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Sliding into DMs on social media takes a lot of guts and confidence, which discourages usually the most polite people from doing so. Sending that unsolicited message can either take you from zero to hero or completely ruin any chance of you ever talking to your timeline crush again.
The expert of decoding (and sometimes complicating) internet slang, Urban Dictionary, defines “sliding into DMs” as a direct message sent “to someone on Twitter confidently and smoothly.” But the main reason men and teens alike try to master the art form is usually to get booty.
Sliding into DMs came to fame on Twitter, the same platform where subtweeting your crush as “OOMF” (one of my friends/followers) gave subtle hints that you think of them as more than an OOMF.
But in 2015, Instagram‘s direct message update changed the game for sliding into DMs. Users can send Instagram posts directly to say, “Your selfie has me weak” or “Hey, look at this funny meme.” Because what’s better than flirting with memes? Pretty much nothing.
Sliding into DMs is an art in itself, and confidence is key when plotting your make-it-or-break-it moment. While practice makes perfect, these steps will help you slide into DMs like…
Sliding into DMs: 13 essential steps
1) Appreciate their profile
The key to forming a relationship between you and the person you want to send a message to begins with saying you appreciate them. Liking their tweets or Instagram posts seems more casual and less creepy than commenting with a heart emoji.
Balance the appreciation, though. If you like every single post, it will come off as being too thirsty. Liking a smattering of posts will be noticed and appreciated a lot more.
2) Wait for the right moment
After you have built the foundation of mutual appreciation, and your follower has reciprocated, it’s time to move in for the DM.
Picking the perfect moment to send a message might be difficult to identify, but if you are the respectful Instagram type, keep an eye out for a post you both might like. If you are just looking to get some action, replying to your crush’s story saying “looking good today” is a simple, direct approach that many recognize as “let’s do this.”
Twitter isn’t as easy. Unlike texting, the first message needs to be witty and crafted as something your follower is likely to respond to. Something like but better than “Damn girl, where did you get them tweets from?”
3) Don’t think, just send
Overthinking is the death of confidence. Follow your instincts and use your best judgment before sending a message. If you are straightforward and skip the boring small talk, things will go a lot smoother for you.
4) Less is more
However, there is a fine line between coming across too short that you sound lame and being over-the-top lengthy about why you just can’t get enough of OOMF. Twitter allows you to send messages up to a 10,000 limit, but we highly suggest you keep it under the normal 140 characters.
People are busy these days and no one has time to read cliched messages like “Hey, how’s your day going?” Show your crush that you are worth their time and effort.
5) Be relatable
You’ve already blown your cover. If you’re already messaging or you’ve been lurking in their likes for a while now, your crush knows that you’ve been admiring them from afar. It wouldn’t hurt to mention why you think you’re perfect for each other.
If you’ve noticed that they frequent the same coffee shops, bars, or if you two have mutual friends in common it may help your case. To avoid appearing creepy, stick to something they’ve mentioned recently. For example, ask them about that funny story they tweeted earlier this week rather than that cute Instagram post from their ski trip in 2012. Because you totally haven’t scrolled back that far.
6) Stay calm
So you sent a DM on a whim, and you haven’t heard back from them in an hour. It’s OK, just breathe. Odds are they have most likely seen your message, and they could either be busy or they’re thinking of what to say in return. Your crush isn’t clueless, they know your DM was a slide, which will work to your advantage if you play the game right.
7) Keep it coming
Just because you messaged first yesterday does not mean your crush has to reciprocate. Be assertive and show them what you want. Keep the conversation flowing. If it dies down one day, pick it right back up the next with a “hey cutie ;)” or something short and clever that gets their attention.
However, if you can tell they are not into it and haven’t responded to your recent messages, move on. Don’t be the person who texts their crush every day, blissfully ignoring the signs.
8) Go deep
Nothing makes you yawn more than a bland conversation about your day. In fact, if someone isn’t putting quality effort into the conversation, it’s fair to dismiss the message and never look back.
It may be scary for some, but try opening up to your crush and share something meaningful. Sharing personal experiences or insight creates a bond between two people, and it puts a special value on the time spent talking to that person.
Sending dick pics and cheesy one-liners is not the way to someone’s heart (or pants to be honest), being vulnerable is. If someone tells me about the time they gave their all in a relationship and is open about their insecurities…they’re gonna like…get it.
9) Be considerate
No one likes one-sided conversations. If you’re only talking about yourself and spewing tidbits about your day or deepest darkest fantasies that your crush can’t always relate to, back up and rethink your approach before you lose your person in the blink of an eye.
This may be common knowledge to some people, but the chances of landing your Instagram bae are very slim unless you show genuine interest in what they have to say to you. Stop, listen, and respond with genuine interest.
10) Lighten the mood
When in doubt, send cute GIFs of dogs. I mean, who doesn’t love puppies, and if your potential partner doesn’t, isn’t that something you’d prefer to know right off the bat? Best of all: It’s fool-proof and works without any additional commentary.
11) Practice safe sexting
Be respectful. If you send a flirty one-liner to your crush saying, “Hey you want this pipe,” or “Damn, you’re so sexy I can’t breathe,” your percentage of success is close to zero. Showing them that you’re a decent person worth getting to know will benefit you in the long run and create mutual respect.
Also, never, by any means, send an unsolicited dick pic.
12) Utilize technology
Flirting on Snapchat or Instagram is fairly easy, but if you already slid into the DMs on Twitter, you’re out of luck in this department.
Snapchat and Instagram have creative tools and filters that can make for some flirty selfies. On top of your flowing conversation, send a Bitmoji, selfie, or masterpiece with a backdrop that will have your crush yearning for more.
We repeat: No unsolicited dick pics.
13) Take the initiative
Remember your end goal. Graduate from behind your phone to meeting in person for a more meaningful interaction. Or get that booty.
After a couple hours of messaging, tell them you aren’t good at keeping up with direct messages and ask for their number. This way you both have now opened the possibility of FaceTime and sexting, if that’s your prerogative. If they live in the same city as you, offer to go to a local event or grab drinks—you never know if the chemistry could blossom into something more than you first intended.
If only men could slide money into our bank accounts as well and as often as they slide into our DMs.
— Decolonially Queer (@nigeltpatel) January 21, 2017
14) Be realistic
Don’t let your hopes get too high. We’ve all fantasized about a crush, staring far into the hypothetical distance seeing flashes of our lives together: Cooking dinner, watching movies, or even saying “I Do.” However, if you didn’t have much success at locking it down IRL the odds might not be in your favor in the DMs.
Even if you think you’re being forward, your crush may not think twice about receiving a few compliments and entertaining small talk.
If your message was received and you did not get the response you hoped for, it may be best to delete the message, act like it never happened, and move on. Be respectful. Who’s to say you can’t try again with the next cutie you see? Just don’t become a fuckboy.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
Kristen Hubby is a tech and lifestyle reporter. Her writing focuses on sex, pop culture, streaming entertainment, and social media, with an emphasis on major platforms like Snapchat, YouTube, and Spotify. Her work has also appeared in Austin Monthly and the Austin American-Statesman, where she covered local news and the dining scene in Austin, Texas.