In middle and high school, smart kids are usually nerds, and nerds are usually unpopular. Why?

What really determines popularity are things like physical appearance, charisma, athletic ability etc. Intelligence itself doesn’t matter that much.

So if intelligence in itself is not a factor in popularity, why are smart kids so consistently unpopular? Probably because they don't really want to be popular.

Well, that’s not really true. Nerds do want to be popular (being unpopular hurts!). They just don’t want it enough. Being popular takes time, and nerds would rather spend that time being smart.

Teenagers work 24/7 at being popular. Meaning, they’re always on duty as conformists (usually unconsciously).

Nerds would find it more bearable to be nerds if they were merely ignored. Instead, they’re actively persecuted. Probably because kids are cruel and persecuting a common enemy brings you closer to other popular kids.

To make matters worse, suburbs make you feel like there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do. That “this is the world”.

Why isn’t there the same bullying in the adult world? Because it’s big enough for people who are similar to one another to clump together.

I’m suspicious of the idea that we should “blame it on puberty”. It doesn’t seem to ever have been a problem before the 20th century. It seems that teenagers are driven crazy by the life they’re made to lead.

Another problem (and possibly an even worse one) is that kids aren’t given anything real to work on. Humans like to work, and derive their identity from their work.

Nerds are unpopular because they’re distracted, but freaks are unpopular because they’re so disgusted with the system that they just rebel against it. This is often in the form of drug use and wearing a lot of black.

Merely understanding the situation they're in should make it less painful. Nerds aren't losers. They're just playing a different game, and a game much closer to the one played in the real world.