to ask you what you think makes a person popular?

(53 Posts)
cheeseandfickle Sun 23-Mar-14 18:44:45

Inspired by the clique thread, but I thought I'd start another thread rather than hijacking the other one!

What do you think makes someone popular? Do you think there is always a reason why someone is more popular or do you think that sometimes it is just one of those things?

Being good in conversation - good balance of talking/listening.

Being upfront and open (though not "honest" as in "I just speak my mind, me, what you see is what you get" type rudeness)

Good sense of humour.

Can get on with all kinds of people.

stonehairbrush Sun 23-Mar-14 18:47:49

Being attractive.

Morgause Sun 23-Mar-14 18:48:22

Thinking about popular people I know they are those who take time to listen to others. They remember the names of your children/family and know enough about them to ask questions.

They are kind and put themselves out for others and can be relied upon to do what they have said they will do.

They are witty and entertaining company.

usualsuspectt Sun 23-Mar-14 18:49:27

kindness and being funny.

WottaTheOdds Sun 23-Mar-14 18:51:11

A stunning bank account! grin

CorrieDale Sun 23-Mar-14 18:51:30

Kindness all the way. Being funny will only get you so far. Being interested in the person you're with is the popularity ace in the deck.

stonehairbrush Sun 23-Mar-14 18:52:46

Being happy go lucky
Not political
Being nice
Sitting on the fence

Being quite bland really!

Nancy66 Sun 23-Mar-14 18:53:07

the most popular people I know are usually very funny/witty

usualsuspectt Sun 23-Mar-14 18:54:24

I don't think blandness makes someone popular.

I think people are drawn more to people with a bit of an edge to them.

skillsandtea Sun 23-Mar-14 18:54:46

Hmm.. I know people who are very popular because they are chatty, sociable, remember all family names, your kids' birthdays, says all the right things, is attractive and funny, but, after a while you realise it's a polished act and quite fake as they just want to always be the centre of attention. I think being genuine is very important.

cheminotte Sun 23-Mar-14 18:55:57

All of the above and being an extrovert. I like to think I listen, take the time to remember kids names etc but I also enjoy my own company and so sometimes come across as a bit stand-offish.

changeforthebetter Sun 23-Mar-14 18:56:12

Bags of confidence! It is the key. Insecurity makes people uneasy unless they fancy a bit of bullying sad

skillsandtea Sun 23-Mar-14 18:56:12

Agree with stone..

Ohanarama Sun 23-Mar-14 18:57:45

Being attractive, thin and well dressed

cheeseandfickle Sun 23-Mar-14 18:57:55

I know 2 people whom I would class as extremely popular. Both are female and both are extremely pretty. I don't know either of them terribly well, but neither seems to be very outgoing or witty. They do both seem quite self absorbed though.

TheBody Sun 23-Mar-14 19:01:18

people who are interested in other people.

people who like a good laugh but arnt cruel or nasty.

FragglerockAmpersand Sun 23-Mar-14 19:04:57

God what a massive, massive shame that people think it's to do with being thin, attractive, well-dressed, whatever shock I'm genuinely shocked. I'm thinking about the popular people I know (I hate that word thought - too 6th form: well-loved would be better) and they're warm, funny, interesting and most importantly interestED - they'll come along to things, they'll listen to you, they'll show up at parties with a nice gift, they'll remember to ask how your dog is, etc.

Thin and well dressed! HONESTLY! <shakes head>

Biscuitsneeded Sun 23-Mar-14 19:05:26

Hmmmm. Not sure about that Skills. I think if someone makes the effort to remember names, birthdays etc, even if they are consciously trying rather than doing it naturally that says something good about their intentions. So yes, they probably find it fairly easy to make and keep friends.
I'm not 'popular' as in cool, or rich, or well-presented, or anything like that, but I do genuinely find people interesting and I will talk to most kinds of people unless they give me cause to think I shouldn't. As a result I have some good friends and lots of other people who I'm very happy to see and chat to. I also try very hard not to let my own (normal) self-doubt allow me to think anyone would deliberately be unfriendly. So for example if a parent at the school gate is unforthcoming when spoken to I don't automatically assume they are stand-offish, or that they think I am beneath them, but that they might be shy, or preoccupied. I read so many threads on here where people complain about school gate cliques, or feeling excluded, and I wonder how much of that is real and how much is their own lack of self-confidence affecting things.
OP, what prompted your question?

A sense of humour.

Not really sure as I know a few people who are incredibly popular and seem to have no redeeming features at all. confused

Completely agree with changeforthebetter. Confidence is key, but not in a self centered way - it has to be tempered with showing concern for other people. Also being popular breeds more popularity as social capital (knowing and being friends/friendly acquaintances with lots of other people is attractive).

FragglerockAmpersand Sun 23-Mar-14 19:08:24

FWIW - I suppose, weirdly, I'm quite 'popular' - if you can measure it by frequency of being asked to be bridesmaid/best person/godparent/wedding speaker/reader etc. etc. is any kind of indicator (maybe it isn't!) - and I'm 3 stone overweight, utterly penniless and dress like Sandy Denny got dressed in the dark.

