“To be popular, one must show interest in persons and things that do not interest one and simultaneously conceal the interest that one has in persons and things that do interest one. One must always side with the prejudices and emotions of the person one happens to be with, however idiotic…
“One must be humorous but never witty, interested but never enthusiastic, complacently bored but never tired. When one is with one’s intellectual inferiors, one must agreeably reduce one’s self not to the level of these others, but below that level, that they may have the comfortable feeling of being at complete conversational ease. One must be privy to the trick of flattering another person’s vanity by contradicting what he says and then allowing him to convince one that he is right. One must pretend to take lightly what one feels about most profoundly. One may be original in manner, but never in thought.
“I am able to negotiate all these things, but I decline to do so. Among the many millions of persons in this fair land, there are not more than a dozen at the very outside, who, known to me personally, interest me personally in the slightest. The rest, so far as I am concerned, can go chase themselves.”
(From The Autobiography of an Attitude, 1925. Posted by Doug Skinner.)