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The Teen Popularity Handbook cover If you like our website content, you’ll love this book!

It is the only book of its kind. It is the handbook of how to be a popular teen, teaching you how to develop the skills to be successful in high school and beyond. Every teen, parent, grandparent, etc, needs this book.

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From the back of the book:

Any teen can become popular!

When you’re popular, life is exciting. Popular people are surrounded by close friends, fans, and secret admirers. They have the skills to form meaningful romantic relationships and rarely get bullied, because they have the confidence to stand up for themselves and others.

Wouldn’t it feel great to give a class presentation without anxiety? To have the confidence and right words to ask that special someone to the dance? Or to be able to read your crush’s body language to know what he or she really thinks about you?

How would your life change if you replaced your feelings of loneliness, awkwardness, and frustration with happiness and self-confidence?

But…Can you be popular? Yes! Popular teens think and act in ways that make them loved and admired. This book reveals these scientifically-backed “popularity secrets” and makes learning and applying them in your life fun and easy.

Don’t worry, The Teen Popularity Handbook isn’t going to turn you into a bully or “mean girl,” but a confident, fun, and well-liked teen everyone wants to get to know. Also, since studies show that popular high-schoolers earn more money later in life than unpopular teens, the benefits of being popular never end. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start your exciting transformation into a popular teen right now!

280 pages. 

Order today in paperback and Kindle!

Why The Gnash Song “I hate U, I Love U” (Kind of) Explains The Science of Falling In Love

I was flipping through the radio the other day, and while I normally listen to modern alternative, I turned to the pop station, and happened to hear Gnash’s “I Hate U, I Love U” (Featuring Olivia O’Brien). I really liked the song musically, but I also realized it has a real lesson about true nature of love. The lines in particular that describe love are:

I hate you I love you
I hate that I love you
Don’t want to, but I can’t put
Nobody else above you

You can see the full lyrics here.

“I Hate U, I Love U” image, from Wikipedia

You know the feeling of being in love, don’t you? You can’t stop thinking of that person. You have to be around them all the time. Right before bed and first thing in the morning thoughts of them fill up your mind. Your social media becomes about them. And, even if your love interest may not be “good for you,” or the person doesn’t return your love, you still maintain your love, even though part of you may hate them.

It’s like there are two people inside your head fighting it out. One part is in love, and the other part doesn’t know why the “in love” part acts that way! In fact, the other part may hate the person that the “in love” part loves. Yes, it is really confusing, but science has an answer.

You literally do have two basic parts of your brain fighting it out when you’re in love. This is because you “fall in love” largely subconsciously: it occurs in areas of your brain outside of your awareness, which we share with lower animals. You may ask how you can do something outside of your awareness, but you do it all the time, like when you touch something hot and you automatically pull away your hand, or you shiver because it’s cold.

Well, guess what? You fall in love in the same basic areas of the brain that cause you to react to danger, and not in the areas of the brain responsible for logical decision-making. It’s why you may fall for a girl or guy that every logical thought says isn’t good for you, but you do it anyway. Falling in love isn’t logical, and the logical part of your brain knows that, creating a huge internal conflict.

And falling in love isn’t only not logical, it is strongly emotional, which means that it will stick with you a long time. I know people who fell in love in their teens and years later they still love that person, 10, 20, even 30 years later. Sure, they have settled and “moved on” but they still pine for that one person who made them feel great, even if they are currently partnered up with a generally nice person.

Like Gnash sings:

I miss you when I can’t sleep
Or right after coffee
Or right when I can’t eat
I miss you in my front seat

Everything makes you think of that person you’re in love with. In terms of brain activity, being in love is like being hooked on a drug. Dopamine receptors in the brain light up when you’re in love, and when you miss someone and can’t have them, it is literally like going through drug withdrawal. It’s why nobody can compare to that person or why your friends and family just don’t make you feel the same way. It’s why when you can’t be with them you don’t eat or sleep, and why when you’re with them, the world seems happier and brighter. In fact, I would probably rather withdraw from a drug than from a person I’m in love with!

Why does the brain make us crazy like this? It’s because of evolution. It’s about survival. Your brain wants you to fall for someone so you reproduce and continue the species. Falling in love is making sure that the mother and father are connected so closely that they both stick around and raise the child. It seems like an unromantic explanation, but it’s the truth.

