In a fit of thirst scrolling, you followed a handsome stranger on Instagram, and you’ve spent the past couple of weeks ogling his tantalizing workout photos, adorable dog pics, and delicious home baking experiments. Normally, you’d seek out mutual friends to introduce you or “accidentally” bump into him at a party or concert, but since he’s completely virtual, your only option is to shoot your shot in the DMs. What’s the best way to demonstrate your interest and come across as flirty and fun, without crossing the line into creepy territory?

In theory, shooting your shot from a distance should be easy peasy. It’s just a message on social media, after all. But figuring out how, exactly, to break the ice and successfully slide into someones DMs is a tricky dance.

Even though a little DM flirting is by no means uncommon, Instagram is still not actually a dating app. In other words, a lot of your go-to pickup lines for Tinder and Bumble may not fly there.

One of the easiest opportunities to slide into DMs in a way that makes you seem interested and approachable, but not stalker-ish, is to reply to an Instagram story or send a DM related to his most recent post.

The key to the perfect first Instagram DM is to keep it casual and show that you’re interested, but not get too flirty or spicy, at least not yet. Start chatting him up on a topic that you know is a common interest, and once you get the conversation ball rolling, you can entice him into a Skype or Facetime, a stroll in the park, or grabbing coffee.

If you’re looking to make a move, here are eight of our best tips for flirting with a guy in the DMs on Instagram!

1. If he’s a stranger, TAKE IT SLOW

Obviously if you’re already acquaintances or have mutual friends, it’s much more acceptable to just slide into the DMs and get a little flirty. However, if he’s just a hot stranger you found on the Internet, proceed with caution.

First, follow him and like a few of his recent photos. Pro tip: do not like any of his posts that more than a few months old.

You could also maybe toss in a comment under a couple of the posts.

Second, if he’s responding (i.e. liking your comments, responding back, and following you back), feel free to take the next step: slide into DMs!

However, if he’s ignoring your likes and comments, that’s a sign to give up your pursuit here and now. To summarize, don’t push it, as your advances might be unwelcome.

2. Make sure you follow each other

Before you send that first DM, be sure to check that he follows you back! If you both mutually follow each other, it’s a good sign that he’s receptive to a little Instagram flirtation and you don’t violate any boundaries. On the other hand, if he doesn’t follow you back, maybe hold off.

Think about it: if you received a flirty DM from a strange guy who you don’t even follow, you might feel a little creeped out. In fact, you might even be tempted to block him. So, it’s safe to assume that he might react the same way.

3. Keep in mind that screenshots are forever

Any time you message someone on the Internet, there is the possibility that he might screenshot the conversation and send it to his friends. As always (just to be safe) do not send him anything that you wouldn’t feel comfortable getting “screenshotted”, especially if he’s a total stranger.

4. If you Instagram-stalked him, there’s a good chance that he might Instagram-stalk you back.

Instagram-stalking goes both ways! After you message him, there’s a good chance that he’ll scroll through your Instagram page, and maybe even look you up on other social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, maybe even LinkedIn). If your Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter are littered with photos or mentions of your ex, clean those up!

5. Reply to his Instagram story

An Instagram story is the perfect conversation starter. They give you an insight into his hobbies, passions, and day-to-day life, allowing you to get to know him a little before you slide into DMs.

Replying to his Instagram story gives you an opportunity to get the conversation rolling. Start slow by showing that you share a common interest:

  • If he posts a gorgeous landscape shot from his favorite hiking spot, you could reply something like this:

“That’s an incredible view! What are your favorite hiking spots nearby?”

  • If he’s an avid reader who’s always posting updates about his current favorite books, you could reply something like this:

“I’ve been meaning to read that forever! You’ll have to let me know what you think of it!”

  • If he’s always posting Instagram stories of his most recent culinary creation, you could reply something like this:

“YUM! My mouth is watering just looking at the photo! Do you mind sharing the recipe?”

  • If he posted an Instagram video with a song playing in the background, you could reply something like this:

“OMG I love this band! What’s your favorite song?”

6. Start the conversation with something you noticed on his page

If he doesn’t really post Instagram stories, you can still slide into his DMs and start a conversation that incorporates something you noticed in one of his Instagram posts.

Just make sure to keep the topic of conversation specific to one of his most recent posts. Why? Because going too far back on his timeline might inadvertently reveal that you’ve been Instagram-stalking him (just a little bit).

In addition, referencing one of his posts makes you seem more attentive and genuinely interested, instead of coming across as simply thirsty.

  • If he recently posted a picture of his pet, you could message him something like this:

“I have to say, every time you post a picture of your dog, it makes my day! How long have you had him?”

  • If he recently posted a throwback pic of himself at a sporting event, you could message him something like this:

“I think I had season tickets for every sports team at college! Are you still going to a lot of games?””

  • If he recently posted a photo of himself with a specific location tag (a local park, restaurant, bar, etc.), you could message him something like this:

“OMG, I was just there the other day! Isn’t it amazing?”

7. Don’t get too flirty

Remember: Instagram is not actually a dating app. Although Instagram flirting is generally considered acceptable, not everyone is receptive to it, so it’s a good idea to keep your messages PG when you slide into DMs.

So, keep the tone of the conversation light and flirty (at least at the beginning of your conversation). If you hit him with a spicy, overtly sexual message you might come across as too intense, or even inappropriate. Likewise, keep a watchful eye for things a player for say to you. Does he come on too hot and heavy? Is he playing hot and cold? Be vigilant.

8. Take the conversation to the next level

So, what’s next? Chatting in the Instagram DMs feels a little casual, so if you’ve managed to keep up a friendly, flirty, back-and-forth, the next logical step is to take the conversation to text messages, FaceTime, or even a (safe) in-person meeting!

For example, if he’s coming across a little shy, it’s not too bold or too forward to offer him your number. That way, the ball is in his court, as it’s up to him to send the first text message.

On the other hand, if you still want to maintain a little more control over the conversation, you can also ask for his number. That way, the responsibility of sending the first text message remains with you!

Asking for his number might seem scary. So, if you’re feeling a little nervous, accompany your request with a cute and flirty message, like, “If you give me your number, I’ll keep sending you my amazing music recs!”

Your Slide Into DMs With Ease Pep Talk

If you’ve never flirted with a guy in the DMs before, sending that first message can be totally nerve-wracking. I get it! It’s tough to figure out the best first DM that’s the perfect balance of friendly and flirty. You know, without overstepping any boundaries or seeming like an Internet stalker.

If you haven’t already had the chance to check out my ultimate texting resource French Seduction Made Easy, take a minute to find out more…it’s packed with texting tips on how to start a conversation and keep it going, as well as tons of text messages that you can use as inspiration.

Hopefully, these tips will give you the confidence and knowledge to start a some fun conversations. So, go for it and slide into DMs!


Claudia Cox

Claudia Cox is a modern communication expert who gives singles and couples alike the tools they need to improve their relationships. She is the creator of The Text Weapon Texting Club, and the author of French Seduction Made Easy. She loves the outdoors, baking tasty treats for friends, and of course, texting.
Learn more about French Seduction Made Easy.

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