Why Strangers Will Support You More Than People You Know

Whether you’re a dreamer, a creative, or an entrepreneur, along your journey to smash your goals, you’ve probably noticed that some people who you would expect to support your endeavors never do.

I’m talking about friends. Family. Co-workers. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. In-laws. You name it. Sometimes, people who you actively try to show love and support to will never do the same for you. Why is that?

This is a question I’ve asked myself hundreds of times in my six years as an indie author, and today, I’m unpacking what I’ve discovered about the harsh truth behind chasing our dreams: Strangers will often support us more than people we know.

Disclaimer: Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this post, I want to add that there are several family members, people from my hometown, church, and surrounding towns, and friends that do actively support my author career. This post is not meant to downplay their support, because I am extremely thankful for it. It’s what got me started when I didn’t have a social media following. Instead, this post is centered around unpacking why others that you have supported and who you think would support you, often do not, and why strangers may support you in their absence.

Reason 1 | Strangers Relate More to Our Social Media Posts

This realization first hit me when I began sharing the same type of content on my Instagram and Facebook author pages. On Instagram, I can confidently say that I’ve found my people. I am so thankful God allowed me to find the Christian Authorgram/Bookstagram community when He did, because I might have given up on using social media to market my books if it were not for the amazing people I’ve met there.

What I’ve never been able to wrap my head around, however, is that I can share identical posts on my Instagram and Facebook author pages, and the engagement on Instagram will greatly surpass that of the engagement on Facebook. Why is that? The only reason I can think of is that upwards of 90% of my Facebook audience are people I know in real life who have “liked” my page but never engage with the posts.

Now, I want to add that there are some people I know in real life who actively support my author page on Facebook. My husband, bless his heart, shares every single one of my author posts on Facebook. My momma, sister, aunts, and some cousins also share them on occasion. But, once they’re shared, those posts are rarely liked by any of their Facebook friends, some of which also know me well.

So, why are strangers on Instagram more apt to like/share/comment on our posts than people we know in real life?

It took me a while to accept this, but I think the main reason why my engagement on Instagram is so much higher than on Facebook is because on Instagram, I’m part of a niche community, where we’re all interested in the following things: 1) Christianity, 2) Books, and 3) Writing. On the flip side, on Facebook, many of the people who “liked” my page are family, friends, and acquaintances who may or may not be a Christian, and may or may not like to read nor write. The majority of them supported me when I published my debut novel by liking the page, but they don’t relate to any of the content I post, and therefore don’t engage with it.

This can be disheartening. For a while, I even stopped sharing content to my author Facebook page for this very reason, and stopped mentioning books on my personal Facebook and Instagram pages, since engagement was low there as well. But, just know that even if you’re struggling to find your community on one social media app, it doesn’t mean all social media communities will be desert wastelands. Don’t be afraid to try new apps. I had been on Instagram for several years via a rarely-used personal account before making my author account there, and I never thought it would become the place where my platform receives the most support.

Reason 2 | If We Weren’t Popular Before, Having a Business Won’t Make Us Popular Now

If you were like me in school–a shy, awkward introvert–you may have experienced the following scenario when scrolling on your personal social media accounts:

On your feed, someone you went to school with, who was fairly social or popular, is selling MLM products or has their own business. Their posts get tons of engagement and sales (as you can see proof from the comments) while if you (if you are shy/introverted/unpopular) were to share about your business or creative endeavors to the same group of people, you’d receive nothing but cricket silence.

If you’ve experienced this, I’m sorry. It hurts. Especially if you go down the rabbit hole of, “if I had that last name, people would be more interested in my products” or “I’ve always been invisible, so I guess I’m destined to always stay that way”.

So, why are strangers on the Internet more apt to see and support our businesses than locals who are familiar with our endeavors?

This one, y’all. This one has been the most difficult for me to understand.

You’d think that, even if you aren’t the most popular person, that the people you know in real life who are, indeed, interested in your business niche, would support you if you’re from the same local area. But alas, that is often not the case! What I’ve learned, especially in the surge of the BookTok era, is that they’ll often ignore you in favor of more popular alternatives.

For example, there was this person who was once part of our family (they’ve since separated) who liked to read. This was someone I was around numerous times at family events. This was someone who knew I was an author. But, this person never once asked me about my books, let alone bought or read one. Yet on social media, this person raved about reading trending authors’ books. I’ve noticed the same thing about multiple others in my local area. They like to read, but haven’t taken a chance on my books, for whatever reason.

I’ll be honest, this realization made me feel like dirt in the past. I kept wondering why these people would blatantly ignore my books if they love to read so much, especially if they were avid readers of the Christian fiction and young adult genres.

The thing is, some people you know in real life will not support you, simply for the fact that they don’t like you, or what you stand for.

It’s different with strangers on the internet. If they realize they don’t like you or what you stand for, most will simply unfollow you. You won’t even realize you were on their radar. If they like your products, they’ll be active in your community, and you’ll get to know them. But with people you know in real life, their support, or lack thereof, is apparent.

I later realized the person from the example above does not like me because we have vastly different personalities and beliefs. People also like to buy things that they think will make them appear more popular to others. You know, the whole “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality. So it may not be that they don’t want to support you, it’s just that supporting you isn’t as cool as buying products a popular influencer recommends.

