How to Be Popular (Advice from a British college student) 🇬🇧

As it’s summer now I’m working on giving advice to some of the new students at my college next year, so I create a step by step guide on how to be popular both in college and in (the general) public.

For over a decade, I’ve started from the bottom and worked myself quickly to the top of the social pyramid until I was given the name “king champ.” For years I have learnt this knowledge from experience ever since primary school (elementary). And now I wish to give this advice to you all for those who wants know [då wæ] of being socially superior like I was back in my prime.

I’ve given some of these tips and advice to my mates on my course at college, however this was only the tip of the iceberg from the surface level, what I have written here is literally written down to the last and smallest detail, grouped into 3 main principles that is key to helping you gain social recognition and influence.

A. Getting Noticed (Recognition)

A1: {Be confident}. Nobody’s perfect. Therefore, 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.

  • Don’t hide in the corner. Get up and bask in the spotlight, if the moment is right. If you spend all of your time worrying about how you look or what other people think of you, you won’t get very far. Instead, work on loving who you are and what you do. If you love yourself, everyone will want to join in.
  • In class, also get noticed, raise your hand, and finish your work on time. People will get to know you better, Never be afraid to speak!
  • Fake it until you make it. Even if you don’t feel confident, just acting confident is the first step to making you feel good.
  • Confidence has a lot to do with body language. Walk with your head high and your arms at your sides instead of crossed over your chest. Don’t hunch.
  • Develop your confidence by excelling at the things you love or developing new interests. If you find something you really care about, you’ll be more likely to feel good about yourself.

A2: {Put yourself out there}. This usually means to be willing to step out of your comfort zone. If you’re not popular, it’s because you’re not comfortable doing the things that popular people tend to do, such as:

  • Making conversations, cracking jokes, flirting, and in general, engaging people. Remember that popular kids are popular only because they are known by (and get the attention from) others.
  • Remember, if it isn’t yet working out, don’t wait for someone to come talk to you, you might as well talk to others you never did before.
  • You may be introspective, shy, or quiet, but in order to get what you want, you need to change how you interact with people.
  • At first, that might feel like you’re being shallow or fake, but remember that being yourself is, at its core, all about knowing what you truly want out of life.

A3: {Find your own style}. To get noticed, you don’t have to dye your hair pink or get a tattoo on your face. What you should do, however, is find your own look and style and let people see that you’re comfortable being yourself.

  • If you’re hiding behind a pair of gray sweatpants, you won’t get noticed—at least, not in a good way. So, find a look makes you comfortable, whether you look preppy, hipster chic, or grungy, and own it.
  • You don’t have to buy the trendiest clothes that everyone else is wearing unless you think you can really look good and comfortable in them. If you’re buying the same Nikes that everyone in school is wearing but they just look wrong on your feet, everyone will notice.
  • 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.
  • It’s great to pay attention to your looks, but looking like you’re trying too hard to be popular is worse than looking like you don’t care. So, if you’re not really into makeup, don’t slather your face with it. If you don’t like popping your collar, don’t do it just because that’s what everyone else is doing.
  • If you want to get trendy clothes but don’t have the budget, check out stores that have cool clothes at an affordable price (especially during their sales). Check out JD, Topshop, or even Primark to get some great deals.

A4: {Take risks}. To be popular, you’re going to need to take a few chances on a social level that may normally feel uncomfortable to you. So be prepared to be bold.

  • Take risks by introducing yourself to someone you haven’t met, going to a party you were invited to (even if you don’t know many other guests), or by making statements that make you stand out in a crowd.
  • If you get used to taking risks (without putting yourself in danger, of course) you will definitely get noticed more.

A5: {Don’t act like you don’t care}. Yeah, if you go around acting like you’re too cool for college, people may notice you, but it won’t be in a good way. Though you may not want to be the teacher’s pet and answer every question right, participating in class and making an effort will get you more positive attention than shrugging or being rude if a teacher asks you a question.

  • Part of looking like you’re ready and excited for whatever life throws at you is to smile more. You don’t have to smile like a maniac; however, you should smile when people greet you, or even be the one to smile first. This will make people want to get to know you.
  • If you’re in high school, then you may be at the point in your life where most people around you think it’s cool to look bored or totally uninterested. However, you’ll get noticed even more if you go against the grain here.

B. Be Social (Socialise)

B1: {Be interested, not interesting}. Don’t try to act interesting to get other people’s attention; act interested in them. Ask them how work or school is going, how their family is doing, how that situation they mentioned a while back turned out, and so on. Then relate. Talk to them about how you or someone you know had something similar happen to them, and how they dealt with it.

