By Kieran Black
Ever since we first learnt to walk and talk, before the concept of “cool” even existed, humans have coveted the respect and admiration of their fellow men and women. Over hundreds, if not thousands, of years people in society have sought to rise through the ranks and gain the adoration of their peers in the perpetual pursuit of increased social standing.
This desire to elevate ourselves within our respective social hierarchies is often the reason that we throw ourselves into the lion pit of modern social gatherings. In every social situation, people are pitting their wits against one another, battling for the spoils of social privilege and popularity.
Human beings are naturally social climbers; just like our distant relatives in the primate world we follow a pack mentality and exist within a multitude of distinct social hierarchies which determine our place in society. These hierarchies exist within our families, within our workplace and within our friendship groups. They determine our social parameters, how we live day to day life and how we define ourselves and others as people.
However, being at the top of a social hierarchy doesn’t automatically make you cool, otherwise Margaret Thatcher and Bill Gates would have been influencing the way you talk and dress. Thankfully they don’t have that power. Celebrities, on the other hand, DO have that power.
The most popular, most highly regarded celebrities are also often considered by their fan base to be the coolest people in the world; the media is just one big popularity contest because the viewers (supposedly) choose their icons on the basis of their personal preferences and what they construe to be cool.
That is why men like Charlie Sheen and Robert Downey Junior, despite their obvious character flaws, are generally considered to be cool guys. However, on the flip side, Pope Jean Paul II is hardly considered cool (perhaps by his clergymen he is) yet he is still loved and respected by literally hundreds of millions of people.
This alludes to the fact that power and hierarchies come in many different forms and each have their own individual rules and standards that you would need to abide by in order to get to the top.
In the instance of becoming a cool/popular player, there are social rules and standards which need to be taken into consideration in order to put you at the top of your game. Here are some of the more important ‘social cool rules’ we have identified for you.
1. Keep with the times.
A big part of being cool is being modern and keeping with the current social trends, latest fads and pop culture. If you are someone who is considered to be knowledgeable on what is currently cool and uncool then people will generally look up to you for guidance in this regard.
Read men’s magazines and watch popular television shows. Read up on CNN or another similar news service, even if you have no interest in current affairs. If you’re the only one that knows nothing about what’s going on in the world, you’ll look like a simpleton. Keep up to date with the latest internet meme’s and know what the younger generations are into (fashion, music, television). This will seemingly keep you ahead of the pack and it will allow you to understand jokes that others don’t.
Knowing what is funny and what is not funny will always help to make you popular and well respected. Humour is one of the most inconsistent and difficult social facets to master but it is also one of the most beneficial to your coolness and popularity.
2. Be comfortable in every environment
Have you ever noticed that the most relaxed and apparently comfortable man in any environment is often considered to be the coolest? Co-incidence, I think not.
Appearing to have confidence in a particular environment can make you look like a master of it even if you are not. It is often natural for us to be a bit nervous in an environment we are unfamiliar with and generally the more high strung someone appears, the less cool they are.
The coolest people have the confidence to handle any environment and situation even if they are unfamiliar with it. This is perhaps one of the easiest components of being cool to master because all you need to do is teach yourself to switch off your anxiety and relax in unfamiliar environments. Take a breather and relax, tension does not denote coolness.
3. Don’t discuss controversial issues.
If you want to be cool then you want to be someone who understands and revels in the social and cultural world, not the political world.
The same goes for religion, racism, homophobia and just about any other ism or phobia you can think of. These things might be important to you and you might hold strong personal opinions about them but they are not appropriate for social settings. One day if you want to run for political office then you can put your socio-political knowledge to good use. Until that day, keep controversial opinions to yourself; cool people are too laid back to get involved in squabbles of this nature.
Leave the controversy for the politicians and nut cases. You want to be someone who flows with society not against it; you want to be someone who is a lover and not a fighter and you want to be cool, not a tool.
Be somebody everyone can like, not just the people who agree with your views.
4. Be aware of how others perceive you.
In order to be cool you need to care about how others see you, that is why as player’s we never leave the house in less than our best (see 10 things a Player should never do), we always make sure our hygiene is exemplary and we always ensure that we are the epitome of good health.
If you want to be really cool then you need to have these superficial things covered because this is what people will judge you on before they get to know your personality.
The unfortunate reality of the world is that looks DO matter so pretending that they don’t is not going to change it mattering to other people. Anyone who says to you that “they don’t care what other people think” is full of crap; everyone cares what other people think.
You might think, “well what about those smelly disgusting slobs that I sometimes see browsing through stretch pants and video games at Kmart? They don’t seem to care what other people think…”
Well the truth is, they might not seem to care what other real life people think of them but you can be damn sure that they DO care about what their on-line World of Warcraft buddies think of them. No man is an island; we are all in some way, shape or from plugged in to the social scene. It is a psychological imperative of all people.
5. Be unique without being weird.
As important as it is to appeal to mainstream society, if you are too generic then people might find you boring.
Be unique in cool and interesting ways by developing talents in specialised fields which are considered cool by society. For instance, if you were to become an awesome electric guitarist, sportsman, artist then this would add to your general coolness because you have a unique ability in a popular niche.
There are many more activities to choose from you just need to put your mind to it. If you can find something cool to be good at then you have it covered, it will also show that you have passion and drive and you are capable of achieving great things. Chicks love this.
Sometimes people mix up being unique with being weird and they join a taxidermy club or start their own cult or something. This is not cool. Mainstream society frowns upon this kind of thing and you will not be winning yourself any cool points so make sure your hobby isn’t weird or uncool before you start committing yourself to it.
