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Whether your crush is one of your best friends, a classmate, a friend of a friend, someone you’ve never actually met IRL, or Chris Evans himself, the DMs are typically a common and safe place to make the first move. But sliding into DMs is the easy part – getting them to respond is a whole other story. You don’t want to come across as too forward, and you don’t want to be disrespectful, but you also want to say something that you know will grab their attention immediately and get them to respond back.

Fortunately, social media is a great place to do this. From Snapchat to Instagram and TikTok to Twitter, social media takes a lot of the pressure off of making the first move. Whether you use a public post as a reason to text your crush or you slide into DMs, the social media aspect offers an opportunity to make a connection that feels less forced and more friendly. And, if done correctly, sliding into the DMs is an easy and efficient way to turn a public post into a private conversation.

Below, here are just a few ways on how you can slide into the DMs.

1. Congratulate Them on Something They’re Celebrating

DMing or texting your crush in response to something they’re celebrating online has to be one of the easiest ways to break the ice for your first DM. Whether they’re celebrating a graduation, their birthday, or any other holiday, wish them the best. It’s thoughtful of you that you reached out, but still very casual and light. Plus, the timing is great because they are probably already in a good mood. Simple, yet effective. Keep in mind that not everyone is excited for the holidays or other occasions typically celebrated, so wait for them to post about something first just to be safe.

2. Add Them to Your Close Friends List

It shows that even though you may not know them now, you want them to, quite frankly, be closer to you. Without speaking at all, you’ve said that you trust them with seeing a part of you that not everyone else that follows you can. It’s another subtle way to nudge them into making the first move in the DMs if you aren’t ready to yourself.

3. Engage When They Post Something Interactive

Instagram Stories have polls and questions. If sliding in the DMs is still a bit intimidating, participating in their polls, answering their questions, or asking a question is an easy way to show interest and get the convo started. If you’re still unsure, think about it this way: they’ve already started the conversation and even given a topic. All you have to do is respond.

4. Post Something to Your Feed That You Know Is an Interest of Theirs

For example, if your crush posts a quote, post the same one a week later to show that you resonate or share a similar perspective. Just keep in mind that this only works if you know your crush is someone who consistently views your Story. If you’re crushing on a follower but still enjoy being the chase, dropping them this hint may be the way to go. Another example would be posting a screenshot of a song by an artist who your crush recently posted about. These posts allow you to build a conversation around something you know for a fact your crush is loving at the moment. Work smarter, not harder, y’all.

5. Support Their Work

Slide up on their story to comment on their new blog post or let them know you listened to the latest episode on their podcast. If you’re feeling bold, you can even repost and tag their artwork or business on your own story. Not only are they bound to respond, but it shows that you’re genuinely interested in and supportive of their passions.

6. If You Know Their Zodiac Sign, Use It to Your Advantage

Comment on a story of theirs by saying “Wow, that is something only a [insert their zodiac sign] would say.” This type of flirtation adds a bit of curiosity that will make them want to respond and ask what you mean by it. You can also send them a meme about their zodiac sign from one of the many addicting astrology Instagram pages. Getting a laugh out of your crush is a good way to get them feeling comfortable and come out of their shell a little.

7. Use Their Food Pics to Strike Up Conversation

When your crush posts a pic of food or a new restaurant, ask your crush if the mimosas there are good (or, more importantly, if they’re bottomless). Tell them that you’ve been looking for a good breakfast spot and ask for a recommendation. Take notes. This may give you some insight on where your first meet-up should take place. On that note, if you’re feeling bold, you can also just straight up tell them you know a place similar to the one they posted on their story and suggest going together.

What Not to Do When You Slide Into DMs

Do not comment an emoji when they post a selfie. (Yes, this includes the fire flame.) As tempted as you are to comment on their gorgeous pic, don’t. That’s where most of their DM traffic usually comes from. How will your heart eyes stand out from the rest? You can make a more solid first impression than commenting on their physical appearance. Being attentive and thoughtful will get you a lot further.

Also, let’s just stop with the whole emoji response period. Despite how Stories have progressed sliding into someone’s DMs, I believe the six emoji automatic reply suggestions are a little too safe. It offers little opportunity for a response. The most you’ll get from the fire flame or heart eyes is a thank you or even worse . . . no response. Remember, the goal is to initiate an authentic conversation naturally that’s worth continuing IRL.

Last but not least, do not send over a dirty pickup line or write anything that could be interpreted or received the wrong way, especially to a stranger. Consent is always key – in real life and virtually.