What Does CF Mean on Instagram?

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Hey there! If you‘ve landed on this page, you‘re probably wondering – what does CF mean on Instagram? I‘ve got you covered.

As an avid Instagrammer myself, I know it can get confusing with all the lingo and acronyms floating around. CF is one of the more common ones people ask about.

In short, CF stands for "Close Friends" and it allows you to share Instagram Stories with only a select group of your followers. Pretty nifty feature right?

But I‘m guessing you want all the details… so let‘s dive right in!

In this complete guide, I‘ll be explaining exactly how Close Friends works, how to use it, who can see your CF Stories, the benefits of Close Friends, and much more. I‘ll also answer some frequently asked questions at the end.

So get cozy and let‘s get to it!

CF stands for "Close Friends." It‘s a feature that allows you to share Instagram Stories with a customized list of friends rather than your entire followers list.

So anytime you see "CF" on Instagram, you can assume it‘s referring to Close Friends.

Before we get into how to use Close Friends, let‘s do a quick history lesson so you can understand how we got here.

Instagram Stories launched in August 2016 as a way to share photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Stories enabled more casual, spur-of-the-moment sharing than the highly curated Instagram feed.

Within two years, Instagram Stories gained over 400 million daily users. But people wanted more privacy settings – a way to share Stories with only their closest friends rather than all followers.

So in November 2018, nearly two years after Stories launched, Instagram introduced Close Friends.

Finally, users could hand-pick the friends they trusted most to see certain Stories! It was a game-changer for privacy.

Initially called "Best Friends", the feature was renamed to Close Friends before launching to avoid hurt feelings over who makes each list.

And that brings us to today! Close Friends has become a staple part of the Instagram Stories experience.

As a social media analyst, I‘m always interested in the user stats. So how widely used is the Close Friends feature anyway?

While Instagram hasn‘t released official numbers, surveys indicate over 50% of Instagrammers use Close Friends.

According to a 2020 Harris Poll survey, 56% of US Instagram users have set up a Close Friends list.

Additionally, marketing firm The Influencer Marketing Factory found that over 60% of teen Instagram users actively utilize Close Friends.

So while not everyone opts in, it‘s safe to say a solid majority of active Instagrammers are posting to Close Friends. And that number continues to grow!

Naturally you’re wondering – who can actually see my Close Friends Stories?

It‘s all about the list. When you put a friend on your Close Friends list, they’ll be able to see any Story you share to “Close Friends.”

Meanwhile, any followers NOT on the list will not see your Close Friends Stories. Even if they watch your other Stories, your CF ones will be hidden from them.

You and only you control the list. Instagram doesn‘t automatically add anyone.

You can add or remove people whenever you want. And don’t worry – no one is notified when you add or remove them!

It‘s completely secret unless they realize they can or can‘t view certain Stories.

Alright, time for the fun part – how do you actually use Close Friends? Let me walk you through it step-by-step.

Step 1: Create Your Close Friends List

First things first, you need to make your exclusive Close Friends list:

  • Go to your profile and tap the 3 lines in the top right corner to open the menu.

  • Select “Close Friends” and then “Create List.”

  • Search for and select the followers you want to add to your Close Friends list. Tap “Done” when finished.

Pro tip: Start small with just your VIPs! You can always add more friends later.

Step 2: Share a Close Friends Story

When you‘re ready to post a Story just for your Close Friends, do this:

  • Tap the camera icon to access Stories as usual. Take/upload your photo/video.

  • In the bottom left corner, tap “Close Friends” under the audience selector instead of “Your Story.”

  • Share your Story! It will now only be visible to your Close Friends.

And voila! Now your Story is exclusive to just your nearest and dearest. So easy, right?

Since Close Friends Stories are, well, exclusive – you‘re probably wondering who can view them.

The viewers list works the same as with regular Stories. You can swipe up on a Close Friends Story to see a list of who‘s viewed it.

This list will only include people who are in your Close Friends list since they are the only ones able to watch it.

So unlike regular Stories, the viewers list won‘t show followers who aren‘t on your CF list. It keeps things private!

Now you may be thinking… can I make multiple Close Friends lists for different groups of friends?

Unfortunately, you can only have one single Close Friends list per Instagram account right now.

Instagram has not yet introduced the ability to make multiple lists or subgroups within your Close Friends.

So your Close Friends can only be one solid list of your true inner circle rather than groups of friends.

But one list is better than nothing! I‘m sure the smart folks at Instagram will add more options in the future.

You‘re probably wondering how to know if you‘re in someone‘s Close Friends list. Excellent question!

When someone adds you to their CF list, their Stories will have a green circle or green badge around their profile pic when you view it.

This green indicator means that Story is only visible to their Close Friends. So it‘s a dead giveaway that they added you!

If all you see is a pink or purple ring instead, that means their Story goes to their general followers and you aren‘t in their inner circle. Rough.

So if you ever spot that coveted green ring, feel honored they chose you!

There are so many awesome benefits to using Close Friends rather than sharing all Stories publicly.

Increased Privacy

Close Friends lets you share moments without the whole world seeing. Financial troubles, bad hair days, venting about your boss… keep it for CF only!

Share More Intimate/Personal Updates

Let your inner circle in on your dating drama, health news, family issues, daily rants etc. Strengthen bonds through intimate Stories.

Get Closer with Your VIPs

Exclusive Stories just for your besties helps you nurture those relationships. Prioritize your real friends rather than chasing followers.

Show Your Silly Side

Dance videos in your PJs or skincare fails – save the silly stuff for Close Friends who will get it.

Divide Work and Personal

Use CF to share personal life. Keep public page professional. Close Friends lets you separate aspects of your life.

Test Out Content

Practice Story filters/lenses, try out an outfit, or get feedback on a video idea. Test things with CF before sharing to all.

Avoid Oversharing

Share every detail of your life with Close Friends instead of annoying everyone else. Protect your followers from TMI!

Want to take your Close Friends game to the next level? Check out these pro tips:

  • Add a CF Highlights story – Make a highlights album just for your "Close Friends" so they can see all your exclusive Stories in one place.

  • Change your CF often – Rotate who you add to your Close Friends to share glimpses of your life with different circles.

  • Engage with your CF – Reply to their Stories, react to their posts, and interact regularly so they feel special!

  • Send exclusive content – Share selfies, videos, memes etc exclusively through Direct Message to your CF list for an extra layer of privacy.

  • Do fun polls or Q&As – Learn more about your Close Friends by asking questions in your Stories and seeing their responses.

  • Share CF updates daily – Post frequently to your Story for Close Friends only to build a habit and give them FOMO if they miss it!

One final note – Close Friends is different than Favorites on Instagram:

  • Favorites organizes who you see at the top of your feed. It doesn‘t impact Stories.

  • Close Friends controls who sees your Stories. It doesn‘t affect your feed.

Different purposes, so use both wisely!

And there you have it! Now you know the deal with CF on Instagram.

To recap:

  • CF = Close Friends

  • Lets you share Stories with only your inner circle

  • Identified by a green ring/badge around Stories

  • Create your list and share away!

I hope this guide cleared up what CF is all about on Instagram and how to use it. The Close Friends feature is awesome for bonding with your real friends instead of fake followers.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to provide tips to up your Instagram game. Chat soon!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.