Tips For Sliding Into Someone's DMs Without It Being Totally Weird

Sliding into someone's DMs: We've all heard about it, some of us have done it, and others have been on the receiving end. It has, in many ways, become the social equivalent of hitting on someone at a bar or coffee shop. But thanks to technology, instead of putting ourselves out there face-to-face, we can think about what we're going to say, curate the best way to approach the person we want to contact, and let ourselves be the cool, confident person we are (everyone is confident when they can hide behind an app).


But while sliding into someone's DMs has become socially acceptable, it doesn't mean that you can just go about it willy-nilly. When you direct message someone, you put yourself on their turf. You're crossing over the line of casual digital "likes" and heading into direct contact territory. Because of this, you want to be wary of what you say and know what you hope to achieve. 

"Like dating apps, [DM is] not meant to be used to find out everything about them," relationship coach Claudia Cox tells Bustle. "It's just to give them enough of you to make them want to meet up IRL ... Even if they are drop-dead gorgeous, go deeper and try to start a conversation based on things that you are both interested in." It's not easy to muster the courage to DM someone you don't know. But once you do it, if you keep things cool — and not creepy — it should be relatively painless. 


The slide should be a last resort

When it comes to sliding into someone's DMs, it should be a last resort. In other words, you have no idea how else to contact them. Having a friend in common or seeing them at tap class once a week gives you ample opportunity to talk to someone, so sliding into their DMs when you already have another way (as in an IRL way) to contact them just comes off weird. Instead, you want this person to be removed from you enough that sliding into their DMs is natural because it's the best — and only — way you're able to contact them.


You also don't want to roll in cold. For example, if you've been following this person on Instagram for a while but haven't liked any of their posts and made your presence known, then you don't want to DM them just yet. You want to work your way up to it. You know: Thow a like at some posts or stories, or comment on a photo in a casual, non-overwhelming way. Once you have done this a few times, then you can DM them. Remember, this is all about not being a total creep, so take baby steps up to the actual DM.

Choose your platform wisely

Although Facebook remains the most popular social media platform overall, depending on one's age, they may not be on Facebook. For example, surveys have found that TikTok is the app of choice for people mostly in their teens and 20s, Instagram is most popular with the under-40 crowd, and Facebook has become the preferred platform for those 40 and older. 


With this in mind, you want to figure out which social media platform is the best way to contact them. Sliding into their DMs on Facebook if they're around 25 may mean you'll have to wait a while before they respond. But if you use Instagram instead, you may not have to wait very long before they see the message, especially if you notice how active they are on it. 

It's about noticing where they post most often and taking that route. Also, just because it says they've "seen" a message doesn't mean you should get upset if they don't respond right away. Give it time. 

Put yourself in their shoes

When it comes to the creep factor, you want to think about how you would respond if someone you don't know (or barely know) sent you a message out of the blue. What could someone say that wouldn't weird you out? What could someone say that might cause you to block them? Although what's considered weirdo-type behavior can be subjective, you want to keep things as normal as possible — relatively speaking. 


If you think they're hot, that's great! But that's not something you want to lead with when you slide into their DMs. Sure, people like to hear how attractive they are, but not from someone who just popped up with a direct message. If you want to meet them for coffee, then fantastic! But you want to work your way up to that too. You probably wouldn't walk up to someone on the sidewalk and immediately ask them out for a drink, would you? No. So think about it in terms of that.

Be engaging

While "hey" may be a universal greeting, how do you expect someone to respond to that? Since you're the one sliding into their DMs, you should have a better opener than "hey." Really check out their feed and stories, then mention something specific about their profile. Or, even better, ask them a question, so it gives them something to answer and get the ball rolling. 


People generally like to talk about themselves — even if they don't realize it — so going in with a question is a good way to open up a dialogue that evolves into a back-and-forth conversation about likes, dislikes, and interests. As you start to see what you have in common, you can build upon that and branch out into what you talk about. Before you know it, you're bonding over your love of wildlife, black bears in particular, and planning a date to see the movie "Cocaine Bear."

Know when to take your leave

Contrary to the proverb that "all's fair in love and war," this isn't always true. Sometimes we can find ourselves really into someone, and they're just not feeling it. Perhaps it's because they're in a relationship, or you're simply not their cup of tea. If you see the conversation dwindling with them only responding with one-word answers or they never even get back to you after your initial DM, read the room: They're not interested. 


Don't keep trying, don't annoy them with a barrage of messages or memes in the hopes of them finally realizing how great you are, and definitely don't do that thing where people like every photo on someone's Instagram or other social media platform to get their attention. Just let it go. No one is under any obligation to like you, just like you're not under any obligation to like anyone either. 

Sliding into someone's DMs is a risk. But like all things related to dating, it's a risk worth taking. It may not end up in happily ever after, but you'll feel satisfied that you tried instead of being left to wonder what might have been.