What was it like being popular in high school?

What was it like being popular in high school?

I wasn’t lowest on the food chain growing up, but I was never popular. I developed social skills in college and made a lot of friends since then, but I’ve always wondered what the experience must have been like for kids who grew up popular.

I know a lot of people on reddit were probably in my boat, but for those who weren’t, what was high school like for you?

EDIT: Here are a couple specifics to get you started, in case the question is too broad… Did being in a social spotlight make you feel good or self-conscious? How did you feel towards nerdy kids? Did you get treated better by teachers/other adults because of your social standing?


  1. I don’t think I realized I was a popular kid until four or five years after graduating. I just thought everyone had lots of friends and did things all the time, I was oblivious. The thought of feeling awkward around people or being nervous in a situation besides giving a a presentation didn’t occur to me. I played on one of our championship winning sports teams, did drama, video production and AP classes. I moved between circles of friends, as I saw them, and participated in whatever I felt was fun. I always had a girlfriend and a place to go on a friday/sat night.

    In response to your specific questions I had a lot of nerdy friends as I grew up in a nerdy household and played a lot of video games. I went between my group of nerdy friends and what I later learned were the “popular” kids seamlessly. Teachers (except one) let me off all the time, I still want to believe it was in part because I actually would talk to them about everything but again that’s probably part of having lots of self confidence. They would drop assignments if I couldn’t fit them into my sports and extra curricular schedule and as long as they were in the loop they let me change and create my own projects as I seemed fit. They also felt open to talk to me if I had any problems. Whether it was a simple project or finding out why I was late everyday to class.

  2. In my experience with highschool, Teachers treated certain kids better or worse based on the actual teacher. So all of my AP teachers liked the smarter kids more than anything. They didn’t care how popular you were or what kind of sports you did. However, the teachers of lower classes (like non honors, P.E., etc.) seemed to be former popular kids themselves and liked popular kids more. This is also the same with sports coaches. Coaches who had to teach classes almost always favored kids who did sports over everyone else.

    So I could replicate all the things you listed with teachers due to your popularity, but with my teachers due to my intelligence. (obviously not saying you didn’t receive this treatment based on your intelligence)

  3. My brother’s that guy. The whole party-every-night, homecoming king, athlete, tripping over girls, looks like an abercrombie model, that guy. I’m two years older and was never a huuuge nerd or a burnout or anything, but far far from his status–people have trouble believing we’re related. (I’m just the smart girl done good, basically.)

    But we’re actually really good friends, and once I figured out I basically had an inside man I started to really wonder what that world was like. Secondhand, I understand that it’s both what you’d expect (awesome) and alienating. He’s told me sincerely that there are dozens of people who consider him their best friend, but that he really doesn’t care about. The price of walking into the party and getting a thousand bro fives is that he thinks has to keep up all these relationships for everyone else, regardless of if he wants it.

    Bonus for me now is that I occasionally text him with really specific social situations and ask him what to do, and he replies with incredibly perfect detailed advice. I mean, I did read over his college essays, but I think I got the better end of the deal.

  4. I wasn’t popular by any means but was kind of right in the middle. Still being friendly and talked to pretty much everyone. After highschool moving onto college I became well liked. I’ve always been into cars so I’ve become strangely popular just because of my car and the modifications I’ve done set me apart from others in an individualistic way that others admire. I get together with forum members all over the place and people recognize me like woah, you’re the guy with the sick bimmer I saw online once. It’s flattering but in such a different, well respected way.

  5. To be popular in high school, you have to just NOT CARE. With that said, being popular in high school is like winning a trophy in tee ball. It’s cool for you, and others who saw you at the time, but it means absolute dick.

  6. t was pretty fun, for the most part. I especially liked it because I was bullied like no other throughout elementary school. I consider myself pretty fortunate because somehow I freakishly hit puberty about 3 years before the majority of my classmates. That means when most of them were busy trying to grow mustaches and keep their voices from squeaking, I was fully grown, no longer oily, and my voice was not awkward. I also grew into a pretty athletic body which allowed me to play sports which, of course, moved me up the food chain rather quickly. Aside from that, I guess I was just lucky to be in the popular crowd. It’s funny though, I never really went wild with it. I didn’t drink much and I had 3 girlfriends in high school all for about a year or more (and I was always faithful so I was never waist deep in ass). I still was a huge nerd and read books like crazy. Somehow, I guess I was just likeable. Also, as far as “nerdy” kids go, I was one of them so I never, ever bullied them. In fact, I went to a private school where half of the kids went there because their parents knew that they would be eaten alive in public school and the other half were there because it was the end of the line before juvie or boarding school. It was, at times, a powder keg. I did a lot of shitty things in my years but one thing I’m incredibly proud of was sticking up for the people who were viewed as outsiders. Some dipshit thought he was funny by sticking a mentally handicapped kid in a big trash can. When he ran by me laughing I grabbed him by the throat (don’t ask me why) and proceeded to drag his ass into the same trash can. I am still proud of that.

    The bitch with all of this was when I left high school and quickly realized the real world does not give two shits if you could get a date to the prom or not. Being able to crack jokes and being invited to parties didn’t mean shit on resumes. I’m somewhat thankful that I never lost that “nerdy” side of myself that was at one point so bullied. It has probably helped me out in the real world more than being the cool guy ever will. Real woman, employers, and just about anyone who can take your life in a good direction are more interested in your brains, not your car.

  7. being popular was honestly bullshit. i fell into it by grade 12 because i happened to be born with my eyes, ears, nose and mouth in the right place, and i’m genetically predisposed to a petite figure. people noticed me. guys liked me, the popular girls noticed and pulled me into their circle. better to keep your competition close, i guess.

    so what was it like? i acted fake all the time. i was always pretending. pretending to have fun at parties, pretending to like who and what i was supposed to like, pretending i didn’t actually prefer to stay home and chat with like-minded individuals over the internet. it was cool to not be seen as putting too much effort into anything, including school, so i didn’t. my grades suffered but, fortunately, i still got into the school i wanted to attend.

    i always had to keep my ears open for gossip because knowledge is power. true friendships were few and far between. people paid attention to the things i did, said, and wore so i always had to be on top of my game. when i wasn’t, i certainly heard about it. a few days later. when someone would tell me so-and-so was saying such-and-such behind my back. rumours were rampant.

    i didn’t realize how unhappy i was until i left town, went away to university, and got to be myself again. i went back home for christmas that first year and had a miserable time hanging out with the same old crowd.

    so i moved on, and i’ve never looked back.

  8. How do you know if you were “popular” in school?

    (This isn’t a set up for a bad joke, but a legit question.)

  9. I was a star athlete in high school; everyone in my school, and a lot of people in my community knew me. I was (and still am) recognized most places I go.

    But I was not popular. At all. Being a super athletic black girl in a vastly white school didn’t do much for my social confidence. I felt very different most of the time, and there was no competing with the pretty blondes and brunettes. And being faster/stronger/more athletic than a lot of guys wasn’t exactly a turn on, not to mention the stigma that goes with being a good female athlete–especially in high school. While it was ultimately an awkward and uncomfortable experience, I made some of my best, lifelong friends from my high school sports teams, and I used college as an opportunity to develop my social skills. But could you pay me to go back to high school? Absolutely not.

    I realize I didn’t answer ops question, but I just thought it was interesting to see the jock=popular theme and realize that simply did not apply to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *