18 signs you value being ‘real’ over being popular

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Ah, popularity; it’s a fickle beast.

There are people in this world seeking fame and fortune, dreaming of having the world swoon over their every move.

But let’s be real—no pun intended—this isn’t a game you’re interested in playing.

You, my friend, value authenticity over popularity, and that’s something to be proud of.

After all, who cares about keeping up appearances if it means sacrificing your genuine self?

Now, don’t get it twisted—it isn’t that you’re a hermit who shies away from social interaction.

You simply prefer building deep, meaningful connections rather than gathering superficial admirers.

Stick around, and let’s explore some of the signs that you prioritize realness over social status.

Trust us, it’s a far more satisfying path to walk down.

1. You are proud of the friends you’ve got, no matter how uncool they are.

You know that having a great group of friends is about more than just how popular they appear to be.

Real friends are the ones who stick by you through thick and thin; people who are genuine and share your values.

So when you look around at your motley crew of pals, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride and gratitude for the connections you’ve made.

Consider the times when you all gathered around for a board game night. Sure, some people might think it’s nerdy, but you know that’s where your fun and laughter truly lie.

Remember the time when your friend showed up to a party dressed as a Trekkie? Instead of cringing, you cheered them on! It’s moments like these that show you value your friends for who they are, not for some superficial idea of what’s cool or trendy.

Moreover, you appreciate your friends’ quirks and imperfections; after all, it’s the combination of unique traits that make your friendships so rich.

2. You’d rather be real and not liked than fake and liked.

You know what they say, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

You’ve fully embraced that motto as a life principle. You’re all about being genuine and true to who you are, even if it means not being the most popular person in the room.

After all, you’d much prefer staying true to yourself over shapeshifting for others’ approval.

You’ve got a firm belief in letting your true colors shine. You understand that not everyone will like your opinions or agree with your decisions, but that’s okay.

As Dita Von Teese once said, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”

Whenever you face a situation where you need to pick between fitting in or standing up for your beliefs, you don’t hesitate to choose the latter. You aren’t shy about expressing your authentic self, even if it ruffles a few feathers.

In short, you’re a rebel with a cause (simply being you), and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

So rock on, you authentic, true-to-yourself peach!

3. You don’t put famous or successful people on a pedestal.

You’ve always had a knack for seeing beyond the glitz, glam, and fanfare.

Sure, it’s easy to get swept up in the hype surrounding famous and successful individuals, but you, my friend, value authenticity and genuine connections over popularity and public opinion.

Right off the bat, it’s essential to acknowledge that it’s completely natural to admire or appreciate someone’s work. You can enjoy a good movie or song, but it’s vital to understand that these celebs are only humans, too.

So, you don’t let their massive followings, exotic lifestyles, or well-tailored public personas cloud your judgment. Instead, you remain a loyal member of “Team Keepin’ it Real.”

You see through the facade that is carefully crafted to capture the public’s fascination. Instead of buying into the highlight reels of masterfully edited social media feeds, you understand that everyone has their fair share of struggles, imperfections, and off days.

Moreover, your value system doesn’t revolve around money, fame, or power. You measure a person’s worth by their character, kindness, and integrity.

It’s not about who has the most followers, the highest net worth, or the flashiest lifestyle. For you, it’s all about substance over style. Bravo!

4. You don’t care how many ‘followers’ you have on social media.

You’re the type of person who values real-life bonds over social media connections.

You don’t care how many ‘followers’ you have on social media because you know that it says precisely zero about your worth as an individual.

While others around you might be frantically “collecting” friends and followers, you’re happy to remain selective about who you choose to connect with.

Your circle might be smaller, but it’s made up of genuine connections that uplift, support, and empower you.

You know that it’s better to be yourself and be appreciated by those who really matter rather than chasing virtual popularity.

5. You don’t try to please people for the sake of it.

You don’t pretend to agree with everyone’s opinions just to be liked. In fact, you’re perfectly fine with a healthy debate or even a disagreement.

After all, why should your life be a never-ending quest to please others? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!

Clarity and authenticity are your mantras. If someone asks for your opinion, you’re not going to sugarcoat it. You’d rather be respected for your honesty than loved for your flattery.

In social situations, you can often be found chatting with a small group of people who appreciate your genuine nature, rather than tirelessly working the room trying to win over the entire crowd.

Of course, this approach may not always make you the life of the party, but you’re fine with that. Being true to yourself and not trying to please people for the sake of it is much more rewarding in the long run.

And let’s be honest—it’s much less exhausting too.

6. You don’t follow trends blindly or jump on bandwagons.

Oh, look! Another viral dance challenge on social media.

But wait, you’re not frantically learning those moves, are you? That’s because you don’t follow trends blindly or jump on bandwagons.

You understand that just because something is currently in vogue doesn’t mean it’s worth your time and attention.

There’s this phenomenon—the bandwagon effect—where people do something because everyone else is doing it, even if it goes against their own beliefs.

Not you, though. Instead, you have a built-in trend-resistant shield that allows you to stay true to yourself rather than submitting to the whims of popular culture.

