The Subtle Art of the Relationship Soft-Launch

Getty / Thomas Barwick

So you’re in the beginning stages of a new relationship, but don’t necessarily know how to showcase your new boo to the world yet. Enter: the soft launch. Soft launching a relationship essentially means you’re dropping hints that you’re off the market without completely exposing your significant other or your relationship in the process. A soft launch can come in many different variations. For example, maybe you upload a photo of your dinner to your Instagram story with your SO’s hand reaching for their fork in the background. Maybe you post a picturesque sunset with the back of their head in silhouette. The beauty of the soft launch is that it’s both covert and overt at the same time; it makes it clear that there’s someone in your life without being obvious about who that person is. These under-the-radar photos will keeps people guessing whether you’re single or off the market.

Romantic relationships, especially ones that are fresh, can come with some serious feelings, vulnerabilities, and insecurities. Even if your relationship seems to be heading in the right direction, introducing someone as your lover for the rest of the world to see is a new layer of trust. Soft launching is a way to ease yourself into the introductory waters. While you want your friends, family, and followers to know you’re falling in love, you might not be exactly sure of how far you guys might go – and that’s OK. Here’s a quick guide to perfecting the soft launch, which, if all goes well, will ultimately lead up to a hard reveal in the end.

1. Post a Photo of Your Date on Your Story.

You don’t have to directly tag the person you’re seeing to show that you’re out on a date with them. Posting a photo of two wine glasses, two pasta dishes, two coffees, etc. will surely allude to the fact that you’re dating and having fun doing it! If you want to take it a step further, you can tag the location of where you are.

2. Post a Subtle Photo of Their Hands or Profile.

This isn’t a direct photograph of your date, but it should be something that shows them off a little bit. Snapping a quick pic of them reaching for something in-frame, or capturing the side of their face when they’re looking away from the camera is a great way to slowly introduce them to the rest of the people in your life.

3. Tag Their Handle in Your Story.

The photo you post to your story doesn’t need to even be of your new boo, but tagging their handle allows for a little bit more exposure. The risk of exposure in this move is directly related to how good your friends are at sleuthing and whether you imagine they’ll use their FBI-level investigation skills to suss out every detail they can about your partner. Tagging your SO can be a pretty low key move if your followers and friends tend to be more laid back.

4. Make Your Captions Less Subtle.

Adding a quick “great times with a great person,” or, “the perfect night <3” allows for ambiguity, but definitely makes your audience aware that you’re seeing someone new. Don’t overthink it too much, just go with what feels natural. Yes, saying something sweet can make you feel a bit vulnerable, but that’s OK! Relationships are all about vulnerability, and it makes sense that you would want to share that sense of vulnerability and excitement with your friends online.

5. Finally, Show Off Your New Relationship With a Direct Photo.

When you and your partner feel ready, it’s time to ease out of the soft launch and into the full-on introduction. Take photos that show your partner’s full face, and post them however you’d like. This can be as simple as posting a picture to your story, or directly introducing them on your Instagram feed. Check in with each other to ensure that the comfortability is there, and then take the leap. By this point, your followers will be excited to finally see you new crush.

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