It used to be we all had to wait for our high school reunions to make people jealous. And even then there was so much pressure. You wouldn't dare bother showing up without being skinny, dating (or hiring) a sexy boyfriend and having created Post-Its.
Thank God they invented Instagram. Now you don't need anything but an iPhone to make others feel bad about their own lives—and you can do so all year round. Here are some tips on how to make your acquaintances want to give up and move somewhere Verizon doesn't service. Like space. Or Lollapalooza.
Take lots of selfies
Sometime after MySpace and during Facebook, taking selfies became something only 14-year-old American Eagle customers did. Then Instagram happened and selfies became, inexplicably, not only acceptable, but 100 percent encouraged. Show off your abs and hashtag it #healthylifestyle. Take a picture of your shoulder sunburn and it's #sizzling ... but oh, look ... your boobs just happen to rival a set of hotel down pillows. Sure, everyone will hate you and your "green juice"-drinking self, but who needs friends when everyone simultaneously hates/wants to be you? #perfectcombo
Make your job look better than it is
Instagram allows us to share select snippets of our work day—the most enviable parts, of course. So even if you spend 99 percent of your day on Buzzfeed and eat Ziploc bags of Baked Lays for lunch, make your followers jealous when you upload a pic of the ONE day your office gets Sprinkles cupcakes. Suddenly it appears you work in Candyland and not the back office of an airport rental car agency.
Participate in #TBT
Holy Hefe! For those living under a rock (aka Blackberry users), #TBT ("Throwback Thursday") is the opportunity to filter-ize an old picture—one taken, regrettably, B.I. (Before Instagram). In other words, it's a once-a-week excuse to show off that Top 10 photo of you in a bikini, sans-love handles ... in Greece ... super tan ... three years ago ... without having to admit you're desperate for everyone to see how awesome you looked. They need to rename #TBT "#GloryDaysWithAFilter."
Name drop without name dropping
Have you noticed the advent of Instagram and everyone you know hanging out with Z-list celebs is a directly proportional relationship? If I drew a graph, it would be a steep arrow up and to the right of your friend getting Instagram and tagging herself with former "Bachelor" contestants/Bill Rancic/second-string athletes. Unlike Facebook, Instagram leaves your followers wondering, "Oh my God, does she hang out with, like, famous people now?" No, people. No, you friend does not. But both your friend AND the "celeb" need this.
Make one-time events look routine
The following examples fit into this category: you on stage with Avicii. You getting a cooking lesson from a famous chef. You anywhere in the Australian Outback having a picnic under a double rainbow. Post enough of these and everyone will think this is your life. You live in an alternate universe where routine activities like doing laundry and eating Cheez-Its for dinner are not allowed.
The final step: curate carefully
If you post photos that fit only into the above categories, you will achieve Instagram greatness. You may not have any friends left, but at least your self-esteem is quantifiable by "likes" and "followers." Fire your therapist, you've got the key to happiness: a Lo-fi/Mayfair cocktail.
Molly Fedick is a RedEye special contributor.
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