Many aren’t new to the world of direct messaging or DMs, where one can easily connect and interact with old friends and even strangers online. While I’m sure you’ve heard of stories of people meeting their soulmates or date prospects through an Instagram DM, the world of instant messaging isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
You might be shocked at just how many girls receive weird DMs on their social media accounts daily, with messages ranging from being inappropriate or derogatory in nature to long paragraphs of extremely uncomfortable sexually-fuelled messages.
If you’ve been a victim of these DMs yourself, know that you’re not alone and help is available out there. We spoke to 8 girls who shared some of the worst DMs they have received, along with some resources you can go to if you find yourself in a similar situation. P.S. Trigger warning: this article contains screenshots that include inappropriate messages.
*Names have been changed for confidentiality purposes.
1. The Christian Grey Wannabe
“The weirdest DM I received was accompanied by an explicit picture from someone I didn’t know at all — I don’t appreciate being sexualised by strangers especially in that way. I can’t help what random people want to do with my photos or my face but I would prefer it if people just wouldn’t do that.
Emotionally, I think it was quite scary but this wasn’t the first time that I had gotten an explicit picture. It’s just quite disturbing, lah. I felt really scared for a while, because I knew there was not much I could do. Before this, I also faced a situation where harmless pictures of me eating Pepper Lunch in public were posted on Tumblr and getting sexualised when the picture literally wasn’t anything of that nature.
After my friends and I eventually reported these things to the police, we got responses like “IP address can’t be tracked” or that because it wasn’t physical harassment or a case where my photos were being used for monetary profits, it wasn’t against any law. I ended up just talking to my boyfriend and friends about what happened and left it alone. The best thing that I think you can do sometimes is just not engage in confrontation.
I choose not to let these things get to me at the end of the day because I really can’t stop what people do online and I think there isn’t much legal action that’ll help.”
— Sam, 23
2. The Aristotle But Budget Edition
“I rarely receive DMs, but there is this one guy from my college who has been stalking me on Facebook and Instagram for the past 10 years.
The first time this creep approached me online, he said he was doing interviews for his college paper. He tried to have a “philosophical” conversation with me where he sent nonsensical stuff that he presumed would be thought-provoking,
when they were actually just incoherent and extremely creepy. He would address me as “my lady” and use words like “ergo”. He often started the conversation with, “we must speak, much importantly”.
After I answered some of his “philosophical” questions, he started gushing about how “beautiful” my mind was in a really awkward and weird way — like trying to use formal, old English, but with extremely bad grammar. He would then create fake accounts on Facebook, add all my friends, and try to get in touch with me via DMs or by DM-ing them to ask me to reply to him.
This has been happening on and off for the past 10 years, so to say he’s creepy is a huge understatement. A few years ago one of my university friends posted about him on her Facebook and that’s when I realised he was harassing other girls as well!
I’ve told a friend about it, but not my husband because it felt shameful. I didn’t go and seek any help because how do you find someone operating off a faceless, fake account? He just deletes it and starts all over again. The only other thing I did was to threaten him with a police report.
From experience, I would advise that depending on how you feel, it may be helpful to post about your own encounters to see if anyone else you know is going through the same thing. Otherwise, just block them; and keep blocking them. Instagram now lets you block a person and all other accounts they may create so I really do hope that’s helpful. If it gets bad, take screenshots and go lodge a police report.”
— Maya, 32
3. The Poop Enthusiast
“I tend to ignore DMs quite often, especially when they are non-conversational or broach topics I don’t want to discuss… like my poop. Nothing weird really ever creeps me out, but the creepiest was probably this one.
It’s pretty self-explanatory why it was weird; the person made it pretty obvious that they had a poop fetish. The DM didn’t really make me feel much, but I definitely felt amused and I think I restricted the account after.
My only advice following the incident is that you should know how to filter what you consume online and don’t let other people’s thoughts or words influence your self-perceptions.”
— Han Ping, 25
4.The Period Care-Package
“The weirdest DM I’ve received read, “Don’t care if you’re on your period, just come over for cuddles” – from a guy I was talking to no less.
It’s just weird out of context but I think we were joking around before it happened. It just caught me by surprise because it sounded so crude. The guy who sent me the DM and I weren’t exactly strangers, but we were not best friends either. I found it funny at first, but I realised overtime, if a guy could say something so blunt to me and I let him, what does that say about me?
I didn’t exactly tell my close friends about it, because I could see how it might come across as a small comment that I could easily get over. It didn’t affect my day-to-day life, but now and again I would look back at that time in my life and tell myself it’s all in the past.
My advice to others: I’ve been there and it’s not pretty, but I hope you know you’re much more than what any guy would ever say to you!”
— Sonia, 22
5. The Monsters Inc Disappointment
“The nature of DMs I receive are usually MLM companies asking me to join them and creepy people complimenting or asking for weird stuff like foot pictures. Rarely is it ever just actual girls being nice and sharing compliments. I leave probably almost all the DMs I get from new people unread.
I guess the strangest DM I’ve received was a message asking me to send my dirty, used socks. I thought to myself “Dude, I don’t know you and even if I do I’m not going to give you my dirty socks?”. I didn’t respond to him but he was definitely a stranger since his account was private and we didn’t have any mutual followers — granted he had none but was following loads of accounts.
Because this wasn’t really an invasion of my privacy, I didn’t feel like how some might feel towards a stalker or someone threatening to do something to them. While I believe they would be afraid or even angry, I was just amused and disgusted.
I showed my family and boyfriend the messages and we made some jokes that I could probably be making good money from it but nothing else. It became a sort of reflection with my family about how there are so many weird people out there and it just sucks that as women, it’s something we can’t escape.
