It’s a misconception that popular people in high school are all sociopaths. In general people who are popular in high school are popular because they are friendly and kind; the common stereotype only persists because a certain type of person writes the culture, and that type of person always requires a revenge narrative, an arc that ends with them rising above their previously-reviled station, even if that revulsion is largely imagined. (Indifference, now, that’s a genuine quantity.)
But to the degree that the popular are cruel, it is important to realize: it is never the queen bee in high school who is the cruelest. That is maybe the biggest misconception of all. The queen bee is actually often quite magnanimous, and for the reason a lot of people are magnanimous: because they can, because it costs them nothing. No, it’s not the queen bee who is cruel. It’s the lieutenant bees, the seconds in command, the other cool girls who have ascended to a high station but can only dream of being the queen bee herself. It is through them, typically unconsciously on the part of the queen bee, that the cruelty is meted out. No one is more threatened by the possibility of someone else climbing up the totem pole than the ones whose grasp on it is still precarious. Meanwhile the one on top can gaze down with equanimity and grace. This is the way of queen bees.
Remember that as you go about your day today.