A ‘deep like’ is the worst thing that can happen when you’re lurking on Instagram
I was 92 weeks deep in a stranger’s Instagram account when something truly terrible happened — my finger accidentally double-tapped the screen, resulting in the dreaded “deep like.” Cue: panic, profound regret, and infinite embarrassment.
A deep like is the moment you accidentally “like” a really old photo when lurking on someone’s Instagram profile. Many of us are guilty of deep liking, and others live in fear of the dreaded moment our finger slips and hits the heart button by mistake.
I’d been seeing a guy for a few months when things began to turn sour. I wasn’t sure if I was being ghosted or if he was seeing someone else. Naturally, I conducted an investigation. And a highly dangerous one at that.
First I trawled the photos Matt was tagged in. My heart began to race as I saw a new photo — posted by his housemate — in which he was standing behind a very pretty woman. Who is she? Why is he standing beside her?
I instantly clicked on the account and began trawling this stranger’s feed for clues. And that’s when it happened. Ninety-two weeks in, I liked a photo of this random bloke’s grandparents eating a roast dinner. And, I saw my life — and soon-to-be-over relationship — flash before my eyes.
I’m not alone in this deeply real struggle. Student Maria Bendo says her “deep like experience” happened when she was perusing the Instagram account of an old high school peer who she’d never spoken to before.
“I was going through old photos to see what they had been up to, found out they had a baby and I accidentally liked a picture of their baby that was almost a year old,” says Bendo. She says she’s usually pretty stealthy when “deep-diving,” but something went wrong on this particular occasion.
“I immediately un-liked it, closed the app and genuinely contemplated deleting my account, hoping that they would never see the notification (a delusional thought),” says Bendo. She says she was “absolutely mortified” and made her account private rather than deleting her account altogether.
Ligia Amaral — who works in PR — says she was “skimming through” a friend of a friend’s profile — a woman who she’d never met — and accidentally double-tapped while she was trying to zoom. “In that moment, it felt like time froze and my heart sunk down in my stomach,” says Amaral.
“It’s almost weirder when it’s someone you have mutual friends with than a randomer — so I quickly picked myself up and changed my Instagram name AND handle to @ligialamaral so that when she searched for me, she wouldn’t be able to find me,” says Amaral.
Ever since then, Amaral has used the account she set up for her cat for all her Insta lurking needs. She says it saves her the embarrassment because no one thinks twice about a cat liking one of their photos.
Account executive Siobhán Meehan says she was on the “receiving end of a deep like” of a photo that was a couple of weeks old.
She uses her cat’s Insta account for all her lurking needs.
“The person who liked the photo turned out to be my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend and she had liked a picture of me and my new boyfriend,” says Meehan. The new girlfriend immediately unliked the photo, but she wasn’t fast enough: Meehan still got a notification. “She was clearly have a good old stalk on my profile and accidentally double-tapped,” says Meehan. Awkward!
If you find yourself falling prey to a deep like situation, there are a few ways to style it out to minimise the brutal humiliation of being caught red-handed. Some people recommend immediately un-liking the photo and then liking a more recent photo, so that the push notification doesn’t seem too suspicious. Others prefer to set their Insta accounts to private for a day, or change their Instagram handles.
Regardless of your choice of style-out, don’t worry too much. Because, if we’re being honest with ourselves, how much attention do we really pay to the strangers who like our Instagram photos? Not much. But, deep liking is an experience that’s best avoided if you can.