The ongoing pandemic, isolation, and lockdowns have put restraints on dating. But that doesn’t mean this Valentine’s Day has to be a bust. If dating apps aren’t your thing, connect with your crush on social media (you’re already on Instagram a bazillion hours each week anyway).
No matter what gender you identify with, here are seven tips for sliding into that special someone’s DMs this Valentine’s Day.
#1. Start with Comments & Likes
The first step to sliding into your crush’s DMs is to follow them. People tend to keep track of their number of followers and you’ll know when they upload new posts, stories, and reels. Paying attention to what they post is a great way to get to know them and what their interests are.
Michelle Devani of Love Devani recommends liking your crush’s posts – not all of them, but the ones you genuinely like. Use emojis to reply to their stories and you’ll have a better chance of getting noticed since they are only live for 24 hours. You can also comment on posts too. Michelle suggests that liking other people’s comments – and replying – puts you in their conversational stream.
It’s also okay to repost your crush’s stories. They’ll get notified about your repost, helping you stand out from the crowd.
Private Account? Ask First
Some IG users with private accounts prefer that you ask to follow them before you post a comment or send a DM. “If I get a DM from a guy who didn’t ask to follow me first, I’m probably deleting it,” says Kay, a 20-year old college sophomore in Orlando. “It’s creepy to have someone pop up without warning when you don’t have a public account.”
Devani recommends spending time on someone’s profile. Learn what they like, what you have in common, and then use that information to make a memorable opening DM.
#2. Make Your First Message Count
You never get a second chance to make a GREAT first impression. Likewise, your first message should be thoughtfully crafted and customized to what you know about your crush. The love experts at Cosmo recommend commenting or asking a question about something on your crush’s profile.
There’s a wealth of information about your potential bae on their profile. Look for people, places, and things that you have in common, such as:
- Their favorite music genre or artists
- TV shows or movies they love
- Events they attend frequently, such as art shows, concerts, or trivia nights
- Favorite foods (and foods they hate!)
If your crush is local, keep an eye out for new restaurants and events that may interest them. Post about them and tag your crush.
An Insta Love Connection
Thirty-year-old Michelle met her boyfriend on Instagram in late 2020. “I posted a selfie of me wearing a tee-shirt from ‘The Office,'” Michelle says. “He sent me a DM with a link to a Buzzfeed quiz about which character I would be. Turns out, we’re both Dwight’s.” After a few weeks of exchanging DMs and texting, Michelle and Evan met at a Starbucks in Boston. They’re still dating – all because of Instagram.
#3. Ask Questions to Keep the Convo Strong
Getting to know the person you like through their posts and stories gives you material for that all-important first message. A half-hearted and unoriginal “hey” is not going to light anyone’s fire.
Cosmopolitan suggests that you start with a question based on what they’ve shared. Make sure it’s not a simple yes/no question, either. And don’t badger them with questions; you’re flirting, not interrogating.
If they upload a video of them playing the guitar at a local club, for example, it’s cool to ask how long they’ve played the guitar, which artists influence their music, etc. It’s not cool to ask how much they make for a gig or comment that they shouldn’t give up their day job.
“Have You Tried Cow Manure?”
Mike is a 26-year-old graphic designer and amateur gardener in Palm Bay, Florida. After several posts about his unsuccessful flower garden, he got a DM from Antoine, asking, “Have you tried using cow manure?” It’s not the most romantic question, but the two began an online relationship that evolved into real-life dating. While it only lasted a few months, they remain friends and still follow each other’s IG accounts.
#4. Be Authentic
You hope your crush feels the same way about you as you do about them, and sometimes in our eagerness to find love on Valentine’s Day, it’s tempting to exaggerate things about ourselves or omit information. The problem is, while witty pickup lines could tempt your crush into meeting you, it probably won’t land you the results you want. Sooner or later, for better or worse, you’ve got to be yourself.
Beware of Scammers & Catfishing
Catfishing is a potential pitfall in online dating. It occurs when someone creates a fake identity, sometimes to scam a victim financially or for other nefarious reasons. If someone sounds too good to be true, they might be running a con. Never wire money to someone you haven’t met personally, and agree to meet until you’ve had a chance to connect through DMs, text, or by phone or video chat.
#5. Make Sure Your DMs Aren’t One-Sided
Sliding into your crush’s DMs could lead to some meaningful 1:1 in real life. However, DMs are a dialogue, not a monologue. If you find that you’re constantly commenting and asking questions and there is a deafening silence on the other end, back off.
Online etiquette is a skill worth learning and refining. It’s not just about being truthful and using accurate photos of yourself, it’s also about making the other person feel comfortable.
No Nagging, No Negging
It’s a turnoff when someone nags about how long you’re taking to respond to their DM. No need to send the same DM twice, or ask if they saw it yet.
Negging – making a backhanded compliment or vicious remark – is also off-limits. (Negging example: Telling a girl that she’s a natural beauty but shouldn’t wear so much makeup). If you’re not sure about how your crush will respond to a DM, ask yourself these questions:
- Is it true?
- Is it kind?
- Is it necessary?
Don’t send the DM if the answer is no.
#6. Don’t Be a Perv
Never leave anything raunchy on someone’s comments – you never know who will read them (like your crush’s parents or boss). You can show romantic interest without being crude. Keep it classy.
Suaveway recommends that you never write anything in a DM that you wouldn’t be comfortable saying to someone in real life. That means keeping comments like the examples below to yourself:
- I can show you a better time than your loser boyfriend
- One night with me will make you forget all about your girlfriend
- Are those real?
- Eggplant emoji…anytime…
#7. Smoothly Transition from DM to IRL
Sliding into your crush’s DMs takes time. Once you’ve established a back-and-forth connection, ask if they feel comfortable moving your messages to text. Texting ideally leads to talking on the phone, which could then lead to meeting in person.
Of course, if you know someone in real life and online, you can skip a few steps. Your DMs could naturally lead to dating if you’re discussing a new restaurant or bar and how much you both want to check it out.
A few harmless suggestions:
- Would you like to go for coffee at (coffee shop) Saturday morning?
- I’m going to be at (a local bar) tomorrow night around eight. Want to meet up?
- We both like hockey and I’ve got two tickets to Wednesday’s game. Wanna go?
Be specific. When you ask something vague and open-ended, such as “We should get together sometime soon,” your crush might not take you seriously.
Take the Hint
You could do everything right according to our tips, but if your crush doesn’t respond back, take the hint. At best, you’ve made an online connection. At worst, it will stay that way. But each time you put yourself out there in a meaningful, respectful way, you gain more confidence. Maybe this crush didn’t work out, but the next one might!
Sway into Your Crush’s DM
SwayDM is a new way to connect. While there’s nothing wrong with using Instagram to DM your crush, it’s easy for important messages to get lost. You don’t have to give up your Instagram DM if you and your crush are clicking there, but too many spam messages can clutter your DMs and make it easy to lose important messages. Learn more and request an invite to join!