Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Influencer Thinking of Ending Friendships

DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like many of the friends I’ve known since I was in high school are resentful of me ever since I’ve become an influencer. I feel like I’m being mistreated and get ditched by them occasionally. I’m not sure if it is me changing or them being jealous of me. I want to talk to them about this before I end our friendships. How should I discuss this with them? -- Bad Influence

DEAR BAD INFLUENCE: We do now live in a culture where being an “influencer” is a thing. But it has always been true that some people in a community stand out as the ones who attract more attention than others, possibly get more opportunities and even make more money. When a person rises up the food chain, so to speak, and becomes attractive to a much broader group of people, it can be off-putting to the person’s core group of friends. Given the way that social media works with likes and friends and metrics, it can be daunting for real-life friends to see your profile grow. Honestly, it is probably daunting for you, too.

How you can attempt to manage your personal life and your influencer life is to remember that one is work and one is not. Your personal life should remain important to you because those relationships should be grounded in people actually knowing you, not just what you present to the public.

Speak to your friends honestly. Let them know that you do hope that your influencer status will help you with your work pursuits, but you do not want to lose their friendships. Tell them how important they are to you. Remind them that you knew them way before you began to reach influencer status, and you value them tremendously.

Tell them it has hurt your feelings when they have ditched you. Ask if you have done something to offend them. Talk out whatever is going on. That’s how you will know if you will be able to survive this bumpy part of your friendships.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My son has been rebellious and unreliable for years now, and it stresses me out to interact with him. He is 19 years old and leaving for his second year of college soon. I want to be a better parent, and I think I need to change my parenting strategy. I gave him too much freedom growing up, and now I want to find ways to discipline him, but it is difficult because he is older. What measures can I take? -- Too Late

DEAR TOO LATE: The best thing you can do is have a frank discussion with your son where you tell him what you think about his behavior and where you believe it is leading him. Apologize for being too lenient with him when he was younger. Point out specific behaviors you have witnessed that have not served him well, but also point out anything good and hopeful about him that you can muster.

Tell him what you want for him and his life, and recommend that he get focused so that he can accomplish his goals. Remind him that he is independent now. Make it clear that you want to help him in any way that you can, but now is the time for him to help himself.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)