DEAR HARRIETTE: I have recently gained a lot of attention through social media (Instagram specifically) as a brand influencer. I get paid a substantial amount of money to simply take a few pictures and promote brands from all over the world.
My friends don’t seem to be supportive of my career at all. Whenever I mention a new sponsorship or brand endorsement, they veer the conversation in another direction almost immediately. They never ask about the work I do, but when I mention it, they are quick to downplay my accomplishments. They’ve made comments asking if I was still interested in a “real job” before. I’m proud of the work I do and attention I’ve gained -- why can’t my friends seem to be proud of me as well? -- Influencer
DEAR INFLUENCER: You are going to need to get recognition for your professional accomplishments from other sources outside of your friend group. That may seem sad to you, since you are close to these people, but know that it isn’t unusual for friends and loved ones to not “get” you in certain ways. It is possible for people to sincerely love you without understanding or appreciating the work that you do or the contributions that you make in other parts of your life.
In your case, you are involved in a relatively new means of earning a living. For some, it may seem trendy and possibly fleeting. They may not understand and may have opinions based on whatever they think an “influencer” is. Rather than fretting over how to convince them of your value, plot your course. Figure out how you can build your reputation and your business. The main caution I would offer is that as you align yourself with various brands, make sure that you do so only when the brand is reflective of your values. Those simple posts that you describe that go all over the world represent you and what you stand for. I strongly suggest that you evaluate each brand, each photo and each post before you put them into the universe. Once it’s out there, you cannot take it back.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve been with my boyfriend for about two months now. When I first met him, I noticed he had quite a few woman friends he was very close with. It was never an issue for me before we began dating officially, but now I find myself becoming increasingly uncomfortable with some of his friendships. On his birthday, one of his woman friends wrote a very long and intimate birthday post on Facebook. Another woman friend sent him what looked like an expensive floral arrangement on that same day. I don’t want to seem insecure or crazy, but I think they are overstepping, and I wish he would set some boundaries. What should I do? -- Uncomfortable
DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: You are new in your relationship, and it seems like you want to deepen your commitment. It’s time to talk to your boyfriend. Tell him what you are hoping for with him, and note that some of his woman friends seem a bit territorial and intimate with him. Ask him to get them to give you two space. Suggest that he let them know that you two are exclusive now, and he’s off the market.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)