Dating nowadays is exhausting, and it feels like there are only two options to meet your significant other: You either get lucky and meet them through friends, or you swipe right on a dating app. And don’t get me wrong, dating apps are a great way to meet people, but it can take the spontaneity out of it all. What about meeting someone suddenly and falling in love? Do “meet-cutes” still exist?
The truth is, romance is adapting as much as we’re evolving, and even though movie-worth first encounters, such as bumping into each other in a library, dropping each other’s books, locking eyes, and falling in love instantly might not be a popular way of meeting your partner ― TikTok certainly is. Picture this: You’re scrolling through your For You page, laughing at funny videos, saving recipes for later, and then, boom, you’re enchanted by someone you see on a video.
Meeting someone on TikTok might be the most spontaneous way of encountering a crush online. TikTok isn’t a dating platform, so not every user expects to meet their future partner on the app, sometimes it just happens. However, if you do find yourself in the situation of fancying someone you’ve seen on TikTok, how do you even flirt with them if TikTok isn’t designed for dating and approaching others? You can’t even direct message most people on the app — just those who follow you back — and that’s only possible if they don’t have their direct message privacy settings set to “no one.”
So how do you even flirt with someone on TikTok? Is it even possible?
“TikTok is already a dating app for gay/bisexual girls, especially Gen Z.”
– Hannah Moreno
For Richie, 35, whose last name is withheld for his privacy, flirting on TikTok was not only possible, but he ended up meeting, in his words, the love of his life on the app.
“Best relationship I’ve ever had. She’s pretty amazing. I’m a pretty lucky man to land such a gem of a person. She’s like no other, for sure,” he said. He never used or approached TikTok as a dating app; his relationship with his partner happened organically. “It’s an app for creativity, but I think it could be a way to meet your future partner,” he said.
Back in 2020, Richie had a TikTok account where he uploaded cosplaying videos to his 120,000 followers. He’s since deleted his account, but he has some special memories from his time creating content. His favorite one? When his now-partner made a “duet” with one of his videos. After that first interaction, they followed each other, and Richie sent a direct message on TikTok. “The rest is history,” he said. “We’ve been together [for a] little over two years now.”
So, is “dueting” someone’s video the secret to flirting on TikTok (and meeting the love of your life)? Maybe, but it’s not the only option. Hannah Moreno, 28, who often flirts with people on TikTok, explained how to do it — and it’s easier than you’d think.
“It’s definitely possible to flirt on TikTok. In fact, it’s one of the best places to flirt because I’m bisexual and have found that it’s easier to find women on TikTok than anywhere else,” she said. “I have given up on using Hinge and now am only using TikTok to find women. Also, I would say that TikTok is already a dating app for gay/bisexual girls, especially Gen Z.”
In Moreno’s opinion, the TikTok algorithm works in favor of a dater looking for people to flirt with: “TikTok’s algorithm will share videos of other queer women on your For You page. Essentially, you don’t even have to look for them, they just come to you. There have been many relationships that I’ve seen that started because they met on TikTok.”
The video-sharing aspect of the platform, as opposed to the photo-sharing nature of dating apps, helps people catch a glimpse of someone else’s personality before making a move that’s exclusively based on their looks, which Moreno believes makes dating and flirting through the app more genuine.
So, how exactly can you flirt on an app not designed for it?
According to Moreno, there are two main ways in which you can flirt on TikTok.
The first one? “Simply going to someone’s page and liking three or four videos. Then, if they come to your page and do the same, that basically means they are interested,” Moreno explained. On TikTok, you can know when someone visited your profile by turning on your profile view history, which might make flirting easier. Moreno added that if the person you’re flirting with also visits your profile and likes some of your posts, you can then continue the flirting by following them, dropping a comment that shows you’re interested, and, if you’re able to, sending them a private message on TikTok.
The second option is just as simple. “Another way is just simply commenting on a video and seeing if they respond. I have straight up asked someone to get drinks on their video and they responded in my DMs saying they were down,” Moreno said.
That technique even works for flirting with content creators, influencers and people who have a huge following on the app.
“The one thing about TikTok is that everyone reads the comments, so no matter how big of a creator they are, at some point they will be reading the comments,” she said. “You can see that there will always be liked comments and responses on almost every influencer’s videos, even if it’s just a few. Also, if you comment something clever and funny that a lot of people relate to, it will receive a lot of likes and the creator will most likely like it as well, if they hadn’t already.”
