If you’re not already familiar with the term “soft launch” when it comes to relationships on social media, you’ve probably at least seen it happen without knowing it.

A soft launch is a way that a person starts leaving clues that they’re in a new relationship through their social media (usually Instagram, but it’s not an exclusive term for one platform) without fully posting the person or screaming “I have a boyfriend/girlfriend.” You can think of it the way that a celebrity will start hinting at a new project or product they’re launching soon—something to get people excited about what’s coming but also keeping it safe to take some steps back if things don’t continue progressing.

So, if you’re seeing someone new and things are heading down the relationship course, you may be in the right boat to start a soft launch of your own. With that said, there are some ways people tend to get it wrong. So, to keep you on the right course, we’ve laid out how to successfully soft launch your partner.

1. Always Start With Your Stories

Rule number one of soft launching your partner is that it should be soft. That means starting small rather than suddenly dropping a new face straight onto your grid for all to see permanently. That’s exactly why the key to a soft launch lies in hints dropped on your stories. This goes best on Insta, but if you’re big on Snapchat or other apps with story features enabled, you can go for it there, as well.


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Also Read About: Why Your Ex Still Watches Your Instagram Stories


2. Keep It Vague

Now that we’ve covered the golden rule of soft launching your partner, it’s time to jump into what exactly you should be posting in those stories. It can start with something as simple as a plate across from yours in your brunch pic, a video of wherever you’re at that at some point includes the side of your partner’s face (think: a video spanning the cool new restaurant you’re at or everyone in your crew singing along at a concert, etc.), an extra hand across from yours in a photo or even just a subtle caption that carries a lightly romantic vibe (examples can include: “this one,” “nights like this” or “we would end up here”). Remember: the point is to gently lead people on to the idea that you’re dating someone, the type of thing that will make them say “I knew it!” when you finally post the grand reveal.


3. Be Mindful of Reposts

Whether you’re reposting something that they tag you in (or vice versa) or simply reposting a quote from one of your favorite accounts, your reposts can be a major tool in the soft launch process. If they tag you in something and you re-share it on your own story, everyone will be left wondering who this mystery person is and what their relationship is to you. If you share a cryptic quote on a relationship/love-centric topic, this will make people think about what exactly inspired you to share such a quote instead of anything else. Thinking from the mind of a follower is the best tip on this one.


Also Read About: Things You Need to Stop Telling Your Friends About Your Relationship


4. The Soft Launch Ends When the Relationship Begins

And finally: the grand reveal. The end game of a soft launch is, of course, actually revealing that you’re in an official relationship. So, the last step would be the confirmation that you’re followers were waiting for all along—the confirmation that you do, as they suspected, have a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner. This one can be whatever you like, from a more PDA-forward story pic that leaves vague far behind to including them in your next photo dump that actually ends up on your grid. Just like the relationship itself, your soft launch process—and reveal at the end—is whatever you choose to make of it.


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