I was always the kid who was perfectly happy being alone. If I had a friend, that was good. If I didn’t that was just as good. Yet I got along with others as long as we were conducting business, playing sports, camping or had some specific objective to accomplish. I just didn’t like to “hang out” and make small talk.
I don’t know that I ever thought about being popular. I didn’t join clubs or fraternities. I avoided lunches with business associates unless there was definite business reason for the lunch. I avoided the “team building” activities.
Yet, when I retired there were four different retirement parties given for me. One was my designated work group, the others were by different groups I had worked with over the years. So, maybe I was popular and didn’t know it….or care.
To this day my favorite activities are being alone in my room, shop or hiking trail yet I regularly participate in various service projects with different groups.
So my advice is “don’t sweat the popularity thing”, just be yourself and it all works out.