What I’ve learned in my 1 month as an Internet Advice Guru

My name is Justina. I’m 20 years old, and I live in Sacramento, California. I am also a fashion + lifestyle blogger, and have around 60,000 followers across the internet. Several weeks ago, I realized a lot of my followers were sending me emails and DM’s asking for advice on the same things, and I decided to answer them publicly in a weekly advice column I’d post to my Instagram Story. Then I did it three more times. This is what I’ve learned so far.

1. Everyone has the same problems.

Everyone has the same problem in different forms, whether it relates to a romantic relationship or just a person you want to be your friend. A lot of questions I get start with some version of “I’m probably the only person who feels/thinks like this but…” and I don’t know if this makes you feel better or not, but you’re not.

2. A lot of problems stem from the fact that we’re not supposed to share our problems.

“Social media only shows the highlights” is something I’ve read a lot lately, a rallying cry around making our internet lives more strongly represent our “real” lives. I’m not blaming Twitter — I think it’s a strongly held social norm that to ask other people for advice with our problems is selfish, that you’re burdening them. Suffering in silence leads to strength, right? Wrong.

3. Most people feel like making the best decision for yourself is “selfish”.

People who write me with questions about situations in their life usually already know the answer to their question — it’s just easier to have me tell them, because then they can blame me when other people react negatively. I’m okay with it. What I’m not okay with is this idea that putting yourself first is inherently “selfish” and “bad”. Self-care isn’t just doing yoga and reading a book while being wrapped in a fluffy blanket (even though I enjoy that too). It’s about admitting to what you really want, and pursuing it.

4. Young people are told too often that their problems aren’t “real”.

Repeat after me: the amount of years that someone has been on this planet does not dictate their rank of importance in society. Most of my followers are between the ages of 18–24, and too often they’re told that their situations aren’t of real importance. I don’t care if you’re 16 or 25 — your relationships, your questions, your life choices, are valid and deserve serious focus.

5. People are far more curious about other people than you’d think.

Everybody cares. Or at least, everyone is nosy, and that’s a good start. When I started doing this column, I wasn’t completely sure that anyone would be interested in reading my answers to other people’s questions. They are, and even better, they want to help too. Give them the opportunity, and they will speak up.

So here I am, one month into giving people advice on the internet. I think I’ll keep answering as long as people have questions for me. If you’re one of those people, feel free to slide into the DM’s at instagram.com/abentpieceofwire or ask anonymously at ask.fm/justinasharp. If you just want to read past advice, check out the “advice” highlight on my Instagram profile.

ps. my most popular piece of advice so far?