Knowing this doesn’t make love any less great, or ridiculously confusing. It’s just the reason behind why we feel this way.

So, Gnash and O’Brien (the co-writers of the song) may not have known it the science behind love when they wrote the song, but it is a great example of how love is so messy, yet also so exciting and amazing.

Guys: Just Stop Declaring Your Love (Especially Over Text)

i-heart-3-youThis is the number one mistake teen guys often make when trying to get a date. So guys, please read carefully. Ladies, if you have had this happen to you, things will start to make sense.

As a teacher, students talk to me a lot about their lives, including their romantic lives (whether I ask or not!). At the end of a school year (and other times even), guys think it is the right time to send girls messages declaring the great love they have felt for them the entire year.

The other day in study hall, some girls were reading some love declaration texts from a guy one of them barely knew. It was hard not to cringe as she read him declaring how beautiful she was and how he couldn’t resist messaging her any longer. I’m not sure which was worse, the guy’s messages or the fact that he poured his heart out and the girls were getting a laugh from that.

Even if they don’t use the “love” word, guys will message some girl about how perfect and beautiful she is, how they have liked her from afar all year, or they had a crush on her, and so forth.

Here is an actual back-and-forth a student showed me:

Guy: Hey I wanted to let you know I have had a crush on you since we met. You are beautiful and perfect 🙂
Girl: Oh
Guy: Yeah, I wanted to let you know how great you are 🙂
Guy: No response lol
Guy: So you don’t feel the same way?
Girl: No, sorry
Guy: Well I will have to go to plan B then
Girl: What?
Guy: Your friend Kayla.

This is actually a mild exchange in many ways, but still very cringe-worthy, especially suggesting that her friend was “plan B.” But, it is typical of the “out of the blue” and random nature of how teen guys often declare their love for girls. Below are examples of why these declarations are a horrible, horrible idea.

It is Artificial

Attraction has to happen naturally. People start dating based on developed attraction and rapport building. Watching a girl from afar, or just being a friend to her, and suddenly dumping an emotional declaration of love onto her (or even worse, an essay explaining it all) isn’t even close to how attraction actually works.

Instead, give attraction time to develop. You can’t go from friend, acquaintance, or “that quiet guy in Spanish class” to “boyfriend material” instantly. Plus, that would go against how women fall for a guy…

It Doesn’t Understand The Way Women Fall In Love

Guys are more like light switches when it comes to attraction. It is an “on/off” thing. Once you feel it, you feel it, and it is immediate, often based mainly on a woman’s looks. This is why most guys are perpetually ready to date their attractive female friends.

Women are more like a volume dial than an “on/off” switch. They need to warm up and be given time to fall for a guy, and figure out what they actually feel. A lot of this is because women take personality into account far more than guys do when evaluating attractiveness.

Love declarations can be awkward for girls because they aren’t expecting them. A guy has turned the switch to “on” and is ready to go, but for the girl, the dial is set to “0.” In her mind, she may just be friends or barely know him. When a guy hits her with a text expressing his romantic feelings, she doesn’t know what to think. For women, it is a shock that her friend suddenly wants more. And, it is often unwelcome and awkward because it is so unexpected.

So, guys, instead of declaring your love outright, focus on getting her “volume dial” turned up. Start flirting, being funnier, acting more confidently, etc. Start going from being perceived as “just a friend” (or socially invisible to her) to being a guy she could actually be attracted to. You’ll start noticing signs as she starts flirting, giggling, and communicating with you more and more. This is the only way to a girl’s heart. Anything else is just weird.


It Shows Insecurity

While a guy may think he is showing confidence by sending his lengthy love declaration, women perceive it as insecurity. If a guy has seen a woman hundreds of times at school, or interacted with her as a friend, then why did he wait so long to express his romantic interest? Why is he doing it over text? Even if in person, why is he making such a huge deal of it?

Guys, let things happen gradually. A confident guy just does things and owns them. He doesn’t overthink or overcomplicate matters. That comes across as insecure. Seeing a girl daily, saying nothing, then randomly declaring her love for her is complicating a simple matter. So, flirt and interact for a while, and then, after reading that she is getting into you, ask her on a date. Have fun on the date, and continue to be funny, confident, and cool, and go from there.

It Isn’t Smooth And Charming

Women like guys that have charm. Like I have already mentioned, a socially skilled guy isn’t going to awkwardly dump his love onto her. He’ll be funny, charming, and mysterious. He’ll make a girl want more of him, instead of coming across as needy.

