True popularity means being popular with all types of people. While it is true that a lot of celebrities are primarily popular with a certain type of person (for example, Justin Bieber with teenage girls and the late Steve Jobs with a certain type of male tech-geek) , most actually have a lot of broad appeal. Even Justin Bieber has older fans, and probably a few male ones too (not that they would admit it). Steve Jobs is widely admired even outside of Apple fans. Most people know who Peyton Manning is, regardless of whether they are football fans.
My point is that if you stay in your clique or only hang with your “crowd,” you can’t be considered truly popular. You’ll definitely never be a local celebrity if your personality only appeals to the “jocks,” “emo girls,” “class clowns,” or “nerds.” Personally I think labels and crowds are dumb anyway. I played football in high school, but was also on the quiz team and was learning guitar. Meh…try and label that!
I think it is okay to embrace your identity. If you like sports a lot, play a lot of them, and know the stats of every player in the NBA, then you are probably by all accounts a “jock.” Maybe you struggle academically at times. No matter how hard you try, you likely won’t end up as a nuclear physicist after you graduate. Same with someone who is so awkward even walking without tripping might be considered “too athletic.” Maybe you study physics because you love it, and will never end up playing in the WNBA.
However, what is stopping you from reaching out to people in other crowds?
So jocks, maybe that emo girl secretly is in love with jocks, and you think she is cute. Maybe the math “nerd” who sits next to you in class loves watching football, and would like to ask you some questions about it. And maybe you could use some help with your math.
And physics nerd girl, maybe the jock is kind of cute, and saw a documentary on black holes a few nights ago and has some questions he wants to ask you.
But nobody would ever know any of this as long as you are stuck in your “crowds.”
The first way to talk to be of different crowds is to open yourself up to new interactions. Our definition of popularity is basically attracting all types of people to yourself. When you are popular, everyone wants to hang out with you, and be just like you. If you close yourself off to half of your school for some reason or another, then you’re never going to be popular. You have to go into all interactions with an openness to get to know another person. Talking to someone doesn’t mean you become their BFF or have to date him or her; at the very least you may have made someone’s day better, and you may get an acquaintance or potential homecoming dance date.
The second way is to just say it. Just say something (make sure you are cool though) to people that you encounter. Maybe you have sat next to the same person in Trig all year but never said a word to her because you figured she was too goth, emo, weird, stuck-up, rich, poor, athletic, musical, or whatever. So, maybe you’re “sure” you’ll have nothing in common. So what do you say? How about just saying “hey,” or even “what’s up?” Most people are just happy to have another person take an interest in their lives. A simple “hey” with follow-up conversation can accomplish this.
So, engage new people. Cross the boundaries. Expand your network of friends and dates. You’ll be amazed how popular you become when nobody becomes “off limits” because of a particular group or clique they are in.