A Guide To Successfully Sliding In The DMs
Men don't get enough credit for the courage it takes to approach women, especially in a world where we have been known to clown the hell out of them depending on their approach. But as someone who has tried to approach the opposite sex, I can attest to the fact that you tend to say thoughtless or weird shit when you're under the type of anxiety-inducing pressure that comes with making the first move.
However, as we continue to create a new world order — a world that consists of the direct message approach — it's not so uncommon for women to shoot their shot. There's no question that women are shooting their shot, only question is are they setting themselves up for a nice little "oop" or just traveling with zero direction?
Well. Not only did we get some expert-approved tips on sliding in the DMs, and, we even have some stories from ladies who have successfully approached the sex of their choice. And by successful, we mean anything that made it outside of the DMs — from casual sex to sending out wedding announcements.
If you're anything like me, you may have wondered or even feared that approaching men might be a turn-off. But two things to consider are this: 1) is a man who is turned off the right one for you, and 2) some men might find being approached a relief. Shadeen Francis, licensed sex and relationship therapist points out, "many men worry about unintentionally seeming aggressive or abusive," as they should be.
As I said before, I have grown to have hella respect for the guts men have to have when they are interested and must be the first to pursue a woman. In addition to the pressure to not seem aggressive, Francis makes note of "social pressure put on men to initiate conversation." She expounded, "From the stereotype of the smooth R&B 'excuse me miss' to the confident 'let me holla at you for a second', there is the expectation that men who are interested in someone will know what to say and how to say it. They are taught to 'make' others want them."
By making the first move, "It can feel like a nice change of pace for men to be approached…It takes less vulnerability, and can make them feel desired."
Men have been doing this since the dawn of time, before the comfortability of the DMs. Meaning, there's a lot to be learned from them, because why fix what's broken? Eh. This is not to say the system isn't flawed. However, being a student of life means we're also learning from the failures that are interesting gone bad, i.e. catcalling and street harassment. Francis advised, "Do not assume that just because you are a catch, that others need to be interested or available. If someone does not engage, the response is not to be persistent or to fight for it, but to leave room for the other person to choose whether or not to participate. Only a non-coerced yes is a yes, and as always, no means no."
Now that we've covered consent and amped you up Flava-Flav-style...how do we seductively lace it all together and execute? Well it's actually quite simple — be direct! Far too often, myself and other women swear that men can read minds or receive bat signals. We will do everything except be direct, from liking several pictures or commenting on every Insta story to convey interest. Francis says it's best to be clear. Rather than giving nothing but weird indirect vibes, Francis recommends that you "start your engagement on their page with intention."
Ask yourself, "What about them is interesting or attractive to you? Maybe you like their thoughtful captions, or the mission of organization they promote, or their calf muscles. Engage (like, comment, interact in the stories) only with the content that demonstrates that, and then follow up in their DMs. Good conversation makes people feel interesting and it gives them something clear to respond to. That could be a question, or a call-to-action."
Francis suggests using the following formula for crafting your message with intention:
- A greeting
Hey, hi there, etc.
- A compliment
You have great calf muscles, you must train a lot
- An invitation
I'd love to know more about you, hit me up if you're down to talk.
In fact, the formula can be found throughout the stories of these 5 ladies who slid in the DMs oh-so-successfully:
"I was very nervous. He was someone I had seen around in high school and even then we hadn't really spoken besides the passing 'Hi,' so I was worried I would look like a ridiculous stalker. But, besides that I figured what was the worst that could happen? I hadn't ever slid into his or anyone else's DMs before that. I had the hope that if someone wanted to speak to me they would, so to slide in his DMs and take that first step was a ballsy move on my part.
"I started out with something like, 'Hey, I don't know if you remember me from high school, but you are handsome as ever.' To which he said something along the lines of, 'Thank you beautiful, how have you been?' And that conversation lasted for a couple days until he finally asked for my number. It still amazes me to this day that one bold move that I decided to make has led to a thriving, happy, five-year long relationship. This man really is my best friend and if I hadn't mustered up the courage, I could have missed out on my blessing!"
