The following is a cautionary tale. It doesn’t matter whether I behaved stupidly and brought these events on myself, or if there was no way I could have known that my seemingly harmless actions would lead to this. Either way, I share this story to protect others from a fate similar to mine.
This morning I saw a post on Facebook that was shared to a podcast group I’m in by one of the other members. I won’t re-share it here, as I don’t know the original creator, but it was a health and fitness-themed motivational quote and it resonated with me. Huh, yes, perhaps this little saying could be motivation for me when I’m telling myself I’m too tired or it’s too late or I have other things to do and I should NOT throw on a quick video and do a workout in my living room. Okay, yes, I decided, that could actually work to motivate me. Cool idea.
I hit ‘like’ on the post.
*quick pause for ominous “oh no don’t do that why did you do that you should have turned away but you just HAD to go forward and now you’ve kicked off a chain of events that you won’t be able to control” music*
The action of ‘liking’ the post was innocent enough. I’m pretty liberal with my liking of things on social media, especially when it comes to either cool old houses or cute puppies and kitties. Likewise, I enjoy posts that contain sarcasm, snarkiness, or absurdity. I’m not usually a big ‘motivational sayings’ girl, but every now and then something will genuinely land with me and I’ll hit ‘like’.
I wasn’t prepared for the consequences.
Almost immediately, my morning social media scroll was interrupted by a notification that I had a new message waiting for me on Facebook Messenger. Assuming that the incoming message was from either my husband or one of my friends, I clicked over to check it. Instead, I found a waiting message from some girl I’ve never heard of, and all it said was “Thank you for liking my post.”
Huh? What post? I’d ‘liked’ quite a few things this morning, since as I already mentioned, I’m not stingy with the Facebook reactions. What the heck did she post that I reacted to, and what about it was so poignant that it warranted a follow-up thanking me for doing it? Since I wasn’t going to reply to her just to say “You’re welcome” or anything, I deleted her message and moved back to Facebook to continue my mindless scrolling.
She’d sent me a friend request!
The only thing I loathe more than being sent a friend request by someone I don’t like in real life who follows up to mention to me that they sent me said friend request, making it all awkward as I try to come up with some excuse for why I’ll never be approving that request while mentally kicking myself for not blocking this person before all this had to happen, is being sent a random friend request from someone I’ve never met. Who the hell IS this girl? I thought, as I went to stalk her profile.
A quick profile review told me everything I needed to know: she was in the same podcast group as I was, which helped me narrow down which post of hers I’d interacted with. She’s got “stay at home parent” as her job, “Mom and Certified Health Coach” in her bio, and all of her posts are public and are sharing before-and-after photos of girls that have lost weight using whatever MLM* crap she sells online, with some diet quotes mixed in with for flavor (no pun intended….okay, okay, yes, absolutely pun intended). I couldn’t make out which company she’s peddling wares for, which is undoubtedly part of the idea: if you want to know, you have to reach out and ask her and then you get the sales pitch.
I do not want sales pitches before 8am. Or ever, really.
Now I knew what this girl was all about. She would message those of us that were foolish enough to hit that dumb like button her post, add us as friends, and proceed to tell us how her products would help us lose weight forever and change our lives! Yay! She would use lots of smiley and heart emoji’s, call us “girlie” or “gal” or some other moniker that would make me want to strangle her with my shoelaces, and enthusiastically and with LOTS of exclamation points tell us all about her life-changing crap that would make us look like Barbie for the absolutely reasonable price of a million dollars a month. Or something like that – you get the idea.
This is not my first rodeo – I fell for these sorts of tactics back in the earlier days of Instagram, before I learned to pay close attention to profiles before I’d like a post or follow someone. These days, if someone manages to make it into my DM’s trying to sell me shit, I simply block them rather than deal with them. I haven’t really had this experience with strangers on Facebook though – usually the MLM’ers there are people I know who either auto-add me to their virtual parties or inundate my news feed with their products. I believe it is absolutely justified to unfriend those people, like exorcising my Facebook feed of MLM garbage.
I really can’t decide which I hate more – random strangers trying to sell me pseudoscience, or the pseudoscience itself. Full disclosure: I have very stupidly tried many different diets, some of them of the MLM variety, which all promise to make you lose weight faster than you ever could with diet and exercise, and the only thing I can promise you about all of this stuff is that it does not work. As I’ve said before on this blog, the only time I was able to reach and maintain a weight I was happy with was when I threw all diet mentality out the window and got myself into the habit of eating reasonably healthy and exercising regularly. Once I put myself on that first diet, it all went to hell and I’ve struggled ever since. Furthermore, people who parade around with titles like “Certified Health Coach” are not doctors or dieticians and they don’t actually have the qualifications to tell you what you should be putting in your body. Actual registered dieticians warn against all of these supposed miracle diets, because they’re not going to do anything but make desperate people shell out money they don’t have for products that don’t work. And I can absolutely promise you that none of that MLM stuff these “health coaches” are trying to sell you is going to lead to any long-term weight loss success, because if it did, everyone would be doing it! If some company out there had finally cracked the code and knew the magical answer to the question of how to lose weight, don’t you think that everybody and their mom would be all over it?
The conclusion to this story is rather unremarkable – I deleted the friend request and unliked the post that started this whole mess so that hopefully that girl doesn’t find me again. If she does, I can definitely block her, but for now we’ll see if she takes the hint.
I do still really like her original post though.
*MLM stands for Multi-Level Marketing and it is a nicer way of saying “pyramid scheme”.