In this world of Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, Black People Meet, TrumpSingles, and good ol’-fashioned Facebook, dating is a digital maze. Simple things that used to work — flowers, actual dates, and chivalry — are dying trends. That doesn’t mean the dating game is a complete failure, mind you — you just have to get a new battle strategy.
An increasingly popular digital come-on is the use of direct messages (DMs), usually on Twitter and Instagram. And there’s a great chance of success — so long as you execute this strategy properly.
I’m almost three years into a successful relationship with a man who initially approached me with DMs… so I can attest to their effectiveness. But my boyfriend did it being cute and sweet — not by coming on too strong or acting weird and creepy. Here are some essential do’s and don’ts so you actually have a shot with that Instagram hottie whose pictures you’ve been stalking for weeks (but act like you haven’t, it’s fine).
Keep the thirst to a minimum
There is nothing more desperate than someone repeatedly sending the same “Good morning beautiful” or “Hey big head” message to you (sometimes every day because you didn’t text back). Everyone knows you copy-pasted that to every other person on your top-10 list.
I get it: this is your chance to get your online crush to notice you. But keep the thirst to a minimum and play it cool. Instead of the generic openings, try to approach with a bit more swag — or better yet, just keep it casual.
See if you have mutual friends
This is a pro tip that can make things go in your favor and ease into the conversation better. When my current boyfriend approached me on Instagram, the first thing I did was go on his page and see if we had any mutual friends. It turned out we did — and it became easier to open up because I had another friend to verify who he was.
We live in a world where people can be scammed by fake profiles on a daily basis and this tactic is a great way to see what they’re like and move it from an online crush to an actual date.
Standing out can be accomplished simply by having the decency to talk to someone like a human being.
Understand you’re not the only one in their inbox
A person’s inbox can be anywhere from an empty desert to a crowded nightclub with dozens trying to buy their way into VIP. Chances are good that if your crush has more than 10,000 followers, you’re not the only one hoping to get a reply. So while you don’t want to come on too strong, you also need to ensure your message (singular on “message”) stands out from the crowd.
This is easier than it seems — oftentimes, standing out can be accomplished simply by having the decency to talk to someone like a human being and not just your Instagram or Twitter wet dream. Say hello, admire their work, ask some unobtrusive but friendly questions that aren’t totally boring. Let things develop from there.
Don’t go for a social media ho
This is probably one of the most critical pro tips because we see it all the time. While there’s nothing wrong with approaching someone you like online, there’s nothing worse than falling for a social media ho — someone who takes his or her promiscuity to the streets of Facebook and Instagram. They’re the ones posting selfies of their breasts, yet have Maya Angelou quotes in the captions. Or the guys who can’t seem to find a shirt for any picture on their timelines. These people use their social media accounts like Tinder — and you’d be wise to beware the messiness!
To put it simply, if you want romance to happen you’ve got to take this person offline.
Use the DMs to initiate an in-person meeting
I know a lot of us have become accustomed to communicating through our apps. But the art of casual conversation — and the importance of chemistry — can’t be created on a social media platform. Your DMs should eventually lead to you meeting with your crush in person; or at least lead it into a phone conversation.
If you stay in that space and go straight for the kill, it can make a person feel like just a fast hookup. It’s best to do this after the initial conversation when you feel that you’re both comfortable enough to exchange phone numbers.
To put it simply, if you want romance to happen you’ve got to take this person offline. Look at social media as the introduction; it’s up to you to take them out of the inbox and on a real date. Now that you have the keys to success on how to get a date with your online crush, it’s up to you to successfully slide right into their inbox and make it a home run.
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