So you've been dating for a while now, and it feels like things might be getting a little serious. Your partner has been trying to snap a selfie of the two of you since your first date, but when should you make your relationship "Instagram-Official"?
We live in a time where selfies and social media rule the world. We often put forward images of our lives on Instagram that aren't always the most accurate representations of reality, but rather staged glimpses into some of our best moments, so that our lives seem idyllic to the casual observer. It only makes sense that if we're seeing someone and we're happy in the relationship and with where it seems to be going, we would want to show the world on Instagram how happy we are with this new person in our life. But what if the other party isn't quite as sure that the relationship is going where they want it to? What if they have commitment issues? Trust issues? Maybe overanalyze what other people think of them at all times.
Do any of these things feel familiar to you? Even if they don't, and you have other reasons for putting off letting all of your friends and followers know that you're seeing someone, we sympathize. If you're dating someone who wants to make your relationship Instagram official, but you're not at that point yet, we have some advice to help you handle the situation smoothly, and without letting your partner notice your apprehension. The latter part of this is extremely important. You have to make sure that you don't let your partner know that you're feeling this way because it will almost certainly seem irrational to them, and make them feel like you're not as into them as they're into you; when really you're probably just worried about what your friends are going to think, even though almost none of them are going to make as big a deal out of it as you are.
Instagram moves at a fast pace. We bet that you think a lot of the people post too many photos in a day. Well we're here to tell you that you should now see this former annoyance as an ally. When you keep in mind that the speed of Instagram's feed means that something that you post today could be forgotten not even tomorrow but later today, these Instagram monsters are your new best friends. And don't forget about the algorithms in Instagram's programming which keep some people from seeing certain pictures seemingly at random. Because of the way the app is setup, there's a great chance that the people that you're worried about seeing this photo, won't even see it. So let your partner post a photo unless you think you're going to break up the next day. Even if you break up the week after, the photo will have been forgotten by all of her followers long before then.
You've come to terms now with the fact that being "Instagram official" isn't quite as bad as you originally thought. You might get a few questions that you don't really feel like answering from your friends, but that's fine. We're going to make sure that the photo that the person you're hooking up with posts (and maybe you even repost if you're feeling a little YOLO) in no world says that you're in a serious relationship. Even if you feel like that's where you're going, let's start off safe. When your partner takes out their phone and tries to make your pose romantic (maybe they lean in to kiss you while hoisting their phone into the air), you should at this point suggest that it would be funnier if you take a picture where it looks like you're both having a terrible time (or some similar type of posing that's playful, but not a public display of affection). Odds are pretty good that they will want to play along. Once posted, if some friends see the picture, and ask you what's up with the two of you, you can just tell them that you don't know where the relationship is at and that you're just having fun at the moment. Your partner will be happy to have a photo of the two of you together on their Instagram and will hopefully be satisfied with the one picture for the next little while. This should give you ample time to think about where you think the relationship is going, and if your ready to take the big step and post a picture of the two of you kissing.
You don't really need us to tell you when to take this leap, do you? You should already by confirmed "Instagram Official" by now, so a little square picture of you and your boo giving each other a little peck on the lips (maybe while ice skating, or at a baseball game) really isn't a big deal. Get it over with.
Here's something you're probably going to be surprised to hear, and it's going to make you feel a little bit silly to have been so worried about making your relationship "Instagram Official". Your friends already knew something was going on between the two of you because as soon as you started following your partner on Instagram, you went 'Like' happy and haven't missed liking a single one of their pictures in the last month, and they returned the favor. So you outed your relationship without even realizing it.
Take a deep breath, and have a good laugh about it. Notice how none of your friends have bothered you about it? That's because they know that when you want to talk about it, you will. That when it goes from a relationship based on 'likes' and sliding into each other's DMs, and becomes a relationship where you start going to parties together, and tagging each other in your Instagram posts. Your friends will be excited for you, and then they'll ask you when you want to go on a double date together.
