Click to talk to a trained teen volunteer.

Etiquette for Sliding into DMs

You’ve probably heard of people “sliding into DMs.” Maybe it’s happened to you? Maybe you’ve done it? Maybe both?!?! If you haven’t heard of it, “DMs” short for direct messages on social media platforms, like Twitter or Instagram.

Sliding into someone’s DMs can be a really good way to start a conversation with someone you’re into. Whether you’re looking to hook up, start a relationship, be friends first, or even just to hang out with their dog – sliding into their DMs can be great for starting any new kind of relationship! And like with any flirting, it’s important to make as good a first impression as possible and to stick to the same rules of etiquette you would anywhere else in public: Be respectful, be yourself, and listen!

But how do you do that? Well, here are some things to keep in mind to make sure you’re not making people feel uncomfy. While it can be easier to message someone rather than talk them face to face, it’s important to remember that talking over text/messages can lead to a lot of grey area and miscommunication. So here’s some etiquette to keep in mind:

Try to be relaxed about it.

Introducing yourself to someone can feel like a risk, but sending a DM doesn’t have to be so serious! Sliding into DMs can be silly, cute, and low pressure if you want it to be. Putting too much pressure on it only makes it stressful for you, since the person you’re messaging probably isn’t feeling the same pressure as you are. Whenever you send a DM, try to just be open to seeing where it goes!

Be empathetic.

Send the kind of message that you think they would like to receive, not necessarily the kind that you’d like to receive. It can be helpful to think “Am I offering something to them (a joke, to help them with a problem, words of support, etc), or are you asking something from them (to provide info, to explain something, to make you feel funny/charming/interesting, etc)?”

Mention mutual interests/activities!

If they tag a restaurant you love, tell them what food you love there and ask what their favourite is. If you hit it off, then you can suggest going together as a date. Easy peasy!

Send compliments, but put some thought into it!

Sending “omg, you’re so beautiful/pretty/hot/sexy!,” is fine, but that’s not necessarily going to inspire a conversation. Sometimes it helps to be specific with your compliment, and maybe following up with a question. If they post a picture of their makeup looking amazing, tell them! If they post a picture of them accomplishing something cool, congratulate them! If you’re really feeling it, go with some well placed emojis (see here for some of our recommendations (We’ve got some suggestions here: Link).

It’s okay if you don’t hear back from them.

It can feel disappointing when someone doesn’t respond to your message, but that doesn’t mean you can go off on them about it. Like, some people are just bad at responding to messages, some people wait until they have time to pay attention and respond properly, and some people don’t check their DMs/Requests that often or ever. Maybe they don’t respond to people they don’t know. Or maybe it’s possible that whatever you said just doesn’t interest them. That’s not the most fun, but it’s possible. Social media makes it feel like people are available 24/7, but nobody is. Nobody owes you a response just because they’re online.

Respect boundaries.

If someone has in their profile “Don’t DM me,” don’t DM them! If they ask you to stop messaging them, stop!

Don’t send nudes without being asked for them!

Keep in mind that not everyone wants unsolicited nudes, so don’t send those! If the other person doesn’t want to receive your nudes or sexual advances, sending them is sexual harassment!



For more reading on the topic, check out some of our other info pages:

If you have questions about this topic, feel free to contact one of our peer educators. [Link]

Last Updated: April 2020