Secrets of Social Capital

The lack of social status is what makes an untouchable appear repulsive. This is why the single most effective peer intervention for eliminating bullying is for children to befriend those who are targets. But out of fear that associating with an untouchable could result in their own fall down the social ladder, children manufacture reasons to dislike low-status children, and justify their refusal to spend social capital to help them.

…Going against someone at the top of the status hierarchy is risky. In those situations, although people may want to speak out, stand up, or fight back, they are often counseled not to. It rarely seems like a good idea.

…Natalie didn’t know anyone. This time, however, another student, seeing that she looked lost, befriended her.

…All it took was one person. With one friend, she was no longer untouchable. She could make other friends––and she did.

…So after she changed schools, whenever she saw someone eating lunch alone, she would invite them to join her friends at their table. She knew that by saying “sit with us,” she protected other children from becoming untouchable.

Meet the Teen Who Discovered the Secret of Social Capital | Psychology Today

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