As you well know, Instagram is more than just lattes and sunsets. It has evolved into a courtship app—and not one every guy knows how to use particularly well. So I asked some of my single girlfriends about their Instagram flirtation turn-ons and tendencies – as well as what creeps them out. This is our advice.

When it comes to checking out your crush’s photos, be cautious about liking super-old photos. It’s OK and natural to “Insta-stalk” (hey, we ALL do it), but liking a ton of old photos comes off as desperate and creepy. It’s even creepier when you like a bikini photo of hers about 800 photos back. And for the love of god, DO NOT like every single one of her photos because that’s just insane. Hi, I spent my Saturday evening stalking because now I’m obsessed with you!

Think of selfies as a super-indulgent deep-fried dessert coated in sugar and butter. Occasionally, it won’t do permanent harm, but every day is overkill. If you are going to post a selfie there’s definitely cool and artistic ways to capture it, and you can totally use that opportunity to impress a girl.

For example try a unique underwater selfie. Or float on your back in a pool and shoot with the lens pointed down towards your face. Be creative. Try to prevent people from seeing your selfie as narcissistic.

Avoid the dreaded “post-workout selfie” or any picture of you in the car. (Seriously, are you Instagramming and driving?!)

Have an adorable pet? By all means show it off. Do you like to hike and have awesome shots of the trails you’ve trekked? Post away. Show off stuff about yourself that resembles your hobbies and interests, but be careful what you show off. Leave the super-expensive material stuff out of it. Regardless of whether you’re wealthy or not, it comes off as tasteless. Just don’t do it.

If you have the urge to post some cliché or “insightful” quote, save it for a place for words like Twitter or Facebook. The beauty of Instagram is that it’s simply photos. Don’t use a social media platform intended for posting pictures for hacky quotes or song lyrics or your yellow notepad filled with text. You’re not portraying that you’re wise or philosophical. You’re just showing that you’re good at copy and pasting a quote you found on the Internet.

“Liking” on Instagram is like a wink or smile from across the bar. We all tend to “like” photos impulsively. Commenting, on the other hand, is taking it a step further. It’s showing interest, not too different from going up to actually start a conversation with a woman or offering to buy her a drink.

While you’re doing all this liking and commenting, keep in mind that, just as in the real world of dating and hooking up, flirting on Instagram should be a mutually beneficial pursuit. Take a hint. If your crush isn’t reciprocating your likes and comments, back off. If she does reciprocate the likes on your photos, it’s probably safe to move to a more personal communication method like Facebook or texting.

© ImageZoo / Alamy

© ImageZoo / Alamy

Above all else, it’s important to note that Instagram is meant to be fun. It’s not all that different from flirting in the real world. What truly matters above all is how you flirt and interact once you meet. When that day comes, remember to put your phones away and just be your awesome, selfie-free self.

Eden Dranger is a standup comedian in Los Angeles.

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