Why some people are so popular DESPITE their looks

Today I’m going to talk about why some people are so incredibly popular socially DESPITE their looks (and without having anything else in life going for them at all).

You see, once I was at a computer LAN (Dreamhack, here in Sweden). There, I came across a woman who was both obese and short. There was nothing about her looks that was in her favor. Her cheeks and shoulders connected seamlessly. She resembled a squish ball.

Let’s be honest. People who are unattractive often have a harder time in social life.

Still, this person was by far the most popular person in the room.

People, guys and girls alike, wanted to talk to her. You could see how people physically gravitated towards her like nails to a magnet.

Naturally, this caught my interest and I had to understand: WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON HERE?

As I eavesdropped to get a feel for what she said, I realized that she had a different way of communicating than most others.

Article continues below.

Take this quiz and see how you can improve your social life

Take this quiz and get a custom report based on your unique personality and goals. Start improving your confidence, your conversation skills, or your ability to bond - in less than an hour.

Start the quiz.

She acted as if she assumed people would like her – so they did.

With that, she broke out of what we can call…

“The self-fulfilling prophecy of unattractiveness”

unpopular person

People aren’t disliked because they’re unattractive. They’re disliked because they behave as if they are unlikable. For example, they often wait for others to show liking to them before they show liking to others. This makes them come off as distant, aloof or arrogant. Because of that, people don’t show them liking, and this confirms their worldview that their unattractiveness makes them unlikable.

Read more: How to become likable.

Here’s a fact almost only skilled sales-people know about:

YOU create the reality with each person you meet.

When a great salesperson begins an interaction, and he acts as if he is certain that the customer will sign the contract, he’s more likely to get a signature. If the salesperson flinches, widens their eyes and looks expectantly at the paper, they are less likely to get the signature than if he would send over the paper and casually start talking about what’ll happen next.

This means that they’ve altered the customer’s reality. They created a reality where it was natural for the other person to sign the contract.

Another example: Who do people follow at parties and events? Those who say “Let’s go”, and walk confidently towards their destination, or those who say “You really need to follow me, don’t stay here” and then wait for others to start moving before they start walking.

Likewise, we create the reality of whether people will like us or not.

popular people

The girl at the LAN broke the self-fulfilling prophecy of unattractiveness by ASSUMING that people would like her.

Instead of waiting for people to be nice towards her first she was warm towards them right off the bat

  • Instead of being OVERLY nice to force people to like her she was authentic and natural
  • Instead of looking for others approval she assumed that people liked her
  • Instead of trying to make people like her she showed great interest in others
  • Instead of trying to stand out by impressing others she only told stories about herself when they added entertaining value to the situation

Lesson learned: When every fiber in her body assumed that people should like her, everyone else assumed that too. The results? Everyone in the room, including me, loved her.

Have you come across someone who assumed people liked them? What happened?

I’m excited to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Free training: Conversation skills for overthinkers

  1. Use "conversational threading" to avoid awkward silence
  2. Learn a proven technique to get past empty small talk
  3. Improve socially without doing weird out-of-your-comfort-zone stunts.
  4. Instantly beat self-consciousness with the "OFC-method"
  5. See how you can go "from boring to bonding" in less than 7 words.

Start my free training.

David Morin is the founder of SocialPro. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

Go to Comments (7)


Add a Comment
  1. I’m a 49 year old male with rosacea. I tend to flush easily when nervous. I hate this aspect of my life. Makes social situations difficult.

  2. I’m a girl and I’m at least 4 inches taller than the average height for a girl my age. A couple of my friends have told me they wish they were as tall as me, but sometimes I just wish I was a little bit shorter, because I think its also a pretty big turnoff to all the guys my age. Do you know how i can be a little more confident in my height?

    • Hi Sarah, thanks for sharing <3

      To become confident with your height, the first step is to stop trying to hide it. Because when you try to hide it, you subconsciously tell your brain that you need to be ashamed of your height. Instead, straighten your back and be proud that you got such awesome genes. Remind yourself of that every time you try to "shrink down". I'd even suggest trying to walk with shoes that make you slightly taller, just to challenge your fear. Each time you do something that's a bit scary, but not too scary, you will become more confident.

  3. Hi David,

    Well, here are some thoughts in response to your post.

    Socially, I’ve always tended to expect disapproval. It’s like I’m searching for disapproval. This is how I am on the phone as well as in person, so concern about physical appearance isn’t the issue.

    On the other hand, I could care less what people think of me if I expressed myself in writing and they didn’t like what I had to say.

    I think what it is is that I’m just a very inward sort of person, so being confident expressing myself outwardly is more challenging to learn.

    I’m guessing that physically unattractive lady who expects approval and gets it is probably a natural extrovert.

    However, as you’ve stated before elsewhere, social skills are essentially learned. Extroverts just tend to pick it up sooner.

    Another thing is I used to be camera-shy, but not anymore. Since advent of digital camera, I take selfies and got used to camera and how I come across and now love having photos of myself.

    I think my insecurity on the telephone/oral communication can likewise be overcome by recording my voice and making needed adjustments. Then I’ll be more sure rather than unsure of how I come across, which makes me confident and expectant of being liked.


Leave a Comment