Do Instagram Message Requests Have A Shelf Life? [Learn]

3D multi-colored Instagram logo on a purple ombre background
Instagram logo

No, Instagram message requests don’t expire. They stay there for as long as you want them to. If you notice your message requests disappearing, it’s likely due to other factors such as temporary glitches, server issues, mutual following, or actions like them blocking you or unsending their message.

Instagram is a widely used social media platform enjoyed by people all over the world. It provides appealing features and privacy protections that encourage users to engage with the app. Instagram’s main emphasis is on visual content, making it like a virtual art gallery.

What Is A Message Request And What Happens When You Send One On Instagram?

A hand coming out of the phone with a green new message notification.
Illustration of a message request

In today’s digital age, the concept of message requests is quite familiar to most of us, especially those who are active on social media platforms. We’ve encountered this feature on various networking sites, but let’s delve a bit deeper into what message requests entail.

The term “message request” itself is pretty self-explanatory. When someone sends a message request, they’re essentially asking for permission to communicate with you privately. This feature is available on numerous platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and many others, making it an integral part of online communication.

Now that we’ve covered what a message request is, you might be wondering why it exists in addition to the standard direct messaging (DM) feature on these platforms. The key distinction between the two lies in the audience.

  • In regular DMs, you can communicate with people who are your friends or those you follow and who follow you back.
  • Message requests, on the other hand, are for conversations with individuals who aren’t connected to you on the platform. In essence, they are strangers.

So, why have this extra layer of complexity with message requests? It boils down to user control and privacy.

Platforms that offer this option aim to empower users by allowing them to decide who they want to engage with beyond their existing connections.

Users can choose to accept or decline message requests, giving them more control over their interactions.

Consider this: Managing DMs can be a difficult task, especially if you have numerous conversations going on. Without the message request feature, filtering out who you want to talk to and who you don’t could become unmanageable.

Not to mention the added effort of removing or blocking unwanted contacts. Your DMs could turn into quite a mess. To prevent this and enable users to handle their messages more efficiently, this feature becomes quite handy.

Now, let’s look at the criteria (if any) for who can send you a message request. The good news is there are no specific criteria.

Basically, anyone on the platform, apart from those you’ve added as friends, can send you a message request for any reason.

Let’s focus on Instagram specifically for a moment. When you send a message request to someone on Instagram, that message doesn’t appear in your regular DMs. You won’t even receive typical message notifications for it.

Instead, you’ll find it under the “requests” section within your DMs. In this section, you’ll have the option to block, delete, or accept the request.

Additionally, there’s a separate category for hidden requests, which contains message requests with offensive or abusive language. These are essentially message requests that are kept separate to protect users from harmful content.

How to see hidden message requests on Instagram

Do Instagram Message Requests Have An Expiration Date?

"Expire" written in 3D style in grey color on a grey background.

Based on my research and knowledge, Instagram doesn’t officially provide an expiration date for message requests. Most people aren’t aware of any expiration date either. Message requests will remain in your inbox until you take action on them.

Here’s how it works:

  • If you choose to accept a message request, it will move to your regular DMs list. It will no longer be in the message request folder.
  • If you decide to delete or block the message request, it will be removed from the folder and disappear from your account permanently.
  • If you opt to hide it, the request will be placed in the hidden request folder.
  • If you simply leave it alone, the message request will stay in your requests folder for as long as you want it to.

Why Did My Message Requests Vanish On Instagram?

Confused African couple looking at one another

While I was researching Instagram message requests, I noticed that many people have been facing an issue where their message requests vanish after some time. This led to questions about whether message requests have a limited lifespan.

However, after confirming that there isn’t an official expiry date, people remain perplexed about why this happens.

If you’re one of those who are puzzled by this situation, you’re in the right place. Below, I’ve outlined the potential reasons behind this problem:

You Both Followed One Another

Suppose someone sent you a message request. Later, you connected with them through mutual friends or found out they were a long-lost friend or relative, or for any other reason. You decided to follow them, and they followed you back.

In this situation, once that person is added to your account, their name will no longer be in your message request folder. Instead, it will show up in your regular DMs list.

You Declined Their Request

Sometimes, you might think a message request has vanished, but it’s possible that you deleted it or blocked the person without realizing it.

This can happen when you forget about it or do it accidentally. It may leave you feeling like the request disappeared when, in fact, you took action to remove it.

