.
You can never tell anyone to have the same opinion as you do; you can only give them the foundation to make up their own mind.
10. Build Relationships at Work and School
Many people make the mistake of avoiding social relationships at their school or workplace because those are “places to work, not places to socialize.”
This, however, is a detrimental mindset to have. People now spend more time than ever at their places of work and education, and refusing to build relationships with the people whom you spend so much time around will jip you out of quite a few very beneficial social experiences.
As we mentioned before, the knowledge, skills, and abilities that people possess in relation to their careers directly correlate with their popularity, and their popularity directly correlates with their levels of career satisfaction. This makes it clear that the more popular you are at school or work, the happier you will be when you’re there.
Additionally, experts tell us that people with healthy social relationships at school and work are more likely to perform better and be more successful, further reinforcing the importance of building social relationships with classmates and co-workers (How Much Co-worker Socializing is Good for Your Career? by Jacquelyn Smith).
11. Dealing With Conflicts (And Why Confrontation is OK)
Popular people have a certain way of dealing with conflicts; in other words, they actually deal with them instead of letting everything slide because they’re afraid of confrontation.
Popular people understand that confrontation is not actually a bad thing. How many lives would Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Mr. Incredible (I could go on) have saved if they were never willing to confront anyone?
The answer is zero. All of Gotham City (*cough* New York *cough*) would be obliterated.
Although confrontation is often associated with aggression and bullying, when done the right way it is a crucial part of forming–and more importantly, maintaining– healthy, lasting friendships.
Think about the word “peacemaking.” Notice how it is different from the word “peacekeeping.”
Peacekeeping means ignoring every issue that arises so as to avoid conflict and keep the peace (for now). But the problem with peacekeeping is that it can never be permanent, and often what you consider to be “peace” is actually turmoil underneath a blanket of passivity.
Eventually, all of the little (and big) things that you let slide in the past will add up, and one or both of the people involved will explode. Things will get messy–far, far messier than they would have if you had decided to be a peacemaker instead.
To be a peacemaker requires taking action– after all, you are making peace, which implies that it was not there before and changes must be made for it to occur. Unlike peacekeeping, peacemaking does not result in an explosion; it is the catalyst for a controlled change rather than a cataclysmic one.
In short, confrontation is necessary if you are ever to achieve true peace in your relationships.
Popular people know how important it is to work on their friendships, and they understand that confrontation and conflict resolution is necessary.
Popularity is something that most people strive for in their social relationships, and there are plenty of reasons why it can be a beneficial status to hold. Superheroes are the embodiment of popularity, and we can learn a lot about what popularity looks like and how we can achieve it by looking at the things they do (and don’t do).
Which superhero is your favorite, and what aspect of his/her popularity are you working towards the most? Share your popularity goals in the comments!
How to get popular in school
While there’s no magical quality that can make you popular, there are a few habits you can practice to get other people to like and respect you. Approach others with warmth, kindness, and a sense of humor. Put yourself out there in social situations, get involved in group activities, or step into a leadership position so more people can see what you’re made of. In everything you do, exhibit self-confidence and be true to yourself. This way, others will get to know and love the real you! When you let your authentic self shine, you’ll improve your chances of being well-liked and getting smiles everywhere you go.
Making Yourself Fun to Be Around
Exude upbeat, positive energy. If you’re constantly complaining, stressed, bored, or gloomy, others will feel crummy in your presence. Don’t adopt a negative attitude or bring others down with your low energy; others will feel pressured to cheer you up. Instead, develop a happy, optimistic, and positive demeanor that shows off your zest for life. Use your infectious positive energy to bring joy to others. Also, remember no one wants to be around someone who is popular but acts mean, rude, and like their better than others. Try to be kind to people.
- Be animated when you speak. Use dynamic facial expressions and gestures and speak with a musical cadence to your tone of voice.