What should you comment, then? As Moreno said, something clever that’s related to the video you’re commenting on is a great idea, but you can be even more direct than that. “When I comment, I ask questions that are easy for women to answer. For example, ‘Are you single?’ This is my most effective comment, because it lets them know that I’m interested and it’s easy for them to respond to,” she added.
A bonus way of flirting on TikTok, according to Moreno, is by joining your crush’s livestream. That’s a bonus because not everyone on TikTok goes live, so if your crush does, take that opportunity. Moreno said she got invited on a date that way.
“[A creator was] doing an LGBTQIA+ live dating show which was having four random queer people join, and [the creator] would ask questions to each person and they would talk about themselves ― a get-to-know-you sort of thing,” she said. Before that, Moreno had never joined someone’s livestream, but she was trying to meet more queer people and thought it’d be a great opportunity.
“It actually ended up being really fun, and I got along well with the host. Funny enough, I went live after on my own TikTok and she joined and asked me out in the comments, so we ended up going on a date because we got to know each other through the LGBTQIA+ live dating show.”
The bad news: There are three big downsides to trying to date on TikTok.
As opposed to dating apps, where you can add your location and only match with people that are closest to you, TikTok’s For You page doesn’t usually consider location. The algorithm can sometimes show content created by people that are also based in your area, but it might also suggest videos from people who live very far away from you. The TikTok algorithm focuses on your main interests, and it’ll show you the most popular videos that may be of interest regardless of location.
“The worst [part about dating on TikTok] is that most women live far away, which is actually something queer women always joke about when trying to date each other,” Moreno said.
“TikTok is just another app for people to meet other people and interact with them.”
– Courtney Witt
The next negative side to flirting on TikTok? People are not actually there to date. On dating apps, everyone is looking to flirt with other people, and overall willing to engage. On TikTok, that’s not necessarily true. You might flirt with someone you’re really into, and they might not be in the mood to flirt. It’s important to be mindful of that when approaching others. Be respectful, and if someone doesn’t respond positively to your first flirtatious attempt, don’t engage any further; let them be. Remember: Although TikTok might be a great place to find people to flirt with, not everyone is looking for that on the app, and that’s OK.
And even though you can know a lot about someone on TikTok through their videos, Richie believes that it’s also possible for some people to be putting on a show and creating a persona for the app.
“TikTok’s a place for acting and creativity and art, so some people will embellish themselves and their base can potentially fall for that character/persona,” Richie said. Everything isn’t as it seems. Don’t think you know someone just because you’ve seen their videos. And if you do go out with someone, be careful. Before you actually know them well, they’re just a stranger you met online.
But perhaps the worst thing about flirting on TikTok is that so much of the flirting is done, well, elsewhere. Because it’s not possible to send private messages to most people on TikTok, many choose to message their crushes on their Instagram profiles, which are sometimes linked.
“If I wanted to DM someone, I would just go to their Instagram, because Instagram is where it goes down in the DMs,” Moreno said. Even if the first interaction happens on TikTok, the rest might happen on other platforms.
The good news: Flirting on TikTok can actually work.
“I was scrolling through TikTok one day and came across a video of this guy who I thought was pretty attractive. I hesitated to comment on it, but my friend forced me to (and thank God for that!). I commented ‘Well you’re attractive 👀’ and sure enough, he replied,” Witt said.
After that first interaction, he messaged her on TikTok. “He told me that he thought I was attractive and wanted to get to know more about me. We eventually exchanged phone numbers and FaceTimed that night. We have continued to FaceTime every day since.”
In Witt’s opinion, TikTok is a great platform to flirt with people, especially because, since you’re behind a screen, it’s easier to gain the courage to do it. “TikTok is just another app for people to meet other people and interact with them,” she said. “I definitely think there are chances for others to meet their partners through TikTok.”
Just like Richie or Witt, you might end up meeting your future partner on TikTok. Who knows? Or you might have great dates with people you meet through the app. But the great thing about flirting on TikTok is that it can feel spontaneous and take the pressure out of dating.
Moreno said it best: “Generally, I don’t go on TikTok being like, ‘OK, I’m going to find my girlfriend now.’ It’s more like, ‘OK, I’m going to scroll through TikTok and laugh at funny videos,’ then, if a cute girl pops up that is single, I’ll flirt with her so it actually makes ‘online dating’ way more enjoyable.”