The #instaofficial etiquette guide: the dos and don’ts of new love on the ‘gram

·3-min read
 (Instagram)
(Instagram)

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that modern dating is a minefield.

To embrace or abandon apps, to declare political views upfront or keep them guessing, to shamefully ghost or admit there’s no spark… the choices are endless and confusing.

With them comes the biggest choice of all – just when should you be posting about your relationship on social media? Perhaps we should be looking to the steady stream of A-listers who have been going ‘Instagram official’ for advice. Rita Ora and Taika Waititi, Kat Dennings and Andrew WK, Kacey Musgraves and Dr. Gerald Onuoha and, of course, Bennifer have all been going public via the ‘gram, with the latest in the line up being none other than Adele and beau Rich Paul.

But how should one navigate the momentous occasion? From when to post to what to say, we present the ultimate guide to going Instagram official.

The soft launch

Slow down, slow down. Before you even think about going official on the ‘gram, let’s try something a little less heavy handed. Known as the ‘soft launch’, these are some not-so-subtle clues that you’ve got someone new in your life, without the full-blown commitment of a loud and proud post to the grid. Think a picture of two dinners rather than one; a glimpse of an arm that must belong to someone else; a road trip where someone else is driving but your followers have no idea who. The soft launch is the perfect way to lead up to the official declaration, but if things don’t work out then it’s oh-so-easy to delete and deny. Perfect.

The image

The official declaration from J-Lo’s Instagram (JLo)
The official declaration from J-Lo’s Instagram (JLo)

You’ve completed the soft launch, and you’re ready to go hard with a full declaration of love. Think carefully - the image is vitally important. This is no friendship post – there must be unmistakably romantic signals. Is it a full-frontal kiss, à la Bennifer? Is it a cheek-touching couple shot like Adele and Rich Paul? Perhaps it’s a poetic black and white image of your hands holding (this is reserved for those who take themselves very seriously and often have inspirational quotes as a story highlight).

Whatever you opt for, just know it’s the 2021 equivalent of a wedding album, so choose wisely.

The caption

Ah, the caption. Notoriously the most difficult to navigate of all Instagram etiquette, and holding the ability to both make or break any post. Too mushy and you’ll turn people’s stomachs; too brief and people will be left guessing. If you’re seriously struggling for words, an emoji will suffice – try ‘couple holding hands’ or a love heart. Avoid the aubergine emoji. At all costs.

The reasoning

Perhaps we should have led with this: why do you want to actually go public? If you’re two weeks into a relationship and want to fend off that random account that seems to like every one of your beau’s pictures, maybe leave it for a while. If you’re 10 years in and want to post as a romantic gesture, maybe book a trip to Paris instead to avoid the inevitable disappointment of your partner. If you’re just looking to express your happiness in the relationship, go for it. Just be sure to read and remember this guide first.

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