If You Want to Succeed in Dating, Don't Text Her “Hey,” “Hi,” or “Hello”

Elle Silver

Why some men slip into a woman's DMs this way and why they shouldn’t.

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Ever since the advent of the “direct message” on social media, men have been sliding into women’s DMs to say nothing more than “hey,” “hi,” or “hello.” No introduction of who they are. No declaration of intent. It’s the laziest pick-up line on the planet because it’s not even a line. It’s a word.

Even a form email would be better than a word that takes less than a second to type. But that’s why men do it — and it’s exactly why they shouldn’t.

Women hate it.

If you’re a man who routinely slides into women’s DMs for the first time with a “hey,” “hi,” or “hello” text, I can assure you that you’re ruining your chances with women before you even start.

It’s lazy.

When a man puts less energy into crafting a couple of sentences to introduce himself than I do to contact my doctor’s office (stating my name and the purpose of my prospective visit), I refuse to put any energy back into responding to this guy.

If he’s already showing how lazy he is now, what’s he going to be like when we finally meet? What’s he going to be like to have a relationship with?

Lazy.

In dating, you have to start with your best foot forward. First impressions are everything. A “hey,” “hi,” or “hello” text shows you’re not much of a go-getter. You’re more of a couch potato scrolling through profiles, shooting your arrow into the air and hoping that it hits something.

Unattractive.

Women know you’re texting a ton of other women the same message — and that’s a turn-off.

Women want men to make them feel like they're special. A woman wants to feel like she’s the only gal a guy’s hitting up. When a man texts “hey,” “hi,” or “hello,” it’s obvious that he’s DMing a ton of other women the same message.

We know a dude is just shaking the tree to see who falls out. He’s not discerning. He’s not climbing the tree, carefully selecting a woman because he thinks she’s amazing.

He wants women to fall out of the tree at his feet with no effort on his part. Then he can see if he’s interested.

Turn-off.

It takes too much time to get the conversation started.

I already know where this conversation is going when I receive a “hey,” “hi,” or “hello” DM from a man — and I know it’s going to take a while for any connection to happen.

I’m going to text back “hey,” “hi,” or “hello.” His next text will be “how are you?”

I will text back, “Good and you?” And it will go on like this for a while.

I’m a busy woman. I don’t have time for idle banter. It’s drivel and it’s boring.

Men show they’re afraid of rejection.

When I receive a “hey,” “hi,” or “hello” text from a man, I also sense a guy who’s only sliding into my DMs this way because he’s afraid of rejection. He wants to put as little energy as possible into contacting me so that if I pass him over it will be no skin off his back.

But by putting so little energy into his first impression, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I will definitely pass him over.

It shows entitlement.

Or worse, a guy just demonstrates that he’s entitled. He feels comfortable initiating a casual, informal conversation with me — a woman he doesn’t even know, who didn’t ask to be contacted by him.

That’s entitlement.

He’s starting the conversation by saying nothing more than “hello.” If I really want to get the conversation going, I have to do the work. I’m the one who has to craft an intelligent response that shows I’ve actually read his profile.

“Hey, I see you’re into rock climbing” Or: “Seems like you take great photography.”

Whatever it is, I have to pour the special sauce over our initial interaction — and that shows entitlement on a guy’s part.

Women like to be courted. By sliding into a woman’s DMs with “hey,” “hi,” or “hello,” a man leaves her to do the heavy-lifting to get the conversation rolling.

No thanks.

He demonstrates he doesn’t know how to conduct himself around women or flirt effectively.

Worse, when a man contacts me this way for our first conversation, he shows he doesn’t know how to court me at all. He doesn’t know how to flirt let alone seduce me. He’s not entitled, he’s just a buffoon.

It’s aggressive.

Just as it feels aggressive when a guy on the street says “hello” to me when I’m minding my own business or when he approaches me in a public space when I just want to be left alone, a “hey,” “hi,” or “hello” text from a complete stranger can feel off-putting, even dangerous.

I’m in my private space, just enjoying my life, and suddenly this dude slips into my DMs like a scammer slips into my phone.

No, this man can’t hurt me. He doesn’t know where I live. And still, it’s disconcerting that he’s there.

It’s offensive. It’s a guy expressing informality with a woman when he has no right to. He should be showing respect.

What men can do instead.

Perhaps I seem too angry. I’m complaining without telling men how they can respectfully slip into a woman’s DMs.

Here’s my advice: ask permission to get in touch with a woman for the first time. Slid into her DMs with a “Hi, may I contact you?” Or: “Are you interested in getting to know me better?”

Or how about actually reading a woman’s profile and commenting on something that shows you took the time to find out more about her.

“I see you like French New Wave cinema and post-modern Latin American literature. Here’s an article you might be interested in.” Or: “Here’s a website that I find impactful. Based on your profile, I think you would, too.”

And how about stating your name, where you live, and what your purpose is in contacting her. “I’m interested in meeting a woman for a long-term relationship.” Or: “I just want to hook up. Are you interested?”

I’m not saying you’re going to get a positive response from such DMs or get a response at all. I’m just saying these texts are better than leading with “hey,” “hi,” or “hello.”

The thing is, I don’t even recommend sliding into a woman’s DMs in the first place. You don’t know her. You have no idea if she’s even interested in meeting men.

This is why dating websites and apps are so wonderful. Women are on them because they want to meet men.

Women with profiles on dating apps are actually open to having a relationship. They are single and looking.

They want to hear from you.

But even on a dating website or app, I don’t recommend initiating contact with a woman by sending her a “hey,” “hi,” or “hello” text.

Not unless you want to ruin your chances with her before you’ve even met.

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I'm a relationships expert with a focus on post-divorce dating and family. Everything I've learned about love, I've learned the hard way. You can learn from my mistakes.

Los Angeles, CA
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