Have you ever posted a story on Instagram and subsequently found yourself anxiously scrolling through the list of those who viewed it in the hopes of seeing your crush’s handle? That was a rhetorical question. Of course you have. You wonder, What did they think about that video of my cat sleeping while Lizzo played in the background? Did they think it was funny? Did they think it was cute? Did they think watching it was a complete waste of their time?

But if you are like me, you remain unphased by these questions, because you exert an inordinate amount of energy to tailor certain stories to your crush’s interests. You know they adore not only cats but also Lizzo (how could anyone not?), and they were therefore elated to watch that story. This tactic, which a friend recently referred to as “storybaiting,” is a way to subtly solicit attention — and ideally DMs — from someone you are attracted to. Is this playing “the game” to an absurd degree? Maybe! But don’t lie, I know you’re guilty of posting at least one of these, and if you haven’t, it’s high time to study up.

1. The Thirst Trap

Ah, perhaps the most classic way to garner attention from your crush. Maybe your hair is especially lustrous, your skin is looking particularly Glossier-glowy, or you put a little extra effort into your athleisure outfit. Whatever it is, your crush definitely needs to see it. You post a gratuitous selfie boasting an irrelevant caption about Mercury finally being out of retrograde to make it seem nonchalant. Or you may even be boldly self-aware and caption the pic, “Feelin’ cute, idk!” Sure, you are #Beyonce #FeelingYourself, but you’re also posting it with the hopes that a specific someone will see it and realize they want to date you.

2. The Niche Meme

The meme exchange is an important milestone in any relationship, so of course, you go out of your way to curate memes that you know to be particularly relevant to your crush. Do they love “Drag Race?” Well they are in luck, because you have the perfect Trixie Mattel meme to lure them directly into your DMs. You two once had a conversation about “Bachelor in Paradise” at a party? Great, because Demi has given us meme-able content that lasts beyond her season. You continue to post these and patiently wait for them to respond with a flood of crying-laughing emojis so you can take your relationship to the next level: sharing memes one-on-one with them. Mazel tov — I’m thinking a spring wedding for you two.

3. The Outdoor Excursion

You do not regularly go on eight-mile hikes. You don’t even go on two-mile hikes. Honestly, the hike up and down three flights of stairs to get to your apartment’s laundry room and back is a bit much for you. But right now you are crushing on someone who is much more into the outdoors than you are, and you yearn to find common ground with them. On the rare occasion that you find yourself ascending a mountain (or even a really big hill), you post a view from the top and caption it, “Casual Saturday!” You don’t want to seem like a try-hard, but you do want your crush to slide into your DMs and ask which hike you did or mention that they have hiked the same trail before. They don’t have to know that you have spent every other weekend this month on your couch binge-watching “Dexter” for the third time. 

4. The Assertion Of Literacy

That’s right, you read! You have taken a break from your usual assortment of ghost-written celebrity memoirs to dig into something a little more *poignant* and *acclaimed*. Knowing your crush is a big reader, you snap a photo of the dusty paperback copy of “Catch-22” you still have from high school. “Revisiting an old fave, nerd emoji,” you proclaim, when in reality you just barely skimmed the SparkNotes in your junior-year English class. Except now, you actually give the classic a shot and are surprised by how much you enjoy it. Your crush (and fellow scholar) will naturally DM you about how the novel addresses the impotence of language or the absolute power of bureaucracy, and the rest will be history. 

5. The Spotify Screenshot

You often post screenshots of the music you have been listening to (though, let’s be real, nobody who watches your stories ever goes out of their way to actually take your recommendations), but you occasionally post songs that you know for a fact your crush likes. You then feign surprise when they DM you saying how much they also love Kim Petras’ latest album. “No way! Isn’t Kim the best?” you reply, as if you did not already stalk their Instagram far enough back to see that they saw Kim last time she was in town. This isn’t obsessive — it just means you are a thorough researcher. 

6. The Back-In-Town

Knock knock. Who’s there? It’s you, and you are back in your hometown for a high-school classmates cousin’s son’s bris, or something like that. Your crush still lives in the area, and they need to know that you are around, but you wouldn’t dare do something so quaint and direct as shooting them a text. Instead you slyly post a dimly lit corner of a coffee shop that everyone frequented in high school. You sit and smugly sip your oat milk matcha latte as you await the inevitable, “I know those chairs! You’re in town?!” Instagram push notification to appear on your screen. Looks like it’s time for a reunion. 

7. The Thirst Trap… Again

What? The lighting was too good to pass up!