Sunday, October 30, 2011

Popularity - GBE2, Week #24

I have never been popular. I was always the one nobody picked for their team, who was called names and teased, who wasn’t invited to parties or sleepovers. There were a few years in high school where I did have a group of kids I hung out with and within that group, I felt popular, which helped me through high school tremendously; but I also gravitated towards others who were on the outside looking in. I befriended those who were also shut out because of whatever factor of the day was being held against them. There were a few times I found myself having to draw back because the person had more “issues” than even I could grasp or overlook; but for the most part, the friends I made then are still friends now. 

Not that I have a huge number of friends or do a lot of socializing. Occasionally I wish I had
Something we all seek to some degree.
 more “normal” social experiences than I did because it would have helped me overcome some of my insecurities and the extreme shyness I grew up with. Other times, I see how far some people go in an effort to be popular and find that I am much more content with my station in life than I’d have ever thought possible. Things that some think are important are much less so for me. I don’t have the stress of maintaining an image that some have. There is no overt competition for me in social circles because, in most cases, I can take them or leave them.

It isn’t that I’m anti-social. It’s more that, after years of looking in from the outside, I can enjoy my own company and don’t really need to be entertained by others. I do enjoy it but am glad that I don’t have to schedule my social events in order to remember what I’m doing when or with whom.

Unfortunately, though, I have found that many situations in the so-called “real world” are more of a popularity contest than an actual acceptance of a person and their abilities – jobs, for example. I have worked in places where who you’re friends with has a far greater impact on your ability to promote up than how well you do your job. Far too often, it’s who you know or what you kiss that gets you the position you want. Not that knowing someone is totally unnecessary – often, it’s who we know, or how we network, that helps us locate the jobs we don’t know about. But, if that’s the only criteria in obtaining a position, then I would rather not be a part of it. In those jobs, your days are numbered if any manager takes a dislike to you, regardless of how professional you might be.

All in all, though, being popular can be more of a headache than a benefit.  There’s nothing wrong with being popular if it’s because you are a genuinely likeable person who treats everyone equally. But, if your popularity is based more on peer prestige than personality and something you work hard at maintaining, then I think you stand a greater risk of losing something of yourself along the way than someone who isn’t as concerned with being popular.

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Blogger danneromero said...

i agree with risk losing something when overly concerned about being popular...
interesting post...

October 30, 2011 at 11:53 PM  
Blogger Paula Martin said...

Great post, and I agree. Being popular because you are a genuinely nice person is great but the other kind of 'popularity' is an illusion some people strive for at the expense of being true to themselves.

October 31, 2011 at 5:27 AM  
Blogger Brenda Stevens said...

you are 100% right on..and it would be an honor to call you friend. GREAT JOB!

November 1, 2011 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Way to cut to the chase! Being popular in HS is a whole different thing than being popular in an adult life. I do believe being popular now is a result of living a kind, honest and giving lifestyle. If you give it, you get it back.

Really good post.

November 2, 2011 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Great post, I like the way you think!!


November 2, 2011 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Cherie said...

School is just school, and being in it you can't always see that life is bigger than that. Great write!

November 2, 2011 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Beverly Diehl said...

I've seen both extremes in the workplace: people with little/no talent promoted just because somebody likes them. Frustrating.

However, I've also worked with people who were constant Debbie Downers, whining, complaining, brusque and unfriendly - then wondering why they weren't promoted.

I think seeking popularity for its own sake will come around to bite you in the tush, sooner or later. Whereas being comfortable with oneself, being kind and considerate to others will generally result in a certain level of popularity, even if you're not seeking it.

November 3, 2011 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger Word Nerd said...

I was going to say pretty much exactly what Beverly said, so I'm just going to take the lazy route and say, "Ditto, Beverly." :O)

November 4, 2011 at 6:10 PM  

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