Even after a thorough cyber-stalk through their Instagram grid, it can still be difficult to figure out the best way to send your crush a DM. Plenty of people tend to get anxious about their approach when they first slide into DMs — should you go the funny, flirty, or friendly route? While it’s not nearly as big of a deal as everyone sometimes makes it out to be, it’s also not a bad idea to get creative and strategic when shooting your digital shot.
According to relationship coach Claudia Cox, it may help take some pressure off if you remind yourself a DM is simply a way to show initial interest. “Like dating apps, it’s not meant to be used to find out everything about them,” Cox tells Bustle. “It’s just to give them enough of you to make them want to meet up IRL.”
Another thing to keep in mind when sliding into the DMs is to be your authentic self, according to professional matchmaker and dating coach, Thalia Ouimet. “Cheesy pick up lines are overrated and people want realness,” she says. “Be genuine and intentional with your opener and you'll get 80% better results.” Her tip? Remember your crush probably doesn’t know anything about you, so bring your best foot forward by being kind, polite, and intentional.
To craft the perfect DM, Cox suggests being casual, confident, and not commenting on someone’s appearance — however tempting it may be. “Even if they are drop-dead gorgeous, go deeper and try to start a conversation based on things that you are both interested in,” Cox says. “Start with a common topic and then transition into other things.” Like challenging them to a flirtatiously competitive round of darts, for example.
Whether you're reaching out to an old crush or putting the feelers out with somebody new, here are 30 examples of how to slide into DMs.
“I love all the books you've been posting in your story. What are you reading right now?”
“I've been wanting to get into rollerblading! It looks so fun!”
If they've been posting a ton about a new hobby or activity, go ahead and ask about it. If it’s an interest of yours, as well, it’ll offer the perfect opportunity for them to “teach” you, borrow their blades, etc.
“We've been following each other for a minute, and I've been wanting to say ‘hi’ for a while. So, hi!”
If you want to break the ice you truly don’t know — especially when can’t decide on a clever opening line — simply let them know that you've been thinking of reaching out and decided there was no time like the present.
“OK, you always have the best music in your stories! We should swap playlists.”
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a song is worth a million. Offering to exchange playlists is a great way to learn more about each other's tastes in music and favorite bands. It’s also something you can come back to time and time again, as you continue getting to know each other better.
“I'm obsessed with your puppy! How long have you had them?”
People love talking about their pets, which is why commenting on a story about their fish, ferret, frog, or dog is always going to be a casual way to begin a conversation.
“I love how you've set up your home office. Where is that cool wall hanging from?!”
If you both have an eye for design, compliment something you like and ask them a question about where they got it. They’ll love that you noticed. And from there, you can bond while talking about your favorite thrift stores.
“I'm jealous of your cooking skills, I can't even make toast without burning it!”
No one wants a DM from Eeyore, but pointing out something your crush is good at that you are not good at can be a cute/charmingly self-deprecating way to reach out. Here’s hoping they’ll take the hint and invite you over for a cooking class.
“Living for all your travel #TBTs. Where's the next place you want to visit, post-COVID?”
Is their entire feed TBTs and vacation photos? Then ask them about the places they've been and the places they want to go next. They might even have a trip planned for later this year that they’ll be excited to about.
“Hey, do you still work at Dock Street?”
If you and your crush have a history of working together, reach out and ask how they’ve been faring over the last year. Has their job changed at all? Have they been working from home? Use it as common ground for conversation, as well as a way to reintroduce yourself to their life.
“The story of your dad yelling at Siri cracked me up. My mom just asked me what ‘TikTak’ is.”
If family is important to you, you may be drawn to people that clearly like to spend time with theirs. Making a connection about shared interests, values, and funny stories, is a good way to break the ice.
“Your at-home coffee setup is luxe! Where do you get your beans?”
Whether your crush is into brewing iced coffee, or frothing lattes to perfection every single morning, reach out and express interest. Everyone who drinks coffee has a story to tell, whether it’s about their routine, their equipment, or where they get their beans.
“I love T-Mom's Grille! I dream about their honey-sriracha tofu wrap, like, every night. What's your favorite thing there?”
If you’re clearly both foodies who share a favorite local eatery, try asking them how often they go, what they like to order, or — if you’re feeling brazen — if they’d like to join you for a bite one Saturday afternoon. As the saying goes, the fastest way to someone’s heart is through their stomach.
*A topical meme or TikTok*
This one works well if you and your crush have chatted before and you have a good idea what they’re into, humor-wise. Send them something political or a clip from a show you know they watch. It could be in response to a story they shared or completely out of the blue, as a way to say “I’m thinking of you!”
*Send their recent post* “OMG, I was just there!”