Realizing someone, or quite a few people, don’t like you can hurt if you’re a people pleaser, but know this: the people who refuse to support you, simply because they don’t like you or what you stand for, won’t make or break your success. God alone determines your success, and He will place your product in front of people who need it most. Trust His plan, and thank Him for the community He gives you. Don’t worry about those who shield their eyes from the light in you.

Reason 3 | Some People Have Trouble Rooting for the Success of Others

Story time! My husband’s a league bowler at our local bowling alley. There’s this man who bowls on the league who frequently tries to get in other bowlers’ heads when they are attempting to bowl a 300–a perfect game. Often when another bowler has five or six strikes in a row, he makes it his mission to go talk to them (even if his team is on the opposite side of the bowling alley) and make comments about how hard it is to bowl a 300. This often makes bowlers fumble on their next turn, and ruins their strike streak, which makes earning a 300 impossible for that game.

Why does he do this? This man has never bowled a perfect game, and now that he’s up in age, he thinks that he never will. So, instead of trying to better himself by staying in his own lane and practicing more so he can bowl a 300, he makes it his mission to knock others down when they’re on pace to shoot a 300.

Long story short, he’s jealous of others’ success.

And, the sad fact of the matter is, my friend, he’s not the only person in the world who tries to tear others down. Think of that kid in school who may have called you a “teacher’s pet” for making good grades when you know they struggled in school, or the acquaintance who always tries to “one-up” everyone else when having a conversation. There are tons of people who struggle with jealousy, and I have in the past.

My personal struggle with jealousy stemmed from comparing myself to others, more accurately, other indie authors. While I’ve talked more about this in former posts, I became envious of opportunities and resources they had that appeared impossible for me to ever access. Similarly, some people in your everyday life may envy your talent, your focus, or the fact that you’re not afraid to chase your dreams. Others who you’re acquainted with, but aren’t around as much, may look at you and think “it’s so easy for them to do XYZ, and I can’t!”, because, if you’re not close, they probably don’t know about how you struggled to get there; instead, they’ve just watched your highlight reel summary on social media.

One thing that has really helped me realize that no one is perfect and no one has it all together is seeing posts by others where they discuss their struggles. In turn, I’ve learned to open up about my own struggles here on Authoring Arrowheads and on social media. Because if we do this, social media feeds aren’t just a pristine highlight reel, but a realistic montage of what life is really like when chasing our dreams. This is so much more impactful than just posting all of our “wins”.

So, why will strangers on the internet root for us if people we know in real life are jealous of us?

While there will still be some strangers on the internet who are jealous of our success, many will root for our success as well. But why? They don’t even know us!

The only legitimate reason I can think of (if you can think of another one, please drop it in the comments, because it’s been a struggle for me to hash out!), is that those people on the internet who root for us see us as fellow dreamers who are on the same journey they are (since they’re probably in the same niche community and can relate), whereas others we know in real life know we came from the same place they did, and they may wonder why we were able to “make it big” while they haven’t been able to yet.

All this stems from having a toxic, scarcity mindset: focusing only on what we lack and not being grateful for what God has given us. This is the exact mindset I had back when I struggled with jealousy, and once I allowed the Holy Spirit to work on me in that area, dream-chasing felt so much better.

While we can’t just grab the people who are jealous of us by the shoulders and say, “hey dude, get rid of that scarcity mindset! You can do awesome things too if you let God lead,” (because that would really make some people mad!), we can quench the scarcity mindset in our own lives by asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and promoting gratitude in our daily lives. When we express sincere thanks to God for all He’s done for us, it shows others that our success is not earned through our own efforts, but because God has lead the way.

One More Thing About the Scarcity Mindset…

God revealed to me through writing this post that if we’re so wrapped up in worrying why some people won’t support us to the point it’s hindering us from ministering to the community He’s given us, then we’re in the midst of the scarcity mindset ourselves. When this happens, we need to 1) step back and ask God for forgiveness for not appreciating what He’s given us, 2) express gratitude for all He’s allowed us to do, and 3) pray for guidance in this area so we can better fulfill the purpose He has for our lives.

Talk to Me, Arrowheads!

Do you relate to any of the situations above? What are your thoughts on the saying “some strangers will support you more than people you know”?

Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.

-Allyson 😀

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As an author and blogger, my goal is to teach writers that there is a way to write realistic, thought-provoking, redemptive Christian fiction that honors God while not sugarcoating the realities of the world. 

5 thoughts on “Why Strangers Will Support You More Than People You Know

  1. This is such an interesting post! Thank you for courageously writing this! Whew, it sure is true! One thing about Facebook, because I have the same thing (nobody I know in real life could take half a second to Like this post?! I worked so hard on it!), is that I’ve heard that when a post is from a business page (like our author pages), Facebook purposely doesn’t show it much in the hopes that we’ll buy paid advertising to boost the posts. Sooooo, that’s a little comfort, but I really think you spoke accurately here about strangers being in our niche audience more than the people we actually know, people not wanting to build up others (what a poignant lesson with the man at the bowling league!), jealousy, etc. Keep up the good work, girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 🙂 You’re 100% right about the business pages on Facebook. I’m so sick of Facebook trying to get me to buy ads lol. XD Thank you! I’m so blessed to have a friend like you in our niche. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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