Guys, instead focus on making her feel good on a regular basis. Make her laugh and smile and want to hang around you. That is how you get her to see you as boyfriend material, not by sending her a random text out of the blue. If you are “just a friend” or invisible to her, I guarantee her romantic interest is elsewhere, probably focused on a guy who is charming and confident. Becoming like those guys is the best strategy.

In fact, complimenting a girl is actually a good thing, if done right. I’m not trying to say it isn’t here. It’s just that calling her beautiful and amazing and/or declaring your love is way too much without a romantic connection. Complimenting her is fine though, as long as it is a simple and believable one (like mentioning her boots or cool T-shirt), and as long as it is done from a position of security and non-neediness. Women value compliments from confident guys; from insecure guys, they can sense it is sucking up.

So guys, stop with the random love declarations. Seriously, just stop. Instead of making her laugh at you with her friends, make her and her friends laugh at your funny and confidently delivered comments.

Four Ways To Mellow Out And Relax

Relaxing Water fall

This is a relaxing waterfall. Look at it closely…it is so peaceful

In a previous article, we talked about why flipping out is seriously unattractive. Well, if that describes you, then fortunately we have some help. The opposite of flipping out is mellowing out. And, while you don’t want to be too mellow to the point of lacking ambition, if you have a tendency to let stress bring you down, then you may need to learn to relax. Below are four tips and ways to mellow out and relax.

Stop Predicting the Future

Think about everything that caused you stress last week. If you can remember it, did the worst case scenario you imagined in your head actually happen? I highly doubt it. Maybe you can’t even remember what stressed you out last week. I’m sure in the moment it seemed horrible. But, after you settled down, it wasn’t even a big deal.

When we stress we typically do something called “catastrophizing.” This is a mental distortion where we always think the worst is going to happen. We don’t know the future! But scientists have determined what we do know: eighty-five percent of what we worry about doesn’t even happen. So, stop worrying about literally nothing.


If you find yourself in a stressful spot and feel you’re ready to melt down, then the easiest way to stop it in its tracks is to simply breathe. Breathing slowly actually slows the body’s systems down and relaxes us instantly. When you melt down, your body actually begins to rev itself up. And, after a few minutes, voila, meltdown! Taking a few deep breaths puts the breaks on a meltdown. Just train yourself to take a few deep breaths when you start to get stressed.


Taking a few minutes (or more) a day just to meditate, relax, or pray has been shown to have numerous health benefits. It makes us mentally more focused and generally relaxed. Most teens and adults live incredibly busy lives with little down time. Meditation is good “me time” that all of us could use.

Take a few minutes a day just to listen to music, pray, or focus on something of value (like a beautiful nature scene). Enter into the meditative state by slowly breathing. Turn off your cell phone and computer. Have no distractions.

Let It Out

Oftentimes, people blow up because they hold in the stress and negative emotions until it boils over. Instead of letting problems grow and grow, release the stress quickly. Talk to a friend about it, get a punching bag, take it out on the football field, etc. Whatever you use to de-stress, relax, and mellow out, make sure your bad energy and worries come out. Don’t let them stay in!

I hope these four ways to mellow out and relax help you live a more relaxed life. Flipping out won’t make you more popular, that I promise. If you can be more relaxed, you’ll go much farther in life and that includes your social life.

Easy Ways To Get A Phone Number For Guys And Girls

Cell phone with "I heart you" on it When I was in high school, I had a really hard time getting a phone number or other contact information from a girl, even when I pretty much knew that she really wanted to give it to me. I lost many great dates and relationships because I was too afraid to ask for something a girl really wanted to give me.

I wasn’t alone. For many teens (and even adults), “closing” with someone of the opposite sex can be difficult and create a lot of anxiety. Don’t let that be you. Because I promise you will regret it.

Below are specific pieces of advice for girls and guys to get that number (or Facebook, Snapchat, contact info, etc). These tips can also be applied to adults. Before you attempt to get a number, it is a good idea to build some rapport and create an emotional connection.

In other words, if you work on your general confidence, charm, and conversation skills, the whole process will go even more smoothly. Browse this site and our sister site The Popular Man for more tips on all of that.