Investing in the latest overhyped stocks? Uh-uh, not your style. You know better than to let the madness of crowds sway your financial decisions.

After all, who needs to follow the herd when you’re perfectly capable of thinking independently?

Extra reading: 18 Things Independent Thinkers Do (But Don’t Talk About)

7. You don’t “dress to impress.”

Imagine walking into a room where everyone is dressed like a peacock, flaunting the latest fashion trends…and you stroll in wearing your comfortable jeans and a simple t-shirt.

You’re not there to win a fashion award; you just want to be yourself.

And you know what, most of those people will secretly envy you.

You see, for you, it’s all about being genuine. You wear clothes that make you feel good and express your true personality, not what a fashion magazine dictates.

You know that, at the end of the day, feeling connected to your inner self and the people around you is more important than shiny accessories or designer labels.

You’d rather be mistaken for an undercover superhero saving the planet from superficiality, rather than being known as someone bending to societal pressure and trends.

8. You don’t hold on to friendships just because you’ve known someone a long time.

Congratulations, REAL-ationship expert! You’ve grasped a fundamental truth: simply knowing someone forever doesn’t guarantee a healthy or fulfilling friendship.

It’s like holding on to that ugly sweater from high school just because it’s been with you through thick and thin—and let’s be honest, mostly thin.

If you can’t seem to muster up genuine joy for your friend’s accomplishments or sincerely be there for them when they need you, you’re not afraid to reevaluate the dynamic.

Now, don’t get me wrong—letting go of a friendship doesn’t make you a heartless monster. We all evolve, and our friendships should too.

Sometimes, it means outgrowing relationships that no longer serve us. It’s okay to let friendships fade out if it’s for the right reasons.

In the end, choosing quality over quantity in your friendships is a sign that you value being real over being popular. You’ve traded in the role of social chameleon for a shot at genuine human connection. Gold stars all around!

9. You’re not afraid to look silly.

Where most people would rather blend in than stand out, you’re totally okay with letting your quirky side shine, even if it means looking a little silly.

After all, who wants to be just another face in the crowd?

Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t faze you. You understand that sometimes, the best experiences and funniest memories are born from the moments when we let go of our inhibitions and simply embrace our true selves.

So, if a spontaneous dance-off starts in the middle of a party, you’ll be the first one busting out your unique moves. Your friends may or may not join you, but you don’t mind either way.

Embracing silliness doesn’t mean you don’t take life seriously. It simply means that you know how to prioritize what truly matters. You aren’t overly concerned with other people’s opinions and prefer to march to the beat of your own drum.

So, go ahead and wear that pineapple-patterned shirt you love or belt out your favorite tune at karaoke night! Your authenticity is sure to inspire and uplift those around you.

10. You savor your alone time.

Ah, alone time. Some people dread it, but not you. In fact, you cherish those precious moments of solitude.

You know that having time to yourself is essential for self-reflection, growth, and, quite honestly, some much-needed Netflix binge-watching.

You don’t need the validation of constantly being surrounded by a group of friends, admirers, or that person who just won’t stop talking.

Instead, you learn to appreciate the benefits of alone time for your mental health and overall well-being.

While being alone might sound like a punishment for some, you’ve transformed it into a sublime art form. You’re not just any ordinary person sitting alone in their room–you’re a blissful contemplation connoisseur!

Your hobbies and interests thrive during that coveted one-on-one time with your marvelous self. Whether it’s reading a book, painting, or practicing yoga, you indulge in your alone time like a gourmet devouring a fine cheese plate.

And let’s not forget about the deep thoughts. You dive head-first into the ocean of your transitory musings and ideas.

Your alone time becomes a safe space where you can ponder life, love, and the million-dollar question: if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it still make a sound?

11. You don’t brag about knowing someone famous.

Ah, yes, the subtle art of name-dropping.

Who hasn’t been at a casual gathering where someone suddenly starts steaming about knowing a certain celebrity, whether it’s true or not?

But for you, my friend, that’s just not your style.

See, being real means that you’re not trying to impress others by lobbing big names around.

You don’t bother with sharing stories about the time you bumped into an A-lister at a coffee shop or how your former college roommate is now a pop icon.

You recognize that fame can be fleeting. Today’s hotshot might be tomorrow’s “Where are they now?” subject.

So, instead of putting all your bragging rights on a famous (and potentially temporary) connection, you opt for nourishing your friendships with people who genuinely support you and keep you grounded.

At the end of the day, you understand that it’s not about who you know, but how you treat those around you. Being genuine, kind, and consistent is what really matters in building relationships.

And that, my friend, is worth its weight in gold…or even an Oscar, if that’s your thing.

12. You don’t hog the spotlight in group conversations.

You’ve probably been there, at a social gathering, and someone just won’t stop talking.

You, on the other hand, value being real over being popular, and that means you’re a star listener in group conversations.

As a listener, you understand that a good conversation is like a fine dance—it requires balance.

You give others the space to share their thoughts and opinions, making each person feel valued and heard. You never try to steal the show with long-winded tales or constant interruptions.

