Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In The News

Here are some news stories that may surprise you:

First, a professional football player chooses to drive a tiny Smart Car -- with a big Hello Kitty on its side.  And it's not a publicity-stunt or commercial endorsement: he just likes it!

The story is here.

Second, two sisters who wrestle for sport in Oklahoma were passengers in a car driven by their grandmother when they got in an accident.  While they were checking on their grandmom, they noticed the male-driver of the other car run away from the accident.  They pursued him and, with wrestling moves, tackled and restrained him.  The male-driver was later arrested by police.

The story is here.

Finally, a story I'd like your opinion on.  A new book reports that people who are unpopular in school are better-equipped to be successful in adulthood than popular kids in school.  The author concluded that what makes kids popular—conformity, aggression, visibility, and influence—won't make them happy or successful after they graduate. She distinguishes between perceived popularity, when peers say someone is at the top of the social hierarchy, and actual popularity, when peers report actually liking someone.

Do you think this is true?  Were you popular in school?  Are you happy now?

The story is here.


  1. These are awesome news!

    Regarding the last one, I hadn't previously heard that popular/unpopular people have and keep the same character traits and are judged differently when they grow up, but it makes sense! I also have a theory of my own, though, which slightly contradicts this one because it assumes people do change their character traits and behaviors as they grow up. The experience of being an outcast at some time in one's life can have a big effect on a person's goals and character in either of two directions, both of which may lead to social success: For some, it means they start to pay very much attention to being inclusive, tolerant and emphatic towards others because they don't want them to feel outcast. For some, it means they plunge into aggressive and hard-nosed self-marketing to become popular, which depending on how little they disregard or hurt others on their way up might actually work.

  2. Ooh, good question for the last story! To answer the question if I was popular in school, I would say I was in between. I was the girl who liked everyone and never hung out with a certain crowd. I was a floater, lol!

    Sometimes the "popular" kids are really awful snobby people. But, some of the "popular" kids I knew were actual pretty insecure too (as all teenagers). If you are "unpopular" or didn't have a lot of friends in school, it may make you have better coping skills as an adult. It may make you a stronger person if you were bullied or considered unpopular.

    I think we make our own choices in life to be the kind of adult we are now. Just because you had a crappy childhood, doesn't mean as an adult you can't be happy. I may have veered off topic a bit. Heather

  3. I wouldn't say I was 'unpopular' in high school. I had plenty of friends. Sure, I was picked on occasionally but I wasn't ostracized or anything. But I also was definitely not in the 'cool' group. I would say I had medium popularity then and medium success now. (I've got a degree and a decent job, a healthy relationship and a nice apartment. But I'm not rich beyond my wildest dreams or anything.)
    I do think it may have something to do with learning to be OK with yourself. If you aren't constantly looking to your peers for acceptance I think it's easier to grow as a person. There are 'cool' and 'un-cool' people from my high-school class that seem to be at various states of success. (Facebook makes it so easy to keep track of these things.)

    Also that Hello Kitty car is awesome.

  4. Education of emotions is a world emergency.
    I wasn't popular at school, and "happy"... I don't kwnow, at least not hopeless :)

  5. I LOVE LOVE the Hello Kitty Car!!! OMG!!
    I was just average at school but I think I am happier and shine more as an adult. As far as my high school, the popular people did not turn out well as adults and the nerds have dream lives now so I guess it depends.

  6. I was considered to be a popular kid in school. I'd say of the four traits named - conformity, aggression, visibility, and influence - I definitely exhibited the last three. But these traits are not necessarily negative, in my opinion. Could I have been in honors classes and been named captain of the track and cross country teams if I wasn't aggressive, visible, and influential? No, I would have been overlooked as not a strong enough candidate for either.

    Even conformity isn't the worst thing in the world; within reason it's what has to be done. Nobody wants to hire someone inaccessibly weird at their workplace. You can still be quirky and unique without being obviously "non-conformist." I also always consider how people who claim to be "non-conformist" are all doing it in the same you are simply conforming to a less known social norm, but a social norm nonetheless.

  7. I was everywhere from the nerd up front, the weird kid in the middle and the cool kid in the back. I certainly learned more about who I was as the nerd and the weird kid than I did as the cool kid. In fact, when I was "Cool," I woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and went: "I better cover this [face, body, personality, what have you] before someone sees me!" And it was scary. But that day, I made a lot of changes to bring me back to me... switched tables in the lunch room, put on clothes that expressed "me" (ok, it took me a while to find me... at that point "me" just meant something the cool kids wouldn't wear), and never looked back. I can't say whether the "cool" kids are more successful than the "weird kids" or the "nerdy kids". What I learned from being a marginalized kid in my school is that success is something only you can say whether or not you've achieved, because only you know what your goals and interests are!