- Rather than being uptight and quick to cast blame, try to relax and make others feel at ease. Don’t let little things get on your nerves, yell at them, or scold someone else for making a mistake.
- Refrain from acting bored and disinterested. If you behave like you’re too cool for school, people may notice you, but not in a good way.
- If you end up in a boring situation, look at the bright side. If your group is stuck waiting in a long line, cheer everyone up by pointing out that it means you get to spend more time together. Then strike up a conversation to beat off the boredom.
Share your sense of humor to make others laugh. Whether you’re with a group of good friends or someone you just met, show off your funny side. Sprinkle light jokes throughout your conversations. Point out funny observations, offer up silly puns, and try to make others smile or laugh. Laughing makes people feel great, so the more you make others laugh, the more they’ll enjoy your company.
- Draw funny connections across different parts of your conversation. This will show that you’re not only a great listener but that you can crack a good inside joke, even with a new acquaintance.
- Try laughing at yourself when things go awry. Show people that you recognize your quirks and don’t take yourself too seriously, and they’ll feel comfortable embracing their quirks around you.
- Be careful about using sarcastic humor, which can come off as insulting or rude to others.
- Remember to use humor only when it’s appropriate, and avoid making mean-spirited jabs and jokes.
Express genuine interest in other people. Don’t try to act interesting to get another person’s attention; act interested in them! Ask others questions about themselves. Ask about how things are going to work or school and how their family is doing. Encourage them to share their opinions, personal tastes, and aspirations. Follow up to see how a situation they mentioned a while back turned out. Listen closely and react enthusiastically, and respond in a way that shows your interest.
- Other people like to talk about themselves, and they feel great when someone else shows interest. If you let others talk about themselves, you’ll gain popularity.
Make yourself available to socialize with others. If you always claim to be “too busy” to hang out, or if you place socialization low on your list of priorities, others will be disappointed. Allow some time in your schedule for social activities, and accept invitations when they come along. Stick to your commitments, too. Be the type of person who’s easy to coordinate with and never bails at the last minute.
- The more time you have to hang out with your peers, the better you’ll get to know each other and the more popular you’ll be.
- Invite others to meet up with you, too. Host the next party, coordinate the next team lunch, or simply set up the group chat.
- Make sure you’re easy to reach via phone, email, or social media. This way, others will know they can reach out to you with spur-of-the-moment invitations.
Be outgoing and introduce yourself to people you don’t know. At a social gathering, don’t just lurk in the corner. Make your presence known! Walk up to somebody and say “hi.” If you end up sitting next to someone you’re not well-acquainted with, take the opportunity to get to know them better. Ask others questions about themselves and see if you can find common ground.
- For example, if you’re stuck at the back of the classroom in an alphabetical seating arrangement, ask your neighbors if they’re always stuck at the back like you are. Find out if they love or hate it, and try to make light of the situation. Next time you’re in class, flash them a warm, friendly smile!
- Use a smile and inviting body language to make yourself look approachable.
- Don’t wait for others to come and talk to you. Make the first move!
- If you’re introverted, shy, or quiet, practice stepping out of your comfort zone in social situations.
Join a team or club to socialize with other like-minded people. Joining a sports team, extracurricular club, or interest group is a great way to broaden your horizons and to meet more people. Find something you’re interested in or curious about, then commit to going to every group meeting.
- A sports team is not only a great way to exercise and feel good about yourself, but it’s an awesome way to broaden your horizons and make friends. Try out for a team at school or join a league in your neighborhood.
- Once you feel like part of the group, try making plans to socialize with your fellow teammates outside of the group meetings.
- Don’t worry about what others might think about the club or group. Focus on doing something that you love and meeting more people in the process.
Be an active participant in your school, workplace, or community. If you’re actively involved in your class, office, or neighborhood, more people will know who you are. Try joining the service committee at work to meet people from different departments. Consider volunteering once a week with a church group or a neighborhood organization. Be involved in class and seize the opportunity to help out with a school-wide initiative.
