If a real-life prince can find love on Instagram, you can, too. In the newly released docuseries “Harry & Meghan,” the Netflix production features an in-depth look at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s very private relationship — but all anyone can talk about is how it all went down on Instagram.
While the pair previously stated they met via a mutual friend, in the first episode of the docuseries, Harry revealed, “Meghan and I met over Instagram.” He said, “I was scrolling through my feed, and someone who was a friend had this video of the two of them, it was like a Snapchat.”
This happened back in July 2016 — when the whole “puppy” filter was still very much a thing, and Markle was seen using it in a video with their mutual friend. Though it’s not clear who the friend was, Harry said that he asked his friend about Markle, and that friend sent Markle an email asking if she’d like to meet him. As we know by now, the rest was history.
But Markle and Harry aren’t the only famous pairing who owe their love story to Instagram. Notable celeb couples like Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner and Dylan Sprouse and Barbara Palvin have Instagram to thank for their romance, too. Of course, this isn’t exactly shocking. It’s not all that novel that people are connecting with others via Instagram, a social networking app.
What is new is that, among the plethora of dating apps out there, singles are considering Instagram to be the “best non-dating-app dating app.” According to Instagram’s 2023 trend report, Gen Z users feel “more comfortable” breaking the ice online than in person — and they plan to use platforms like Instagram for dating and connections, just like the famous royal couple did.
British author and journalist Bolu Babalola said in a tweet that this could be because Instagram is the “dating app without the pressures of a dating app.” For example, “you see their mutual friends [and] how they portray themselves (even if it isn’t accurate, it is what they choose to show and that shows a lot too).”
I can’t believe they met on Instagram, it really is a great dating app without all the pressures of a dating app. You see their mutual friends, how they portray themselves (even if it isn’t accurate, it is what they choose to show and that shows a lot too) #HarryandMeghanNetflix
— Bolu Babalola 🍯&🌶 (@BeeBabs) December 8, 2022
As someone who has had a longstanding relationship with dating apps, I think Babalola is exactly right. On dating apps, a lot of effort goes into curating the perfect profile. And really, it’s a strategy; the emphasis focuses so much on how to obtain more matches that many people lose sight of how to obtain more quality matches. Eventually, dating apps begin to feel like a platform that’s only used when you want to be validated. And let us not forget the dating fatigue that comes with swiping and messaging back and forth.
To be fair, Instagram isn’t much better on the validation front. It also won’t fix all the qualms you have with Tinder or Hinge, but it will relieve you of having to answer “So, what are you looking for?” repeatedly. Plus, on Instagram, people have the chance to see a more authentic glimpse of who you are — even if it is just a small part or even a front. You have access to mutual friends, and you can see who they follow and who follows them — all in addition to their photos. Lastly, meeting someone on Instagram just feels more spontaneous. Dating apps can feel like a formula or a job, whereas meeting via Instagram still feels more organic in the way you’d meet someone in real life.
There’s no definitive data saying you’ll get your happily ever after via Instagram DMs, but if you’re feeling burnt out on the normal dating-app routine, using Instagram to scour potential suitors could get you one step closer to finding your special person — or maybe even a prince, if you’re into that kind of thing.