When you hear the word “popular” you’re probably transported back to high school where cliques of cheerleaders and football players ruled the roost while everyone else was at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Even as an adult, you probably remember where you stood in the pecking order and have some powerful emotions associated with that.
My guest today has researched why popularity plays a key role in our social and psychological development and how our place in the social pecking order as children and teenagers can affect our happiness and well-being even when we’re in our 30s and 40s. His name is Mitch Prinstein. He’s a professor of adolescent psychology at the University of North Carolina and the author of the book Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World.
Today on the show, Mitch breaks down the two different types of social status: popularity and likability. He then shares research that suggests that while popularity comes with short-term benefits, it also has a tremendous amount of long-term downsides. Instead of focusing on popularity, Mitch argues that learning to be likable can get you all the benefits of status without the drawbacks. He then shares what you can do to become more likable in your life. Next we digs into the research that shows how children as young as 5 are already aware of who’s likable and who isn’t, how and why that status sensitivity goes into overdrive in your teenage years, and how being likable at a young age can have benefits well into adulthood.
This is a fascinating show with lots of great insights and even action steps on becoming more likable.
- Why popularity still plays a role in our careers, politics, and more
- The two types of popularity
- Likability vs. popularity
- The detrimental effects of low status and low likability
- How popularity affects your physiology
- The single biggest predictor of being disliked
- The costs of actively pursuing popularity and status
- What can you do to be more likable?
- How do you even know if you’re likable?
- How our status as children can follow us into adulthood
- Adolescence and identity
- How you can overcome your adolescent thoughts and habits and become a likable adult
- How social media has changed the popularity and status game
- 2 tips for using social media without the downsides
- Should parents groom their kids’ likability? How?
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- AoM’s series on status — a must-read to complement this podcast
- The Myth of the Alpha Male
- How to REALLY Be Alpha Like the Wolf
- Podcast: Take Pride
- Social Briefing series — another must-read series of short pieces on becoming more socially likable
- How to Be More Assertive
- Leadership Lessons from Dwight Eisenhower
- Podcast: Personality, Authenticity, and Identity
- Using Body Language to Make a Dynamite First Impression
- Why Your First Impression Matters
- The Charismatic Man
- Gangnam Style
- Decluttering Your Digital Life
- 4 Questions to Crush FOMO
If you enjoyed our series on status, you’ll enjoy Popular. Mitch does a great job of highlighting the latest research on how our social status affects our health and well-being and what we can do to improve it.
Connect With Mitch
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Last updated: September 15, 2017