- You don’t have to raise your hand for every question to stand out in the classroom. Just be friendly to people when they sit down next to you, offer to answer your teacher’s questions, and participate enthusiastically in group activities.
- Volunteering will not only help you improve the lives of other people, but it’ll also help you learn how to interact with people from different backgrounds. The more people you know how to get along with, the more adept you’ll be at interacting with new people you meet.
Take on a leadership position to become more well-known. To be popular and well-liked by a lot of people, you have to make yourself known. If you’re part of a group or organization, step up to a leadership position. Volunteer to do tasks that others will notice, offer to coordinate group activities, and try taking the lead on new projects. This way, you’ll make your actions and presence more visible.
- Offer to be the person who distributes the weekly email update to the whole organization.
- Join the morning announcements group at school. If your classmates see or hear you at the start of every day, they’ll all know who you are.
- If you’re great at soccer, join a soccer team and work towards being the team captain. You’ll be a high-profile member of the team and you can use your leadership and visibility to get others to like and respect you.
- To be a leader, you’re going to need to take a few risks on a social level. Choose activities and opportunities you’re truly passionate about and don’t afraid to be bold!
Be friendly to everyone you meet. Popular people are on friendly terms with pretty much everyone – not only their peers, but also teachers, bosses, service workers, parents, kids, and everyone they interact with. Approach everyone with equally kind, warm, and attentive energy. Be inclusive and treat everyone with kindness; don’t exclude others.
- Try to hold a short, friendly conversation with people you interact with, even if it’s just at the grocery store or your school library.
- While it’s great to have a close group of friends, don’t be cliquey and keep others out of your group. Instead, welcome a classmate to play with you and your close friends during recess or, if they show interest, invite them to join in on your conversation about a new book series.
- If you see someone who appears to be lonely or excluded, go over and invite them to join your group.
- When you approach someone, smile, say hello, and, if they greet you back, ask them how they’re doing.
Avoid being mean and unkind to others. Bullies, gossips, and cliques may be intimidating, but they certainly aren’t popular. Treat everyone with kindness and respect. Even if people around you start gossiping or making fun of someone, resist being drawn. Stand up for the victims of their cruelty when you can.
- It may seem like being mean can help you gain power over others, but your peers will dislike how you treat them and might even dislike you.
- If your friends start making fun of a classmate, chime in with something that changes the subject: “Well, it seems like she worked really hard on her presentation so I think we should just let it go. But speaking of those class presentations… are you guys done with yours yet?”
- If you’re in a situation where you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Keep an open mind by welcoming and accepting new ideas. If you’re fixed in your opinions and put down others’ ideas just because you disagree with them, others won’t want to spend time with you. While you’re communicating with others, listen closely to what they say, especially if it goes against your personal views. Don’t interrupt or argue your point. Instead, ask follow-up questions in an effort to learn as much as you can and try to see things from their perspective.
- This goes for activities as well as ideas. Let others know that you’re down to try a new recreational sport, check out a new band, or hang out with a new group of people.
- Being open-minded doesn’t mean you need to agree with or copy everything someone else does. Stay true to yourself and your values and allow others to do the same.
Demonstrate empathetic, active listening skills. During a conversation, give your full attention to the other person as they speak. Make eye contact and use encouraging body language to show that you’re listening and eager to hear more. Don’t interrupt; let them finish their thought before chiming in. When you do respond, use supportive language that validates what the other person is sharing with you.
- While you’re listening, engage nonverbally by nodding along in encouragement, shaking your head in disbelief, or making an excited face – whatever is most appropriate to the situation.
- It’s great to share your own experiences to show the other person that they aren’t alone. Just refrain from making the conversation all about you.
Offer to help others with a generous spirit. To be popular, you’ll want to be on good terms with everyone. Establish those good terms by helping people out without expecting anything in return. Aim to give more than you take. Give compliments and praise freely and sincerely. Volunteer to help someone out without negotiating for a reward. If you’re in a position to give someone a big opportunity or make their day brighter through a simple act of kindness, do it!
- Try little acts of kindness like sharing your colored pencils with a classmate or holding the door open for the person behind you.
- Consider bigger acts of services, too. Help someone move a big pile of boxes to their car or try volunteering within your community.
Being True to Yourself
Build up a strong sense of self-confidence. You don’t have to be perfect to be popular. Even if you feel that you’re far from ideal, the first step to gaining confidence is to believe in yourself. Embrace your flaws and highlight your best features. Don’t be afraid to speak up or stand up for yourself. Walk with your head high and maintain good posture. Focus on loving who you are and what you do. If you love yourself, others will want to join in!
- If you act insecure or constantly seek approval from others, they’ll find it harder to be at ease around you.
- Fake it until you make it. Even if you’re not completely sure of yourself, acting confident is a great step towards making you feel good.
Embrace your authentic self. In order to be truly popular, you have to be yourself so that others can get to know and like you. Don’t worry about changing yourself to fit in or following trends you don’t really like. If you’re comfortable with yourself and you consistently show off your true personality, others will like you for who you are.
- Show your vulnerabilities instead of masking them behind a facade of perfection.
- Remember that popularity doesn’t define who you are; it simply shines a light on who you are. Don’t try to become a whole new person in order to gain popularity.
Develop your own personal style. To get noticed, you don’t have to dye your hair pink just to stand out or dress like everyone else just to fit in. Instead, find your own look and style through clothes and accessories that you feel most comfortable in. Let people see that you’re comfortable in your own skin.
- You don’t have to buy the trendiest or most expensive clothes to be popular. Try thrifted or DIY-ed clothes that show off your unique personality instead.
- Whatever you wear, have confidence in it. Don’t check yourself out in the mirror or ask everyone in your path if you look okay, or people will know that you doubt yourself.
- Practice good hygiene and good grooming habits so that you always show up fresh and put-together.
Pursue your passions enthusiastically. Figure out what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing. Then go after these activities, projects, hobbies, and passions with joy and dedication. Share your interests with others, too. Maintain a variety of interests to expose yourself to a greater number of people. If you’re doing things that make you happy and staying true to yourself, others will feel encouraged to do their own thing.
- If you’re in love with art, create as much and as often as you can. Encourage others to try it out, too.
- Being involved in a variety of activities will help you get recognized and get to know more people.
How do get the attention of a popular person?
It would depend on how popular the person is .. and what the sphere is. If you were trying to reach Justin Bieber or someone from in movies… I would say that’s pretty difficult.,
If you are talking about a popular person that is within your context (*school, classes, a colleague at work or on a team) that’s different.
If you know them well enough to be able to talk to them about something they find meaningful, then you would find it easier to get to them.
This is probably not what you’re looking for but I can’t resist. If there is no reason other than that they are popular, you are setting yourself up to get hurt or to feel rejected.
Be interesting. Develop your talents, get involved with things or become an expert in something. Do things that cause people to be attracted to YOU.
Doing something just to get someone’s attention isn’t always the best use of time or energy. It requires that someone else does something that you think will make you feel better. You have no control over what they do. You do have control over how you spend your time and use your gifts. Get better at something every day and others will look up to you.
How to make friends
Do you ever feel like you’re on the outside looking in? Like everyone has a ton of friends except you?
#1: Popular people pay attention
A little bit of empathy makes it easier to make new friends and meet people.
Often times, when we approach a social situation, we’re thinking about what WE can get out of it — instead of considering the other person.
The trick then is to go into conversations with the mindset of a curious beginner. Be inquisitive and pay attention to how they respond. Ask questions when you don’t understand something and don’t be afraid to ask follow-ups. Just don’t get too repetitive or too personal.
By doing this, you’ll actually make other people feel comfortable when you ask a question everyone else wants to be answered. And the person you’re asking will be thrilled to elaborate.
#2: Ask people for help with popularity
Unfortunately, no one will tell you if your social skills need work. That’s why the best way to improve your social skills is to ask for feedback. Feedback reveals hidden habits and insights you’d never notice on your own.
One of the experts on behavioral feedback is Michael Ellsberg, author of The Education of Millionaires. I want to share an excerpt from an interview I did with him where he discusses how asking for feedback transformed his life. Pay special attention to how he transforms negative feedback into life-changing improvements.
Yes, this is hard to do! Not everyone has the courage to ask for feedback. Not everyone has the courage to try to improve themselves. But if you try, you’ll find most people are eager to help and that even a few small improvements will have a major impact on your life.
#3: Learn and practice charisma
I used to believe that some people are born with charisma and some people aren’t. That some people are just natural at making new friends and public speaking — and the rest of us were stuck feeling awkward. But I was wrong.
The truth is EVERYONE can learn to be charismatic.
Charisma is a skill, and like any other it can be learned, honed, and mastered. It takes practice (like the charisma games at the bottom of this article).
Charisma is powerful and it makes the people around you feel special. Use the techniques from this article and you will see positive changes in the way people react and engage with you.
How to make a good first impression using charisma
Let’s say there’s a world-class chef who’s about to cook you the best omelet you’ve ever had. It should be easy to crack a few eggs right?
Now break down every step that that chef has to go through. That chef has to:
- Choose the eggs
- Heat up the butter in the pan to the perfect temperature
- Break the eggs without any shells falling in
- Whisk them so they’re broken up — and yet not too runny
- Choose fresh vegetables
- Chop them up with expert precision
- Pour the eggs in the pan while making sure that all the sides are even
You get the idea. Each of these seemingly simple elements was areas that the chef had to master — drawing upon years of experience in order to create a fantastic omelet.
Charisma is the exact same way. You can learn to be great at small talk or you can be a master of body language, but if you don’t make sure you’re training all of your individual “muscles” you won’t truly be charismatic. One of those “muscles” is small talk.
#4: Master small talk and make a good impression
“But Ramit, I HATE small talk! Why can’t I just get straight to the point?”
Small talk is a CRITICAL part of life and building relationships — it’s what helps people get to know each other, establish meaningful connections, and lay down the foundation for great long-term relationships.
The term “small talk” is actually a complete misnomer because of its HUGE impact on forming relationships and developing unshakeable confidence. As such, it takes a lot more care and nuance than just getting right down to the point.
If you walked right up to a CEO you admired at a mixer or convention and said, “I REALLY LIKE YOU. GIVE ME A JOB, PLEASE!” how do you think she’d react? She probably wouldn’t give you that job.
But if you went in with some care, and drew her into an amazing conversation and THEN asked her for a job (or better yet just advice or a coffee meeting), she’d be a hell of a lot more susceptible to it.
The trick is taking an active role in the conversation. Help it flow in the way you want it to go.
So, what do you say then? What happens when you’re at an event or party and see somebody you want to talk to…but don’t know how to get a discussion started?
There are actually 3 lines you can use to start a conversation. And no, these aren’t pick-up lines or “negging” or whatever skeezy seduction tactics other “experts” try to sell you. They’re simple, effective lines to help you jumpstart a great conversation.
Conversation starter #1: “What brought you here?”
Very simple and straightforward. And after they reply, you’ll have an opportunity to follow up with them based on their answer. Here’s an example:
YOU: Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Ramit. What brought you here?
THEM: Hi, Ramit! I’m John. I’m actually here because I know the founder of the blah blah blah.
YOU: Oh really, how do you know them?
And the conversation just flows from there.
Conversation starter #2: “Hi, I’m [NAME].”
Yes. This one really is that simple.