"I was on this HBCU site and they shouted him out for paying off his student loans and I was like, 'WOW, he's kinda cute.' He was tagged, so I went to his page and I was like, 'Oh my God, I think he's cute.' So, I just sent him a message. I don't remember what the message was but we just started flirting back and forth. He was in the DC area, so I told him I'd be home in a few weeks and we set up a date. For our first date, he picked me up from our parents' house and he took me to The Cheesecake Factory and then he took me to smoke hookah and have a drink. I made him wait to have sex with me, maybe one and half, two years and I was so, so disappointed."
"When Brian and I first met, I was nervous a bit. Sure, we bonded over tacos (I'm indecisive, so I swooned when he said, 'just get one of everything!') but I was mainly nervous because it felt different to me. When we parted ways, and I came back to LA, all I could think about was seeing him again. He had never dated anyone long-distance and saw it as a challenge. I, on the other hand, had dated long-distance. I also knew if the person was worth it, you'd work for it. Besides, Phoenix and LA are not too far apart.
"I kept sending him DMs, which were pretty dry. The conversation wouldn't carry on far beyond the usual, 'How was your day?' So, in a last attempt, I decided to invite him to Las Vegas for the 4th of July. If there's anywhere that can help you take the edge off and get to know a stranger, while being surrounded by strangers – it's Vegas! I was already going with a couple of my girlfriends, so I asked if he'd like to get some friends and meet us. When we met up, all of our friends left us (not together) and he and I gallivanted all throughout Vegas together. We stayed up so late walking around casinos, laughing and talking that we got brunch the next morning.
"His response to me reaching out was receptive, but in a way he surprised himself as well. He normally wouldn't have gone to Vegas, but he took a chance. After Vegas, we both felt something was there and were curious. I'm very spontaneous, so the next month I invited him to Cabo! He didn't have a passport, so he had to rush to order a passport. He thought it was crazy, but he liked the connection and thrill as much as I did.
"I had never slid into anyone's DMs before and I never made the first move. Typically, if a guy doesn't prove that he is interested, I move on. I stepped out of my comfort zone and followed my heart with him, and I'm beyond glad that I did because I knew something was different about him. Now we have been together for 4.5 years!"
"My mom always says 'closed mouths don't get fed.' So, I'm a strong advocate for going after what you want in life (career, love, personally) ALWAYS! Sliding into someone's DMs can be nerve-wracking, but it can work out, especially if you are clear with what you want (and honest with yourself) and set your intentions.'"
"Slid in...met them and we went on a date (my treat) that weekend. It felt powerful for me. I knew what I wanted and I went for it. I was a little nervous before he responded -- worried that he would think I was too aggressive, but it worked out--he was flattered that I made the first move. Shortly after, we got into a relationship. It turned out OK. He was great with my son. I wish more women would go for it. The stigma should be gone, and women should be able to go for whatever they want without it being taboo."
"Just do it. The worst they can say is 'no'. And most men won't say 'no' if they are available. Shoot, some will still entertain even if they aren't 100% available. I've done it twice. Once many years ago, and the other was about a year ago. The last time worked in my favor, but we aren't talking anymore -- just weren't compatible."
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Motor City native, Atlanta living. Sagittarius. Writer. Sexpert. Into all things magical, mystical, and unknown. I'll try anything at least once but you knew that the moment I revealed that I was a Sag.
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What Are Intrusive Thoughts & How Do We Manage Them?
TW: some depictions of intrusive thoughts may be disturbing for readers.
Have you ever caught your mind drifting off to entertain the most disturbing scenarios imaginable? Maybe you can’t stop thinking of all the ways a loved one could pass away or worrying that you left every candle lit in your apartment to which you’d return to a home in ruins. If distressing ruminations like these have crossed your mind, you may be experiencing an intrusive thought.
What Are Intrusive Thoughts?
Intrusive thoughts are unwanted or distressing thoughts, images, or impulses that pop into your mind without your control or consent. These thoughts can be repetitive, unsettling, or even violent in nature, and can cause anxiety and frustration for those who experience them.
“Generally they're unwanted thoughts that come up in our head that interrupt what we're doing or thinking, and can feel very foreign,” says Adia Gooden, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist and host of the Unconditionally Worthy podcast. “It’s any thought that intrudes or interrupts what you are doing. They can be distressing and upsetting for us because it feels like we are not in control of them, and they're coming up out of nowhere and aren’t in line with how you normally think.”
What Causes Intrusive Thoughts?
