The pandemic has flipped the dating world upside down. Millions of us are on edge, stranded at home, dreading the idea of dying alone. Your only sustainable lifeline to human contact is social media, so you’re tempted to slide into your insta crush’s DMs.
Now you must decide how to pique her curiosity without looking like a stalker. It’s a delicate situation that can result in anything from a marriage to being reported to the police. No pressure.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, sliding into the DMs is slang for sending someone a direct message on social media, usually for romantic purposes. Whether you’re looking for a casual hookup or bae, you gotta start somewhere.
Our comprehensive guide to DM sliding will help you decide what to say and how to say it with examples from dudes who actually had success. As the rapper Yo Gotti famously said, “It goes down in the DM.”
Should You Slide Into Someone’s DMs?
Before you spend any time thinking up a clever pick-up line, you need to conduct some preliminary research into whether your target is worth a DM slide in the first place.
First of all, make sure she’s single. DMing someone in a relationship is embarrassing (and potentially frightening depending on what her man looks like).
Next, if you’re on social media, make sure you have at least a few mutual friends or followers. This is irrelevant if you’re on a dating app like Tinder, but on Instagram or Twitter it establishes trust and familiarity. A side note: Don’t be intimidated by her follower count. Even if she’s influencer status, she’s glued to her phone just as much as you are. Your DM won’t go unseen.
Once you’re committed, it’s time to develop a strategy to slide in.
Asking “How do I slide into someone’s DMs?” is like asking “How do I write a great song?”
There is no precise formula for a successful DM slide, which is why guys and girls alike will spend an entire weekend crafting a conversation starter. The reality is that if someone is even remotely interested in you, they’ll be receptive to (almost) any DM you send them.
That said, there are some immutable principles that can’t be ignored when creating your first message, regardless of what social media app you’re using.
Make Sure Your Profile Is Cleaned Up Before Sliding In
The first thing everyone does after receiving a DM is scour the sender’s profile. First impressions are everything, so if there’s anything that might be a turn-off (i.e. pictures with your ex girlfriend), consider deleting it.
Be yourself—just know that she’s going to scroll all the way through your profile. Act accordingly.
Wait to Respond to Something She Posts
Sending a DM out of the blue that just says “hi” is the equivalent of throwing a hail mary. Instead, wait for her to share something that gives you a legitimate reason to slide in the DMs. Maybe she posts an insta story at a restaurant or tweets about a song—now you have a natural conversation starter.
“I slid in my current girlfriend’s DMs after she posted a pic of her sandwich at this restaurant we both live by,” says Anthony, a 28-year old dude in Cleveland. “I think I said something like, ‘Nice choice, but the gourmet grilled cheese is better’ and the rest was history.”
Bottom line: context matters. Think to yourself, “If I got this message, would I want to respond?” If the message is too vague, random, or rude, the answer is no.
Assess the Vibe
Use your intuition here. If she doesn’t respond or leaves you with a “seen” receipt, resist the temptation to send follow-up DMs. You’ll look like a creep, and she’ll probably screenshot your desperate attempts at flirting to get a good laugh with her friends.
Likewise, if she comes back with one-word responses like “Yeppp” or “Lol” those are subtle signs to leave her alone.
If she’s glad you slide into the DMs, you’ll know it. Be on the lookout for exclamation points, emojis, and smiley faces in her responses. These are signs that you’re in the clear to keep the conversation moving.
Make a Smooth Transition from DMs to Texting
Earning a response after a DM slide will trigger a dopamine rush unlike anything else. Don’t get too cocky though—this is only half the battle. After establishing rapport, your next challenge is getting her number. This is essential if your goal is to score a date in real life.
Many guys assume they should ask for the girl’s number, but offering your number often feels a lot smoother. The key is to not overthink it.
“It was obvious that there was chemistry in the DMs so I suggested we meet up for a drink and said ‘Shoot me a text’ with my number,” says Jeremy, 31, in Dallas. “She texted me within five minutes and that was that.”
Another slick way to get a number in the DMs is to suggest a group text with some mutual friends. Maybe you all want to meet up to watch a game. Now you have her number, a reason to meet up IRL, and a buffer zone since other people are in the group.
There are unwritten rules that apply to the art of DM sliding—most of which we’ve learned the hard way. Break them at your own risk.
No Compliments (Yet)
No fire emojis, heart eyes, or the ever-popular “You’re hot.” That’s rookie DM sliding material. This also includes cheesy pickup lines. Don’t be a simp. Start a conversation like a real man.
No Excessively Long Response Times
You might think waiting 4 hours between messages creates romantic tension, but really you’re just wasting both of your time. We all know we check our phones constantly, so quit the game and cut to the chase.
No LinkedIn DMs
No matter how hot your coworker is, LinkedIn is off limits for DM sliding--even if she invited you to connect first.
She already knows what you look like from your social media profile, therefore selfies are redundant (also awkward and creepy). The only exception is a selfie with your dog. Girls love puppy bait—and there’s science to prove it.
No Dick Pics
When presented with a list of adjectives to describe dick pics, the most common labels millennial women chose were “gross” (49%), “stupid” (48%), and “sad” (24%). If you’re trying to impress a woman, this data should scare you away from snapping a portrait of your penis.
Conclusion: Keep It Casual
Sliding into someone’s DMs might seem like a high-risk, low-reward endeavor. But if you follow the guidelines, you’d be surprised how much success you can have by simply not being an aggressive creep.
What’s the worst that can happen? You get ghosted—a small price to pay in comparison to unlimited romantic potential.