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Instagram is probably the most popular social media that allows you to meet people you haven’t seen before in real life; you normally can contact people within your social circle using other means like WhatsApp or Telegram.

How do you make friends on Instagram? My understanding is that a social media platform allows you to interact with strangers, who are equally willing to interact with other strangers. When you attempt to follow “strangers” (whom your IRL friends are acquainted with) in Instagram, isn’t it paradoxical that most of them won’t accept your follow request, since they don’t know who you are? In fact, even if you follow them, wouldn’t your acquaintance with them solely be limited to liking posts?

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I use Instagram a lot, both to interact with people I know in real life and with people I don't.

The first thing to realize is that many people have their profile set to public, so you can follow them without sending a request. That's also usually a good sign that they're at least a little bit open to interacting with strangers.

Most of my interactions with strangers have happened when I commented on their stories -- things like "That looks delicious!" or "Which bar is that?" or "I just saw that movie last week! What did you think?" If they're interested in having a conversation, they'll respond, otherwise they'll ignore it and life goes on.

The important thing is not to push it. Many people (including me) aren't really on Instagram for the purpose of having long conversations with strangers and building relationships; they're there to share little glimpses of their life and get likes, and mostly interact with people they already know. Don't keep trying to start up a conversation if you've sent one or two messages and they're not responding enthusiastically. Just let it go and stick to the occasional comment or story reaction when it feels natural.

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