How to Climb Up the Social Ladder

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Humans are a highly social species, but this doesn’t mean we know exactly what to do to fit in. If you want to climb the social ladder, be responsive, socialize often, improve your confidence and put effort into your appearance.

Approach Others With Confidence

Those with higher social status have a greater sense of well-being, say researchers Anderson, Kraus, Galinsky and Keltner in “The Local-ladder Effect: Social Status and Subjective Well-being,” a study published in Psychological Science. Portray confidence through body language such as squared shoulders and looking others in the eye. If your self-esteem leaves something to be desired, work on positive affirmations that will boost your worth over time, such as, “I deserve it,” “I am a good person,” or “ I am worthy of attention.” In the meantime, fake it until you make it and let your shows of confidence bring you toward real esteem hikes with improved social standing.


Being able to give emotional and physical support for the people around you is great for relationships. Support may take the form of bringing someone dinner if they’re ill, listening if they need someone to talk to, or reciprocating favors. By being responsive and improving your relationships you are more likely to be well-liked and climb the social ladder.

Initiate Conversations

Those who cannot start conversations or initiate activities are less likely to be seen as social assets. If you want to climb the social ladder, you have to interact with other people. Listen to those around you. Ask what they like and plan activities accordingly. You can even keep a running list in your head (or on paper) of things they might like to discuss. By socializing on a regular basis, you are more visible in a social context and more likely to be able to climb the social ladder.

Dress For Success

As the old adage goes, "Dress for the part you want." Find outfits that tell others you are on your way to the top rungs of the social ladder, for instance, suits and ties, or pressed slacks and an unstained blouse. If you are trying to ladder climb with those who are not professional colleagues, make sure your clothes are clean and unwrinkled and fit with the style of those around you. In addition to your clothes, practice good personal hygiene and add some extra touches such as styling your hair. By taking pride in your appearance you can climb the social ladder more effectively.