I would advise others who experience similar behaviour online to just always take screenshots when there’s something fishy or weird going on because nowadays people can easily delete the message and you don’t want a “he said, she said” situation.
On a more serious note, if someone is blackmailing or invading your privacy, bring it up to the authorities or tell someone you trust and get them to go with you when you make the report.
Why should we be embarrassed when they are the embarrassing ones?”
— Clara, 23
6. The D-Pic Dude
“For guys who are strangers that DM me, some will comment about how pretty or cute they think I am and from there ask if I wanna be friends then almost immediately after we’ve just started talking, want to hang out together. I don’t usually entertain such DMs unless I actually know of that person’s existence, like as an acquaintance from school or work. If I don’t know who that person is at all, I’ll just ignore it.
I feel that if girls actually reply to these types of DMs, it gets interpreted that we are giving them “hope” and that we want to reciprocate whatever it is they are thinking about — even if we have replied just to be polite. Seriously though, stranger danger!
The weirdest DM I can recall was when a guy sent me an explicit picture. It was just weird and I deleted, blocked and reported the account straight away after seeing it because I was terrified! What made it worse is that it was someone I totally didn’t know. A conversation never even occurred prior so this was definitely the weirdest one I’ve ever received.
Whenever I receive weird DMs like this, I usually talk to my friends about it but I will personally block and report it first. I don’t think I’ve reached a stage where I need to seek help but I have had thoughts about changing my Instagram account from public to private. However, I feel that at the end of the day, there’s really no point since it’s my own account after all and I shouldn’t let their actions affect me.
My opinion is that it’s perfectly fine to make friends online but always try to gate-keep and protect yourself against any harm. Put a stop to anything whenever you feel things are going sour and don’t ever feel bad for ghosting the people that deserve to be ghosted – trust your feelings.”
— Van, 21
7. The “He Really Should Be In Jail” Dude
“The DMs I receive are usually friendly, either asking about wanting to be friends or asking questions about my school or internship .
I entertain them when they’re asking genuine questions and not sending random requests like “can we be friends?” I don’t think my social media feed is interesting enough for someone to want to be friends with me: they probably either want money or nudes.
The craziest DM I‘ve received was when an “anonymous guy” had taken nude photos of my male schoolmate while he was bathing and sent it to me. Apparently this was because he could tell from my Instagram that I was from the same school.
It was illegal and I was left with the moral dilemma of whether to let my schoolmate know of the existence of those photos or not. The sender was really weird – one moment he would be really rude and the next he would start conversing normally. Eventually, he turned out to be my schoolmate’s friend or acquaintance. After I decided to let my schoolmate know, the sender got pretty aggressive. I felt really scared and was afraid that I’d get faulted for entertaining him in the first place.
I went to find a way to contact my schoolmate to let him know what was going on and that we should report the pervert to the police. He was really repulsed by the entire situation initially and just wanted to conclude the incident by deleting the photos from my Instagram DMs. I explained that it wasn’t sufficient and the best way was to remove the photos from the source: the pervert’s phone. My schoolmate took some time to digest what was happening and he let me know that those pictures were taken during a stayover and that he actually knew who had done it.
Eventually, my schoolmate met up with the pervert to make sure the photos got deleted along with the pictures of other people that he’d found on his phone.
I talked to a few trusted friends and asked for opinions on what to do during the period when this occurred. I blocked the weirdo after the whole incident, but my schoolmate still strongly refused to report it to the police. Since I felt that it was his privacy that had been violated, I respected his wishes.
The incident made me lose a little bit more faith in humanity. I occasionally still think of the other girls whose photos were taken by him, and also struggle dealing with the guilt of not reporting it to the police. After the incident, I made sure to think twice before replying to DMs and about what could potentially happen.
I would say that you should always seek help from a trusted adult or the police if you feel threatened and don’t be afraid to do what is right!”
— Erica, 21
8. The Ctrl+C + Ctrl+V
“The DMs I receive are either very random, as if a bot had sent them or they’re just plain creepy. Usually they ask me to accept their follow request, send pictures of myself, or are “sugar daddies” asking for my details. Most of the time I open them, but I don’t really entertain them. I feel like it’s a personal waste of time to talk to them. But, if I’m bored, I’ll occasionally reply to “troll” them for my own entertainment or curiosity.
This guy who had been DM-ing me assumed we were very close and asked me when we could go out numerous times. This made me uncomfortable. I tried to ghost him or cut him off, but he didn’t seem to get the hint until I asked my guy friend to DM him about how I felt.
The person definitely had low social and self-awareness, and the accumulation of messages made it increasingly creepy because of just how much his desperation seeped through the messages.
I think the scariest thing about this type of situation is that these kinds of people are really common and me, as a young 15-year-old girl back then, probably assumed he was being friendly when in reality, he was a creep or pervert.These situations can happen to anyone and I reckon if I was more naïve and keen, it would’ve been much more dangerous than what I had gone through.
At the time, I didn’t feel like anyone close to me, especially figures of authority, would have understood my situation. I was also scared of being scolded for even having online friends in the first place. I ended up blocking him as I got older and started to notice how weird the situation was. I consider myself quite lucky that nothing obscene or sexually demeaning had occurred to me.
Honestly, one should make sure to put yourself first and always keep yourself safe. I fully understand the desire for human connection, especially in a day and age where real-life social interactions have been greatly reduced. However, some people may not have the purest of intentions.
I feel that conversations need to begin young about potential intentions that people may have, how to know if you’re being gaslit or groomed and such.”