Is it InstaLove?

Dear Elana, 

I'm falling in love with my online guy friend. We met through Instagram and have become good friends but we've never met in person. I want to have a future with him, but I don't know how to approach things as I have no idea about his feelings and I don't want to ruin the friendship between us.

- I Never Stop Thinking About Crush

Dear INSTA Crush, 

It sounds like you're falling for this guy's emoji game, but you want some face time. 

I'm wondering where you are in the trajectory of your Instagram relationship. It seems like you have progressed through the early stages of Instaflirting: following each other, liking and commenting on each other's photographs, and moving from public communication to private messaging. 

The next step is to move the conversation off of Instagram and into more personal modes of communication: email, phone, or video chat. Once you establish mutual trust and interest, you can plan a date IRL (In Real Life) – so that one day you can post photos of the two of you together, sipping hot chocolate in front of a blazing fire. 

You can figure out if he likes you as more than a friend by watching his reactions to your posts. Reciprocity is key. If you like one of his workout pics at the gym, he should like one of your fitness selfies. You can also scope out your competition. Has he recently followed or liked other girls' pictures? Did he like all of their #instagood posts, but ignore your birthday post? If so, sorry, but he's not that into you. 

If it seems like all signs are pointing to InstaLove, try to communicate with him honesty and directly. Remember, it's easy to hide behind a computer screen, but if you want your connection to grow, you need to show him your real feelings (#nofilter).