Once upon a time, but not that long ago, it was the norm for the cool kids at school to use popularity as their way of distinguishing who was ‘in’ and who was ‘out’.
And anyone assessed by that school clique as being socially unacceptable or inferior in some way was shunned by that clique.
Still, if enough students found themselves on the outer, there were opportunities for them to form their own social groups of like-minded souls.
And in quiet alone-time, I suspect many-a-pubescent excluded from the ‘in’ clique would comfort themselves with the thought that any unkind label assigned them by that clique would cease to have any effect after they completed their school education.
But then the online social media platforms got the bright idea of reinventing the school-yard concept of popularity to make it a mainstream feature of their offering.
And those so called ‘uncool’ kids amongst us adults realized school was never, ever, going to be a thing of our past.
Perhaps, for some, those familiar feelings of anxiousness, fear, and inadequacy bubble to the surface whenever they think: if I wasn’t popular at school, what hope have I now?
While for others; especially, for those with healthy self-esteem and a secure sense of their own self-worth: they no longer feel the need to be liked by everyone.
And then there are those for whom the life of hard knocks has taught them that it is not the quantity of ‘friends’, but the quality of friendship that truly counts.
So, if you are someone who tends to struggle with the demands and expectations of the online world, listed below are four strategies:
- It is okay if your posts or online updates are not ‘liked’ much – you may be merely marching to a different beat.
- Connect online with like-minded souls with similar interests.
- Know it is okay to switch off your digital device from time to time. Know there is a whole world out there just waiting for you to engage with it.
- Enjoy the face-to-face company of friends you like – and who like you.
And finally, remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice:
‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’
Copyright uncapIdeas 2017