In other words, popularity still matters, whether we like it or not. For those looking to get ahead, it pays to consider whether we act in ways that earn us favourable regard among colleagues or whether we alienate our peers.
Unfortunately, likeability is not the only kind of popularity many strive for. Many, in fact, seek to become more popular by raising their “status” – a second form of popularity that emerges in adolescence.
While likeability is based on a person’s ability to make others feel valued, included, and happy, status is based on attention, power, influence, and visibility. Anyone who went to high school or secondary school can recognise the distinction between these two forms of popularity.
The alpha students had high status – everyone knew them, and some wanted to be just like them – but they weren’t necessarily well-liked. In fact, many loathed the “coolest” kids in school, just like among adults. (Think Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks versus Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump for instance.)