DM etiquette for
sober not thirsty singles

So, you’re finally ready to date in a non-creepy, non-chaotic way! Maybe you just got sober, maybe you’re trying out dating apps for the first time (we know you exist and we love you) as a sober person, maybe you just want to flirt on Instagram and not get screenshot and mocked on a group text because you’re messy and clueless. Here’s how to actually slide into the DMs while keeping your dignity intact.

DO have a fresh line… but not a LINE line.

There’s a difference between a good line, a Line-line, and crossing the line. Definitely don’t go in without finding something, anything, from their profile that intrigues you, and/or take the extra ten seconds to make the effort to ask them a question or appreciate something about them. We’re not talking generic compliments– say something specific! We love the question /answer combo, which showcases not only a vested interest, but hints that you have a personality too. (Can we have a funeral for “how’s your day going?” already? It makes the recipient do all the work, and somehow feels desperate and lazy at the same time.) A foolproof message structure: “Is that Catalina Island? I visited last year!” Simple.

DON’T double…triple…quadruple message.

For the love of God… Do NOT keep blowing someone up, even if you see they’ve read your message. It’s stressful, and we’ve seen it lead to negging and guilt trips, which should be obvious no-no’s at this point (“Guess you’re really busy”, anyone?). Some people have boundaries around social media, some people don’t prioritize apps, some people don’t look at their phones all day, and yes– some people just aren’t interested, will never respond, and THAT’S THEIR RIGHT. Take the L and move on.

DO shoot your shot.

It’s getting old to DM back and forth or even text all day. We’re not in high school anymore, we’re allowed to meet up in person (Covid precautions willing). Or at least have a phone call or FaceTime. Endless messaging without asking to make concrete plans may be chill to the untrained eye, but to the seasoned, more evolved dater it feels like avoidance/unavailability. We love it when someone gets to the point within the first day of chatting– we have enough friends and we don’t need a pen pal or another reason to check our phones all day. Yes, it’s scary to put yourself out there, but you’re an adult, you can handle the outcome.

DON’T take it personally.

It’s neither the time nor the place to get butthurt about digital disappointment. Most of the time, you haven’t even met the person in real life, so what can they be rejecting? Your online scrapbook isn’t a real representation of you no matter how many gorgeous blue skies and flattering selfies you post. Chemistry happens in real life, and we’ve all gotten used to staying indoors. So don’t be hard on yourself. Cultivate self-love and come to the table feeling good about yourself, because we can all sense desperation from a mile away!

DO set a time limit.

So you log onto a dating app to quickly check your matches, and two hours later you look up from your phone dazed, disoriented, sweating, and somehow also cold. What just happened? Where are you? What year is it? We’ve all gotten caught up in the addictive pull of matching and messaging, but the best route to good DM juju is to come from a place of relative serenity. That means logging off and living your best damn life. So make time for dipping into the dating pool, but have some boundaries with it so that at the end of the day, you’re still a catch.

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