However I have absolutely no idea why people would like me, or ask me to do any of these things, so I'm not really shedding any light on the subject grin

cheeseandfickle Sun 23-Mar-14 19:14:50

I definitely agree about popularity breeding popularity!

One of the popular women that I know just seems to be friends with everyone. She always knows lots of gossip and seems to have her finger in various pies friendship-wise.

I know a few popular people. They aren't unfailingly nice, but they are kind in general and act like they are interested and care about you- even when it's a topic they are bored about, they are good at making you feel good about yourself, about being polite about it essentially.

They are generally quite outgoing and put effort into staying in touch and having contact, even with maybe more minor friends. They are confident in themselves- not arrogant, but they don't worry about being judged. Both of them are fairly pretty, not very attractive or anything, but have an air about them where they don't mind attention but aren't courting it either iyswim? They are good at small talk and getting to know people, even strangers, meaning they have quite a wide social group as even if they barely talk to you, they WILL have talked to you- not awkwardly either, even if you've only been to the school gate once or twice, for example.

Teacherspetty Sun 23-Mar-14 19:25:18

All the popular women I know are confident, witty, friendly and smiley! They chat to everyone, include everyone and are funny and fun.

Hoppinggreen Sun 23-Mar-14 19:27:13

Usually confidence.
I'm pretty outgoing ( have to be for my job) and I think I'm pretty popular.
DD is the kindest nicest child I know and although she does have friends she really isn't what you would call popular. At school the louder cocky children tend to be the popular ones unfortunately.
On the bright side those same gobby girls are the ones the boys seem to like whereas my daughter is stunning ( people comment on it all the time) but doesn't seem to be popular with the boys either. Although, there are a few quiet " nice" boys who quite like her I think.

Glitterfeet Sun 23-Mar-14 19:34:30

There's a difference between popularity and being liked.

Some people are popular and well liked.
Some people are well liked but not who you'd think of as popular.
Some people aren't well liked but somehow pull off popular.

Chocoholism Sun 23-Mar-14 19:40:21

Think it depends who it is that your popular with. I work with the general public and I'm quite popular amongst the people I see regularly and I think this is because I try to be friendly and a bit jokey but I was never ever very popular when going out and meeting people, it was always my outgoing, pretty friend who attracted all attentions from males and females. At baby groups i think I'm the one who breaks the ice but no one particularly ever comes to talk to me.

everlong Sun 23-Mar-14 19:43:25

Being a good listener
Not being too serious
Kind and thoughtful

monicalewinski Sun 23-Mar-14 19:54:22

Fun to be around, not needy or endlessly serious. Someone who when you see them you find yourself smiling and are drawn to them.

Popular people seem to sweep you along in whatever wave they are riding, they are generally enthusiastic and optimistic people.

To me, the previously mentioned being thin, well dressed, pretty, remember birthdays etc don't draw me to a person - popular people can be any size, dress in any way and various levels of attractiveness - it's an inclusive feeling that they seem to radiate that draws people to them imo.

RainbowSpiral Sun 23-Mar-14 19:57:43

I Think to be popular you need to be sociable and initiate social group events and also one to one meets. Generally keep up with people and not just wait to be asked.

Also not being tied by too many family or work commitments is going to help. Not the kind of person who always goes home early or cancels at the last minute.

You don't necessarily need to be attractive, although I think this helped back in school days. But you do need to have something interesting to say and be good at listening. Also you need to have lived in a place, or been in a work place long enough to actually get to know people well.

WhoNickedMyName Sun 23-Mar-14 19:57:49

Agree with Glitterfeet.

The most 'popular' woman at my work is actually a nasty bully. Everyone is totally up her arse because it's preferable to being on the receiving end.

hunreeeal Sun 23-Mar-14 20:14:49

There's a variety of types of popularity. It depends so much on context, the other people in the group etc. Some people may be very popular in one place but not in another.

Popular types I have known...


At school the "popular" people were often the most badly-behaved, spiteful ones who had a crowd of followers. The nice, quiet, studious people were the ones who got bullied for being "square" and were less likely to be particularly popular.


The ones who know how to put on the charm, even if it's not sincere. Usually physically attractive. May fit the following description:

1) They know how to make others feel good in order to get what they want. They'll appear oh-so-charming to most people, but if they meet a possible competitor they'll cut them out and undermine them behind their back. They often get away with it.

2) You can spot them by the wide smile they flash at people... it disappears immediately once the other person has walked past, instead of fading gradually as a real smile would.

Charismatic Leaders

May be genuinely inspirational, honest, innovative etc. and able to direct forward a great idea, product, philosophy etc. Popular because they really are capable, likeable, reliable, someone people aspire to be like.

But some charismatic leaders (televangelists, fundamentalists, politicians) may be popular purely because they're believable, regardless of the unpalatability of their actual message.


Someone who puts other people at their ease, isn't cliquey, makes people feel good about themselves by taking a genuine interest in others.

blanchedeveraux Sun 23-Mar-14 20:19:48

Glitterfeet beat me to it with the distinction between being "popular" and "well liked".

Some "popular" people I know are really unpleasant but others are somehow a bit scared of them and want to be onside for some unknown reason.

