A lack of popularity is not as bad as a lack of tact

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I’ve never quite understood the dynamics of high school, at least not my personal experience. The people who were popular were cruel, two-faced, and hateful, and totally oblivious to the amount of damage that insults and ostracism could do to the self-esteem, the very spirit, of a young, naïve mind. Those, like me, who were compassionate, kind, and tactful were either picked on or utterly invisible. It never really made any sense to me. It seemed the crueler a person was, the higher they were on the social ladder. As if fitting in wasn’t hard enough, right? What happen to the brave little girl who made friends so easily, who wasn’t afraid to tell a boy she liked him? What happen to the fearless boy who freely and boldly spoke his mind? I’ll tell you what happened: The graceless onslaught of puberty, hormones, and pimples. Suddenly, your mouth and brain no work so good. You become socially awkward, and you suddenly go from cute and kooky to weird, humiliating, and maybe a little creepy.

Alas, all is not lost. Recent research we conducted at Queendom reveals that learning a particularly crucial social skill can turn gaucheness into grace, and awkwardness into adroitness (through the magic of this skill, you’ll even learn fancy words, like gaucheness and adroitness). It’s called “tact”.

Collecting data from 1,548 people of all ages who took our Big Five Personality Test, I examined for distinct groups:

  • Those who are socially popular and tactful
  • Those who are socially popular but tactless
  • Those who are socially unpopular but tactful
  • Those who are both unpopular and tactless

According to our stats, these four groups differed in a number of areas, including their personality, mental health, social/relationships skills, and values. Here’s how:

Have seen a therapist in the last 2 years:

  • 18% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 25% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 16% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 29% of Unpopular & Tactless group

Don’t cope well with stress:

  • 3% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 24% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 24% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 38% of Unpopular & Tactless group

Don’t cope well with change:

  • 7% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 19% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 18% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 21% of Unpopular & Tactless group

“Drama Queens”:

  • 23% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 62% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 35% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 63% of Unpopular & Tactless group

Pushy:

  • 14% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 46% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 11% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 38% of Unpopular & Tactless group

Good self-esteem:

  • 85% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 78% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 65% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 56% of Unpopular & Tactless group

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Outspoken and opinionated:

  • 55% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 77% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 36% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 57% of Unpopular & Tactless group

Easy to talk to:

  • 91% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 79% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 73% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 52% of Unpopular & Tactless group

Make friends easily:

  • 80% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 71% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 38% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 35% of Unpopular & Tactless group

Prefer to hang out with people from their own culture/of their own ethnicity:

  • 3% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 6% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 5% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 20% of Unpopular & Tactless group

Get into conflicts/arguments on a weekly basis:

  • 10% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 32% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 13% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 38% of Unpopular & Tactless group

Believe that lying in relationships (to friends, family, partner) is fine:

  • 21% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 47% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 24% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 43% of Unpopular & Tactless group

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Keep promises:

  • 79% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 56% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 72% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 41% of Unpopular & Tactless group

Go out of their way to better themselves:

  • 67% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 62% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 51% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 41% of Unpopular & Tactless group

Self-absorbed:

  • 18% of Popular & Tactful group
  • 43% of Popular & Tactless group
  • 18% of Unpopular & Tactful group
  • 48% of Unpopular & Tactless group

Tact doesn’t just contribute to better interactions and relationships: If you’re tactful, you’re more likely to get along with people and they with you – which means that when you need social support to get through a difficult time in your life, you’ll at least have a few people to turn to. This is why the two tactful groups seemed to fare better in terms of their emotional health. Yes, tact doesn’t necessarily guarantee popularity. And yes, being popular means your social network is wider, but if you’re a nice person, you’re more likely to draw other nice people to you.

And frankly, in this day and age of “trolling,” where people feel free to voice hatred and venomous insults from behind the safety of their computer screens, it’s refreshing to know that for many people, tact is still considered important.

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Insightfully yours,

Queen D

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