  8. Ooh, I have mixed thoughts on this. On one hand, I agree that the too much conformity etc. are not good attributes in adulthood, but I think that the recluse in HS without social skills is probably not doing well in adulthood either. I was not "popular" but I wasn't a loner either. I was picked on, not necessarily "bullied" and I agree that it made me stronger. I had to learn to stand up for myself. I think there's two extremes going on now - bullies are getting meaner and the bullied are getting more sensitive. We need to teach kids to care more about others and to stand up for themselves.

    (What I find interesting is that we use the word "popular" to describe this group, which probably consists of cheerleaders, football players, etc., but most of these kids are not liked by the majority.)

  9. I would totally buy a Hello Kitty car if I had the money. Nice recap on news stories that explore gender stereotypes.

    I was painfully unpopular in school, but I work harder and make more money than the people who bullied me. I think cutting down others to get ahead can only take you so far. I've found that kindness has opened many doors for me in my life.

  10. I love the Hello Kitty car!! Can I have one with "South Park" characters on, please?
    I was a nerd at school, scoring straight A's in all lessons! Growing up I've changed a lot. I'm not sure I have an opinion on the subject as the situation in my country doesn't allow a "successful" life for people my age. But I have a happy life and some of my classmates do too. Regardless of popularity I would say.

  11. Love the smartcar. I keep telling the Taller Half, our next car is a smartcar.

    As for the popular in highschool... I was one of those kids who wasn't popular, but wasn't actively "unpopular". I could talk to the popular girls without ridicule, and could walk over to the nerds, then the musical theater kids.

    Part of it was due to a really dumb scheduling thing, I had one of my classes with all seniors, so most people were often confused about what grade I was in. I got away from 90% of the freshman harassment, and I graduated a year early. I do think if you're not a part of a school based "group" and do everything with them, you learn better friend making skills outside of forced interactions.. and so yes you do gain more coping methods.

    I was happily a butterfly at school, but had a strong base of friends outside of school who I did not know THROUGH school.

  12. I always had a lot of friends in school but was definitely not in the popular crowd, nor did it really interest me. But there was one girl I was really jealous of because I thought she was so pretty. And as a boy-crazy high schooler, I admit I did often have "Jake Ryan syndrome" but never attracted the attention of any of those popular guys. I had crushes on plenty of non-popular guys too, but I didn't attract their attention either. lol I had a core group of 3 friends I did everything with, but I had other friends outside that group as well. I wasn't someone you'd fit into a specific category, like "drama club," "band," etc. I was known for being artistic but wasn't in the "art crowd" either.

    The popular crowd at our school was still not really anything like what you see in the movies. Our class pres was not from that crowd, and I don't think we even did Prom King and Queen. Everyone knew who the popular kids were, but I don't think it was most people's goal to join them. They could be mean at times. But mostly, they had their little world, and everyone else had theirs, and the worlds didn't collide too often because no one else existed to them...except during times one of them must've been feeling particularly insecure, as you can see in Kam's rundown of our high school experience/the popular crowd on our blog not long ago: "Is Shyness a Form of Narcissism".

    Whether someone is or isn't happier because of not being in the in-crowd - I really think it depends more on the individual person and their value system and who they become as an adult. Some people who are popular use their powers for good. I can definitely say that I am happy through and through! But I think that has a lot less to do with my high school experience than in the decisions I've made and the confidence I've gained as an adult.

    From what I've been able to discern about what the popular kids from our school are like nowadays, they seem to be regular people just like the rest of us, trying to be happy and good parents. It seems like most of them grew out of the way they were back then. I'm happy for them if that's the case.

    My hubs was a band geek, and I can say those guys can sometimes make the best hubbies around...they really appreciate an awesome gal when she comes along and don't take her for granted! I think "geek" is becoming the desired label nowadays rather than an insult. And for the record, he says there wasn't really a popular crowd in his school.

    Oh, the things I could've accomplished back then with the confidence I have now! But it's all part of the experiences that make me who I am.

  13. Excellent question on the last story. I thought I was painfully dorky/nerdy in school, or at least the first two years of high school I had low self-esteem and no confidence. The last two years I just stopped caring. I was goofy and fun, hung out with whoever I wanted and then somehow, I won Homecoming queen. I swear, I thought I was a huge dork who just hung out with really fun really great people, but now a few years later people remember liking me/think I was moderately popular.

