Get A Date By Sliding Into His DMS

Picking up a guy isn’t limited to Tinder anymore. Try doing it on Instagram instead – at least you’ll get his backstory so you can decide if it’s worth chatting him up.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Picking up a guy isn’t limited to Tinder anymore. Try doing it on Instagram instead – at least you’ll get his backstory so you can decide if it’s worth chatting him up.

MILLENNIAL SPEAK: “We started dating after he slid into my DMs.”

TRANSLATION: “We started dating after he sent me a direct message on Instagram and introduced himself.”

Making the first move has long since stopped being genderspecific. And we’re totally for Instagram when it comes to doing this. Well, at least until we check out Facebook’s new dating feature that’s yet to launch.

See, with dating profiles, you only have a handful of pictures (who knows when they were taken?) and a self-written bio to go on. Sure, Instagram has its fair share of curation, but it’ll give you a better picture of whether this is someone you’d be down to date.

1. You’ll know a lot more about him

Besides his own posts, you’ll see photos his friends tag him in, how he responds to his friends’ comments, and can spy on accounts he follows. This isn’t stalking, it’s being smart. Sometimes, it takes just 15 minutes of digging to realise that he’s not the guy you want to hang out with. It could take you weeks to get the same information if you meet on Tinder.

2. He’ll have sussed you out

No one responds to messages without first giving the other person’s profi le a once-over. So if he’s engaging you in conversation, there’s a pretty high chance he’s already done his research and likes what he’s seen. Think of it as less pressure to present the best version of yourself when you’re getting to know each other.

3. It’s easier to catch him if he’s not being upfront

He claims to be out with his parents and can’t meet you for dinner – and then you see a story of him drinking with his mates. With social media, there’s more accountability. Yes, he can hold off  the posting or block you from his stories if he doesn’t want to be found out, but if he’s usually big on social media, an uncommon absence on a Saturday night could signal something’s a little off.


1. Use Instagram’s algorithm

The Explore page is your friend – it curates accounts according to the people you follow. Say you’re big on rock climbing and follow a lot of fellow climbers; chances are, climbing accounts will pop up on Explore. So don’t scroll through the page mindlessly – someone might catch your eye.

2. Get hashtagging

Just attended the Laneway music fest? Search the hashtags to see which other music lover was jiving to your favourite performance.

3. Look for friends of friends

See a post of your friend with a cute guy? If he’s tagged in the picture, no one will fault you for doing some cyberstalking.


Make your profile public

Duh, if your profile is private, he’s not going to bother replying, because there’s nothing for him to check out. And once the two of you have started a conversation, you can be sure he’ll be taking a closer look at what you post. So amp up the Instastories to give him fodder for conversation.

Get on his radar

Susan* sets things up by liking the posts of guys who catch her eye. “It’s the easiest way to bait them – it gets their attention first,” she says. She also leaves comments, but makes sure they’re not too flirty since they’re public. By the time she sends her first DM, the guys recognise her Instagram handle and are more receptive.

Use the intel

Lazy introductions like “Hi” and “What’s up” won’t cut it if you’re a complete stranger. You’ve got all the information you need from his profile – use it. Ask how the food was at a cafe he was recently at. Shared interests? That’s a great place to start a conversation.

Don’t get over-friendly

What to say: “That steak looks amazing! Does it taste as good as it looks?” What not to say: “That steak looks amazing – I would love to share it with you.” Instagram isn’t a dating site, so don’t come on too strong. It might spook the guy. Keep the suggestive emojis for when you get to know him better. Annabelle’s* first message to her now-boyfriend was, “Omg, is that Chris Hemsworth on the MRT??” after seeing an actor lookalike on his Instagram Story. At that point, she wasn’t thinking of flirting. Amused, he replied, and they hit it off.

Know your boundaries

His profile may be public, but if he’s posted a caption saying he’s had a rough day, it’s not on you to ask him what happened. That’s for his friends to deal with, not someone he’s barely spoken to online. Also skip the comments about something he posted back in 2015 – it’ll give him stalker vibes.


Hannah’s* boyfriend came across her profile under the Explore page. “He first messaged me when he saw my Instagram story of a crowd in my neighbourhood playing Pokemon Go,” she recounts. His message was succinct: ‘LOL’.”

A week later, he DM’ed her after she posted a story on a solo movie date. She had drawn a stick figure in the empty seat next to her and captioned it “movie date with bae”. To which he responded: “Creative way to make a bae”. Hannah was taken by his cheekiness. “We spent the entire night direct messaging on Instagram.” A date was fixed, and the rest is history.

So what did her guy do right? “The others who slid into my DMs either couldn’t carry a conversation, or tried too hard with pick-up lines.” In contrast, her guy kept it playful. Personal questions in that first conversation were kept to a minimum, which didn’t sound Hannah’s creep alert.


*Names have been changed.