How *Not* to Slide Into Someone’s DMs

With examples!

(Illustration: Joel Louzado)
(Illustration: Joel Louzado)

If you haven’t realized it yet, the days of pick-up lines are over. Instead of using cheesy sayings to attract romantic prospects IRL, the new cuffing tactic is the DM—i.e., the direct message. Yes, everyone’s on dating apps, but sliding into someone’s DMs has not only become a well-known meme, it’s an *actual* way people are meeting new partners.

But, just like pick-up lines, there are right ways to slide into the DMs… and very wrong ways. Laura Bilotta, a Toronto-based dating coach, helps people with literally every aspect of dating, from how to approach a person to creating your dating profile, so naturally, she knows a lot about what goes down in the DM. According to Bilotta, it’s totally possible to meet someone this way. “But it’s all in the way that you approach it,” she says. “If you do it in a tasteful way, then there’s nothing wrong with it.”

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an abundance of tasteful DMs. Proof: We asked six millennial women for screenshots of their most ~memorable~ DMs and, well, just read them below. We also had Bilotta critique each message. Hilarious? Absolutely. But she also offered up some v. helpful do’s and don’ts. Here’s her best advice for starting a convo in your crush’s DMs.

DM Don’ts

The Emoji Overload

“You’re coming on too strong—sit down. It’s called *sliding* into someone’s DMs, [which means] doing it in a nonchalant way.”

The Money Offer

“Obviously, if you’re doing this, you’re not really being serious about a relationship because now it’s based on someone liking you for money. And you’re pretty much paying for something, so you get what you pay for. If there’s a girl willing to accept money for that, then that’s their prerogative.”

The Creeper

“Stranger danger! This sounds kind of stalker-ish. If I didn’t like you on Tinder, I’m not going to like you here. Leave me alone, buddy.”

The Persistent DMer

“Listen. What you should do is start liking and commenting on the person’s [posts] first. Don’t go overboard, but let them know over a period of a month or so that you’re interested. And then when something appears on their feed that you see an interest in then maybe message them directly and say, for example, ‘Oh I noticed you’ve just been to France lately, I was there last year.’ If you message them and they don’t respond, sometimes a popular person will get a lot of messages, so it’s OK to send something twice. If they don’t answer the second time, then you’re done.”

The Super Sexual DM

“That’s just a really cheesy, disgusting line. It’s gross. You’re being crude and rude. You might as well just send a dick pic if you’re going to do that.”

The Deep Question

“This is something you would do more on a post rather than a DM. Our attention spans nowadays have gotten really short, so a person is not going to sit there and respond to something deep when they don’t know you. But if you comment something on their post, that might strike something up.”

The (Literal) Cat Call

“Intrusive! It reminds me of construction workers, [you know when] you walk by a construction worker you can’t get by them without them whistling or doing something? It’s just very sexual. And you don’t want to be sexual.”

DM Do’s

The Genuine Q

“See! Just be genuine and be you. There’s a greater chance of people responding to you when you’re yourself. As long as that isn’t crass and gross (then don’t be you).” [Editor’s note: A woman sent this to a dude she had just started following—and now they’re dating.]

The Friendly DM

“This is great. I love that. Sometimes it’s easier to do when it’s two women or two men because there’s not so much of that ‘stranger danger’ there. Especially if you have a lot of mutual friends, I think there’s nothing wrong with it.” [Editor’s note: This is how two women became friends on Twitter. One woman replied to the other woman’s tweet as a direct message.]


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