Ever wonder how the influencers you follow on Instagram and TikTok can afford to take luxury vacations every weekend? Simple — they aren’t! And it’s all pretty much fake.
At least, according to the friends and family of famous influencers, that is.
Recently u/superfuncity posed a question of the AskReddit community, writing, “IRL friends of social media ‘influencers’: what is it like?”
The thread quickly started to go viral, with over 1,000 comments at the time of publication.
As you can imagine, the answers are fascinating, and also pretty depressing. But also illuminating, because the psychological impacts of comparing your life to others on social media can be devastating, so with any luck, it’ll cheer you up to know influencer lives really aren’t more special than yours. They’re just better curated.
1. Do you mind helping me make content?
I dated one. Not super popular but followers in the 100k range last time we spoke. I remember a lot of getting ignored and only receiving nice gifts/acts of kindness when they could post about it.
Asking me to go to nice places (they didn’t drive) only to leave me on a bench somewhere while they took pictures.
Huge strain on the relationship, especially when they started to get bigger and there was more demand for content.—42charlemagne
2. All work and no play makes influencer a dull girl.
She hasn’t come to anything I’ve invited her to in 5 years because she only goes to events that “further her business.” Regularly says things like, “we’re all using each other for something.”
Sometimes she texts me the same exact thing word for word over a couple of days, and it’s obvious she just copy/pastes the same thing and sends it to all of us and then forgets who she has sent it to.
She still reaches out to me multiple times a year and claims I’m one of her best friends, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. I’ve told her as much, but she just says “this is my life now, my business comes first and if you can’t accept that, then I guess you’re not a real friend.”—Cirrus-Ramparts
3. Which YouTube stars are the worst?
I worked with Youtube influencers in my last job with an agency that paired sponsors with these ‘celebrities. I basically did the grunt work like ensuring hotels/plane tickets, getting coffee, running errands, and meeting with the talent to ensure they were where they needed to be (e.g., events, conferences, trade shows, parties or whatever).
The nicest Youtubers were the animators – always calm and understanding.
The worst was the family vloggers – I’ve met all the big ones & I never met one that wasn’t a completely different person off-camera. The kids are always spoiled and no one disciplines them so they’re running around breaking things or acting like idiots, and no one can yell at them lest their influencer parents find out.
A close second is makeup Youtubers.—JohnnySilverhands
4. We didn’t start the fire.
I’m from a small town and a family vlogger moved here a few years ago. a while back we there was a bad wildfire about 20-30 miles away from us.
This fire was particularly bad (people were dying, losing homes, etc) but luckily it was pretty far from us and we weren’t in any danger. you could smell the smoke but that was it.
however, this family posted a total clickbait “wE hAd to EvAcUaTe, tHeY tOld us to LeAvE, WiLDfiRE VlOg.” this really pissed off everyone who lived here, since they were exploiting and profiting off a lie when people are actually losing everything.
They were called out on all their platforms but would delete those comments—imbabyofficial
To be honest it’s really sh—t. I feel like I’ve been completely forgotten about and like I don’t matter anymore. I think that’s just some weird misguided jealousy but it still hurts because I miss talking to my friend —EmeraldSunrise4000
Awful. One of my best friends fell real hard into Instagram, and for a few years, it was tolerable and understandable, albeit annoying and strange. Everything needed to be documented in specific ways, so lots & lots of photos, even if it took away from the moment.
But the strange part was how, when she’d share things, the captions always told a slightly different story than what actually happened. Like just off enough for me and my other friends to say, huh, that has a weird quality to it.
Fast forward a couple of years, and she gets engaged. Boom. This was the catalyst for the worst of the influencer mentality to come out. I was at the bridal party, and it was a nightmare. No gratitude, just demands.
Demands for expensive trips and expensive parties and all kinds of things that were above and beyond the means of her closest friends. And all the demands were because she had a “following” and had certain expectations to meet.
It was really heart-wrenching to witness someone belittle their best friend and maid of honor for trying to plan a sweet bridal shower because it wasn’t going to be at an expensive restaurant or art gallery.