  • Stop thinking about yourself and how you can impress others. Of all the people skills that popular people have, the one that none of them can do without is empathy. How well do you relate to other people?
  • Stop worrying so much about how you look, how you sound, how you compare, and start thinking about how other people are doing.

B2: {Be friendly}. Popular people are on friendly terms with pretty much everyone—not only their peers, but also the teachers, the supervisors, the grocery store clerk, the janitor, the parents, the kids, and generally anyone who’s even the tiniest bit nice. They’re on good enough terms that they can hold a short, friendly conversation with anyone in the room. There’s no reason you can’t do that, too. Being friendly doesn’t take a big effort, but it makes a real impact.

  • Keep it casual. Small talk is all about sticking to “safe” topics. Stay away from anything controversial, like religion or politics. By expressing your views on a controversial topic, you’re bound to be unpopular with people who disagree. Keep the topics “light”.

B3: {Don’t butt in}. There’s a difference between being friendly and going where you’re not wanted. Respect people’s privacy; don’t pry. Learn to read body language so you can see when your questions are starting to make them feel uncomfortable. If a person is backing away or leaning away from you, checking his phone every five minutes, or talking quietly to another friend before you approach, it may not be the best time to talk.

  • Don’t invite yourself anywhere, don’t stalk, don’t brag, and don’t interrupt. In other words, don’t be annoying.

B4: {Give a helping hand}. Popular people don’t just know everyone—they’re on good terms with everyone. They establish those terms by helping people out, and they don’t do it in particularly noticeable ways. They do little things to establish rapport (in addition to some big things, like volunteering). They offer someone a pencil when they need it. They close the neighbor’s gate when it opens after a strong wind. They hold the door open and wait for the person behind them. But most often, they listen to people when they talk, and they offer to help somehow.

  • If you truly empathize with people, you’ll want things to work out for them. If there’s nothing you can do to help then, at the very least, let them know that you’re hoping the best for them.

B5: {Be yourself—for real}. This may sound trite, but people who are truly popular don’t worry about what they should do to “fit in”, because they really do just because they’re comfortable with who they are. You might think that in order to be popular, you need to be attractive and talented, but while it’s true that those qualities are more likely to make you a hit with people, there are extremely popular people who are otherwise quite average, and there are extremely good-looking and talented people who are anything but popular.

  • Remember, the only thing you need in order to be popular is a good set of people skills. The remainder is all yours to mold as you see fit, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
  • Part of being yourself is knowing yourself well enough to laugh at yourself. Show people that you recognize your quirks and don’t take yourself too seriously, and they’ll be impressed.

B6: {Don’t try too hard}. Surprisingly, many “popular” people don’t put too much conscious effort into it. They simply are themselves. If you’re desperate to be popular, it will show in your actions, and people will think you’re a poser, or worse, a freak. One way to make friends is if you find a group of friends that shares your interests, whom you can easily be yourself around. Then, as you become more and more accustomed to hanging out with people, you can branch out and start talking to different people.

C. Getting Involved (Engage)

C1: {Join a team}. You don’t have to be athletic to join your college football/basketball team. Joining a 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. If you’re even a little athletically inclined, it’s worth it to try out for one of your college’s sports teams or to join a casual sports league in your neighborhood.

  • Joining a team will expose you to more people and will help you learn how to get along with a variety of people that you might not otherwise encounter in your classes or daily life.
  • Joining a team will also improve your social life. You’ll be more likely to make plans for what to do after the game, or to go to pre-game dinners and other activities with your team.
  • Joining a team is also a great way to put yourself out there and to let more people know who you are.

C2: {Join a club}. Joining a club is another way to broaden your horizons and to meet more people. You may not meet the same kind of people on social media or in public that you’d also meet on your football team, so it’s a great idea to join a club and a team if you have the interest and the time in your busy schedule. Find something you’re interested in or even just curious about, and try to put yourself in a leadership role in the club once you’ve gained enough experience, so you’re more comfortable being a leader and know more people.

  • Don’t worry about a club being “too nerdy” for you. Doing something that you love and meeting more people will make you more popular.

C3: {Get involved in the classroom}. You don’t have to suck up to the teacher or have your hand raised in the air the whole time to stand out in the classroom. Just be friendly to people when they sit down next to you, answer your teacher’s questions without being overbearing, and generally show that you care without being so absorbed that you don’t notice the social dynamics around you.