6. Be nice to people but don’t try to be everyone’s friend.
If you want to be cool then it helps if you are a nice approachable guy. Assholes might often be at the top of a social hierarchy but they are never cool. Popularity and coolness are indeed mutually exclusive yet more often than not, with one you get the other (especially in high school).
You don’t want to be everybody’s friend either. You need to be able to draw the line with people who are uncool because part of being cool is being able to distinguish between cool and uncool people. So befriending someone uncool only serves to lower your own perceived coolness because your friends are reflective of yourself.
When it comes to befriending someone cooler, don’t try too hard. If you appear over keen then you will only drive people away. Cool people are never desperate to make friends with other cool people… it just happens naturally because they can recognise coolness in each other.
7. Learn to be funny at the right times.
Humour is such a big reflection on what modern society considers to be cool and uncool. There was once a time when ‘puns’ were considered the coolest form of humour going around and saying things like ‘The road to success is always under construction’ or ‘I used to be a hotel clerk, but then I had my reservations’ would leave a room in hysterics.
However in recent times humour seems to have become a lot more complicated (see “How to be funny without trying”) and people have to find new and creative ways to get laughs.
As well as having the ability to be funny and make people laugh, you also need to be able to differentiate between what is funny and what is not funny because if you laugh at the wrong joke then people will think that you are as lame as the person telling it (or as crude).
When it comes to being funny, timing is really important. You might have some great jokes but the kind of jokes that make your buddies laugh around a campfire wouldn’t go down so well at Grandad’s funeral so make sure you are socially conscious before you tell your side splitter.
Finally, a crucial part of effective humour is making it seem effortless. Canned humour appears forced and a joke that has clearly been prepared in advance is no where near as effective as humour that seems natural and spontaneous. Try to play off what others are doing or discussing. If you find this concept too foreign, then watch shows that based on this kind of humour. Chat or game shows that are packed with comedians often revolve around spur of the moment quips and word plays. This is the kind of humour that works best in casual conversation. Pre-prepared jokes place you on a stage and this makes you look like a try-hard (see tip No. 9).
8. Always be in control.
Cool people do not freak out; they are always in control of themselves and their emotions. Have you ever heard someone say ‘Be cool man, be cool’? Well they weren’t referring to the recipient lowering their core body temperature, they meant that they needed to control themselves and relax because their intense behaviour was projecting bad vibes.
If you want to be cool, you need to keep your shit together in tough times. This is not just necessary of a cool guy but it is also necessary as a leader and more importantly as a player.
People should be looking up to you for guidance in times of indecision, you cannot afford to freak out and lose your cool when shit gets serious.
When you get angry or break down and cry people lose respect for you and they think that you are very uncool as a person. If anger management is a big issue for you then go see a shrink and get it sorted because it will majorly mess with your game otherwise.
Some people lose control because they suffer from a disorder known as ‘being a total pussy’ but luckily there is a cure.
Our researchers have discovered that through arduous investigation, the best prescribed medicine for this disorder is to buy a gun and callously shoot something cute and defenceless, or even better take up the ‘The Commando Method’ which involves watching hour after hour of back to back Arnold Swarzneggar movies whilst chugging down tequila and protein shakes in between bench pressing attractive women high above your head.
9. Don’t try too hard.
Try-hard: A person who is not particularly talented yet tries to replicate cool behaviour through imitation to no avail. This is usually part of a misguided attempt to gain fame or popularity.
One of the biggest and most commonly seen coolness fails, is that of the ‘try-hard’.
If you have socialised with other human beings at some point or another you have no doubt witnessed the try hard.
The only people who think try-hards are cool are other try-hards. They can take all sorts of forms in society, pretty much where ever there is a social trend which is considered cool there will be people who think that they are able to emulate this coolness themselves but they fail miserably because they do not understand why it is cool or what makes it cool.
For instance, have you ever seen anyone wearing sunglasses inside a room where there is no sun? Well this person is probably a try hard because wearing sunglasses inside serves no practical purpose… they are only wearing them in an attempt to appear cool.
However, if you were to wear cool sunglasses outside on a brightly lit day then there is nothing uncool about this; you are just protecting your eyes from the sun whilst being fashion conscious.
Cool people never appear to be ‘trying to be cool’, they appear not to try at all and this makes them cool.
However, the key word there is ‘appear’. Obviously in order to go from uncool to cool, you would need to try in the first place to become cool so everyone fundamentally has to be try-hard at some point. The trick however, is to appear as if you are succeeding without trying. This is an art form unto itself and it is easier if you are sensitive to how other people perceive you.
10. Maintain your individuality.
If you want to be cool you shouldn’t always follow what everyone else is doing. Don’t be afraid to be an individual occasionally, this is how people become trendsetters. But if you are going to go out on a limb then just be sure that it will go down well, otherwise you will wind up looking like a tool.
Sometimes on the path to becoming cool we can lose some of ourselves in the process. Especially since to become cool in the first place we normally need to emulate certain characteristics we see in cool people.
When doing this it is generally better to emulate a variety of cool people rather than just imitate one cool dude.
For instance if someone had a personality similar to Johnny Depp’s then that could be cool because Johnny is a cool guy and we can learn a lot from him. However if that same person, dressed, spoke and looked exactly like Johnny Depp then that would be pretty creepy and the police might put you on a stalker list.
But if you were to choose certain characteristics from a variety of role models, like the acting style of Johnny Depp, the dress sense of Orlando Bloom, a voice like Daniel Craig’s and a hair style like Russell Brand, then this would probably work pretty damn well for you.
Even though you are emulating different people you can still maintain your individuality while doing it. You’ll be fine as long as you are mirroring your own perception of what is good and bad and you aren’t actually doing anything that looks and feels completely unnatural to you.[social_share/]