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In the last section, we discussed four factors related to the concept and development of cliques. These four factors are, the significance of cliques to adolescents, the development of cliques, girls’ cliques, and boys’ cliques.
In this section, we will discuss four myths of popularity. These four myths are, popularity equals happiness, popularity gives people self-confidence, popular students have more friends and better friendships, and everyone likes popular people.
Remember Louise from the last section? Louise stated, "I used to be popular and have lots of friends. I guess I must have changed. Nobody likes me. I’m so worthless now!" Because Louise was equating popularity with self worth, I decided to review with Louise some common myths about popularity.
♦ Myth # 1 - Popularity Equals Happiness
I stated to Louise, "It usually seems like popular students are having a terrific time. But what appears on the surface isn’t always true. Popularity isn’t a sure thing, and popular students often feel a lot of pressure to remain popular, which means they may end up acting in ways that make them uncomfortable. Popular students may do things they don’t really want to do, because they are afraid they will lose their popularity. Living with fear like that can often make popular students pretty miserable."
♦ Myth # 2 - Popularity Gives People Self-Confidence
♦ Myth # 3 - Popular Students have More Friends
Pilar stated, "I had girls flocking to me, imitating my clothes and my hair. Some of them even started talking with a little Dominican accent. But, I’m really lonely, even though I always have people around me at school. No one here seems to care about the real me, they just care about my look. There’s no depth to my friendships. I feel like an accessory, but I’m scared of not being popular too."
♦ Myth # 4 - Everybody Likes Popular People
Louise stated, "I guess I see what you mean. Judy used to be real popular. She worked at the movie theatre, and she’d let all her friends in to see R movies for free. But when her manager caught on, Judy had to stop letting them in for free, and a lot of people stopped talking to her. She isn’t popular anymore." Think of your Louise. Would inviting him or her to reflect on popularity be helpful?
♦ Technique: "Icebreakers"
Several sessions later, Louise stated, "Well, I felt funny because no one invited me, but I started going to all of the Varsity games. It’s just hard to actually talk to people while I’m there. I want to sound cool and laid back, but I can never think of anything that wouldn’t make me sound like a total loser."
I stated to Louise, "Sometimes it’s a good idea to have some icebreakers pre-prepared for you to use. Rehearsing these icebreakers in front of a mirror can help you always have something ready to use that sounds natural and confident."
I often encourage my clients to wait for a convenient time to approach a potential friend when he or she is alone.Often, approaching a group may be too intimidating for a client who perceives him or herself as an outsider. I stated to Louise, "you might want to wait until you can walk up to someone when he or she is standing at the lockers, or waiting to talk to a teacher. Then, you can use one of your already prepared icebreakers."
2 Easy Fall Back Statements
Think of your Louise. Would having some pre-rehearsed icebreakers on hand be helpful to him or her? Would listening to this section be beneficial
In this section, we have discussed four myths of popularity. These four myths are, popularity equals happiness, popularity gives people self confidence, popular students have more friends and better friendships, and everyone likes popular people.
In the next section, we will discuss six components of relational aggression. These six components are, looks, differences, the gay issue, conceit, exclusion, rumors, and the label ‘slut’.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:Dijkstra, J. K., Cillessen, A. H. N., & Borch, C. (2013). Popularity and adolescent friendship networks: Selection and influence dynamics. Developmental Psychology, 49(7), 1242–1252.
Dawes, M., & Xie, H. (2014). The role of popularity goal in early adolescents’ behaviors and popularity status. Developmental Psychology, 50(2), 489–497.
Xie, H., Dawes, M., Wurster, T. J., & Shi, B. (2013). Aggression, academic behaviors, and popularity perceptions among boys of color during the transition to middle school. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 83(2-3), 265–277.
What are four myths of popularity? To select and enter your answer go to Test.