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If you’ve been on social media, you may have encountered the phrase “sliding into DMs.” What exactly does this mean, and why do people do it? Keep reading to find out.

“Sliding in” to Direct Messages

“Sliding into DMs” means sending someone (who you might not know personally) a direct message on social media, often on Instagram or Twitter. It is commonly known as a flirtatious, romantic gesture to initiate a conversation or to ask someone out on a date. Therefore, if you message a person you’re attracted to on social media, you’re very likely “sliding into their DMs.”

The phrase can also mean any instance where you directly message another user on social media, often in joking reference to its romantic origins. For example, if you’re posting a job ad on Twitter, you might say, “Software engineers should slide into my DMs with your resume” to solicit applications from qualified applicants.

Where the DMs Are

Social media direct messages, or DMs, should not be confused with other messaging apps, which require that you know another person’s contact information to contact them. On most social networking apps, such as Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, all you need to know is someone’s profile name to be able to send them a message. That’s why “sliding into DMs” frequently happens on these platforms.

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Many people slide into others’ DMs with an understanding that they may never read it. This is especially true when messaging celebrities or public figures who are verified. On Instagram, when you receive a message from someone you don’t follow, it gets placed into a separate inbox called “Message Requests,” which many people never open.

Why Do People Slide into DMs?

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Sliding into DMs is normally done with the mindset of “shooting your shot,” which means to attempt something that you know is unlikely. Since it takes very little effort to send someone a message on social media, there’s no real harm in reaching out to your online crush. Depending on how often they check their messages and assuming that you both are compatible, they may even respond. However, they likely won’t reply at all.

Twitter DMs tend to have a slightly higher rate of success as far as actually establishing relationships. These DMs are frequently sent after having some type of interaction with another person, often by replying to their tweets. Since they’re often communicating with people who are online acquaintances rather than strangers, there’s a much higher chance that they’ll see it.

However, the practice is drastically different for people who send out DMs for work-related reasons. Many people form business partnerships and working relationships by sliding into another person’s DMs. Perhaps you’d like to DM someone an idea to help them monetize their website. Maybe you’d like to collaborate with them on a piece of music or approach them with a sponsorship opportunity. If you don’t have access to their email address, sliding into their DMs may be the most effective way to go about it.

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Everyday Sliding

As mentioned above, “sliding into DMs” has also taken on a different meaning, which is just any kind of message to someone. This is always done in joking reference to the original definition. For example, you might tell your friends, “Slide into my DMs if you need help with anything.” This doesn’t mean that you want them to send you flirtatious messages, but that you’re open to being contacted.

As a spin-off of “sliding into DMs,” people often use “sliding” to refer to sending someone a message on different platforms. For example, saying “Slide into my inbox” means that you want to receive emails, while saying “Slide into my texts” means that you want someone to send you a message via a texting app.

RELATED: The Best Way to Organize Your Emails: Just Archive Them

Message Etiquette

While sliding into someone’s DMs might have been considered strange a few years ago, it frequently happens nowadays because everyone is connected through social media. If you want to slide into someone’s DMs, be sure to follow these rules:

  • Be Polite: Don’t be rude or creepy, especially if you’re talking to the person for the first time.
  • Don’t Be Pushy: If you get a kind rejection, make sure to take that at face value.
  • Identify Whether You’re Compatible First: If you’re on social media, you can likely see someone’s personality through their posts. Before you message someone, do a little bit of research first.
  • Behave Professionally: If you’re sending a DM related to work, be sure to be professional. You don’t necessarily have to act like you’re in an email thread, but take things seriously nonetheless.

If you want to learn more about online dating, check out our guide to swiping left and swiping right on dating apps.

RELATED: What Do "Swipe Left" and "Swipe Right" Mean?

Vann Vicente Vann Vicente
Vann Vicente has been a technology writer for four years, with a focus on explainers geared towards average consumers. He also works as a digital marketer for a regional e-commerce website. He's invested in internet culture, social media, and how people interact with the web.
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