In August, when Alexia took a cute snap of herself at a bar in Boston and posted it to Instagram, tagging the location, she never expected to get a date with a handsome stranger.
Later that night, a young real estate agent who had been looking at pictures from the bar stumbled across her image. He messaged her telling her she was beautiful and asking her out.
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It was the first time she’s been approached in such a way. She’d found dates on Hinge and Bumble for years, but had begun to tire of using such platforms.
“There’s a lot of pressure on dating apps,” Alexia told The Post. “It’s just seems like another job — I’m just filling out applications for these people [and] having the same conversations.”
She had a “great” first date with the Boston man, but things didn’t progress any further. No matter. In the past few months, she’s been asked out by five men on Instagram, after they came across her photos because she’d tagged bars and restaurants that interested them. Though she was caught off guard initially by this way of meeting men, she’s come to see it as preferable to dating apps.
“You see that you have similar interests and they get to see your profile right off the bat. It’s not fake,” she said. “You have your family and friends on there and I just think it’s more effective.”
Young singles are tiring of traditional dating apps such as Tinder, which saw downloads decrease by 5% in 2021, according to the Financial Times. They’re looking for new ways to find dates online, and Instagram, with its 1 billion active users, is an easy, obvious alternative.
Victoria Alario, a 27-year-old from Hoboken, calls Instagram a “dating hack” and sees it as having both an old-fashioned and new-fangled appeal.
“It’s kind of like the online version of meeting someone at your favorite bar in a way because they’ve been tagged [there],” the content creator told The Post.
Last month, she posted a story on TikTok about Instagram dating that attracted almost 400,000 views. Her followers were quick to agree that the ‘gram is great for finding love.
“Instagram is the best dating app out there. That’s for damn sure,” said one commenter, while another said they met their boyfriend this way.
And the method isn’t just about men approaching photogenic women.
Alario was recently looking at tagged photos of a restaurant she planned to visit, searching out tasty photographs of food. Then, she saw a dish of a different sort that interested her: a cute guy who had tagged himself at the eatery. She liked his photo and soon after received a follow request and a message from the man.
“It turned out we live [sort of] local to each other and got to chatting,” she said, adding that they exchanged numbers and are making plans soon to meet up. “It was such an effortless, easy conversation starter.”
Alario admitted that it does take some level of confidence to approach people in this manner, but she said it’s also a guarantee of common interests — and you have a readymade venue for a first date.
“It kind of just removes the middleman and makes [online dating] a whole lot more simple,” Alario agrees. “We’re all actively on social media anyway so if you use it then use it to your advantage.”