Guys have more responsibility when it comes to creating follow-up opportunities. Despite years of feminism and “girl power,” most girls won’t outright volunteer their number. Guys, you have to do it. And, I have news for you…if you don’t do it, some other guy will. Women love confidence, and if you can’t “close,” you won’t be attracting any women anytime soon.

“You’re really cool; we should continue this conversation later. How about you give me your number?”

If the conversation is going well (i.e. she seems into you), and you have clearly have moved things in a direction away from the friend zone, then you need to get that number! Hopefully you are wowing her and she is flirting with you. If you are moving in a positive direction, this line makes it easy to follow-up. Just tell her you’d love to discuss the topic with her later.

I started this line with a “qualification.” This is a psychological trick that tells her you are interested in her for more than just her body. It is also telling her that you are cool and only hang with cool people. It works on many levels.

Also, keep it flirty. Unless she is equally nerdy, you may not want to go into the details of how some sort of theoretical Starship Enterprise works, and offer to follow up with even more sleep-inducing facts. Most of my initial conversations with women focus on observational and funny things. For example, one time I got into a discussion about why red onions are really purple. Offering to follow up about that is clearly a joke, but it works. Obviously, you can jokingly follow up about red onions, but don’t keep bringing it up, and definitely don’t actually start quoting boring facts about red onions!

“I have to go…but we should continue this later”

Most teenage guys talk way too much when talking to girls they like. By the time they are done, the girl knows every little detail about them and is bored. Smart guys know that if you want to follow up, you have to keep some mystery about yourself, making her want to know more about you at another time.

One way you do this is to exit the conversation early. It may be hard, because your brain will be telling you to stay. However, you have to resist. Let her know you have to go for a good reason (sports practice, your alternative band that sounds a lot like 21 Pilots, only better, has to practice, etc…not because your  mom texted you that the cat needs brushed), but that you would love to carry on the conversation later. Just casually mention you want her number. Make it clear through your body language and tone that you are relaxed and know that giving you her number is the natural thing to do, because you are so cool.

“You know what you should do? Give me your number”

Most women I have met absolutely love it when a guy just cuts through the crap, takes a risk, and says things like this. Sure, with this bold and direct approach, you will strike out occasionally. You may strike out 2/3 of the time, but let’s think of baseball for a minute. What is huge success in baseball? Batting .333 is amazing. Keep that in mind with this line.

The most successful guys get “outs” occasionally, but they bat much higher than the guys that never step to the plate. Sure, this line is about as bold as they come. But that’s cool. Take a risk. Ask for that number. When you are bold and confident, it increases your odds she will like you anyway.


teens having fun

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Traditionally, most girls will not ask a guy for a number directly for fear of rejection and fear of being perceived too much like a dude.

So ladies, below are tips for you. Remember, if the guy won’t “man up,” even after you make it pretty much obvious, then he isn’t a very confident guy anyway, so it’s probably best to move on.  However, keep in mind guys can be very socially dense (it is a result of evolution…give us a little bit of slack), so you may have to be persistent even with good guys.

Also, make sure you keep it flirtatious, or else he may view you as a friend only. But here are some tips if you really want to give him your number.

“We should really hang out again…”

Keep saying it. Let the guy know that you want to see him again. Eventually even the most clueless guy will ask for your number, unless he is “taken” or has some deep-seated mommy issues and he has to ask her for permission first (so you don’t want his number anyway).

“This is the point where guys usually give me their number”

Guys are clueless. It’s not just a stereotype.  Women evolved to pick up social cues, since they spent more time socializing in the earliest days of humanity. There wasn’t much room for socializing in the woods for the guys – potential food won’t come around when people are talking.

The above statement basically tells the guy you want his number, without being very direct. This is what is called an “embedded command.” Basically you are saying “hey idiot, I want your number!” but in a much more indirect and sly way. Either way, it works.

“Since we’re both so cool, it would be a shame if we lost touch!”

This is very non-committal, but gets the point across. It makes it pretty obvious for the guy, without outright doing the work for him. It sounds very cute, but it will get you that number, from all but the biggest passive losers.

Martin Luther King: Role Model

Martin-Luther-King-JrI’m sure you hear a lot about having good role models, maybe even to the point of being a little tired of it. This article was originally written in January, on an American holiday celebrating one of the greatest role models ever.

Most Americans, and many throughout the world, have probably heard about Martin Luther King, Jr. before. But, today I want to talk about how he can be a great role model in helping you become more confident and popular.

