In today’s society, popularity is highly sought after. This isn’t really a surprise, since it’s often associated with high social status, wealth, power, and influence. Not to mention the perception that popular people just have more fun because — being popular — they get invited everywhere since everyone wants them around.
But it’s not easy to become popular. In fact, it can be darn near impossible to become popular in a positive way — of course, it’s much easier to achieve popularity by becoming “infamous“, or doing something negative or unsavory to reach the spotlight, but such negative tactics are not likely to work long-term and that shouldn’t be the kind of “fame” you want. (Think of some of the most repulsive reality stars.)
So, understanding how difficult it can be to earn popularity that is well-deserved and positive, how can we become more popular?
Thankfully there are some steps you can take to increase your popularity. Read on to learn about 10 ways to be more popular.
How To Be Popular — A 10-Step Guide
1. Be Authentic
Authentic is an interesting word. It’s strongly associated with the term genuine. A completely genuine person is someone who is true to himself/herself, regardless of outside perception and expectations. However, this can be difficult to achieve because it requires self-confidence and a high self-esteem.
Similar to being genuine, to be authentic you must be able to be yourself fully. People like and respect those who are able to be themselves without apprehension or fear.
So what are some ways to be more authentic?
- Listen and be true to your own heart.
- Follow your internal voice and not the voices that surround you.
- Don’t simply follow the crowd; blaze your own trail through life.
- Be open to and accepting of feedback and criticism.
- Accept that nothing and nobody is perfect.
In a world that has so much insincerity and so many fake people, it can be difficult to resist the temptation to follow suit and dip into inauthentic territory. Don’t worry if this happens to you sometimes; it’s near impossible to be totally authentic all of the time. As with most things, just do your best and the rest will follow.
Perhaps it will help to understand that being authentic is a life-long pursuit — but one you can begin today.
2. Explore Your Talents
There is a basic truth to society: People love talented people. Why? Because it’s so rare to find someone who both:
- a) Has a talent; and
- b) Has explored that talent fully
When you see someone who has fully explored a talent, you take notice. These people are the ones who can dazzle us with their abilities; they’re the John Lennons, the Hemingways, the Mozarts. But it could be you, too, if only you find and harness the power of your innate abilities.
Do you have natural musical ability? Pick up an acoustic guitar and get practicing. You never know what will come of it — perhaps it will lead to nothing but hours of fun and the satisfaction of learning an instrument; or maybe it will lead to super-stardom on the level of Katy Perry or Justin Bieber (who both got their start by learning instruments and cultivating their natural talents, by the way).
An undeveloped talent is not anything. A developed talent is magical. Explore and cultivate your innate talents and people will flock to you.
3. Develop Skills
Similar to the above, skilled people are always in demand. Skills come in a wide-variety of types and flavors, which means it’s relatively easy to find a skill you’re interested in developing.
Don’t know what skills to foster? Here are some important skills you could consider:
- Ability to hold a meaningful conversation
- Public speaking
- Effective time management
- Financial literacy
By developing important skills, you are placing yourself in high demand — which essentially is another way to look at popularity, since very popular people are always in demand.
So pick a skill and get practicing!
4. Be Passionate
Do you have a dream? Follow it. Pursue it fully to your heart’s desire, with a burning passion that cannot be extinguished no matter what obstacles get in your way.
People admire those who are passionate about something. It can be anything really, as long as it is deemed a worthy pursuit by others — your family, your job, your hobbies, your community. If you are passionate, people will notice and those with similar passions will align themselves with you, increasing your popularity in turn.
Do you believe in a just cause? As an example: Do you think the outrageous homelessness in and around our inner cities is a tragedy? Then get involved. Play your part to make a better world. If your cause is truly just, then other people will believe in it too and will follow your lead, and as this happens your popularity will grow.
5. Find and Grow Your Voice
Fitting right in with authenticity, finding and growing your voice means developing the necessary self-confidence to speak your mind at all times (with proper tact, of course). It means you are able to ask for what you need and want in a responsible way.
