December 2, 2023

A number of years in the past, Sara Zeljkovic, a 25-year-old residing in Toronto, began working to construct her social media presence on TikTok and Instagram, assuming that having extra followers was higher.

Ms. Zeljkovic, freshly single after the tip of an eight-year relationship, started posting extra content material, usually about magnificence and journey, and gained traction, in the end leading to about 14,000 followers on TikTok and, she stated, round 5,000 followers on Instagram. That’s when issues modified.

Whereas she was chatting with a person over drinks final 12 months, the would-be date took problem along with her follower rely.

“He was like, ‘Oh, that’s such a pink flag, you’re such a cool lady,’” she recalled. When he stated it was “a disgrace” that she had so many followers, she added, “I nearly spit my drink out.”

How does having a profession that requires hypervisibility on-line — public relations, influencing, vlogging — have an effect on a girl’s relationship life? Is there a sure sort of man who’s turned off by hustle, who finds a follower rely within the hundreds to be a deal breaker?

Having a large following on Instagram or TikTok can include perks: web fame, free merchandise, sponsored journeys. It’s little surprise that in 2019, about 54 % of younger Individuals stated they might turn into an influencer if given the chance, and practically 90 % stated they might be keen to put up sponsored content material for cash, in response to a report by Morning Consult.

A lot as the thought of dating a “podcast bro” is usually a turnoff for some girls, the unfairness can work in opposition to girls who even have public on-line platforms. Amongst males who’ve described such emotions on-line, the explanations range: Some are insecure, anxious that she might need different suitors in her DMs. Others take pleasure in their privateness and would reasonably not have their lives be mined for content material.

Tyrese Dominique, a social media supervisor in Boston, stated that though he would don’t have any problem relationship a girl with a number of social media followers, he sympathized with a lot of his pals who would.

“I perceive it, as a result of if they’ve their very own insecurity and so they know that they will’t cease themselves from having that insecurity and having it have an effect on their relationship with that individual, it’s finest that they don’t even attempt to power themselves,” he stated.

After receiving one too many snippy feedback from males about having far too many Instagram followers, Ms. Zeljkovic spent about two days in July pruning her following, in the end bringing the rely right down to round 1,600. She additionally made her profile personal, explaining that she had been informed it was “a turnoff if a woman has an open profile.”

She stated a end result of things led to her choice, together with one time when she shared her Instagram deal with with a person, and he was instantly scared off: “He was like, ‘Oh, like, you’re too huge time for me.’”

“After I received residence that evening, I used to be simply so fed up of listening to this,” Ms. Zeljkovic stated. “Like, this was already eight or 9 instances I gave a man my Instagram, and he made a remark.”

Christina Mantas, a neighborhood outreach coordinator, stated that having greater than 4,000 followers on Instagram has been sufficient to discourage males. She has stored her Instagram public for in regards to the final 5 years to community and to advertise occasions she hosts for the varied nonprofit organizations she works with. She stated that her social media profile had turn into a difficulty whereas relationship.

“There are some guys that may take me on a very nice date, after which they need me to put up about it — like a public thanks of some kind — and I’m not comfy to share that I’m spending time with them but,” she stated. “After which different guys freak out fully as a result of they don’t need to be on my Instagram web page.”

On a current scroll via the relationship app Hinge, Ms. Mantas, 36, got here throughout a person who stated he was on the lookout for a girl with 1,000 Instagram followers or fewer. She stated one other man had informed her that due to her frequent travels and meals content material, he wouldn’t have the ability to adequately present for somebody along with her requirements.

For Shari DuBois, a rapper and songwriter in Philadelphia, not instantly buying and selling social media handles with relationship prospects is a method she has managed to keep away from the issues that may include being a single lady with hundreds of followers on-line.

At the moment, Ms. DuBois is seeing a person she met on Fb Relationship, however she has not made him aware of her Instagram or TikTok, the place she has 10,000 and 12,000 followers.

In her final two relationships, social media grew to become “a little bit of a difficulty.” So now, she goes out of her strategy to not alternate social media accounts with new males she meets in order that they will first get to know her.

Some individuals who see the variety of followers she has would possibly assume she is receiving a whole bunch of thirsty DMs a day, she stated. “That’s not the case,” she added. “I feel persons are additionally beneath the belief that, like, all the pieces goes to be content material.”

Nonetheless, Ms. DuBois admits that she’d favor a person who didn’t have a excessive following on social media. For instance, she “celebrated” the truth that her ex-boyfriend had 200 followers.

“I assume perhaps among the similar assumptions that they could have for me, I could have for them,” she stated.

Ms. Zeljkovic, who’s presently in Serbia visiting household, lately began monetizing her TikTok content material, which remains to be public. She stated she typically felt waves of remorse for going personal on Instagram and for downsizing her following, including that she would possibly reverse course ultimately.

“Proper now, whereas I’m nonetheless single and making an attempt to this point and touring again in my residence nation and stuff, it’s higher to maintain it like this till I get somebody on lock,” she stated.

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