Whether they posted about a trail that you walk your dog on or your favorite Thai restaurant, commenting on a recent post is a super low-risk way of reaching out. People comment on stories all the time, so hey! Why can’t it be you?
“I have to ask... how do you make that green smoothie you always post?”
Just spotted their third post of the week featuring a delicious smoothie? (Or avocado toast? Or blueberry waffle stack?) Go ahead and ask about it. Even though it’s super casual, this DM will put you on their radar and help build rapport.
“I thought I just saw you in line at CVS and said your name, but it wasn't you!”
Sharing a cute/embarrassing story is another sweet way connect with your crush. Maybe you saw them in CVS, maybe you didn’t. At least it’ll get a conversation going. And when it comes to casually sliding into DMs, that’s the main goal.
*Send a heart-eye emoji response to their story*
If your crush posted a cute selfie or really cool video of the hip taco joint they’re dining at on their story, sending a “reaction” emoji is a great way to shoot your shot. It’s simple but direct, and all it takes is a quick click!
“OMG, I love Young The Giant! Did you see that they’re playing a show downtown next month?”
Music is a universal language. If you both have a fave band in common, letting them know you’re also a fan is a great way to start up a solid conversation. Plus, mentioning some upcoming concerts you both might be interested in can lead to a potential date!
“Is that your niece? She’s so cute! My niece is also obsessed with Cocomelon, haha.”
For most people with kids in their lives, this is an instant way to connect and have a meaningful chat. We all know a super proud aunt or uncle, and 9 times out of 10 they will have plenty of pics and stories to share about their little pals.
“My dog and I go to that park together like all the time! Maybe we’ll bump into you there one day. I’m always down for a puppy playdate!”
At this point, being a dog parent is considered a certified personality trait — there’s no pride like the pride some of us take in our pups. Casually mentioning the possibility of a doggy date is low risk, high reward.
“Seems like you’re a pretty competitive darts player. Don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’m kind of a pro at it myself. Maybe we could play together — you might just meet your match ;)”
Most people can appreciate some healthy competition, especially when it’s accompanied by a little bit of flirty negging. If you challenge your crush to a duel in something they enjoy doing — like a video or bar game — they might be hard pressed to turn you down.
“Wow, your dinner looks amazing. I’m gonna need you to share your recipe ASAP!”
Flattery and food: the best ways to anyone’s heart. Aside from sending your compliments to the chef, asking your crush for the recipe to their delicious-looking homemade meal shows that you’re a real fan of their culinary prowess. They might even offer to teach you IRL.
“That view from your hike looks amazing! Was it your first time there? Asheville is my happy place :)”
If you share a favorite travel destination, chances are you’ll both have a lot to talk about in terms of local hangs and eateries, or the best hiking trails around the area. Your crush will probably be happy to recap their trip with you and bond over your shared go-to spots or local beers.
“Looks like my Steelers really crushed your Eagles last night... my deepest condolences. You’ll be in my thoughts.”
If you know your crush stans a mega rival sports team, playfully gloating over a victory might call for an immediate response. Let the flirty sports banter ensue.
“Hey, how are you? I noticed we have some friends in common! Have we met before?”
If you and your crush run in the same social circles, this DM may be the way to go. “This message is perfect if you have a few mutual friends because it will get your crush to do a little investigating to see who your mutuals are,” says Ouimet. “You are acknowledging that there's a chance you may or may not have met, but even if you know you haven't, this message is perfect because it opens the door for communication.”
“Nice gains! I’m just getting back in the gym myself. Feel free to share your workout routine, I might need some inspo.”
Rather than being *that* person who hits on someone at the gym, sending a DM acknowledging their hard work might be a better approach. You just may become their swolemate.
“I don’t know if you remember, but we met at Brittany’s birthday party last weekend. I was a little too nervous to ask right then, but I’d love to get your number if you’d want to grab coffee sometime :)”
Still working up the courage to shoot your shot IRL? Let a little keyboard courage take the lead. The worst they can say is no, and you can at least move on with your day knowing you tried.
“Hey [name]! How are you? This is random but I noticed we have a lot in common. I also play tennis and pickleball. When did you start playing?”
Ouimet suggests relating to your crush by mentioning some of your shared interests. “This message is a great opener because it lets them know that you share something in common,” she tells Bustle. “It also comes off chill and not desperate while still opening the door for an opportunity to connect.”
“Congrats on your promotion! It sounds awesome. If you feel like celebrating sometime soon, drinks would be on me!”
A low-pressure date offer is a safe way to introduce the idea of hanging out together, especially when it’s attached to an exciting time for them. Plus, anyone can appreciate a congratulatory message on something they worked hard for.
Claudia Cox, relationship coach and founder of Text Weapon
Thalia Ouimet, professional matchmaker and dating coach
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