Opinion: What Makes People Popular?


In the classic movies about high school, the storyline is usually the same. You have the jocks, the nerds, the potheads, the drama queens, the average joes, and the clique that rules all, the Popular Kids. This group is likely to be classified as the cheerleaders, the football stars, and the party crowd.

But what exactly does it mean to be popular? The literal definition of popularity is that which is accepted and enjoyed by many people. Far too often, I think people give the term “popular” a negative connotation. Being popular doesn’t necessarily have mean you have the latest fashion trends or people desire to be like you.

In the movies, all the other “lesser” kids seem to worship the “popular” kids. Others want to be like them, act like them and wear the same clothes as them. But stereotypically speaking, this group is usually mean and exclusive. So I’m wondering, what characteristics make up a person that a lot of people look up to or follow, a so called “popular”?

Personally, I disagree with the “popular” label, because I don’t think people should be admired for being involved in the party life. I would define a “popular” person as one who is a friend to everyone in various different groups of people. A “popular” person has no group and unlike the movies, they are generally accepting.

I would not really consider myself popular. However, at the same time, I think I am, but not in the way most would consider. I certainly have a main friend group that I spend most of my time with, and the group itself varies often, as expected in high school. But I also have a number of friends who are not friends with my other friends. I participate in a lot of various activities and sports that have brought me closer to many awesome people outside of my group of friends. I am friends with band kids, kids from church, sporty girls I play soccer and run track with, I’m friends with smart kids, kids who love to rave, coffee addicts, and everyone in between. I may not be well known persay, but that doesn’t change the fact that I will be friendly to others.

The fact that people desire to be popular, I think is really unfortunate. People shouldn’t want to be a “popular kid” and change the way they act so people like them. You should be your own person, and people should enjoy you for who you are.

I was recently crowned as Granite Bay’s Homecoming Queen, which a lot of cynical people consider a popularity contest. I don’t agree with that, but in any case, this probably sounds a little hypocritical. But hear me out.

This year, I was ecstatic about the nominees for Royalty Court. I thought it was awesome that both the kings as well as the queens were from diverse friend groups, and I can honestly say that I would have been equally excited for any of the candidates to win. But I think the coolest part about the entire court was that I wouldn’t consider any of the princes, princesses, kings or queens stereotypically popular.

While all of the people were some of the nicest, friendliest people, at this school, none of them were involved in the raging party crowd. I think this example is proof that popularity is far more than the clique it originated from. But not only that, I think that it is also an excellent example about how skewed stereotypes are.