It took me longer than I’m proud of to get to a point where I’m not disappointed when my friends don’t promote me. And if I’m being honest, it wasn’t until I was put on the other side and stared down with something akin to “friendship doubt” did I realize it’s almost second nature to expect too much from our friends.
Sometimes I get busy, sometimes I forget, and sometimes I’m not interested and that’s okay.
I hope my realizations will help some of you out.
Here are three reasons why I think we should stop expecting our friends to be our freelance marketing team.
1. You’re not the only one trying to sell them something.
These days, it seems like everyone is an entrepreneur.
I think it’s awesome. What a time to be a hustler … amirite?
And I mean that sincerely because I will ALWAYS respect someone’s hustle. Trying SOMETHING is better than doing NOTHING. However, it gets hard to keep up. If you have more than 10 friends on Facebook, at least ONE of them is trying to sell you something.
On my timeline, I’ve seen everything from Mix Tapes, designer leggings, sex toys, books, lipstick, Jamberry nail stickers, hair bundles, and everything in between.
Hell, I still get tagged in party flyers for states I don’t live in anymore. Boston promoters—sorry lovers but—I’m looking at you. I moved years ago. Take me off the list. Anywho.
That’s what my timeline, started fresh about a year ago, and with approximately a mere 300 friends, looks like.
Now imagine what your friends are seeing and what that means. To me it means that 9 out of 10 times your project is just one more thing they have no intention of buying or sharing. It’s muck they have to filter through to get to the viral meme of the day or see if their comments got any replies.
2. Promoting you is not in their job description
I know I’m a lucky one in this equation, but at any given time I can tell you at least six people I can call up right now—no matter the time you’re reading this—that will listen to me cry, vent, scream or talk about nothing.
I have people in my corner who will pick up the phone at 2 in the morning and shoot the shit with me simply because I can’t sleep, and my not sleeping is giving me anxiety, and my anxiety is making me lose sleep. It’s a vicious cycle. I applaud anyone who has the patience to deal with me in these moments.
Anyway, I have friends—old and new—who have talked me off the ledge from anything as tragic as a miscarriage and as mundane as breaking a nail. I have a TRIBE of people who will cheer me on, set me straight, or just listen when I really don’t feel like hearing a pep talk.
Being a friend is hard work and honestly, if I had to choose, I would rather they put the energy into being here for me then pushing my project like a dealer.
3. You might suck
This one is hard for me to say. I get it. No matter what it is, you’re doing, you know with certainty that it’s good. The weight loss pills your pushing works. The mixtape jams. The book you wrote can change lives and beat out the best of the best sellers out there.
We put our blood, sweat, and tears into something and the truth is, our friends might still think we suck.
One friend might read your book and fall in love while another sees nothing more than absolute trash. Your bestie might love the premise and hook but hate the execution, and your beta readers might love the title but hate your book cover. Your high school study partner might play your music in his car, but the DJ you grew up with thinks you’re too whack to get spins.
There is a plethora of reasons why whatever you’re selling simply isn’t your friend's thing and it doesn’t have to be.
Now, none of this is to say that I don’t hope—and you shouldn’t also hope—friends and family share your work. It’s always reassuring when you see someone just as excited about what you’re doing as you are. It’s just not their job, and now that I’ve gotten to a place where I realize this, I’ve stopped feeling misguided disappointment. It’s freeing.