Remember: It’s not “UGH small talk makes ME feel awkward,” but rather “I’m doing them a favor by talking to them.”
Why? Imagine yourself at a party. Nobody’s really talking to you so you just fade into the background. Right before you pull out your phone so you’re not just standing there like a loser, somebody comes up to you and says, “Hey, I’m John.”
AWESOME! If that happened, you’d feel so grateful to John for walking up to you and engaging — because it’s way less awkward to not do anything than to take that first step.
This also implies confidence in yourself, another key ingredient to charisma and popularity. You don’t need a clever line or funny statement — your name and a plain-spoken “hey” is engaging.
As long as you remember that you’re doing them a favor by talking to them, it makes the process MUCH easier.
Conversation starter #3: “How do you know X?”
A while back, I was at a friend’s birthday party. When I showed up, it turned out that I didn’t really know very many people there. So instead of hanging off of my friend the entire party and monopolizing her time, I simply went around to everyone I didn’t know and asked, “So how do you know Michelle?”
It turned out that was a fantastic conversation starter because we were all there to support our friend Michelle. And from that one line, I was able to learn so much about the people I was talking to.
Look, I get it. It’s really hard sometimes to just make the first jump into a conversation. However, if there’s already a shared connection between you and the other person, the process becomes much easier. This also directly leads to popularity — connecting with many people!
Capitalize on any shared connection then. Variations on “How do you know X?” can be things like:
- Who do you know here?
- Why are you at this party/event/convention?
- How long have you been doing X?
Keep the conversation going
Once you start the conversation, congrats! The hardest part is done.
However, that doesn’t mean you should just sit back and let the other person do all the work for you. If you don’t make sure to keep the other person engaged and ask thought provoking questions, it’ll be easy to let the conversation die.
To that end, you can be an active listener and ask great questions based on their answers.
When you watch people who are really socially skilled converse, they will ask a question, listen, and then make a statement based on that answer.
If you’re still confused, a solid rule of thumb is to ask 2-3 questions and then make a statement as well.
When you’re talking to someone, think to yourself, “Where can I add value? What connections can I draw between us?”
Take a look at the two examples below. Can you see why one is bad and the other one is good?
You: “Where are you from?”
You: “How long have you been there?”
Them: “Two years.”
You: “Oh, do you like it?”
Them: “Yeah, I really like—”
You: “What brought you here?”
TERRIBLE. This conversation is entirely hypothetical and I’m still cringing. You’re not involving yourself in the conversation — and as a result, you’re not adding value. All this does is make you seem like someone who simply asks questions. Don’t do this.
You: “Where are you from?”
You: “Oh, I’ve been to Michigan before. I actually grew up in Phoenix but live in Chicago — pretty close by.”
Them: “Oh, really? How long have you been there?”
BOOM. Now you’ve successfully engaged this other person and established a connection with them — all by sharing something simple about yourself.
#5: Don’t worry too much about body language
People have come up with all sorts of weird tricks for improving your body language. Google “body language,” and you’ll learn all sort of interesting new words: mirroring, foot direction, power posing. Stuff nobody in the real world cares about or notices.
The only thing you really need to remember is SETHE.
Yes, I named it after me. No, I don’t regret it for a moment. Why? Because the system WORKS. SETHE goes like this:
- Smile. If you’re not used to smiling, it can feel totally unnatural. Practice letting your smile “fill your face.” I used to videotape myself speaking to find out I wasn’t smiling enough. It gets easier once you start practicing.
- Energy. Take whatever level you’re at, and add 50% more energy into your voice and movement. What feels weird to you is NORMAL to everyone else.
- Talk slowly. Slow down what you’re saying by 50%. It will feel sluggish, but this is perfect for everyone else. Enunciate your words to help slow down. Young Ramit got way ahead using this one tip.
- Hands. Experiment with your hands to find your comfort zone when speaking. How do you feel when you leave yourself more “open,” or gesture more?