  • If you’re more active in class, more people will know your name and recognize you if you come up in the conversation.

C4: {Maintain a variety of interests}. Don’t just be a jock or get obsessed with a particular social group interest. Instead, maintain a variety of interests by having a few irons in the fire at once. Though you shouldn’t spread yourself so thin that you don’t have time for yourself, being more involved in more activities will help you get recognised, put your name out there, and get to know more people from different walks of life.

C5: {Get involved in your community}. Getting involved in your community will not only help you improve the life of people who are in need, but it’ll help you learn how to interact with a larger number of people from different backgrounds, ages, and financial situations. The more people you know how to get along with, the more adept you’ll be at meeting new people and making them feel welcome when the time comes.

Bonus Tips:

1: {What do all popular people have in common?} Do they all wear the same clothes? Have the same hair? Say the same things? Of course not. There are popular people all over the world, enjoying their social status at college, in public, and wherever they go.

  • Never be afraid to speak out your mind, even if it makes you look like a knob. All opinions are valid as long as you don’t think about what other people think or say, show that you don’t need everyone’s approval to be friends with them.
  • If there is beef or fallouts with anyone, socially distance yourself and avoid eye contact with them as long as you can to avoid further conflict, once the dust settles, you can hang with your mates, admit your mistakes if ever brought up and continue with life like it was before.

2: {Sustain social balance}. There’s no magical quality that can make you popular, but if you work on getting noticed, being social, and getting involved, you will improve your chances of turning heads and getting smiles everywhere you go.

  • Create 2 categories, the people you’re more likely to get along with and the people you want to be friends with i.e popular people. Gather & engage with as many of your mates as possible to form a mega social group, repeat this over and over until you have friends that either are closely linked with or are the popular people.
  • Maintain a balance between socialising with the popular people and your current mates in your social group so that you can spread your social recognition/influence and have an indisputable reputation among your peers that will make you unforgettable.
7 Likes

another Brit here and to anyone else who happens to read this, I also recommend to just be yourself. don’t strive to be popular for an ego satisfaction, gravitate to people who gravitate towards you! no one likes fake people no matter how ‘popular’ they may be. there is way more to being popular:) be nice and kind and yourself. lotsa love :purple_heart:

13 Likes

I know popularity is important to some people, but you shouldn’t change how you are to achieve it. Just be a kind and decent human being, and be yourself. Being someone who you’re not will attract people who really don’t align with you, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who possibly aren’t even your real friends. I respect this isn’t everyone’s view, and that’s ok.

6 Likes

I’m well past high school days. I’ve learned that quality of friendships vs quantities became very apparent to me. I wasn’t even popular, that was just in the clique I was a part of.

After highschool, I stopped talking to many people that I got along with, but wasn’t very close with. I am still close with my two best friends, and it’s been about 10 years. High school me would probably think that was devastating but it really wasn’t.

Instead, having a friend (or friends) you can talk with the comfort that you can speak about deeply personal topics with them and vis versa, is such a special bond. They’ll be there to support you during the best and worst moments in your life.

I will say there is a bonus of having a good amount of friends early in life. It give the opportunity to get different perspectives, and you’ll learn along the way who and what makes you happier in your life. You’ll learn the kind of people and things you don’t like as well.

Some advice I would have given my younger self: If you find yourself constantly unhappy around a person, do not feel like you have to stick around. Surround yourself with people who bring joy into your life.

7 Likes

My social anxiety said no :heart: but thanks :smile_cat:

1 Like

Stay wholesome neefy c:

2 Likes

Id say all long as you vibin, all the cool people will find you

For me i was on the track team and that gave me some popularity but honestly i got kinda popular cause i didn’t care about popularity (ironic i know right). But you do you. :sunglasses::ok_hand:

3 Likes

agreed! there has to be a balance between “not caring” and just being a try-hard. as long as you vibe, be yourself, and aren’t hurting anyone, you’ll have no problems finding friends!!

2 Likes

Being popular? Tbh I got popular at my college by skateboarding at night, and singing at events. I eventually got lucky and got invited to a party at the dorms and was the only one who knew CPR.

I know that probably didn’t make sense but just be you I guess. It worked for me :woman_shrugging:t5:

3 Likes

Be true to yourself, and the right people will find and like you- this is much more satisfying and fulfilling than being who you think people will like.
Some people naturally have personalities that will draw more people in than others. That is OKAY.
Playing up/leaning more heavily on certain parts of your personality around different people is also alright. This doesn’t mean you should actively change yourself. It’s really not worth it.

2 Likes