Why Tinder Rejects Sliding Into Your Instagram DMs Is Basically Catcalling On The Internet


Using dating apps can be a frustrating experience—there’s no denying it. You don’t always match with that cute girl you Super Liked, you have a great conversation with an interesting dude who then suddenly drops off the face of the earth, and frankly, swiping left and right on an endless stack of selfies devoid of any real personality can sometimes feel not only aimless and shallow but also a little existentially deflating in that guilt-ridden, wow-we-really-do-not-value-fellow-human-beings-anymore-do-we sort of way.

While I don’t have too many solutions for the last one on that list other than just soldiering on (I found my man on OkCupid—worth it!), I do have one big piece of advice toward people frustrated with their lack of matches: Do not take that as an incentive to start stalking your non-matches on their social media accounts.

For the last few years, there’s been a rise in the trend of random guys sliding into the DMs of Tinder girls they failed to connect with. Last year New York magazine coined the term “Tindstagramming” to describe the behavior: Basically, people on Tinder who you swiped left on decide to just bypass the app’s match system completely to get in contact with you. These rejected candidates—typically dudes—flock to Instagram (or even Snapchat or Facebook), where you’re not required to both “like” each other to send a message. And so into your DMs these creeps are able to slide, just like that. Hello, unsolicited and often unwanted sexual advances.

I get why you might want to take a peek through someone’s social media accounts—these days, a little Google stalking is par for the course when it comes to app dating. No shame. But why on earth would anyone so brazenly out themselves as the internet stalkers they are?

“The Tindstagrammer knows that the person he’s contemplating Super Liking will probably never match with him,” New York explains. “But the issue is that he vehemently believes it’s not his fault.” In other words, guys assume women are unfairly passing them over in their sea of options, so maybe breaking from the crowd and pinging her somewhere she least expects it will boost his chances of getting a response.

Subverting The “No”

This new mating tactic might not be as frustrating as some of its contemporary counterparts (see: ghosting, breadcrumbing, benching, etc.), but Tindstagramming is still pretty problematic. Not only is it totally annoying, but more pressingly, it subverts a person’s right to say no. People who show up uninvited in a woman’s personal spaces, even the virtual ones, are sending the message that their interest and desire supersede what the woman herself wants. If she was into you, she would’ve swiped right. It’s just that simple.

“They definitely come across as super douchey and obviously don’t respect boundaries when they message you even though you didn’t match,” Madison Killian, who says she’s received many Tindstagrams, tells New York. “The one that I did respond to, he got so angry that I turned him down that he wrote a fake Craigslist ad and posted my Instagram, and I woke up to like 15 horny dudes messaging me.”

This is just a theory, but isn’t Tindstagramming basically just catcalling that happens on the internet? A guy sees a pretty girl minding her own business and not interested in him whatsoever, and instead of accepting her right to that agency, he goes out of his way to proclaim his attraction in a manner that is inherently creepy and even a little threatening that basically ensures the woman will be left alarmed and uncomfortable by the whole interaction. Anyone else seeing the similarities here? No? Just me?

Does It Ever Work?

Well, one dude told New York he’s actually gotten dates using Tindstagramming on more than one occasion. His excuse for the creepy strategy mirrors the sentiments of guys who send out booty calls to every girl on their phone when they’re horny: “Part of good game is not giving a fuck and doing everything you can to meet women,” he explained. “The No. 1 reason [it’s so common] is probably because it’s easy. Yes, it’s ineffective, but it’s so low effort that it’s hard to justify not doing it if you are committed to doing everything you can to meet girls.” Sounds like quite the charmer, that one.

Another guy offered some sounder reasoning, explaining how he likes how much more information both he and the person he’s messaging can learn from each other’s Instagram feeds. “Tinder profile[s], most of the time, don’t provide enough information for you to find common ground with the other person,” he said. “[But] when sending an IG message, I can show myself — as my Instagram is a layer in an internet persona [that] I consciously built.”

To be fair, weird social media meet-cutes happen all the time. But that still doesn’t excuse the fact that this particular method of blind messaging stems from an inherent lack of respect for a person’s decision not to match with you in the first place.

Some people argue that if a girl has her Instagram attached to her dating profile, she shouldn’t be surprised when people message her with come-ons. This argument ignores the fact that our IGs are there to let you see our lives and, frankly, a lot of us are just hungry for followers and likes. That is not the same as being hungry for your D, no matter how much you wish it were so.

For said rejects still considering sending that message on IG, follow this golden rule set by one wise Redditor: “Only dm her if she follows back it’s rlly not that hard of a concept.”

How To Avoid The Tindstagramming Tidal Wave

Unfortunately there’s not much you can do to avoid the jerks who’ll do anything to get in your face. If you’re worried about strangers finding your personal social media pages, it’s worth it to consider removing your Instagram account from your dating profiles or even just setting your Instagram on private and leaving it at that.

Or you can be like this girl and literally just bake the “DON’T STALK ME” ask into your bio. Seems like a reasonable request, IMHO.

If nothing else, just don’t engage with the Tindstagramming creeps to avoid anyone lashing out at you. The internet’s a weird and sometimes scary place these days, so when in doubt, it’s best to just play it safe. Good luck out there, online daters.