He Had Courage

Standing up for yourself and your values are both high value, popular traits. King stood up for his values of equality for all even in the face of extreme opposition. He was hated by many, but beloved by countless more (his haters don’t have a holiday named after them). At school, you should never compromise your values just to fit in. In most cases, even those who disagree with you will admire you, so long as you aren’t overbearing or negative about your positions. Speaking of…

He Used Power, Not Force

Many people resort to force to get their opinions heard (maybe even some of your teachers). “Force” behaviors and attitudes include shame, guilt, apathy, and fear.

Not Martin Luther King, Jr. He used true power: courage, love, and peace to persuade, which came through his example of non-violence. Sometimes you may feel like you have to belittle others or even bully them to be heard. You’ll be heard, but only briefly, before being hated. Be confident and stick to your values. But, also be kind and understanding. Be cool. Don’t resort to force, whether physical or emotional.

He Included

Popularity is ultimately a numbers game, winning over as many people as possible. Martin Luther King didn’t care about popularity, but he did bring in anyone willing to help his cause. He didn’t insist his supporters be of one religion or race or political position. Don’t restrict your friends to one group of people like the wealthier ones or the jocks. Who knows? Maybe the person you thought was a jerk or beneath you is actually a pretty cool person.

So, on Martin Luther King Day, and every day, I hope you can follow his path and stand up for your values while also being cool and inclusive towards other people.

Four Tips To Visit A Haunted House (Without Looking Stupid)

bloody jesus statue in cemetaryWhen Halloween rolls around, one of my favorite activities is going to haunted houses. In fact, I love anything that tries to scare me, including “haunted woods” and condemned prisons (those are always fun).

While the experience itself is great, watching other people there is almost as cool. I love seeing adult men freak out and teenage girls scream in terror.

If you’re going to a haunted house this year, then for the love of God, go through it with some dignity! You can be the one who looks cool. And, you just might even get a date out of it (if you play your cards right).

Below are our four tips to go visit a haunted house without looking stupid or awkward.

Remember It’s Fake

Have you seen any spiders the size of a car in real life? Me neither. A zombie? Your ugly gym teacher doesn’t count. All of the stuff in a haunted house is fake. Duh. Unless you’re clumsy and you trip, the props aren’t going to hurt you.

As you go through the house, remind yourself the whole thing is fake. Anything coming your way isn’t real. No haunted house operator wants you injured and suing them. So, you can get into the moment and have fun, but don’t ever get so freaked out you look dumb.

The truth is that these attractions appeal to the older parts of our brains, the parts that automatically pull your hand away if you touch something hot or that make you jump when someone jumps out in front of you. The good news is that the newer parts of our brains, which make logical decisions, can override the older parts. Make use of that logic.

View It Like A Video Game

Most people who play video games can do it without screaming or running to their parents. When you walk through a haunted house, view it as entering a fun fantasy. You’re seeing some awesome things, but instead of being on a television screen, they’re actually all around you.

If you understand that it’s not real, but it’s nonetheless cool and exciting, then you can actually get in a state of mind to enjoy it! In fact, there are a lot of cool props and themes at many haunted houses that people have put hours into creating. But, it’s hard to enjoy them if you’re hiding your face in the stranger next to you.

Laugh It Off

When I go through a haunted house, I’m typically laughing. It’s a mixture of “having fun” laughter and “this is so dumb” laughter. Look at some of the stuff in these haunted houses (zombie babies anyone?). It’s ridiculous! And, we typically laugh at ridiculous things, not run in fear of them. If you’re getting too scared, then take a deep breath, look around and think about how crazy the whole thing really is!

Be the Hero (Or Invite Him With You)

If you’re a guy, remember that lots of girls go to haunted houses even though they’re completely scared of them! If you can stay calm and laid back, then they may look to you for “protection.” And, that might involve holding onto you and not letting go. That’s not a bad thing, especially if they’re cute and fun! However, they won’t do this if you’re as scared as they are. So, be the hero. Be a man.

If you’re a girl, then invite your crush along with your group. Then, ignore tips one through three, scream a little (or a lot), and, when it gets scary, hold on tight! A real man will gladly help out a woman in crisis (even one they paid ten bucks for)!

These tips should help you go through a haunted house without looking like a total idiot. Oh, and maybe, just maybe get a date.