Becoming popular is all about strategy and understanding what makes people popular in the first place.
There's no one way or secret sauce that will turn you popular overnight. Instead, if you want to gradually improve your popularity day by day until you become the most popular person in the entire school, then this is what you have to understand:
- How you treat people matters
- How others treat you matters
- The environment you're in matters
1. How you treat others
Although everyone always assumes being nice to other people is what being popular is about, it is NOT.
Yes, people like to feel special, so treating them like everything they say matters and that you're really interested in them is one approach, but really, the only people you want to impress like that are 'influencers' - the other popular people.
Make a list of these popular people in your school, try to learn their insecurities or hangups that they have about themselves, and use that knowledge to your advantage.
For example, someone that is popular but hasn't had a boyfriend will probably look up to someone that is very confident around boys.
For everyone else, it's about being pleasant, remembering people's names - but being too busy or out of their league to pay them much attention.
2. How other people treat you
This part matters a lot more.
You can spend all day and night treating everyone in your grade like they're your BFF, but it won't change a thing if they treat you badly in return.
You need to earn people's respect and admiration - and there are a number of ways to do that.
The most obvious is to look pretty. Social groups are naturally more likely to treat someone better if they like the look of them.
If looks are a department you struggle in, then you will be at a disadvantage, but not out of the game.
You can make up for it by being good at sports, really cool/interesting, or talented at something everyone wants to be good at.
For example, one of the most popular guys at my school wasn't very good looking, but he was an amazing graffiti artist.3. Be street smart
Whether you're a guy or a girl, school is all about showing people how adult and mature you are.
No-one ever became popular by being a teachers pet or an over-protected mamma's boy - you've got to show a wild side now and then.
That's why a lot of the cool kids smoke, drink and do drugs.
You don't have to go down that route, but you will have to make it clear that you're staying away from that stuff because you've made a personal choice not to do it - NOT because you're scared, inexperienced, or instructed by your parents.
You can even use a little white lie to get around this.
For example, telling people that "you quit doing drugs in middle school after your best friend overdosed on ketamine and the tragedy made you go teetotal" will earn the respect of your peers as well as some bonus street cred, and you won't need to justify your refusal to partake in any more illicit activity.
4. Control your environment and situation
People make friends with other people because they have things in common and are in close proximity to those people. For example, two guys that play football on the same team and take many of the same classes are more likely to be friends.
You need to get yourself involved in all the activities that your target influencers are involved in.
Do a bunch of popular girls do drama? You need to drop 3rd period French and take up Drama then!
Are the hottest girls in the school on the cheer squad? Then it's time to get your pom-poms out and start practicing.
5. Do not operate as a lone wolf
While your ambition is to be THE most popular person in school, you can't go at it alone.
Early on in your campaign, you will need to establish a small group of trusted friends that will help you get to the top of the social ladder.
To execute the above points, you will need energy, confidence, charm and charisma. Not everyone has that - which is why not everyone can be popular.
But it's important to remember that popularity is perfectly attainable for anyone that puts their mind to it - it all depends how bad you want it, and what you're prepared to do to make it happen for you.