If tea-spilling makeup tutorials on Youtube have taught me anything, it's that people keep receipts. Although I don't remember the exact wording of every flirty conversation I've ever had, I sure as heck remember when my summer crush DMed me to say they "liked my vibe" three summers ago (I've honestly considered printing out the screenshot). Like a giant bottle of witch hazel toner, your words are going to last for a while. So, knowing what to say when sliding into someone's DMs can be totally helpful when you're trying to make a connection.
"The ultimate goal of Instagram messaging is to start a private conversation and somehow convince the person you’re interested in to give you a chance," Claudia Cox, relationship coach and founder of Text Weapon, tells Elite Daily. "Like dating apps, it’s not meant to be used to find out everything about them. It’s just to give them enough of you to make them want to meet up IRL."
Flirting over Instagram can be a great way to connect with a cutie. And if you don't have someone's number or you don't see them in person that often, writing to them on Instagram can be equal parts mellow and macking. According to Cox, the best way to start a conversation via Instagram is to pump yourself up beforehand.
"Be confident and don’t focus on the superficial," Cox says. "Even if they are drop dead gorgeous, go deeper and try to start a conversation based on things that you are both interested in. Start with a common topic and then transition into other things." Though sliding into someone's DMs with a compliment about their super hot bod may seem flirty and direct, being too graphic or forward may make your crush uncomfortable and can err on the side of disrespectful. Rather than drawing attention to their body or clothes, consider asking a question about where their last photo was taken or what they've been up to lately.
Although confidence can be the name of the game, Cox shares that when it comes to sliding into the DMs, timing is key. "Pick the right time to message them, like right after they upload a photo," Cox says. "For example, if they post a photo at one of your favorite local bars, ask them if the live band was playing. If they post a story about a movie you just saw, ask them what they thought about the ending. Be thoughtful and creative, and remember that you are messaging a human being." Messaging your crush after they post a picture can be a great way to connect with them in the moment. Responding to a story or engaging more with their content can be a super fun way to get into their DMs too.
I'll be the first to say that the hours of my life I've spent endlessly swiping on Tinder can sometimes make me grow less cognizant of the fact that users on the internet are literal people. Remember: Although you may be messaging someone who gets a lot of attention on the 'Gram, there is someone with feelings on the other end of the keyboard. They call their moms. They go to Target to pick out bedspreads. They eat snacks at midnight in their underwear with the TV on in the background. If you're worried about what to say, ask them about their day. You may be surprised by how much you actually have in common off-screen.
If you're gearing up to ask someone out, Cox shares some tips to consider first. "Before you even think about asking them out, find out if they are single first," Cox says. "It’s as simple as sending, 'I have to ask, are you single?' Then wait for the right moment in the conversation, when you feel the energy is right, to pop the question. For example, if they hint at a bar they have been dying to check out, or a gym class they have been wanting to try — bingo. Make plans and meet them IRL." If you and your crush have been flirting for a while, asking if they're single may be a sort of green light to them to ask you out. Of course, it's always OK to ask your crush out first — and suggesting a new bar or a class you think you'd both enjoy can be casual and fun.
While you may feel a little nervous, Cox encourages you not to overthink your opening message. "But go for something more creative than 'Hey,' Cox says. "Use emojis, GIFs, photos, filters, or anything else that showcases your personality. As long as you’re not being disrespectful, rude, or creepy. It all comes down to whether or not they want to get to know you."
Although your focus in the moment may be on the message you're sending, Cox shares that once your crush reads it, they're probably going to peek at your page and story. "Keep in mind that when they are deciding if they want to go out with you, they will probably look at a lot more than just your message," Cox says. Although you never need to change or delete past Instagrams for a crush, if your last hundred posts are of you and your ex, you may want to consider expressing that you are single as well. Instagram can be a form of self-expression, but it doesn't always tell the whole story.
If you're thinking about asking someone out over Instagram that you don't really know or have never met IRL, Cox attests that you should use your common sense and be aware of boundaries. "Start off slowly. For example, like a few of their photos (not 150) and then start commenting on something relevant to their caption or something you liked about their post," Cox says. "Wait until they start engaging with you before you ask them out, or you could come across as a creepy spammer."
According to Cox, if your crush didn't match back on a dating app or they already declined an invitation to hangout or chat more either IRL or on a different app, it's not the best idea to try to ask them out in their DMs. Additionally, you may want to consider how your crush interacts with you and your Instagram before jumping into their inbox. As Cox shares, if they don't follow you back, they may have their eye on other people. And if they leave your messages on read or barely respond to your thoughtful DMs, it may be time to look elsewhere. You are an amazing angel, and you deserve to be with someone who doesn't just want to DM you, but also hangout IRL.
Though making the first move can feel totally intimidating, flirting over Instagram can be a mellow way to make a connection. If you're thinking about sliding into someone's DMs, try asking about their latest post or seeing how their day is going. Of course, if you're messaging someone who's never really responding, it may be time to hit unfollow. Take it from me — people who actually respond (and who are equally amped to talk to you!) are way more DM. Still, if you're feeling brave and are ready to rumble, making the first move is honestly hot.