Can Someone See Your Message on Instagram If You Are Not Friends?


Trying to send a message to someone who is private on Instagram can be challenging especially because of Instagram’s privacy settings not allowing you to message anyone you want without going through hoops. If you’ve managed to send someone who doesn’t follow you on Instagram a message via DM, then you’ll be thinking if they’ll be able to read that message without being friends with you.

When you mutually follow someone on Instagram, when you send them a message, they receive it directly to their inbox and they’ll be able to see the message once they visit it. But when they don’t follow you back, it can be a bit tricky to know if they’ve seen your message or not because there are no clear indicators.

Can Someone See Your Message on Instagram If You Are Not Friends?

Yes someone can see your messages on instagram if you aren’t friends. When one of you unfollows each other, the messages are still there and they aren’t deleted. They can also search your messages if they’re looking for something specific. 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re friends with someone or not, your messages are always going to be there unless you or the other part unsends your messages or deletes your conversation for yourself. However, the conversation will still be there on their account if they haven’t deleted it. The same doesn’t apply for unsent messages which are removed for both parties.

Tip: When searching for messages, you may be worried that they’ll be notified when you use the search in conversation feature.

If You Send A Message To Someone Who’s Private, Can They Still Read it?

If you send a message to someone who’s private or doesn’t follow you on Instagram, they will still be able to read your message via the message request section on Instagram. People whose accounts are private and haven’t accepted your follow or message request can still see your messages but there’s an extra step for them to read it, unlike someone whose request has been accepted. The message requests section is a folder of people who have tried to message you but you haven’t accepted their request or they don’t follow you.

Instagram doesn’t let messages from people who you don’t follow end up in your normal inbox if you’re a private account or your settings don’t allow them to because if you were a popular person, it’s possible that you could get bombarded by a ton of people who don’t know you and you wouldn’t be able to read the messages that matter in your inbox. This is why you need a separate inbox for people who can’t message you directly so that you can decide whether you want to read it and respond to them.

They’ll Read The Message In The Request Folder

If you’ve sent someone a message and they haven’t accepted your request, you’re not friends with them, they’ll have to go into the message request folder and from there they’ll be able to read the message – you won’t know that they’ve seen the message because Instagram wouldn’t give you any information about their active status or whether they’ve read the message. In most cases, people don’t actually check their message requests so trying to gauge whether someone has read your message in their requests folder, chances are they haven’t.

You’ll only be able to see that they’ve read your message once they reply back to you. Another way that you can tell that they’ve read your message is if they follow you as soon as you send it – if they follow you soon after, you’ll know that they’ve read the message plus once you accept the follow request, you’ll see the seen status under the message you send them. Also, they’re given the option to accept or decline the request so if they accept it, you’ll see the seen status under the message.

They’ll Read Your Message Notification

When you send someone a message, regardless of if they’ve accepted your message request or not on Instagram, they’ll receive a message notification and from there they can read the message that you sent them. Of course, you’re not going to know that they read your message, but in some cases, they’ll see a notification and they’ll be able to know that you read their message.

Can I Send Someone a Message on Instagram If I Don’t Follow Them?

Depending on if they have the setting on that allows people to DM them, which 99% of accounts do, even if you don’t follow someone, you’ll be able to DM them. If someone doesn’t follow you, the same rules apple, they’ll be able to DM you too.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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