My high school experience, like that of nearly everyone who attended my school, was a perplexing one. It seemed there were only a few "popular" people -- those that everyone knew and liked -- and wanted to be like. Everyone else was much like me: they struggled to become more popular, with little success. Everyone had a few friends, but somehow these friends were never as good as the popular people would be, or so it seemed.The author was apparently talking a little bit about his high school experience. Most of this piece relates to a study about building reputations. As it turns out, you had better watch your rep. If you think people are talking about you they are and unfortunately they may not always be flattering about you. What this could mean is that this could hurt your reputation and some of this could be unfair especially if the "gossip" is over either superficial issues or perhaps more important issues such as temperament.
One of the things that I believed was preventing me from becoming popular was my reputation. Those who knew me saw me in a certain way -- a non-popular way. Maybe if I started to do popular-ish things, then people would notice me and I'd eventually become popular. I tried being nice to people, telling jokes, buying people lunch, wearing better clothes, but none of it seemed to matter much. Everyone who bothered to notice me thought pretty much the same of me as they had before.
So it may be that the reason I never became popular in high school was that I was going about it backwards. Instead of trying to acquire a reputation first and get friends later, I needed to get the friends first, then work on my reputation. But how do you get friends if you don't have a reputation -- good or bad? That, unfortunately, is what makes high school such an awkward time for so many of us.
Of course one could change their behavior let's say from the less desirable traits to more desirable traits. Unfortunately for those who already have seen the less desirable traits they will continue to consider the worse traits instead of noticing the new traits. In other words although one has changed what others might view of you won't.
While high school is probably one construct studied this kind of this never goes away. Perhaps you go to college and you meet new people. That certainly changes things and you have a new reputation though amongst new people. Perhaps the bad habits that made you unpopular makes you popular in a new setting or perhaps the new qualities you developed in your unpopularity made you more popular in a new setting.
And then let's go to another subject touched upon, the work world. That is a place where connections are very important especially if it helps an employee garner more work, responsibilities or even a promotion. At that it certainly pays to start off with a good impression, otherwise, it's certainly going to be very difficult for a worker to move up in the work force and increase their value in the work force.
Article via The Daily Dish.