How to be popular

If you want to be more popular, you have to learn these 3 surprising popularity insights. They helped me change my life, and they can help you change yours.

Ramit Sethi

Do you ever feel like you’re on the outside looking in? Like everyone has a ton of friends except you?

I totally get it. I’ve had these moments too. Everyone has.

When I moved to NYC a few years ago, Friday nights sucked. I was lonely and bored because I didn’t know many people in the city.

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When I was a kid, I was awkward, skinny and I talked too fast. Take a look:

This is not a picture of one of the popular kidsThis is not a picture of one of the popular kids


Now check me out in college:

Wait. Still not popular.Wait. Still not popular.


The good news is that it gets better. I now feel confident, not awkward. I get invited to speak at conferences, and I even got accused of taking steroids because of the way I now look.

Ramit is accused of using steroids because of how he looksOne of the best moments of my life. This random redditor accuses me of using steroids (PEDs = performance-enhancing drugs) because of how I look. It hurt my feelings so much I started crying at the gym


So how did the skinny/shy dude in those photos become a confident CEO and best-selling author who got into the best shape of his life?

I want to show you how. There are actually three surprising insights about popularity behind this transformation. They help me change my life, and they can help you change yours.

3 Surprising Insights About Popularity

How you make other people feel
matters more than how you look

If you focus on making other people feel good, it will become easier to make new friends and meet people.

One way to do this is by using observational compliments. I’m not talking about hollow praise like “I like your shirt.” I mean genuine compliments that show people you’re listening to them. People love to feel “heard” and people love to hear about themselves (why do you think astrology is so popular?).

Here is an actual script to help you get started with observational compliments. The first thing to do is spend time (about 5 minutes) building rapport. Start by listening. Then say something like:

“John, you seem a lot more thoughtful than most people I’ve met…” [“Why’s that?”] “After talking with you I noticed you really take the time to listen to what other people have to say.”

Notice how the “observational” part means you have to observe something about them. And be truthful! Don’t tell a stuffy military general that you can tell he’s a sensitive soul. Be honest.

This general framework works for any number of observational compliments. Find one that works for you.

Other examples:

“You know, you must love doing [marketing] at Acme. I can hear how excited you are about that new project.”

“So you’re a management consultant, but you go scuba diving every weekend… you must really be the adventurous type.”

“Something I noticed about you, Susan, is that you really notice the details. Most people don’t bother [going through all the feedback and comments], but I notice you do so every Thursday.”

Remember, you can’t fake observational compliments. People will recognize inauthenticity immediately. So make sure your observational compliments are genuine.

You can actually learn how to be charismatic

I used to believe that some people are born with charisma and some people aren’t. That some people are just natural at making new friends and public speaking — and the rest of us were stuck feeling awkward. But I was wrong.

The truth is EVERYONE can learn to be charismatic.

Charisma is a skill, and like any other it can be learned. Let me show you.

In this video, Olivia Fox Cabane, author of The Charisma Myth, outlines how eye contact, presence and mindset can dramatically impact how charismatic the person is. She also explains why most social skills advice is garbage and shares what actually works, including:

  • At 2:16 — A common, habitual problem women tend to have that makes them seem overeager, insecure, and nervous (you could be doing this and not even know)
  • At 7:00 — Two easy ways to instantly become more present in conversations (even when you’re bored or tired)
  • At 12:40 — The single biggest inhibitor to charisma and how to correct it

Check it out:





Having charisma is powerful and it makes the people around you feel special and in turn like and respect you. Use the techniques from this video and you will see positive changes in the way people react and engage with you.

You can ask people for help

Unfortunately, no one will tell you if your social skills need work. That’s why the best way to improve your social skills is to ask for feedback.

Feedback reveals hidden habits and insights you’d never notice on your own. It’s one of the secrets behind any socially skilled person’s success.

One of the experts on this is Michael Ellsberg, author of The Education of Millionaires. I want to share an excerpt of an interview I did with him where he discusses how asking for feedback transformed his life. Pay special attention to how he transforms negative feedback into life-changing improvements.

VIDEO: Michael Ellsberg, on how feedback changed his life »


One final piece of advice in your quest to be popular: Yes, this is hard to do! Not everyone has the courage to ask for feedback. Not everyone has the courage to try to improve themselves. But if you try, you’ll find most people are eager to help and that even a few small improvements will have a major impact on your life.

Make yourself 99% more likeable than most people

There’s one more popularity secret I’d like to share with you today. Your body language has a huge impact on how you other people see you, as well as how you feel about yourself.

And like the tips I shared above, you can improve your body language with just a few small changes and make yourself 99% more likeable than most people. Sign up below and I’ll send you a video showing exactly how to do this.

Show me how to be 99% more likeable than most people

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