- Eye contact. Study how socially skilled people use eye contact. How long do they look at someone? Where do they look after disconnecting? By testing, you’ll find what works for you.
Don’t try to work on every one of these basics at the same time. Don’t overthink it. Work on your body language piece by piece to improve one thing at a time — this isn’t a race. I want you to listen to people you’re talking to, not try to remember SETHE. You literally have your entire life to get good at this. Try one improvement the next time you go out until you feel comfortable, then move on to the next.
Check out this video of an interview I conducted with Olivia Fox Cabane, author of The Charisma Myth. In it, she outlines how eye contact, presence, and mindset can dramatically impact how charismatic the person is. She also explains why most social skills advice is garbage and shares what actually works, including:
- At 2:16 — A common, habitual problem millennials tend to have that makes them seem overeager, insecure, and nervous (you could be doing this and not even know)
- At 7:00 — Two easy ways to instantly become more present in conversations (even when you’re bored or tired)
- At 12:40 — The single biggest inhibitor to charisma and how to correct it
#6: Give authentic observational compliments
When it comes to compliments, I’m not talking about hollow praise like “I like your shirt.” I mean genuine compliments that show people you’re listening to them. People love to feel “heard” and people love to hear about themselves. (Why do you think astrology is so popular?)
In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie put it best:
“The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simple. One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.”
People aren’t stupid. They know a weak compliment (or “flattery” as Carnegie called it) when they hear it. They also know the value of a good authentic compliment and appreciate it.
The observational compliment goes a step beyond “Nice dress” or “I like your tie” and shows the person you’re complimenting that they have EARNED your appreciation.
Bad compliment: “You do some pretty cool stuff.”
Observational compliment: “You know, you seem pretty adventurous. I know a lot of management consultants, but I don’t think any of them would go skydiving in their off time. That’s pretty cool.”
See the difference? The first one isn’t authentic and people will pick up on that.
The second one is much better — and it works for two reasons:
- People LOVE to hear about themselves. This is the reason things like the Myers-Briggs test and astrology are so popular.
- It shows that you’re LISTENING. People love to feel heard, and when you’re able to showcase that you were paying attention to what they were saying, they’re going to respond well to your compliment.
This general framework works for any number of observational compliments. Find one that works for you.
“You know, you must love doing [marketing] at Acme. I can hear how excited you are about that new project.”
“So you’re a management consultant, but you go scuba diving every weekend… you must really be the adventurous type.”
“Something I noticed about you, Susan, is that you really notice the details. Most people don’t bother [going through all the feedback and comments], but I notice you do so every Thursday.”
Remember, you can’t fake observational compliments. People will recognize inauthenticity immediately. So make sure your observational compliments are genuine.
#7: Practice starting a conversation with charisma games
Here’s what I want you to do today. Not tomorrow. Not a week from now. TODAY.
If you’re reading this before bedtime, do it as soon as you can when you wake up.
In order to help exercise your charisma muscles, I want you to play two games. That’s right. Who said self-development couldn’t be fun?
- The 60-Seconds Game
- The Compliments Game
Check them out below in an infographic that someone told me is good for SEO:
#8: Practice introducing yourself by networking
Utilizing these skills, you’ll be able to leave fantastic impressions on people and introduce yourself to anyone you want. Be sure to put them to good work by building your network.
Of course, this is just the beginning. In your journey to become a more charismatic and popular person, you’ll want to hone your skills as much as you can. That’s why I want to offer you a more advanced lesson on body language.
Recap and a body language video recommendation
- Make a good first impression through engaging conversations
- Leverage effective body language
- Dole out authentic, observational compliments
Your body language has a HUGE impact on how other people see you, as well as how you feel about yourself.
Like the SETHE Technique, I shared above, you can improve your body language with just a few small changes and you’ll make yourself 99% more likable than most people — but that’s just the beginning.