How to gently launch a relationship on Instagram
The year is 2012. You celebrate your new college relationship by changing your Facebook profile picture to a celebratory photo of the two of you – arms slung, eyes cloudy, drunken smiles. You get 131 likes and 18 comments on your official couple. A decade later, your social life is reflected in a collection of squares and slides on Instagram, but your love life isn’t so easy to discern. A quick glance at the average profile of a Gen Z or millennial won’t reveal much about their relationship status. The days of the in-your-face couple are over: a soft launch of a relationship on Instagram is the new official Facebook.
A soft launch is defined as a vague revelation that you are in a relationship – a story article from your friend”elbow and side profile onlyas comedian Rachel Sennott said. (“No tag of course,” comedian Catherine Cohen continued in a response.) You might recognize him from an Instagram or TikTok video with a mysteriously affectionate caption, a flashing Boomerang and you’ll miss it, or photos of someone. on the other side of a table with his face out of frame. Sometimes it’s just an Instagram Story of a disembodied hand on the poster’s thigh while driving, or a shadow walking beside the poster.
“The art of a soft launch is fragile”, creator Victoria Paris, 22, tells Bustle, admitting that she herself hasn’t mastered it. In March, Victoria debuted a girlfriend she had been dating for three months in a series of since-deleted TikToks and Instagram Stories. Shortly after the soft launch, the couple went their separate ways, first addressing it in comments and then more formally wiping each other off the grid. She is unsure about putting her next relationship online.
Part of the reason Gen Z are shy about putting romance on the internet, according to the newly single creator, is because of the embarrassment they endure if the relationship ends. “Dating in your twenties is hard enough, but putting it online is a whole other mess,” Victoria says. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2019, only 48% of users under the age of 30 said they shared their relationship status on social media.
A soft launch, at least, offers both members of a couple plausible deniability: if the relationship ends, at least one face hasn’t reached the grid. When you’re ready to indulge in a hint of commitment, here’s everything you need to know about how to gently kick-start a relationship on Instagram.
When to post a soft launch on Instagram?
Feel the relationship offline for a while before sharing it with the internet. While it might seem natural to shout it out from the story set, the more eyes are on the new relationship, the greater the pressure on it to survive. “You don’t have to wait until you’re deep in the relationship to share it on Instagram, but you shouldAshley, 27, a beauty marketing manager based in Los Angeles, Calif., told Bustle. “The beginning of a relationship is fragile; it’s not for the internet. Deleting your dating apps doesn’t count; consider waiting until you have explicitly defined the relationship with the soft launch.
According to Ashley, “A little sprinkle of evidence early on can be a fun way to flirt and tease the relationship,” but pursuing the mystery for too long is confusing for everyone. “I’ve noticed a lot of people playing the long game by posting little snippets of holding hands or a dinner date, but no faces are revealed,” Victoria told Bustle. “I’d rather go out for a while in silence then go out with a bang – a sick photo or video together.”
The right time to move into a rocky launch — or a photo that obviously shows you and your new SO are an item — will vary with each couple, but should depend on how strong the relationship is. Consider having a direct conversation where you both agree to share your relationship online.
What photos work for an Instagram soft launch?
A good soft launch is, at its core, subtle. Posting even rare evidence of a relationship on Instagram shouldn’t be too different from your usual feed photos. “If this person is really a part of your life, include them in posts here and there, without any major statements, just to let people know what your life is like,” Ashley says.
Then there’s the question of how to caption it. “The gushing statements are over,” Victoria told Bustle. “Unless you’re at the Kardashian level of gushing, covering the first floor of your partner’s house in roses, it’s best to keep it low-key to reduce pressure from outside parties.”
“The point of the soft launch isn’t to let that person know how you feel — it should be a private, offline conversation,” Ashley adds. “Instead, including them on your Instagram should be just to accurately reflect your life.” Read: The shots posed, shoulder to shoulder with overly sentimental captions came out. Candid shots that reflect what the relationship really looks like.
What if the soft launch does not land? While the millennial way to break up might have been to change your relationship status to single or post a direct message about ending the relationship, Victoria says Gen Z does things differently. “Delete any posts they’re in and act like the relationship didn’t happen. Then when the dust settles, you make a video poking fun at your trauma.