When you go on these double dates though, don't be surprised if your friends who've been together a little bit longer than you, ask you to cool it with the Instagram for a bit, and to just enjoy each other's company. You're on your way to becoming addicted to 'Gramming your love.
Couple hashtags usually don't happen until something monumental like a pregnancy, engagement, or wedding happens, so pardon the potential scare tactics in this subheading. Just be aware that it's possible. If you find yourself on an exceptional vacation, there's a pretty good chance that you're going to have an official hashtag for that romantic getaway so that your friends can keep up to date on your trip without missing any of the fun due to those algorithms we talked about earlier. It might be surprising that you've gone from first pic to couple's hashtag this quickly, but we wouldn't be surprised if you end up being the one to propose the hashtag because you came up with a really clever play on your names and the name of the place you're going to, and you think it's too funny to not use. You aren't even remotely shy about letting your followers know that you're off the market anymore.
We're about to talk about levels of "Instagram Official" that you probably didn't even know existed. Don't worry about it. Nobody really talks about them because once you get past a certain comfort level, they don't seem nearly as important as they might have before you posted your first #Smoochstagram. You're about to fall deep down the rabbit hole.
As your relationship continues, both of you will be posting more and more pictures of each other on your Instagram accounts. Whether or not your relationship is a consistently happy one or not, one of you will always be posting something to make the world think that things are going swimmingly. It started with that goofy posed photo that you really didn't even want to take OR have posted on Instagram. Then it moves on to tagging each other in photos of cocktails that you're drinking together at hipster bars in the East End. After that it's your hand finding its way in your partner's brunch photo somehow, and your partner tagging you, and using a nickname for you that you're pretty sure they've never even called you before in their photo caption. You think the nickname thing is a little weird, but it doesn't really matter because you're happy enough at this point to not be worrying about what your friends think. You're enjoying this relationship far more now that's only open, and you're care-free. You're no longer sweating the small stuff. You've stopped occasionally checking your dating apps while worrying that one of your partner's friends will see that your account is still active (even if you haven't sent out any messages in a while).
One night you'll start to worry about whether or not you're the best your partner's ever had, and you might go through their old Instagram posts to see how many other people they've gone Instagram official with. First off, be very careful not to accidentally double tap on a photo from two years ago. That notification doesn't go away when you fumble and quickly unlike the pic. You look through their old photos in a moment of insecurity, but don't worry; your jealousy will find no confirmation within their photos. Remember that one of the main rules of Instagram is that you must maintain an image of a happy life. It's very rare that your failures are documented on Instagram. So even if they've gone Instagram official with someone else before (and of course they have!), that relationship didn't work out, and Instagram has the handy option of deleting old photos for just this reason. When a moment that was at one time was a happy one becomes a sad one, those photos can be deleted from the record, and their Instagram account can maintain its story of a perfect life, filled with fun outings with friends, road trips, cool exhibits at the art gallery, funny graffiti in their neighbourhood, and finally finding the person who makes them happier than anyone has ever made them before. You.
That nickname though...
Your now care-free attitude towards Instagramming your budding relationship is a beautiful thing. You've come such a long way from when you were worried about that first picture going out into the ether. But now there's a couple more things to think about.
Have you told your parents about the great relationship that you're in yet? Maybe your mom has an Instagram account, so knows all about it, but are you ready for them to meet? Will they get along? Will your partner want to Instagram their meeting? If going "Instagram Official" stressed you out partially because of the message that might send about what stage your relationship was at, what will meeting your parents mean? Your mom is sure tell you how romantic your trip looked. She'll even refer to it by using the hashtag, and giggling because she feels so hip to current technology and social media trends. ... Okay, that won't be too painful. In fact, it'll be pretty sweet for everyone involved, and probably provide a well-timed boost to your self-esteem as it relates to your relationship.
There's one last big question that we'll have to discuss in another article, some other time though. When should you make your relationship "Facebook Official"?