If you’re shallow and actually care about your Instagram likes (like myself), then you know you can never pass up ordering a meal that has potential to be a great Instagram.

But what your loyal followers don’t know is that if a picture of food actually made it onto your profile, then it successfully passed a pretty critical process  a process everyone with Instagram anxiety can relate to.

If you’re thinking “Instagram anxiety” is a made-up term, then read on and I bet you’ll find yourself relating to some of these very real, very time-consuming thought processes.

1. Picking a restaurant based on the menu

We’ve all either browsed Instagram hashtags or googled nearby restaurants/bakeries/ice cream shops to find the place with the best sounding menu (ie. anywhere that mentions the word “Nutella”). 30 minute drive? No problem.

2. Hiding in the back booth so others can’t judge

A photo posted by Tic Tac To (@iamtictacto) on May 27, 2015 at 1:32pm PDT

As much as we wish we were shameless food posters, no one likes to be stared at for holding their food in the air and rotating it until they find the perfect lighting.

3. Potential Instagram photos trump health kicks (sorry not sorry)


You have to choose the coolest sounding thing on the menu even if it’s not your fave. Yes the chef salad is a smarter choice, but red velvet French toast? Waaaaay more potential.

4. Ambiance matters too


It’s necessary that you organize your place setting so that your Instagram will have a pretty background. You’ll probably find yourself saying, “Move your keys and grab that vase from the table over there.”

5. Seeing your food and just thinking about the Instagram likes


A photo posted by Astro Doughnuts (@astrodoughnuts) on Oct 3, 2015 at 4:35am PDT   

“WOW this looks way better than I imagined… I wonder if I’ll break my old record.” 

6. Filling your phone with 20+ takes of the same meal


You chose this seat in the back corner for a reason, might as well have your food “pose” in every possible way you can think of.

7. Taking/editing pics is SO time consuming

Ugh now my food is cold. Whatever, it’ll be worth it. 

8. Asking your friends their thoughts on your photo


Gif courtesy of tumblr.com

You immediately send all of your narrowed down options to the group chat that you have with your friends. “Does this one look too edited, though?”  

9. Finally choosing the perfect shot


Photo courtesy of buzzfeed.com

 Oh sh*t, I’ve done it again.

10. …But you get stuck on the caption


Only using emojis isn’t going to cut it; a witty caption is necessary.

11. Questioning if the meal even looks good anymore

“Ugh I wish there was more powdered sugar and less syrup…or maybe I should’ve gotten it with some fruit.”

12. “Maybe I will just post it as a #tbt later”


That way my caption can just be straightforward and less creative…

13. Checking your notifications every 5 seconds


Gif courtesy of giphy.com

“Shoot I’m plateauing… should I delete it?”