A step-by-step guide on how to refrain from Instagramming your dinner

Start by resisting the urge to search the location tag of the restaurant you’re planning on going to. Take a chance and go somewhere you’ve never eaten before. Somewhere that may not be as visually appealing as the usual Insta-bait eateries. Silently congratulate yourself for being spontaneous and original. Feel cool in front of your dinner companion who ‘had never heard of this place before.’

Read the menu without pulling out your phone to decipher dishes you don’t understand. Pretend that you do. Send subliminal messages to your friend to ask the waiter so you don’t have to. Nod along when the waiter explains that burrata is a type of cheese. Tell a story about how you tried it in Italy once. Make a mental note to visit Italy.

Turn to meaningful conversation. Ask your companion about their day, make eye contact and nod intently. Congratulate yourself silently for being such a good listener.

Resist the urge to check your phone when conversation slows. Think back to a list of icebreakers you read on HuffPost last week. Try one out. Make a mental note to never do that again. Pay your friend a compliment to distract from the awkwardness of it all. 

Start feeling smug that it’s been a few hours and you still haven’t looked at your phone. Make a comment about the importance of switching off from electronics at dinner as your companion picks up their smartphone. Generously tell them you don’t mind if they check their phone. Feel superior.

When the burrata arrives, comment on how delicious it looks, place the napkin across your knee and pick up your knife and fork. Tuck in.

Realise you don’t like burrata. Finish for the sake of your pride. 

Watch as your companion takes a photo of their seafood spaghetti. Be jealous that their food looks much better than yours. Be jealous that they’ll have a cool photo to show all of your friends. Feel bitter because you were the one who suggested this place, and where the hell is your credit? Remind yourself that Instagram is gauche. Feel smug again.

Pick up the cheque and leave feeling decidedly pious.

Go home and write a Yelp review, commenting on the importance of appreciating the ‘ambiance’ of the restaurant and lamenting that there were too many people on their phones.

Get into bed. Read the comments on your friend’s photo from dinner. Feel anxious that no one knows that you were there too. Try to fall into a peaceful sleep — fail. 

Pick up your laptop. Write a blog post about your experience, publish it, put the link in your Instagram bio and direct people to read it via a picture of burrata you found on Google.

Talk incessantly about how you really don’t care about social media. Threaten to delete your accounts at least once a day for a few months. Never do it.

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