You also have a knack for reading the room. By paying attention to non-verbal cues like body language and eye contact, you can sense when someone might feel left out or has something to contribute. When you notice these clues, you graciously and humorously direct the conversation toward them, making sure everyone gets a slice of the fun.

Instead of turning every conversation into your personal TED talk, you spark interesting discussions with open-ended, thought-provoking questions. This keeps everyone engaged and encourages real, authentic connections.

13. You reflect on what you’re doing and whether it feels right to you.

Imagine you’re at a party and suddenly find yourself the center of attention. You feel the pressure to entertain, maybe even pretend to be someone you’re not.

However, you value being real over being popular, so you take a step back and reflect on what you’re doing and whether it feels true to you.

It’s like being a chef in a busy kitchen, trying to prepare a dish that everyone will enjoy. Instead of just adding more and more ingredients in the hope of pleasing everyone, you decide to carefully taste and adjust the flavors to create a genuine masterpiece.

Personal reflection guides your decision-making process, allowing you to analyze whether the path you’re on aligns with your values and desires. By doing so, you can maintain your integrity and remain true to yourself.

In the grand comedy of life, you could compare yourself to a stand-up comedian who jokes about their own experiences and thoughts instead of jumping on the bandwagon of trendy topics. Your audience may be smaller, but the people who appreciate your humor will be more genuinely connected to you.

14. You prioritize simple pleasures over the fancy stuff.

You know full well that it’s not always about having the latest gadgets or attending exclusive events.

Sometimes, it’s about indulging in life’s simple pleasures.

Remember that time you were invited to a fancy party, but instead, you opted for a cozy night in with your favorite movie and a warm bowl of homemade soup? That’s your true self shining through.

You’re not swayed by what’s considered “popular,” but are instead focused on enjoying the little things that truly bring you joy.

Let’s raise a toast to the simple joys: the beauty of sunsets, the satisfaction of finishing a crossword puzzle, and the giggles from an inside joke shared with a dear friend.

After all, it’s these moments that remind us of what really matters in life.

15. You own your mistakes rather than passing the blame.

It’s true; nobody enjoys dropping the ball or having a slip of the tongue, but you, my friend, handle these situations with a level of pizzazz that’s simply unmatched.

When others might try to deflect blame or point fingers faster than a cowboy in a Wild West showdown, you take a deep breath, channel your inner grace, and say those magical words, “You know what? That was my bad.”

This lighthearted approach disarms those around you, allowing everyone to continue moving forward without awkwardness or resentment.

Your ability to take responsibility leaves a lasting impact on those around you, making you a trustworthy person in their eyes.

16. You don’t kiss up to others.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you could have easily brown-nosed your way to a better position, but instead chose to stick to your principles?

That’s right, you don’t play the game of kissing up to authority figures just for personal gain.

Let’s say you’re in a group discussion and everyone’s nodding in agreement to your boss’s questionable idea. Just because their opinions sway like a flag in the wind doesn’t mean yours has to.

It’s not in your nature to blindly follow the herd. You don’t change your opinion for the sole purpose of fitting in or getting ahead.

You understand the importance of building genuine relationships, and how those are truly what matter in the long run.

It’s not that you don’t want to be liked; you just don’t see a need to bend your integrity for the sake of popularity. When you look in the mirror, you can still see yourself without a brown nose, and that’s all that counts.

17. You don’t take it personally when someone doesn’t like you.

You, my friend, have got to the point where you don’t take it personally when someone doesn’t like you.

Bravo! This is a clear sign that you value being real over being popular.

You know full well that not everyone is going to like you. Heck, it’s quite possible that many people won’t like you. But plenty will, so you don’t waste your time worrying about the ones who won’t be sending you a card come your birthday.

If someone has a problem with you, you listen to what they have to say and learn from it where necessary, but you don’t take their feedback to heart.

You understand that people’s opinions are just that—opinions. They may be valid, or they may be completely off the mark. Either way, you know your worth is not defined by the judgment of others.

18. You don’t care what other people think of you.

Guess what? You’ve reached a level of emotional maturity where other people’s opinions don’t dictate your decisions.

Congratulations! It’s not easy to break free of societal expectations and live life according to your own values and beliefs, but you’ve done it.

You let your true personality shine, and if it doesn’t win a popularity contest, so what? You know that being yourself is more fulfilling than trying to fit in.

You’re confidently rocking that unique outfit, speaking your mind about important issues, and pursuing what truly makes you happy.

Living a genuine, authentic life means more to you than the validation of others. Besides, the most interesting people are those who embrace their quirks, right?

Not caring what others think also means you’re spending less time worrying about fitting into a certain mold. You’re embracing your imperfections and treating them as assets. Why? Because you understand that perfection is an illusion, and nobody is truly perfect. So why bother trying to be?

In the end, you’ll find that valuing being real over being popular will attract the right kind of crowd—those who appreciate authenticity, uniqueness, and depth.

And trust us, that’s way better than trying to keep up with the popularity game.

So keep doing you and let the realness shine!

About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.