Gentlemen's Guide to Instagram Relationships
It’s a crazy time to be a man. Thanks to the beauty of the internet, the average 18-year-old has seen more boobs than all of humanity had by the 1800s. Ok, we made that up, but you get the point. While the trends and technologies of today are full of excitement and possibility, they also place new, undiscovered burdens on us. The rules of dating, for instance, have never been convoluted. Any single guy has the opportunity to actually date hundreds of women. That lifestyle used to be reserved for royalty. At the same time, there’s a particular etiquette to every new tool we get. Grindr and Tinder couldn’t be more different, even though we use them much the same way. Learning all of the rules can be tough, but today, you’re going to get a crash course in Instagram relationships. It should be enough to keep you out of the dog house every now and then.
A Little Advice to Get Started
Some of you are already in a relationship. Feel free to skip to the next section. Plenty of you are still navigating single waters, and a little advice can go a long way. Getting from single to dating in the digital age is a different animal. Old-school advice can help sometimes, but in a lot of ways it’s a brand new wild west. We don’t have time to outline flirting and mingling on Instagram here (might make a good post for another time), but there is one key idea that isn’t too hard. When it comes to hitting on ladies, the line between flirting and creeping is thin and poorly defined. Every woman has her own standards (and rightly so) for what she likes and doesn’t like. There is no universal approach. Some people are going to respond positively to you, and others won’t.
Here’s the thing. Over 30 percent of women in the United States are on Instagram. That’s more than 20 million proverbial fish in the sea. The simple truth is that technology has given us the chance to play the numbers game in a way never before seen. That means you don’t have to have any expectations with Instagram flirting. And, that’s the key to doing it without being creepy.
Here are the basic rules. Feel free to follow anyone you want. Feel free to like any picture (but not every picture). It’s fine to leave a comment. It’s what you do next that matters. Don’t overcommit on Instagram. There’s no need. If a woman likes anything you’ve offered, she’ll respond in some way. She might follow you back. She might respond to a comment. Whatever. The key is to never push unless you’re getting some type of feedback. Liking a hundred pics and sending a dozen DM’s with no response is always bad. Just lightly put yourself out there and then engage with women who indicate they like it. With millions of women on Instagram, you don’t have to hit a home run every time.
Going Instagram Official
That concludes the advice section on getting into a relationship. From here on out, we’re discussing people who are already dating. Maybe it’s serious. Maybe it isn’t, but in any case, the rest of this advice will assume you are Instagram official.
Let’s pause for a moment. A handful of you guys reading this are — less youthful — than some of the others. If you’re confused about official Instagram status, here are the basics. Unlike older social media platforms, Instagram doesn’t really highlight relationship status. Going Insta official involves posting a picture with the other half in an obvious context. Usually it’s captioned with some expression of the two of you being officially together. When that happens, you’re in an Instagram relationship, and you need to know the rules.
One last word for the poor guys who are still Instagram illiterate. Going official is a pretty big deal to most people. It’s the modern version of a promise ring or whatever weird stuff people did before the internet. Going official is one of those big events in the early parts of a relationship Treat it as such.
Finding the Sweet Spot With Instagram
Now that you’re official, you have a new set of problems. As your relationship matures, some of these rules will shift with it. By the time you’re openly farting in front of each other, you shouldn’t need so much generic blog advice. You should have a good idea of how your partner feels about these topics. Until then, finding the sweet spot on your Instagram activity can be tough. If you go overboard and document and tag everything, it might come off as overbearing. If you go the opposite direction, you can be seen as emotionally neglectful. Worse, that thing you read earlier about all women being different is still true. Life is hard sometimes, gents.
Here’s where you find the sweet spot. Stop and think about what you put on Instagram the most. Some of you are gym rats. Others are foodies. It doesn’t matter what your thing is. What matters is that you consider how much you post of your passion or hobby. The ratio of selfies and such with your other half should be proportionate to your niche. If you post a hundred pics of beers you’ve tried and nothing of your official partner, you’re being digitally neglectful. If you’ve been official for three days and there’s more of her than your prized shoe collection, you might be going too hard. Try to keep things in that context and you should be able to avoid catastrophe.
Managing Your Past
This should be the most obvious thing in the world, but a bunch of you still need to hear it. Men can be pretty dumb sometimes. Once you’re Insta official, your account should not be dedicated to keeping up with exes. You might feel like you have a healthy friendship with an ex, but you’re walking a minefield, buddy. While it is ok for exes to be friends (sometimes), you have to be very careful. You shouldn’t need anyone to tell you that giving an ex too much attention is bad for the current relationship.
Thankfully, there’s another easy rule here. Think old school. Before the internet, keeping up with an ex took a lot more effort. If you wanted to know what she was up to, you had to actually be there. That means one of two things. You’re either hanging out with your ex a lot, or you’re physically stalking her.
Here’s the simple trick. Imagine that technology didn’t allow you to stalk from the comfort of your couch. Before you scroll through your ex’s account, imagine how hard it would be to get this information without digital technology. If it would be crossing boundaries without the phone, then you’re still going too hard with the phone.
Use Your Mouth Sometimes
This is the best advice you’ll get on two fronts, but this particular post isn’t about your sex life. When it comes to modern relationships, it’s really easy to communicate entirely through digital means. The habit of talking through emojis, likes and nonverbal, digital means is easy to form. While none of that is necessarily bad, it can’t replace actual conversations.
There’s a reason that every relationship expert in the history of forever talks about communication. It’s that important. It’s absolutely fine to be supportive of your other half on social media, but you can’t lose the ability to talk directly about things. Eventually, the apps you use are going to fall out of fashion. Talking is a staple that won’t be going anywhere. Keep those verbal skills intact.
That about covers it. Instagram, when used correctly, can help you meet and keep a woman. That’s a cool thing. If you follow these rules, you aren’t guaranteed success, but you’ll avoid the worst mistakes. Even better, you can apply a lot of this knowledge to all of your social media. So, until next time, good luck in your dating game.