1. Having paralysing anxiety over your recent searches. You don't let anyone touch your phone for fear that they'll see your recent hashtag searches or people you're stalking, and think you're insane. Which you might be, but whatever. Everyone has their issues.
2. Obsessively clearing your searches. What if, despite your most rigorous surveillance, someone gets their dirty paws on your phone and sees your secret shame?! Well, you don't have to worry about that because you've already cleared your stuff three times today.
3. When you do accidentally like a photo from four years ago. And then you have to make the hardest decision of your life thus far (aka do you continue to like more photos casually so it looks like you're proudly saying, "Hey, I enjoy your photos and think you're cool and live a cool life," or do you just let that one like sit in shame).
4. Suddenly being really conscious of the size of your fingers. What if they're so big you accidentally follow Matt from Tinder's ex girlfriend from 2009??! You're just trying to click the link in her bio to her food blog! You don't want to start a war!
5. This is you when you're inspecting someone else's feed:
6. When you accidentally like a photo and you don't even follow the person. Literally worse than death. The one time you did it, you cried to your boyfriend about it for 20 minutes while he was all, "Why do you care?!" Then, you got into a fight about how he doesn't understand you and almost broke up. Insta-stalking can have serious consequences, folks.
7. Wanting to show your friend something but having to preface everything with, "BUT DONT TOUCH THE SCREEN AND DOUBLE-TAP IT." "Actually, just don't touch the phone at all. I'll just hold it and you can look at it."
8. Stalking people's geotags. When you want to see where all the cool kids get brunch, you can view all their geotagged stuff (aka brunch recommendations) on a map and feel like THE worst but also really smart at the same time. Then, you can go there next week and take your own #AvocadoToast photos and pray someone is stalking you. The cycle continues.
9. This tweet is so real, you can hardly look it in the eye:
10. Taking screenshots of everything. If there are more screenshots in your photo album than there are pictures of your cat, you have a legit problem.
11. Clicking on the profile of every girl who likes your crush's photos. And then figuring out who they are to him. OK, I know "Musclelady67" is his mom and "ProfessorCuteStuff" is his sister, but who the fuck is TheRealTherese?!
12. Knowing all about your crush's mum's vegetable garden. You know Musclelady67 loves mountain biking, lunch with the ladies from the club, and her prized rutabagas. (It's cool! You'll have so much to talk to her about when she's your mother-in-law!)
13. When you're so deep in, you end up on his nephew's Little League team's page. It's 3 a.m. and you're reading about how the Riverton Eagles beat the Pleasanton Peewees in a stunning 3–2 defeat and why are you still awake and what is wrong with you?!
14. When you type "I" into your brower and it autocompletes, "Instagram.com/ThisChickIHatesProfile." When your Insta-stalking gets so intense that it becomes one of your "favourite pages" on Safari, it might be time to throw your phone into the deep, deep ocean.
15. Hashtag-stalking. When you want to seem like you know nothing about your date but really you've already stalked every esoteric hashtag they've ever jokingly used.
16. When you stalk a person a ton and then you have to pretend you had no idea what they were up to. "Oh, you went to see Beyoncé at the Bowl on Saturday? Oh, really. I had no idea. I don't know anything about you. What is your name again, stranger?"
17. Squad-stalking. When you start out wanting to admire one girl's rooftop wine photo but then you go through their tagged photos and stalk all their fab friends too and suddenly it's 7 p.m. The next day. Shit, you missed work.
18. Wanting to tap a photo to see who's tagged in it but waiting like five "Mississippi"s just in case Instagram counts it as a — heaven forbid — double tap. That's just a basic survival instinct.
19. Having those friendships where you both just mutually like each other's Instagrams but never hang out IRL. But it feels so good to know someone just, like, approves of the way you're living your life online. If you had the guts to ask them to hang out, you could have a new friend. Maybe tomorrow; you have more stalking to do.
Words: Carina Hsieh and Laura Beck