Really well liked people I have known have had the ability to make you feel like you're the most important person in the room and appear genuinely interested in your life.

woodrunner Sun 23-Mar-14 20:22:22

Being easy company, not hard work. Knowing how to have a laugh, when to be considerate or tactful but mainly not banging on or whingeing or criticising. They are confident and don't give others a hard time.

The people I know who are very short on friends tend to be very judgemental of others and go on about their own problems with no concern for the needs of people around them. Some of them are actually very funny, kind, intelligent people, but they're just hard work, so most people don't bother with them.

hunreeeal Sun 23-Mar-14 20:23:49

What's wrong with being serious or not particularly open? Some people are reserved and not hugely bubbly. I agree "good for a laugh" gets popularity votes but there has to be something a bit more than that for a decent friendship I think.

skillsandtea Sun 23-Mar-14 20:34:28

I'm with you hunreeeal. I've become very aware & wary of the charmer types. It's made me retreat a little which probably comes across as off but at least I'm being genuine - I think.

shakethetree Sun 23-Mar-14 20:36:03

Wish I knew - I get totally ignored on here < sad face >

but I'd say it's being witty, kind, fairly intelligent, fairly attractive, good hygiene, generous, upbeat & positive attitude.

CailinDana Sun 23-Mar-14 20:44:00

There's nothing wrong with being serious or not open hun. But it does make it harder to make friends.

balenciaga Sun 23-Mar-14 20:53:17

Can't believe people are saying being thin / attractive etc. the most popular person I know is pretty but not beautiful and certainly not thin

I think a lot of it's being dead blasé and not that arsed about being popular, just draws people in. and even being a bit flaky.

Also Agree being popular in itself makes you more popular

whois Sun 23-Mar-14 20:54:00

Popular people are generally outgoing and make an effort to organise social events and make an effort to attend events others have organised. they are fun to be around.

Popular people normally have good self confidence. They make you feel good too and show they are interested in you and enjoy hanging out with you.

Well, that describes the people I see around me who you might describe as 'popular'.

The people around me who are a pain in the neck are self absorbed and like to talk about their problems (who wants to talk about that yet AGAIN on yet another night out). They lack self confidence so take things as a slight where none was meant. People who are tight also aren't generally popular, no one likes a mean person.

whois Sun 23-Mar-14 20:55:53

Basically what monica said.

it's an inclusive feeling that they seem to radiate that draws people to them imo

blanchedeveraux Sun 23-Mar-14 20:56:16

I have a work colleague who is incredibly popular. Most other colleagues are always desperate to hang on her every word and follow her around like sheep. I can't stand her. She's loud, self absorbed, rude and overbearing. She constantly interrupts conversations and makes everything about HER. Her appeal is entirely lost on me but it seems I'm in the minority.

daisychain01 Sun 23-Mar-14 21:01:59

A bit silly in a fun way
Doesn't take themselves in the least bit seriously
Tactful, thoughtful

Not necessarily:
Charming in a fakey fakey way
A leader bossy, overbearing
A people person full of their own self-importance

>> Waves to shakethetree <<

monicalewinski Sun 23-Mar-14 21:28:54

Also waving at shakethetree!

scottishmummy Sun 23-Mar-14 21:59:39

Ability to listen without interject about self
Doesn't get drawn in gossip

hunreeeal Sun 23-Mar-14 22:47:31

> There's nothing wrong with being serious or not open hun. But it does make it harder to make friends.

Ah well, that's OK smile No point trying to be something I'm not! I do tend to have fewer friends than some people. But I tried changing to "fit in" and all you end up with is people who don't like the real you.

I think being a positive person helps. My daughter is very popular - everyone seems to know her and wave or beg for play dates... I don't know why as it started back in pre-k when she wouldn't talk or play with anyone... But now she is happy, cheerful, friendly and kind to everyone. She never says unkind things and tries to help people. She is smart, but patient with people who need more time. I think the main difference between her and my son, who struggles to make friends, is that she has a gentle and non threatening attitude while he is a bit pessimistic, can be rude to people and is a bit over confident and loud.

The littles is very cheerful too and so far seems popular - so being a happy person seems something to do with it.

manicinsomniac Mon 24-Mar-14 03:07:59

Someone who makes others feel good about themselves or supported by remembering what is going on in their lives and showing interest in them.

Someone who is good at keeping in contact and arranges to see/speak to people.

Someone who is optimistic and positive about life.

Someone who likes themselves and is happy with who they are.

MistressDeeCee Mon 24-Mar-14 03:44:22

Optimistic, 'glass half-full'
Not hung up on 'he said she said' &/or I want to do this but what if 'people' say this or that
Friendly with a sense of humour
Not predisposed to moany dooming & glooming

Delphiniumsblue Mon 24-Mar-14 06:34:29

I think flyingspeghettimonster has it : happy, cheerful, friendly and kind to everyone.

GertTheFlirt Mon 24-Mar-14 07:29:49

Humour. The ability to make every person they meet feel special.

midnightagents Mon 24-Mar-14 19:19:59

Being funny & fun to be around.

Not me unfortunately sad

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