Asking for help can be an uncomfortable thing to do.
It requires a bit of vulnerability that can often put people on the defensive when there’s no need for it.
Of course, the real problem is that defensive people often take offensive stances.
What do you do when the advice you offer not only offends, but causes unintended consequences?
That was the issue facing Redittor and Original Poster (OP) Worried-Mushroom3185 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside opinions.
“AITA for telling an influencer to stop posting pics of her boyfriend?”
He began with the basics.
I (34 Male) am a social media professional and do a lot of work helping influencers increase their followers organically.”
“I’ve grown accounts from scratch to 1M+ and manage several accounts which have multiple millions of followers.”
“Most of them are women.”
OP decided to help out a friend’s friend.
“So, the other week an old friend from college asked me if I could help out his friend, let’s call her Jay (21 Female) who was having trouble growing her following.”
“He told me J has about 10,000 followers which is not bad but her follows and engagement were dropping.”
“I took a look and one of my major recommendations to her was to stop posting so many photos with her boyfriend (20M).”
“I backed this up with data showing that engagement whenever she posted him was much much lower.”
“In my experience this happens a lot, for obvious reasons.”
He gave her the advice he thought was best.
“I told her unless she was with some similar social media personality she should keep her relationship status private.”
“I thought she really had potential and so I also offered her my management services for no payment upfront, instead asking a percentage of any income she makes (this isn’t unusual).”
Everything was fine until,
“Then yesterday I got a call from her boyfriend shouting and screaming at me about how I just wanted to bang his girlfriend and I was trying to break them up and so on, which is not true, I’ve never even met her.”
“Now J is really really hot but I have a long term gf I love so wtf?”
“I told him it was ridiculous, hung up and blocked him, then emailed J and told her what happened and I would prefer not to work with her anymore to avoid hassle.”
“This made things worse apparently, she broke up with him and now my old friend is mad at me saying I shouldn’t have made any such recommendation.”
“I think it’s just because he was doing business with J’s boyfriend which probably won’t happen going forward.”
Now OP was left to wonder.
“AITA for indirectly causing their breakup and possibly screwing up my friend’s business?”
Having laid out the issue, OP turned to Reddit for outside opinions.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses understood the boyfriend’s point, but…
“I can see why he’s upset.”
“Not posting about him allows her male fans to fantasize about being in a relationship with her, which drives engagement.”
“That allusion is broken if she’s posting how happy she is with another man.”
“But that’s something he needs to calmly discuss with his girlfriend, not call and berate you about.” ~ 0biterdicta
“As bad as it sounds, you just told her an ugly truth of life as an influencer.”
“He was understandably angry about that, but his reaction was disproportional.”
“And you didn’t tell her to break up with her bf, not before nor after, so their break up is their business, not yours.”
“As for your friend, well you can try to explain to him how digital influencers work, but I doubt there’s any point to that.” ~ nerdy_latino
Others pointed out the transactional nature of business.
“Folks follow influencers for the product they are selling, whether it’s cooking videos, makeup tips or even yes being a fantasy hot babe for folks to have for their spank bank.”
“(that includes women about hot gals/guys too).”
“You drop in real life when it’s something like makeup and it feels like an ad in the middle of a YouTube video.”
“If you are selling yourself and it breaks the fantasy, well it broke the fantasy.”
“And even a female consultant will tell you that unless your partner is a hot commodity (a fellow influencer, Jason Momoa etc) leave them out of it.”
“If they are a hot commodity then you actually have to include more of them because the relationship will become what you are selling.”
“Because when it’s a choice between your on fleek cat eye makeup and Momoa’s abs, the abs will always win.” ~ Annual-Contract-115
Others encouraged continued professionalism.
“First off, congrats on having one of the more unusual interactions I’ve seen here.”
“You were doing your job, and what’s more, you were providing your services for free, at the request of your friend who then got upset about you doing what she asked.”
“Her boyfriend should not have reacted as he did, and his insecurity was what killed his relationship–not your sound advice.”
“You handled every part of this situation as you should have.”
“I have to assume that, given the details, her social media account has something to do with modeling, at least indirectly.”
“I suspect that the attention this garnered for her had been a sore spot for her boyfriend for some time, and he had probably been smothering her with insecurity since long before you got involved.”
“Remain professional, and continue to stand up for yourself.”
“J’s relationship problems are not your fault.”
Your friend’s upset at you is completely misdirected.”
“If she’s mad at anyone, why not the boyfriend for his rudeness?”
“Why not J for ending the relationship?”
“How are you, the person doing the favor and the only one behaving himself, to blame for anything?” ~ProbablyLongComment
“You weren’t making a comment on her private life.”
“You were talking about topics on her social media platform. And this wasn’t a personal opinion, You did the research and made your professional recommendation.”
“It would have been the same thing as if you said ‘don’t post about politics.’ Based on her platform what she was posting was not interesting to her followers.”
“And everything I have ever read about creating a social media platform is to stay in your lane.”
“The more focused you are on a specific area the better you will do.”
“And her boyfriend was obviously toxic considering that he called you, a professional who was attempting to help her with her work, And she probably dumped him because of his controlling behavior.”
“This very much seems like ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’ And very much not worth what you were paid for it.”
“Obviously your friend is not your friend. You’re better off without him.” ~ DarcyKnits
Some commenters were quite concise.
“You gave professional advice. He threw a tantrum.” ~ XZerr0X
“Sounds like that relationship was on thin ice anyway if that’s all it took.” ~ moonspiderxx
While there was also confusion about what the actual problem was.
“I’m assuming the real issue isn’t whether or not the 20-year-old boyfriend is pissed, or whether the 21 year old J [the influencer wannabe] is pissed.”
“The issue seems to be that your old friend from college is pissed because he lost the business of the 20-year-old hot-headed boyfriend?”
“I’m just assuming your old college friend is roughly the same age as yourself. I am just curious – what kind of business does your friend have that it hinges so delicately on the patronage of a hot-headed 20-year-old male?”
“You did not seek out this connection with the 21-year-old ‘influencer’.”
“Your old college friend sought you out and asked you this favor.”
“You complied with your professional advice. You were verbally abused by the 20-year-old hotheaded boyfriend, so you (wisely) reconsidered your offer to assist.”
“I fail to comprehend how any of this makes you an a**hole.”
“The 20-year-old hot-headed boyfriend is the a**hole for sure, as well as the old college friend who 1. asked you for help then 2. got pissed at you for giving it.”
“You got better things to do with your time than this.” ~ Scary_Offer2479
There was even talk of historic precedence.
“NTA at all.”
“However it might be a good idea to explain to him exactly why you made that recommendation.”
“In the mid 60’s, The Beatles hid the fact that John was actually married, to attract more fans (girls, that is.)”
“If this guy can’t control his ego, that’s not your problem, you’re doing what you were hired to do.” ~ Thelope99
Asking for help can make some people very uncomfortable.
Discomfort isn’t always a bad thing though, sometimes it can reveal us for who we really are inside.
Whether that’s positive or negative largely depends on what is revealed.
Be wary of good advice that gets a bad reaction from people who should be in your corner, it can often mean that they weren’t in your corner after all.