By Grace Vasquez
I clearly remember when I was 16. I was that kid who loved to make people laugh, not necessarily the class clown because I wasn’t disruptive or disrespectful in class but every chance I had to get a laugh I went for it. I was voted most popular in both Jr. High and High School so when I read that psychologist say we pretty much form our personality at 16 I thought, Cool! But there’s a catch, ugh, there’s always a catch.
Clinical psychologist, Dr. Mitch Prinstein, with the University of North Carolina, says our formative experience at school can shape how we behave throughout the rest of our lives. He says, “We’re learning more and more that we tend to be guided a whole lot by who we were when we were 16, more than we are by who we are today. That’s true for self-esteem and that’s true for our relationships.”
Dr. Prinstein adds that how we seek popularity as adolescents – either through status, or through likability – can influence our health down the road. Those seeking to be likable are often healthier down the line, while those trying to achieve status are often dissatisfied with their lives later. That’s interesting, I’ve never been into status but likability that rated high on my radar!
The study found that many millennials crave status now via social media (insert your surprised expression here) with many of them saying their goal is to have more followers on Instagram than anyone they know. So this would be a status symbol that would harm your health down the road. The good Dr. explains that likability is characterized by kindness, benevolence and selflessness while status seeking is reflected in visibility, influence, power and prestige. Sound familiar?
The big takeaway? Well, we pretty much still see ourselves as we did when we were 16. If you’ve ever been to your high school reunion you know exactly what I’m talking about we all return to our little clicks. As long as I don’t have to wear the clothes I wore when I was 16 I’m okay, wait, on second thought, a lot of those styles are back. Dang it. ~grace