    What about you?

    PS- I would drive that car. ALL OVER.

  14. That tiny car makes me very happy. I want to see him getting in and out of it. haha.

    The wrestling story is inspiring. GOT HEEM (that's an SF Giants saying when a batter is struck out)

    That popularity thing is something else. I don't know really. I think it just depends on the individual that is popular or isn't. I was popular and I turned out all right. Or at least that's what I tell myself.

    Lovie love love,

  15. I could see ME driving this car :)

    On another subject, this is something to think about.
    I was not popular in school and was just an average student, was in French Club (for the food), Spanish Club (it was easy), school newspaper (I wanted to be a journalist) and I think I did ok.
    If I ever have children I really don't want them to be THE BEST, I think that being in the middle, being average teaches you many lessons and also to be humble which will always help you in the future.

  16. In highschool I was far from popular. In fact I was the quiet one in the corner that no one knew. I was involved in a lot of activities, but virtually non existent in school. I remained the quiet one for a very long time until now...
    Now I am a complete social butterfly. VERY VERY Popular, and very well liked. Its difficult, because I am getting to the point where my social life is interfering with my normal day to day life, and that my popularity doesn't allow me some of the freedoms of being unknown is. For once I would like to attend a party or an event where people don't come up to me, follow me or worst yet interrupt me during the party. Just to have the luxery of enjoying an event as a spectator, as opposed to the focus would be very nice.
    Am i happy..the rewards are great for the level of sacrifice i have to do. I do have my moments where I am not happy, but I also have moments of extreme happiness..It always depends on situation.

  17. Thank you for giving me some reading material- I love finding unique stories and there's something about that big football player in the tiny Hello Kitty car that makes me smile!

    I wasn't popular in high school at all- in fact I was teased because I was different- I didn't wear sweatpants to class, I liked drama and the arts and I spent most of my time studying. Many of the popular kids from my high school are now working at fast food joints, some married before age 20 and others already have kids. I'm still quite shy and can be uncomfortable in certain social situations but with time I'm feeling more comfortable in my own skin.

  18. That's because EVERYONE loves Hello Kitty!

    As for the last article, I think I've read something like that before and I'm in no way surprised. I wasn't popular at all in high school. I was known for being quiet, studious, and kind of well dressed (probably kind of snobby, too, for reasons I still don't understand). I like to think I'm successful, although not all of it can be attributed to being unpopular earlier in life. I mean, I think part of my self sufficiency might come from that, but otherwise, I think I still would have been driven and motivated if I was popular. But I know a lot of people who were popular in high school only went to college for the social aspect...and they've dropped out and aren't doing anything with their lives. So I'd say the article leans toward being true. Yes. That is my opinion.

  19. I wasn't among the popular crowd but kind of in between too. Wonder if that means my social skills are half-baked too, LOL!

  20. I enjoyed reading the top stories. The hello kitty car is so cute. Good for him all comfortable driving that. Although not sure how in the world he fits in it!?

    Regarding the last topic:
    I couldn't agree more. I think kids that are popular but not liked are in for a surprise when they start the real world and people do not treat them the same way and they have no experience dealing with controversy or working hard to get somewhere.
    People that are popular because they are truly liked though I would imagine would not have the same issue. Whatever it was that made them likable would continue the rest of their lives.
    I was always an in between. Never the super popular one but never a loner either. I had friends from every group and did my own thing. I was born to not be a follower though. I always felt individuality was much more interesting. My high school year book write-up totally outlines how I started all sorts of my own trends and never fit any norm yet was always surrounded by true friends.

  21. As a football fan (GO BEARS ... and Rams), I love that football player in the Hello Kitty SmartCar. How.Adorable. And not at all threatening.

    I was not popular my freshman year of high school. I was popular my sophomore and junior years, and then I was violently hated my senior year. I had to eat lunch in the bathroom because no one wanted me at their table. However, I am a really strong person now. I am more mature. I know how to deal with haters. I think it made me better, but it still sucked.
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  22. "A new book reports that people who are unpopular in school are better-equipped to be successful in adulthood than popular kids in school." - I think that is very true, definitely.

    Although, I think it can go both ways -- it's like with tragedy, people either transform and become more aware and enlightened, or they get depressed and hide away. So I don't think it's as simple as 'yes, troubled kids succeed more' but I think it is often the case.

    Hope that made some sense!