Dublin: 5 °C Monday 4 December, 2023
dear fifi

Dear Fifi: How do I successfully slide into someone's DMs?

Tuesday comes around faster every week, doesn’t it?


For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That’s why the weeks after Bank Holidays tend to suck so much. Don’t forget I’m always here for you – complain or ask for advice anonymously here.

Can’t get enough of your dearest, darling Fifi? Well, join the queue. If your desire for my #content just can’t be sated, check out this piece I wrote over the weekend


I’ve never slid into someone’s DMs. How do you even start doing that stuff? I don’t know how to take the leap from wanting to do it to actually doing it. I don’t want to because I know that a lot of the time they get screen captured and plastered over social media and I don’t want that.

Ah, sliding into DMs.

For the uninitiated (and God love you, you’re doing something right in life) the phrase “sliding into someone’s DMs” basically means moving online correspondence from the publicly-visible timeline into direct messages, presumably for a more unabashedly flirtatious and private interaction, perhaps with the view to arranging a date.

I couldn’t possibly comment on whether or not I’ve either instigated or been on the receiving end of such a dark art – let’s just move straight into the advice and stop making eye contact. OK? OK.

Have an existing rapport

This is key. A random DM from someone who you don’t follow and doesn’t follow you is more than likely going to get ignored. You’re much more likely to be successful in your DM sliding if you’ve got an existing and relatively long-standing rapport with the person on the timeline – perhaps you’ve discussed shared interests, engaged in some #BANTER, that type of thing.

Note: a “rapport” is not you constantly replying to their tweets or liking their selfies. Communication is a two-way street. If they reply to you as often as you reply to them, you’re in a good place. Think about it. It just makes sense. Of course someone will be more responsive in private if they’ve previously seemed interested in what you have to say in public.

Make it relevant

Some truth bombs for you: everyone despises read receipts, email is a hellscape and voicemails are an act of violent aggression. What I’m saying is that in this age of always-on connectivity, a lot of people have become averse to communication with any degree of pressure or uncertainty involved.

For that reason, seemingly aimless “Hey, how are you?” or “Hey, can I ask you something?” messages from someone you don’t know in real life can imbue sheer, unadulterated panic in the receiver. Look, I don’t make the rules!

Any message that may provoke the gut feeling of “What the fuck am I going to say to this?” is going to have a significant chill effect. For that reason, bring something relevant to the table. For example, if they put up a screenshot of a song on Instagram Stories, reply with some interesting tidbit about the artist. On Twitter, DM them an article you think they might enjoy by an author they like. Give yourself the tools to start an engaging conversation. Take it from there.

Don’t be a skeez

Don’t steam in with a weird compliment that’ll make the person uncomfortable or reveal you know some little-known fact about them or say something baldly sexual straight off the bat, even if you think you’ve tempered it by using a winking emoji. You haven’t.

Catch the vibe

If you get the no vibe, back off immediately. A good litmus test is whether or not you’re always the one initiating contact. Another is if they give you short, factual replies that do not generate further ammo for conversation. This is the slow no. Really try and gauge if they seem interested in chatting with you. Be honest with yourself. (And remember, it might not even be about you! They could have a partner stashed away somewhere or just not be looking to date.)

Get it moving

This is more for people who have successfully broached a private conversation with someone they fancy online and are now engaged in a DM conversation. Convert it to real life within a set period of time, or see yourself languish in the DM purgatory forever. Be brave! Ask them for a coffee or see if they’re going to that exhibition of an artist you both like. If they say no, you’ll at least have your answer.

And finally… On screencapping

I believe that if you have an existing rapport, aren’t being a skeez and send them something of genuine note to strike up a chat, then you’re unlikely to get screencapped and mocked on the timeline.

A good rule of thumb is never send anyone a message that you wouldn’t be happy to have read out in court or printed on the front page of a newspaper as a quote. It may seem extreme, but if you never say anything that bad, anything they’ll have to screencap will be boring and they’ll just look like a dick mocking someone for trying to talk to them.

Think about it. “Oh look, that guy slid into that girl’s DMs with an interesting critique of the Bechdel test and a nice opening message. What a disgusting perv!” It’s just not gonna happen.

Godspeed into the DMs, brave soldier. May you come back alive. *salute*


Want to talk?

Confess a story, ask for help or just shout into the void for a bit and see if that helps. All welcome. Anonymity totally guaranteed always. 

Check out previous advice>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel