Online Dating

On-Line Dating

This is one heck of an online dating profile and would spark curiosity of most men, but is it believable?  It seems that “telling lies on-line” is pretty common for online dating sites. The fictitious profile seems a little far-fetched, but is it? It’s inherent in us to present ourselves in the best light possible and there is a difference to how we view ourselves and how others view us.

As studies have shown exaggeration is common for both sexes as a way to attract the opposite sex. Men, for the most part, will exaggerate about their wealth and status attracting more women to their profile sites and women will exaggerate about their physical attractiveness (or body image) attracting more men for the same reason.  Based on the study Separating Fact From Fiction: An Examination of Deceptive Self-Presentation in Online Dating Profiles people believe the majority of online profiles are not 100% truthful, when it relates to the information supplied. The good news is, the exaggerations are minor and not usually deal breakers.

How we present ourselves in profiles for online dating sites are similar to how we present ourselves on any social media sites.  Facebook is filled with photos of people looking and sounding their best. When someone takes a “selfie” chances are they’ve taken several pictures and only post the one that creates the image they want the world to see.  The same holds true for comments posted;  generally they don’t mention bad grades, bloated bodies, or face breakouts. We tend to only post things that make us look good, funny or smart.  The same can be said for all social media sites including Twitter, MySpace or Tumblr.  We seek positive feedback; we want comments back that say cute, awesome or right on. Generally these exaggerations are harmless, but in some cases they’re destructive.

We’ve all heard the Catfish tales, where people have carried out “relationships” for years with fictitious men and women.  Entire fabricated characters are created for the sole purpose of subterfuge.  This type of deception can only be achieved online and it would be impossible to accomplish in person.  The biggest headline-grabbing example of this is the Manti Te’o story. He believed himself in a long-term relationship with a woman he met on-line; until it was discovered that she never existed.  Ultimately he confessed to having never met the woman. The reality for Manti was his girlfriend was nothing but a hoax.

What’s thought provoking is why people would post fake personas to online dating or social media sites.  In an article posted by Time Entertainment they delve into the psychology on why some people feel compelled to go to extremes to create these non-existent personas. Based on their data the most common reasons are revenge, homophobia, addicted to attention, sexual identity anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Have you ever posted anything on-line to a dating site or any other social media site that was exaggerated? If so, how big was the exaggeration?


Have you experienced deception from others, via a dating site or any other social media site? If so, how big of a deception was it?


17 thoughts on “Online Dating

  1. I have actually never posted anything online to a dating site or any other social media site nor have I ever experienced deception from others via a social media site. However, I was a witness to something similar. A few years back my older sister started getting messages via Facebook asking why she had deleted her dating site, and she was very confused because she never had or registered on any dating site. Turns out that someone not only took her pictures from her Facebook, but also her name and identity and basically pretended to be my sister. So in this case those people were experiencing deception because they thought they were getting to know my sister when in reality they were getting to know somebody completely different. I think it’s very important that we are careful with what we post, because honestly this could happen to anyone. Social media sites have the option to be private, which most people choose to limit incidents like this. I personally don’t think dating sites or even getting to know someone through a social media site is very safe, because you don’t know for sure that the other person is being completely honest.

  2. First off, I think it is very wrong when people deceive others over the internet. I have never personally done this, and it has never happened to me. But thinking about it, and how people are these days it is not hard at all to exaggerate about yourself to make yourself seem more appealing. Situations like this have happened to people I know, and let me tell you it just got into messy situations. I began to realize that people actually did stuff like this once I did start watching the show Catfish. I mean it opens your eyes and shows you how there are so many people out there that pretend to be something they’re not. It makes you wonder sometimes.

  3. I have never used a online dating website nor have I posted anything false or exaggerated about myself online. I have had an encounter on Facebook with my sister’s friend. He messaged me out of the blue and went on and on about how he was becoming a model, getting involved in different movies, and he even told me he was working with Will Smith! I do not know the reason why he told me these lies, but it was pretty ridiculous. In all, I would say that I actually do understand why people would lie about themselves online, such as they way the look or what they do for a living, because 1. you are competing against the other thousands of people online to find that certain person you’re looking for and 2. people may just simply feel afraid to let everything out in the open. It is important, thought, that was is not known will eventually come to light.

  4. I’ll admit that I’ve used online dating sites before. In fact, I met my current boyfriend from a dating website.

    I didn’t really post in much in the realm of deception. When my boyfriend and I met for the first time however, he said I looked and had a similar personality to my online profile, which was uncommon lol. He said that most of the people he met were:

    A. Looked nothing like their pictures, but had a similar personality to their profile
    B. Had a completely different personality, but looked like their pictures

    I haven’t seen a whole lot of lying on dating sites, but yet again, I was extremely picky over who I would meet or talk to. 😛 It’s pretty obvious for me to point out who the fakes are. You know, the guy who is an “underwear model” and spends his spare time running a baby kola farm. That’s probably not legitimate, as much as some people would like to believe. If anything, if someone online seems too good to be true, they probably are.

  5. I can’t say that I’ve used an online dating site, but I use Facebook often. I definitely agree that people only post the good things about themselves. The cool, funny, or attractive pictures are top on the list. When I do make posts I don’t exaggerate, but I also don’t try to make myself look bad. I post the truth, usually all of it as well. Omitting some of the truth is a very common thing on social media that almost everyone does from time to time. I wouldn’t say that I have any strong memories of being deceived on Facebook. Some people appear to care what you do in life by commenting on your posts or photos but in reality would never talk to you. This is about as deceptive as it gets in my experience.

  6. I personally have zero experience in posting things on social media and/or being deceived. I do know of a person who would meet people online and actually meet up with them afterword. Everything about the people would seem shady. The person would text her through some sort of app rather than just directly texting. When I questioned why they communicated like that the response was “I’m not sure, he has an iPhone.” Once I heard that, I clearly knew something was fishy with this person. I really would never trust people online but I know people who do. It’s the risk they take though!

  7. I can’t say I have ever exaggerated on a dating site because I have never used them. I know somebody who has used one and lied about his age. I know the person through the community and he is in his late 40’s and his profile says he is 30. I don’t know who this guy is trying to fool because he does not look a day younger than 50. Creeps like this make shy away from online dating sites.
    However, I have exaggerated on social media. I don’t exaggerate on purpose. I don’t even know if it is considered exaggerating. About 90% of my tweets are about good and positive things. Somebody who follows me on twitter once told me that I have the perfect life. She came to this conclusion after reading my tweets since I don’t tweet about bad things that often.

  8. Personally I have never posted anything online that would make people think something of me that wasn’t true. I have exaggerated tweets by making something more dramatic, but that was just to be funny. But I have experienced someone who had fake profile. A friend of mine was dooped into thinking this one girl was real. She was really pretty and connected with him great. Just like the MTV show catfish, when he (he took me with him as his wing man) went to meet her she was nothing like what we saw on Facebook. He isn’t the only person this has happened to, its happened a lot and seems to be a reoccurring them that’s plaguing the internet.

  9. I have never intentionally exaggerated anything on a social media site but I agree that both men and women do this especially on dating sites. Even though I’m pushing 5’10 there is nothing stopping me from posting my height as 6’0 or a woman lying about how much she weighs. Most people won’t exaggerate to the point where it’s obvious they are lying. They will usually say a number that is close but not exact. I think it just comes down to the fact that first impressions do matter and we try to give ourselves the best chance to succeed by exaggerating the truth. I have never used any dating sites and I don’t use Twitter/Facebook all that often. I have heard horror stories like the one you mentioned about Manti Teo and how he was tricked into having a relationship with a fake girl. It still amazes me that he was able to be fooled for so long and never even tried to meet or skype her. I am doubtful that all people you meet online are like this but there are some crazies out there who do strange things. If anyone has not seen the movie “Catfish” they should check it out because it relates to this topic in so many ways. I believe deception online happens on a daily basis and is almost just as common as telling the truth.

  10. As Dr. House would say, everybody lies. Sometimes its small, like omitting the bad (your crazy uncle) or accentuating the good (ran a marathon but not mentioning the time). Other times it is much larger. Companies do it. Citizens do it. Politicians do it. Movie stars do it. And they all have been doing it for as long as people have communicated. That this behavior has manifested itself on the internet shouldn’t be a surprise. The real issue is that because of society’s relative inexperience with the internet, their level of gullibility is higher while their level of skepticism is too low. I think that with time this “phenomenon” will be less and less fantastical.

  11. I have not posted anything on an online dating site, I don’t like those sites. I edit my pictures, but I don’t exaggerate how I look lol. I see a lot of that from people online. I haven’t received deception from people over social networks because I don’t communicate with anyone I do not know.

  12. I really do not spend a lot of time on social media sites, so I really haven’t experienced people lying to me on them. However, I do see the attractiveness of lying on online dating profiles. Like you mentioned, people just want others to take an interest in them, and it is easy to lie on dating sites and not get caught until you actually talk to a person. In general, it’s fairly easy to lie on the internet and not get caught. When people do get caught though, like Manti Te’o and his “girlfriend,” it is pretty embarrassing for the person involved. People lie on the internet because it is way easier than lying in real life.

  13. It is common nature for a person to present the best of himself or herself when trying to impress someone with the intention of securing a date over the internet. For example, if a person is not normally funny, he or she will try to be funny or if the person is overweight, he or she will use tricks to show himself or herself as slim. These two examples are not so easy to perform in public; but in a date site or a social media site, the person will post the best of himself or herself even if he or she has to lie or exaggerate some characteristics, ex. overblown financial situations. For example, the person may say that he or she is 6’ tall and has a beach body; yet, in reality the person is 4’5” tall and very overweight. (Look at these examples
    From your first question: no, I have never posted something that is not true about me and if I tell someone about myself I say the truth.
    From your second question: No, I have never encountered a lie from another person about him or herself regardless of the characteristics since I have never looked for someone over the internet with the intension to date.

  14. I personally have never visited a dating site yet alone posted anything to one, but I do use Facebook and other forums of social media a lot. Most people tend to embellish online. It is not so much as a lie but a little bit more spice in the story they are telling. Most of the time when you are posting something online you only choose the highlights or “the best of” parts of your vacation, story, and images. Most people are out to display themselves in a more presentable way. How many times have you typed something on Facebook, read what you had to say and then deleted it? Why did you delete it? You obviously originally thought it was worth sharing, but what happened? More than likely you read what you had typed and decided that it was not worth posting. This is you creating your own modified identity. Not a lie just a with holding of information. This happens in all forums of communication not just the internet. The idea of with holding that info is just part of human nature to try to make yourself more appealing.

  15. I’ve never been on a dating site myself, but I can tell that lots of people use them by the vast number of them that are popping up on the web.
    I think you’re spot on when you say that online dating profile deception is similar to our social media profiles. We always want to look our best out there for the people viewing our profiles, even though most of them are our friends and family and they probably don’t care about a bad picture of you.
    I’ve never really understood why we must polish ourselves to be these perfect individuals online. We’re human, and everybody else in the world knows that we don’t look the best everyday or don’t have a plethora of interests to please everyone. We are who we are, but we always seem to strive for more than that, and I think that’s kind of sad in a way. Instead of glossing up our profiles, why not just go out there and show the world what we have to offer?
    As for the catfish scenarios, you have to really have poor judgement to actually believe half of these people are who they say they are. I understand, we want to account for the best in everybody and believe that no one would do that kind of stuff to us, but it happens as we’ve seen many times. If you’ve never met the person in real life, you always have to wonder if they really are who they say they are. You could think you’re talking to a successful business man, but in reality he’s a guy who is sitting in his parents basement at home. Always take precaution and use your better judgement in those kinds of situations.

  16. Fortunately (in my opinion) I have never used an online dating service, but I have used plenty of the social media networks. There’s a lot of “room for error” on any site like these though. I mean, if you see a facebook post, what are the chances that you’ll actual look to proving it to be true? Chances are, pretty slim. Because it’s not like we care. But when we do care, we seem to make a big deal about it. I can imagine online dating has to be pretty disappointing. A friend of mine seems to find a lot of single moms on his dating app, something I would probably find hilarious if I didn’t feel so bad about it. But in reality I feel like if you look to online dating, you’re only going to find people as desperate and unsocial as you are, even if that isn’t a bad thing.

  17. Social media is all about self presentation. Have I exaggerated something to improve my self presentation? Probably slightly, in the form of embellishing stories slightly. (e.g. If I’m complaining on Facebook about how many hours of homework I had to do one day, I might say 8 hours when it was really only about 7). I do not think however that I’ve ever been deceptive in anyway.

    Have I ever been deceived by someone else online? Well if I have, they did a good job and I am still deceived. I know I’ve seen others embellish stories like I have done (I may have been with the person in real life before they post about it on Facebook). I don’t think this is any different than how we act in real life though. The internet just gives us a more elusive way to deceive someone, and gives the time to plan it (as opposed to having to deceive someone in real time in a conversation).

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