Cool trainers? Check. Smartest phone? Check. Zooshiest bag? Check. Attitude? Double-check. Popularity status assured? ‘Fraid not. Why? Well, firstly, it takes more than a tick-list to guarantee anything (hard work’s normally involved, too).
But popularity, in particular, is a hazy concept. Its edges and terms change as often as the direction of the wind – being number one in the cool gang in October doesn’t guarantee the top spot in November – and it can bring unwanted responsibilities, choices and restrictions. Letting slip the cool façade runs the risk of exposing friends who might be less than true and making decisions that are far from welcome.
Perhaps, rather than competing in the popularity stakes, it’s more liberating to pursue passions that bring real happiness and achievements and to focus on qualities you value, be they kindness, compassion, humour, resilience or strength of mind.
It might not make you the most popular person in school, but friends and family will know, respect and love the real you – and that won’t change when the wind inevitably shifts direction.