“Thirst Trapping” Is The New Instagram Trend — Are You Guilty?

Are you a selfie person? Maybe you post the occasional photo when you’re at a party and feel like your hair looks perfect, or maybe you’re on the selfie rollercoaster and your Instagram account is a daily diary of what you look like. There’s a new selfie trend in town and it’s actually the strangest thing ever. Even its name is weird. Here’s what you need to know about the “thirst trap” selfie.

  1. There’s a real definition. You want to know what this is, don’t you? Here’s the definition according to Elite Daily: “When you post a provocative picture of yourself online in the hopes of garnering attention either from one person or from all of your followers.” Okay. Now you know.
  2. Even Urban Dictionary says so. Here’s what the site has to say: “A sexy photograph or flirty message posted on social media with the intent of causing others to publicly profess their attraction. This is done not to actually respond or satisfy any of this attraction, but to feed the poster’s ego or need for attention, at the expense of the time, reputation and sexual frustration of those who view the image or reply.”
  3. This might be a new word for an old trend. As Elite Daily says, self-portraits have been around since forever, and those could technically fall into the thirst trap category, along with the fact that celebs love posting photos of themselves all the time. Sometimes a new trend is just something that everyone has been doing for years and there’s finally a word for it, right?
  4. You might post these photos if you’re feeling insecure. People think that thirst trap selfie posters are feeling extremely insecure. If you ever post a photo of yourself because you’re having a bad week or because you just dumped, guess what? You’re totally feeding into this whole thing, even if you had no idea. It’s kind of like fishing for compliments, like when you know that you look good but lie to your friend about having a bad hair day so she has to say something nice.
  5. Maybe you miss your ex-boyfriend. Another potential reason for doing this? You hate that your boyfriend broke up with you and want to post a hot photo of yourself so he can see it. Of course this is the worst idea ever. Have you ever drunk texted your ex or sent him a photo of yourself and ever had it go over well? Exactly.
  6. Maybe you want to feel attractive. You know when you’re scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed and you feel like so many girls are posting selfies just so they can feel pretty? This is exactly what this new trend is, although it’s just so much more obvious. Looking to feel attractive by posting photos online is just the worst way to go about it. You really do have to find your self-esteem and confidence by being yourself and doing what you love every day. You just won’t find it through selfies.
  7. You might even just want something to do. Yup, a lot of people think that people post thirst trap selfies when they’re sitting at home with nothing to do. That definitely makes sense. But if you’re ever tempted to post a selfie storm, you probably want to put your phone away and watch Netflix or something. Or better yet, go outside and take a walk (what a concept…).
  8. It’s different from a regular selfie. You might be thinking, “I post selfies all the time and I definitely want to get likes and positive comments. How is a thirst trap selfie any different?” It’s apparently all about what you’re hoping to gain after. Yeah, when you post a normal selfie, you want likes and positive comments, but that’s not the only reason that you’re posting. You’re having fun on Instagram and want to add to the overall image of your feed. Not so with the thirst trap selfie. You absolutely need attention or will feel terrible. So as long as you post the occasional selfie but forget all about getting anything more from it, you should be all good, and you won’t be guilty of the thirst trap selfie. Phew.
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor from Toronto, Canada. In addition to writing about dating and relationships for Bolde, she also writes about movies, TV, and video games for ScreenRant and GameRant. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. You can find her on Twitter @ayatsintziras and on Instagram @aya.tsintziras.