I was popular in 3rd Grade, however, after experiencing the turmoil of having my "fiance" leave me for another guy on our wedding day (which I responded to by breaking my leg and wrapping it in my coat,) I was left socially crippled. While this was entirely and completely normal for a third grader, it left be broken an torn, emotionally.
It is this event, (rather than by parent's lack of money and choice to live in an area without electricity and running water,) that I blame for my social ineptitude throughout my school career. That and moving school districts every two to three years...
Just for the full vision, I was the skinny, lanky shy kid who would turn red as soon as you talked to him, stumble over words, and always wait to be last in everything. I walked around the school at lunch. If I was unsure about something, I would ignore it. I skipped an entire class for almost a semester my freshman year, because I didn't know where it was held.
After high school, I ventured out on my own. I had a job at a little cafe in a little town, where I earned $4.50 an hour. I managed to rent the apartment upstairs with a close buddy of mine, and started relishing my freedom, mainly by hanging out at Denny's. I moved onto a higher paying job, and started having cash to burn, so when one of the regulars at Denny's was short on money, I'd pay for him. This started a friendship that led me to a broader group. He came to my house one day, and didn't leave. We started smoking pot together, then invited some of his friends. We started hanging out, and he introduced me to beer. That apartment in the center of a tiny town (also located directly across the street from the police station,) became party central for the just-out-of-high-school, but not-yet-of-legal-drinking-age group. We lived in a commercial zone, with the nearest homes over a block away, so parties were loud (The police only bothered us once, as nobody ever complained.)
Suddenly, I'm rocketed to somewhat of a status in the community of my peers. People wanted to hang out with me, and the constant inebriation helped my social capabilities a ton. I supplied the funds for alcohol most week-ends to all the kids who never went off to collage, and in turn they smoked me out. I may not remember the majority of that time in my life, but I remember it being a blast. I'd have all sorts through my little apartment. At that time I realized that people were a lot like me: focused on themselves more that on others. I learned to relax, and got along pretty well with most people.
For a few years afterwards, I'd have people recognizing me, saying hi, etc., and I had no clue who they were. I'm bad with names anyways, but if I don't remember your face... I settled down a bit in my early twenties, had a selective core group of friends in my mid-to-late twenties, and at thirty-one now, I'm back to being the kid i was in school. That's a long story of the fall, but that's for another post.