If you are reading this right now, I am going to go ahead and assume that, at this particular moment, you aren’t exactly thriving in your social life.
Well, I am going to tell you what everyone from your mom to your teachers to the TV shows you watch have probably been telling you–being cool in high school is vastly overrated. I know this both from an anecdotal standpoint–I was not very cool in high school, myself, and I am doing okay for myself now!–and from a scientific one, because there are a bunch of real, peer-reviewed studies on what happens to people who were cool in high school (bad things, usually) and what happens to people who weren’t cool in high school (good things!).
Which leads one to believe that, shockingly, many people who work as scientists today weren’t the most popular people in their youth. So, check out these studies that will give you a lot of hope if you aren’t exactly the coolest person at your high school:
Popular Kids Have More Anxiety By Early AdulthoodAccording to a study published earlier this year in the scientific journal Child Development, popularity in high school is often tied to high levels of anxiety in early adulthood. Obviously, this doesn't mean that you're doomed to a life of anxiety and depression if you just so happen to be popular. Still, if you are the kind of person who feels anxiety and depression upon the mere thought of high school (as, like, a concept), this is the kind of information that might be comforting to tuck away in your back pocket. Image source: Getty
Popular Teens Can't Move OnAccording to a study that followed teens for over a decade after high school, those who reported popularity in high school seemed to have trouble moving on from that popularity later in life. They pick the people they date based on their perceived social status and assume any failure that may occur in their life happened because they aren't cool enough--which, unsurprisingly, takes a toll on people. Image source: Getty
It Takes More And More Effort To Be Cool As Time Goes OnAccording to a study published in the journal Child Development in 2014, people who identify as "cool"early in life rely on increasingly intense and dangerous activities in order to continue being seen as popular and cool. (Think of it as the different stunts that YouTubers have to pull in order to increase their views.) Basically? Being cool is bad for your health! Image source: Getty
Being Popular Doesn't Translate To Real-World Success IIt can be easy to assume that the popular people at you school are on a fast track to success. After all, everyone likes them now--why shouldn't that continue happening as they apply to college and, later, interview for jobs? But, according to a study that focused on how popular people fared post high school, being popular had no impact, financially or otherwise, on real-life success. Image source: Getty
Losing Your Virginity Later In Life = Good ThingsAccording to a study done at the University of Texas, people who lose their virginity on the later side (defined in the study as age 19 or older) tend to report a higher level of education, a higher income, and a greater level of personal relationship satisfaction during adulthood than those who lose their virginity at an "average" (age 15-19) or "early" age (age 15 or lower). Obviously, you don't have to be "cool" in high school in order to lose your virginity in high school. Still, there is an age-old high school dichotomy that equates popularity with sexuality, so, if you find that your high school experience reflects that, you can take some comfort in knowing that losing your V-card on prom night definitely isn't going to improve your life. Image source: Getty
No One Cares About Your Behavior As Much As You ThinkThe best news about your popularity (or lack thereof) in high school? No one really cares about it. A study that conducted "embarrassing" experiments on people (such as making them wear an embarrassing T-shirt in public) to see what degree they thought their behavior was noticed by others found that, for the most part, no one cared about the embarrassing thing as much as the subject thought they did. This means that any embarrassing thing that happens to you in high school barely registers with anyone else. Image source: Getty