They Unsent The Request

Another thing to consider is that when someone sends you a message request and you don’t respond to it, they have the option to unsend their message after some time.

So, even though you remember their message being there, you might not see it later in your request folder.

This might give you the impression that it disappeared. When in reality, they simply unsent the message they had previously sent.

They Deleted Or Deactivated Their Account

Another potential situation is when the person who sent you a message request deletes or deactivates their account.

In such cases, it’s natural that you won’t find their request in the requests section because their account no longer exists on the platform.

You’ve Been Blocked

It might sound a bit unusual, but it’s possible that someone sent you a request and then, for some reason, decided to block you.

As a result, their request won’t show up in your request folder.

Instagram Glitches

Every now and then, the vanishing of your message requests could be connected to temporary glitches affecting your account at that moment.

These glitches are usually not serious issues, but they can be a bit frustrating because they briefly disrupt how your account works.

Instagram Down

In situations where Instagram is undergoing maintenance or facing technical issues, there can be times when you’re unable to access your account properly.

During these periods, you might encounter unusual problems like the one you mentioned.

What Can I Do If My Message Requests Disappear On Instagram?

A yellow disappearing message icon on top of a phone screen on a yellow background.
Illustration of disappearing messages

If your message requests have vanished due to temporary glitches or server problems, don’t worry. There are simple solutions to these issues. I’ve provided them in the table below:

Wait It OutAt times, the best solution is simply to be patient. If the server is down, there’s not much you can do except wait. Instagram will work on fixing its problems. Often, temporary glitches also resolve on their own after a little while.
Restart InstagramYou can attempt to fix temporary glitches by restarting the app. Simply access your app preview or recent apps. Clear Instagram or all apps. Wait for a little while before opening the app again.
Uninstall And Reinstall InstagramAnother way to address temporary glitches is by uninstalling the app. You can do this directly from the Play Store or App Store. After you’ve uninstalled it, wait for a bit, and then reinstall it from there.
Logout And Log Back InLastly, this step can refresh your account and eliminate any temporary glitches. Go to your account settings and log out of Instagram. Then wait for a moment. Afterward, enter your credentials to log back in.
Troubleshooting steps in case of temporary glitches

What Are The Steps To Send A Message Request To A User On Instagram?

You can send more messages after your invite is accepted
Invite sent

Sending a message request on Instagram is quite straightforward. It’s similar to sending regular text messages. Here’s a simple guide to help you with the process:

  1. Open Instagram.
  2. Log into your account.
  3. Swipe right or click on the message icon located at the top right corner to access your DMs.
  4. In your DMs, search for the person you’d like to send a message request to.
  5. Click on their name to start a conversation.
  6. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a text box. Click on it.
  7. Type your message, and then click the “Send” button.
  8. Now, all you have to do is wait for the person to accept your message request so you can continue the conversation.

It’s important to note that initially, Instagram allowed you to send multiple messages in a single message request. However, the platform has since made a change.

You can now send only one text message as a message request. After you’ve sent it, the text box will disappear, and you’ll see a message that says, “Invite sent. You can send more messages after your invite is accepted.”

How Can I Delete Unwanted Message Requests On Instagram?

Message request from hannahbarker580 with options to block, delete, or accept it.
Block | Delete | Accept

Getting rid of message requests you don’t want on Instagram is really simple. The option to delete them is right there for you. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. When you click on a message request, you’ll see three options at the bottom of the screen: “Block,” “Delete,” and “Accept.”
  2. If you want to delete the message request, just click on “Delete.”
  3. A menu will pop up from the bottom, giving you two choices:
    • You can choose to delete the request right away.
    • Or, if you prefer, you can move the request to the hidden message folder by toggling the option on.

It’s all about what you decide to do with the request. You have the control to choose the option that suits you best.

Final Thoughts

  • Instagram is a popular social media platform known for its focus on visual content.
  • Message requests on Instagram are a way to send private messages to users you’re not connected with.
  • Message requests stay until you decide what to do with them: accept, delete, block, or hide.
  • Message requests don’t have an official expiration date on Instagram.
  • They might vanish due to mutual following, blocking, unsending, or temporary glitches.
  • To send a message request, go to your DMs, search for the person, and send them a message.
  • To delete unwanted message requests, click on the request, and choose “Delete.”

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