Apparently this is the new way of saying that someone is not “popular”. You know how much I hate the use of the word “popular” – who decides? who cares? popular with who? – so this new one has me grumbling.

I do remember being a teenager and knowing that I was never going to be cool enough (or ambitious enough) to be in the “in crowd” and it was harsh and it was not easy and I didn’t enjoy my teenage years from that respect, but this is a whole new level of harshness.

The definition of “insignificant” according to the Oxford English Dictionary – The quality of being too small or unimportant to be worth consideration. 

Does that mean that someone who is “popular” is now classed as “significant”. I haven’t asked. I don’t want to be subjected to the eye-rolling. The only reason I know about the adoption of “insignificant” is because A has been invited to a party by a relatively new friend who used to be “popular”. The friend, L, had an unpleasant time earlier in the year with her old friends and sought shelter with A and her small group of lovely friends. She has fitted in well and makes no bones about how awful her old group were and how much easier it is to be friends with nice people. She’s having a Christmas party and has invited most of their form. A has heard that some people are complaining and suggesting that they probably won’t go because A and her friend AK are going. A and AK are hard working, conscientious students and, naturally, this makes them “insignificant” from the point of view of other students from the more “popular” groups – mostly people that don’t even know her.

In sharp contrast to how I would have reacted if faced with the same situation when I was her age (and even at the age I am now, come to think of it!) she has told them where to go – explained that she has been invited by her friend and has no intention of not going just because they don’t like her. I admire her greatly, but I have reservations – I don’t want her to have an awful time; I want her to go – but I want her to enjoy it; I want her to go and I want her to show all the haters that she is fun and lovely and likes to enjoy herself as much as the next person – but I want it all to work out OK.

I often say that I wouldn’t return to my teenage years even if you offered me a million pounds. But I do wonder if I would make a better stab at it if I went back to the 80’s with all that I know now? One thing I do know for absolute certain – I would NOT want to be a teenager now. It’s no wonder there is such a prevalence of lack of self-confidence, depression and mental health issues when kids are faced with all this stuff that they throw at each other. Insignificant? Unbelievable.



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