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A woman successfully convinced all her friends that she had a boyfriend on Instagram

An experiment of sorts.

WITH VALENTINE’S DAY coming up quickly, one Cosmo writer struck on an idea:

The key to raking in numbers on social media in February is to be in a relationship on Instagram – so she created a fake boyfriend.

As you do.

She documented the step-by-step process and called it ‘How I Faked a Hot New Boyfriend on Instagram’

taking refuge with a new friend 😜

A post shared by hannah smothers (@hannahsmo) on

Hannah Smothers’ first post was a subtle hint at a fellow diner. She was playing the long prank with this one:

No one texted me to ask “OMG who r u with!!?” after this post, but that is OK. This is only the beginning. Patience, my children. You cannot rush such fine con artistry as this.

Next up, she posted a pic of some mysterious flowers

someone not gross sent me flowers

A post shared by hannah smothers (@hannahsmo) on

They were just flowers hanging around her office. Her cynical ploy was starting to ramp up a notch:

How sweet of fake Insta boyfriend. People who follow me closely enough were meant to pick up this photo hint like the disgusting bait that it was.

Next, she was out for a drink with a friend, another ambiguous photo was shared

after work drinks with boy

A post shared by hannah smothers (@hannahsmo) on

The process was moving along nicely:

The lesson here is that the quality of the pic does not matter nearly as much as the caption when it comes to wrangling faux-likes

Finally… a shot of the fake boyfriend’s hand whetted the appetite more

💕love on the L train💕

A post shared by hannah smothers (@hannahsmo) on


I simply placed my hand next to a man’s on the rail, drew my phone in close, and snapped a pic. Boom, perfection.

At this point she started getting messages from friends. But she had reached a breaking point between real life and her Insta life:

I reached an important crossroads. I had to decide how much I could afford to toe the line between staying on brand and going full-on Insta girl in love if I really wanted people to believe me

But she posted one final photo of the “relationship”

best coffee with best guy

A post shared by hannah smothers (@hannahsmo) on

And it was at that point that she called the experiment off – she was getting too many excited messages from friends, and even her grandmother:

Now that my secret has been revealed, it’s time for my Insta boyfriend and I to break up. He’s been absolutely lovely, I enjoyed the likes these total lie posts brought, but we’re through. Time to move on. I’ve missed posting my usual selfies and mirror selfies.

So, with the experiment over, she can go back to her normal Instagram life – now fully aware of how the other side works.

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About the author:

David Elkin

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