It reached its peak for me when, after the in-state wedding became an expensive destination wedding, there was the demand for an out-of-town bachelorette party a few weeks before. I was honest and said I couldn’t afford the bachelorette (mind you, I made about a thousand sacrifices over those months to afford what I could), and was promptly bridezilla’d and told I ruined the whole experience and that I was an awful, fake, inauthentic person.
It got so bad that the bridal party fractured and disintegrated, she lost two of her best friends (myself and the MOH didn’t even attend the wedding after all her behavior and blow-ups), and we’ve barely spoken since.
All so she could have an instagrammable wedding that would look good for the few photos she ended up sharing of it. And, true to the weird strange re-written reality ways she had, she published a public “apology” on her blog for her followers and family that completely distorted and rewrote what happened, painted herself as the victim, and got her the sympathy points she was looking for.
Ppl really lose themselves when they create an artifice for social media. I learned a lot from her.—whenthesunrise
7. Fake it til you make it, I guess.
If you look at her social media, you’d think she was a supermodel millionaire who goes on tons of trips.
She’s actually chronically unemployed and has an income of less than 10k/yr. Her boyfriend makes about $60k/yr which is enough to afford them a very nice 3 1/2 bedroom apartment, and she has tons of props she uses to make each room look different from day to day so it seems like she’s always in a new, exotic place.
They take two trips a year to fun, tropical places, in which she takes many photos, and posts them as different places throughout the year.
She’s a very kind, considerate, sparkling personality, but whenever we hang out, I tend to be a shoulder to cry on as she laments about her lack of success in life. It’s quite sad, honestly. But with her creativity and personality, I think she’ll achieve her dreams eventually.—LemonFly4012
8. Put down the screen, bro.
Friends with a high-profile athlete who is pretty popular on Instagram…. he is always on the phone… never lives in the moment. If we are doing anything fun? well, it basically didn’t happen unless the world knows about it. It’s just annoying …I can’t imagine living for the approval or satisfaction of others.—Neither-Act1355
9. Why are you even here?
I was with a guy at Coachella, he has a pretty good following on IG. He posted something while we were watching a concert and could not look away from his phone. I asked him when he’d eventually put his phone away and he said he would when he got over 1,000 likes.
I couldn’t believe it.—legagneur
It’s annoying AF. One of my buddies is constantly filming everything we do and posting it. It’s to the point where people walk up to me on the street and ask me about him because they’ve seen me in his posts…I have no idea who they are.
It dominates everything he does and has severely impacted his personal relationships. He can’t keep a GF and it’s clearly related to this obsession of his. He does occasionally get some cool stuff out of it though.
After pretty much kicking him out of my life because I do not want to be continually posted online, we’ve come to the understanding that when he’s about to take a pic or video, he hands me the phone so I’m not in the shot. Works OK for me.—S_204
11. Replying to yourself is the ultimate in vanity.
I know a wannabe influencer. She will reply to her own posts from her husband’s account praising herself. Then she will reply to those posts as herself thanking him, it’s hilarious, like inception for Facebook.—Sydneyfigtree
So incredibly annoying. I actually emded up cutting her off because everything had to be a photo opportunity. We could never just go out to lunch, or see a movie without it turning into a photoshoot. She never did anything with our friend group unless it was ‘aesthetic’, and even then, she was so focussed on getting us to take photos that a. she didn’t get to enjoy the activity, and b. it started bringing everyone else down because they couldn’t participate either.
And this sounds so petty, but she could never just show up in a t-shirt and leggings (because photos, obviously). Like even sleepovers and movie nights had to be a big production and sometimes you just need to stuff your face with popcorn and look like a slob! It’s good for the soul!!
She’d also complain a lot about how hard her job was… Our friendship group at the time consisted of an EMT, two nurses, a teacher, and me who was juggling university, tutoring, and working retail. Lile, I’m sure she had challenges and all jobs are hard sometimes, but… girl…. you get paid to take selfies with free stuff, and show up at events looking pretty…—MutedApricot
She is annoying.. there’s no other word to describe her. Feel sorry for her because she is a person that needs attention all the time. (We are not friends but we live in the same house)—bright_star0
Sad. In the beginning they started because they got offers from brands because they were so popular on Instagram and it was a lot of fun for them.
