How To Control Who Can Reply To Your Instagram Stories & Give Your Inbox A Rest

If you're an Instagram fanatic, you probably already know that Instagram Stories are basically a dream come true: You can now post as often as you want without worrying about over-saturating your feed. But since the only way to reply to an Instagram story is though direct message, you've probably also wondered how to control who can respond to your Instagram Stories. That's right: There are no likes or public comments; the only way for someone to interact with a story you post is by messaging you directly. So what if you don't want to give everyone and their uncle unfettered access to your inbox?

People use Instagram for all sorts of different reasons, ranging from keeping in touch with friends or family to connecting with strangers who have the same interests. As such, a lot of people enjoy getting comments and likes on their content, or getting a private message in response. Of course, if you don't enjoy this, or simply need a break from your Instagram inbox blowing up, you might want to turn the messaging features off entirely — or at least put some parameters on it, particular with regards to who's able to talk to you about your stories.

Luckily, Instagram Stories allows you to do this quite easily. The default setting for Instagram Stories is that anyone can see your story and can respond directly to your post with a message; however, you can both prevent certain people from seeing your story and stop certain people from being able to message you in response to your stories. Anyone you prevent from replying simply won't have that option visible to them from within your story. Awesome, right?

Luckily the process is pretty simple and intuitive. I've broken down the steps below:

1. Go To The Options Menu

The first thing you'll want to do is go to the "Options" menu. If you're an Android user, you'll see three horizontal dots in the top right corner of your profile. If you're an iPhone user, you'll see a small gear icon in the same place.

2. Select "Story Settings"

Tapping "Story Settings" on the main "Options" screen will bring you to the screen seen here. Under "Story Settings," you'll see that Instagram Stories is automatically set to allow "Everyone" to reply to your post.

3. Switch Your Story Settings To "People You Follow" Or "Off"

Depending on what level of access you want people to have, you can set it so that either only people you follow can reply to your stories (so, just don't follow anyone you don't want to be able to reply), or so that absolutely no one can reply to them. Just tap whichever option suits you best, and you're all set! It really is that simple.

Personally, I love new technology, but I love new technology that is simple and intuitive even more. With the wide variety of privacy concerns and personal preferences about how we share our social media out there, it's nice to be able to easily control who can contact you and through what venues. I have a feeling that whether you're totally addicted to Instagram or just a casual user, this feature is one you'll find yourself using at one point or another. Have fun!

Images: Lucia Peters/Bustle (3)