Grease Up With Expert Tips for Sliding Into the DMs
~ Sliding into someone’s DMs (directly messaging a stranger or acquaintance using a social networking platform like Instagram or Twitter) is a very popular way to flirt nowadays. In fact, a recent survey found more than half of Gen Zers have used DMs to sext and flirt, assuming this number has grown exponentially since the pandemic as we’ve been forced to socialize and date digitally.
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But with DMs being an unsolicited message, is sliding into someone’s inbox always a good idea? And if you ultimately decide to shoot your shot, is there a proper way to approach messaging someone out of the blue that you’ve never spoken to before?
Let’s see what the experts have to say about it.
Should You Ever Slide Headfirst Into Someone’s DMs?
Dr. Shannon Chavez, licensed psychologist and K-Y’s sex therapist, is cool with this approach, but notes the importance of being respectful. Don’t come on too strong, and if you can sense that the vibe just isn’t there, don’t push it.
“Give them the opportunity to respond before you start sending more than an introductory message,” she recommends. “I’ve seen plenty of healthy relationships form that started with a DM. It can be romantic and exciting if it is done the right way.”
Conversely, you might only want to consider sliding into the DMs permissible if there is at least one friend in common. You’ll have someone that can vouch for you, teasing your introduction so that’s a bit of context before you make a move without any notice.
“Messaging a perfect stranger makes you seem like a Russian bot or just plain creepy,” states Indigo Stray Conger, LMFT, CST. “The person may never even see your message if it goes in their spam box.”
If you’re apprehensive about sliding into someone’s DMs in fear that it won’t be a great story to tell your grandkids, it’s time to be realistic. Sure, it’s not a super romantic way to meet someone, but as relationship expert Dr. Venus Nicolino says, “neither is seeing someone across the bar six Irish Car Bombs deep.”
“Most romances begin with less-than-fairytale first encounters,” she adds. “We’re all just doing our goddamn best here. So let’s stop taking ourselves so seriously.”
The consensus here? Yes, you can absolutely DM somebody that you have interest in because it can be effective. That said, sending a DM is bold and requires confidence and finesse. To help with the act in question, we asked our experts to share their top tips to make sure your DMs slide is as smooth as possible.
Tips to Ensure You Get a Response After Sliding Into Someone’s DMs
Try and Interact Before the DM
Before you go sliding into the DMs, lube up first. Ease the impact by making contact through public channels –– a like here, a comment there that lets ‘em know you exist.
“Avoid being a reply guy (someone who replies to every tweet with their opinions/hollow platitudes),” says Claire AH, owner of Friend of a Friend Matchmaking.
Make the First Message Count
A basic introduction like “hello” is uninventive, unsuccessful, and places the responsibility on them to continue the snooze-fest of a conversation you initiated.
“Have a reason for DMing someone and be upfront about it,” suggests AH. “Don’t make them wonder what your deal is. Ask a pertinent question or give a (non-appearance-based) compliment about something they’ve posted.”
Conger agrees, recommending your messages be short and grammatically correct. “Don’t mention a post from six months ago that you had to scroll five minutes to see,” she says. “Mention a common interest or friend and be forward. Say something like, ‘I notice you also like Florence and the Machine. Did you catch their show at Red Rocks last year?’
And if you didn’t already know this, corny pick-up lines are over.
“This isn’t an open mic,” states Nicolino. “If someone responds to a bad pickup line, it’s an act of mercy.”
Instead, she recommends you acknowledge the elephant in the room. “You know and they know that messaging a stranger out of the blue online is kind of weird,” she says. “Quickly acknowledging that can put the other person at ease.”
Gauge Their Interest
This isn’t the time to be aggressive with your messages. Instead, ease into things, starting slow “and be open to feedback.”
“Don’t come off too strong, it can be a turn off and perceived as pushy and inappropriate,” says Chavez. “If you are direct with anything, let it be your intention for contacting them in the first place. Be open to feedback and honesty in a person’s response. Respect how a person sets boundaries and express that you understand what they are saying by paraphrasing or repeating back what they say.”
Don’t Expect a Response
As a DM is an unsolicited message, this person has no responsibility to reply. Remember that you came into their space, so you can’t expect a response.
“If they don’t write back, don’t pester,” says Conger. “Don’t take it personally, either. Women especially get a lot of unsolicited messages and may be uninterested in getting to know someone that way.”
Given the popularity of this new-ish flirting phenomenon, you’re best to stick out from the bunch and put in effort to come across as charming as possible.
Be personable, be complimentary, accept rejection courteously, and for the love of God, do not send an unsolicited picture of your genitals.