Certain trauma or stress can contribute to the development of intrusive thoughts, so having a challenging experience from the past or current life situations may trigger them to form. “An intrusive thought could come in the form of a flashback, image, or a thought about something that's happened to you,” Dr. Gooden tells xoNecole. “When it gets to the point where you feel like you can't function or make clear decisions, that's when intrusive thoughts become really challenging.”
While some of the 1 billion videos found under the #intrusivethoughts hashtag on TikTok would lead you to believe that these thoughts are nothing more than casual displays of our imagination going untamed. Intrusive thoughts are more than sticking your hand in a soap dispenser, wanting to cut all your hair off at 3 a.m., or having a random impulse to eat fake bread in public.
The Anxiety & Depression Association of America reports that approximately six million individuals, equating to roughly two percent of the American population, encounter intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are often linked with obsessive-compulsive disorders, but they can also manifest in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety.
Examples of Common Intrusive Thoughts
Because of the explicit nature of intrusive thoughts, they tend to cause shame and internal conflict in those who experience them. Although these thoughts can differ from person to person, these ideation can consist of:
- Violent or aggressive thoughts towards oneself or others, such as harming or killing someone;
- Sexual thoughts that are unwanted or inappropriate;
- Repetitive thoughts, such as a song or a phrase that keeps repeating in your mind;
- Contamination or germ-related thoughts or the fear of contamination and getting sick;
- Religious or blasphemous thoughts, such as questioning one's faith or having thoughts that go against religious beliefs;
- Doubts or uncertainty about one's own actions or decisions, such as fear of making a mistake or fear of not doing something right.
Intrusive Thoughts and OCD
That’s why Dr. Gooden encourages everyone to understand the difference between our fleeting thoughts and impulses and true, intrusive thoughts. “What level of distress does it cause and is it something you would never consider,” she says. “If you're finding that these thoughts are getting in the way of you living your life and that you're controlled by the thoughts, those are some signs that it would be good to get some support in navigating it.”
She also emphasizes the importance of understanding that while we may not always have control over our thoughts, we can control our behavior. “On TikTok, people are sort of blaming intrusive thoughts on their behavior, and our behavior is always a choice,” she says. “If we are in our right mind and we're not having a psychotic episode, our behavior is our choice — we are not obligated to follow any given thought that we have.”
Are Intrusive Thoughts Normal?
With intrusive thoughts, it’s natural to question whether these thoughts are “normal” to have. However, these thoughts are not meant to define who you are as a person but simply indicate that you have a functioning human mind with automated thoughts that you, or any of us, can’t control. These thoughts may come, but they don’t have to be acted upon, nor do they define who you are.
“I've worked with clients in the past who say, ‘Why am I thinking these things? What's wrong with me?’ But if you're not acting on the thought, then it's probably not a huge issue,” Dr. Gooden says. “If you are thinking a harmful thought towards yourself or someone else and you are making plans to act on that thought, then yes, we need to do something about it.”
How To Manage Intrusive Thoughts
If you are struggling with managing unwanted thoughts, Dr. Aida suggests taking these tips to help manage your mindset when they occur:
- "Recognize that it's a thought and thoughts are just thoughts. We often put a little bit too much weight on our thoughts, and that can create a lot of distress. But remember that thoughts are not facts."
- "Having a thought that's disturbing or upsetting doesn't make you a bad person, and it doesn't mean that you are suffering from a mental illness."
- "Sometimes the best thing you can do is say, 'Huh, that was an interesting thought. I'm going to let that go. That thought is not helpful for me right now."
- "Ask yourself: is this helpful? Is it helpful for me to buy into this thought and believe this thought? Asking that question can be really helpful because we are not at the mercy of our thoughts. If it's not helpful, you can let it go."
Intrusive thoughts can feel bizarre and foreign when they come up, but they aren't inherently "bad." Our minds can sometimes be filled with random and inappropriate thoughts, but that's what our stream of consciousness does: it thinks. Fortunately, we can release those thoughts at any moment; you don't have to follow through with them.
And ultimately, not every TikTok diagnosis is one that we should label ourselves with.
"It's important for people to acknowledge what they're experiencing but not run too quickly to diagnose themselves with some mental illness or disorder," Dr. Gooden advises. "It ends with confusion, and we miss the opportunity to understand the people who really do have that mental health challenge."
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