When you find your voice, you are able to give your opinion when people ask for it and be truthful to what you really think, even if others may not agree with or like what you say. People may not always be happy about what they hear, but they will respect you for speaking your truth.
6. Bring Energy to Every Situation
For this one, let’s consider an example situation:
Say a storm strikes your college town and your dormitory suffers a power outage. Who would you rather have around — somebody who sits around and complains about the heat and no electricity, or somebody who decides to go with it and suggests an exciting game of flashlight tag in the dark?
The answer is pretty clear. Nobody wants to be around a Negative Nancy or somebody who has no enthusiasm. People like that often make tough situations worse and can even ruin otherwise fun situations.
Get energized and creative, and bring your unique take and enthusiasm to every problem or situation. You’ll be amazed by how positively people will respond to you.
7. Have a Sense of Humor
People naturally flock to funny people, because funny people can make others laugh, and laughing makes you feel good.
Now, you don’t have to be the funniest person in the room in order to be popular. You don’t even have to be that funny yourself. But it is important to have a good sense of humor.
By “have a good sense of humor” I mean you are capable of naturally distinguishing between what’s funny and what is not, and are able to respond accordingly.
Why is this important?
Because when you laugh genuinely (there’s that word again) at something somebody else says (when it’s actually funny), it makes that person feel good and appreciated. People want to feel good and appreciated when they deserve to be; thus, when you help them feel it by being appreciative of their humor, they will be glad you are around and will want you around more.
Note: This doesn’t mean you should laugh at people’s jokes even when you don’t think they’re funny, because this goes against “being authentic”, which as we’ve learned is one of the most important traits of popular people.
8. Practice Good Hygiene
Most of the tips so far have been about personal discovery and qualities, focusing on internal growth and development. This tip, however, is a bit more tangible — or, rather, smell-able.
Having good personal hygiene is mandatory if you want to be well-liked by your peers. Nobody wants to be around somebody who is dirty, smelly, or just generally unkempt.
To positively impact your popularity, take care of your personal hygiene. So bathe regularly. Brush your teeth. Get a good cologne if you’re a man, or some perfume if you’re a woman. Make sure your hair is washed thoroughly and styled in an attractive way (if it’s normally unruly, try to use a good pomade). Dress appropriately for every given situation.
You’d be surprised how many people don’t follow these basic steps to good hygiene. Make the effort to look (and smell) the part, and your popularity will naturally rise as a result.
9. Display Positive Body Language
Perhaps the most important part of communicating with others is the communication that is not spoken — i.e. your body language.
Your body language reveals a whole lot of information about you. It can tell others how confident you are feeling from moment to moment. It can tell others you are angry or defensive, as well as whether you’re open and listening intently.
For a brief but thorough introduction on the importance of body language, check out this incredible TEDTalk given by Amy Cuddy:
Displaying the wrong body language for any given situation can send the wrong signals to others and may turn them away completely.
If this is something you struggle with, or don’t know much about, consider checking out this great book by former FBI special agent Joe Navarro called What Every Body is Saying. It’s a great read and will explain in more detail how to have the right body language for any situation as well as how to better read other people’s body language.
10. Be Friendly
Last but certainly not least — be friendly! You have no idea how many people overlook this simple tip. Do not underestimate the power of friendliness.
So instead of trying to be cool by being rude or mysterious, flash people a smile. Doing so makes you seem more approachable and likeable. The best pattern? Actually look at people, make good eye contact, and then give them a friendly smile. This simple strategy works wonders.
Think about it: Who would YOU rather approach? The surly-looking guy who has his nose pressed against his cellphone, or the one who looks over at you and smiles? It’s a no-brainer.
There you go — ten ways to become popular. While it can seem impossible to be well-liked by many people, there are steps you can take to improve your chances. I hope this guide has given you some good ideas on how to be popular.
The most important advice I can leave you with is this: be yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. What’s the point? You’ll expend all that energy to build up popularity around that fake persona, but you’ll get found out eventually and all that work will come crashing down around you. Take the time to work on yourself, develop your talents and skills, and improving your people skills.
Popularity will naturally follow.