Good Housekeeping South Africa
Social Media Followers Instagram Popularity Image Credit: Good Housekeeping South Africa
Social Media Followers Instagram Popularity Image Credit: Good Housekeeping South Africa

The Real Secret Of Popularity

Can clothes and members’ clubs and Instagram followers really make you popular? And why do we care about such superficial stuff anyway? Tamara Sturtz investigates.

Tamara Sturtz

Even though everyone knows materialism doesn’t make us happy, have you ever craved being a little richer, more polished, maybe thinner and just a bit more fabulous? Have you ever found yourself daydreaming how, if that was the case, your life would feel brighter and, yes, you’d be a little happier?

As I scroll through my current obsessions on Instagram, I sometimes find myself wanting more of what they’ve got. Women like Viktoria Rader who not only look successful and beautiful but also wear to-die-for clothes and are often pictured strolling among orange groves in Sicily, posing on yachts or at [hotel and members’ club] Soho Farmhouse with their equally beautiful and successful friends.

I am fully aware their life will never be mine (I can’t afford the wardrobe, let alone the four-storey stucco villa in London’s Notting Hill). But it doesn’t stop me sometimes wanting a little of what they’ve got. Even though I’ve got a pretty great life and I’m a grown woman in my 40s, old enough to know better.

This psychic tic is hard to break because it is human nature, according to Mitch Prinstein, professor of psychology and neuroscience, and director of clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US. Prinstein has written up 20 years of research into this area in his book Popular: Why Being Liked Is The Secre


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