Now they don’t ever post pictures or videos without a filter. Rarely ever like a picture on the first try and don’t you dare post any pictures of them without getting their approval for it. Imagine trying to get a group picture with all of your friends for your birthday but having you take almost one hundred shots to get one that your influencer friend is happy with.
Also in the beginning I would like and comment on all of their posts but now that’s not enough. They expect me message it others, share it on my stories and my page (something about new rhythms and likes not being important anymore). I hate posting stuff to my page but I do it any way to be supportive.
It is so tiring. They do get free things sometimes though that they sometimes share with me. Not worth it imo.—yonewredditwhodis
15. Fake, fake, fake.
Everything is fake. The attitude the mannerisms, everything.
It sounds stupid until you realize they clear close to 7 figures a year.
One time we vacationed with them and when we were out to dinner they said to us “one second we need to go film a bit” and they went from our friends who are calm and nice to the “HEY GUYS WE ARE IN THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH FRANCE” annoying people everyone loves to hate.—dinkleman123
My sister has tens of thousands of followers. We used to be best friends in high school and she was my favorite sibling (I’m number 7 out of 8 kids in my family, I know my parents are crazy). Now I feel like I barely know her.
It’s like she’s this shell of the person she used to be. Seriously I’ve never met anyone who could make me laugh as hard as she used to make me laugh.
Now I just sort of want to blow my brains out when I’m around her. She’s just so obsessed and fake now. It actually makes me really sad.—Explaining-Calvin
My wife has a friend that thinks she is a Kardashian with her 80k followers and does everything “for the gram” lol. Her ex boyfriend bought most of them lol and she only gets around 50 likes per post —mortimerza
Got a friend with 75k subscribers on Youtube in a language other than English. It used to be about their weekend getaways with nice drone shots. It was interesting. Then, gradually became about their lives (how interesting /s). She gets her phone/camera out at sometimes random moments, which could get annoying.
She got pregnant. Baby everything now.—BadaSBich22
A girl in my homeschool group in middle school was always bragging about how her parents had a youtube channel with thousands of subscribers. she was really arrogant about it and I didn’t enjoy spending time with her because she was a brat. the funny thing is nobody ever believed her (including myself) until one day I stumbled across a video of theirs while scrolling through youtube. sure enough, they had thousands of subscribers. she hadn’t been lying and I was shocked. now they have well over a million. they don’t upload very often anymore though—Escapist7427
Honestly, she’s really nice. She hosted a book club in a bar I worked at, and would always order wine or pretty cocktails for photos, but once everyone left, she’d sit at the bar and shoot the shit with me while drinking yard beers.—wiing_qveen666
You watch them slowly mentally degrade. Always ends in full-blown NPD or them having literally 0 self-confidence.
Their goal is to meet artificial metrics in terms of likes/views/follows. For a lot of them, that’s their definition of success/ goal in life and if they’re not hitting it, they have failed as people in their minds. So they go one of two routes. #1 is thinking that they’re really not good enough and don’t deserve to be liked which leads to a total lack of confidence and them becoming a shell of the person they were. #2 is narcissism, where they come to the conclusion that they’re the best person ever and no one else knows what they’re talking about, and every single flaw, fault, or mistake they have/ have made is someone else’s fault.—MrLionOtterBearClown
I’ve driven 3 hours, hiked one hour, they took a couple of photos over about 5 minutes and then bitched that they we’re ready to go home.
Sometimes they will buy unhealthy, but ‘grammable’ food, take photos of them licking it, and then throwing it out.
I also have a friend who when overseas will set alarms for like, 3am, to wake up and post their photos from the day at the peak time back home.
I haven’t seen them for a while. —loccyh
23. Do it for the gram.
One of my best friends dated a really Insta-famous guy. He invited us to his house for a Christmas party and this is when I realized how fake social media was.
The guy didn’t have the car he paraded on social media. He leased it, took several photoshoots with it, then gave it back. His house was in a different city than he claimed. I don’t think it was for security reasons though. He said he lived in a very rich city but his house was in a more modest place. He asked me to send him the videos I took at the party, posted them, and didn’t even tag me because I “didn’t have enough followers”? The worst part was that all the social media people at the party just kept yelling over each other trying to make the next big joke, but none of them were funny.
The dude has millions of people fooled.—nerdyabout