Catfishing has a few definitions, but I define it as a person lying about aspects of their life or who they are in order to manipulate someone and get what they want. This could be anything from a match, to a date or sex, to money (think The Tinder Swindler).

I’ve had my fair share of catfish encounters since being on the dating apps and it really takes its toll. Whether it’s a lie by omission, a white lie or a bold face one, each incident has left me feeling less trustful of people. 

Aside from professional catfish looking to extort people for money, these are some of the things people lie about on dating apps (that I’ve encountered):

  • Age: In order to get the attention of an older or younger audience, people lie about their age so they are seen by people who may not have their age range set to capture them
  • Relationship status: This is usually people who are (supposedly) in a monogamous relationship and looking to cheat. People sometimes fail to disclose that they are in an ethical non-monogamous or open relationship until after a match too
  • Intentions: Not being open about wanting casual or a relationship…just agreeing with the other person to get what they actually want
  • Children: Not disclosing they have children and/or their custody situation (therefore how much free time they actually have to date)
  • Height: The ever present 6ft saga. This has to be the most common lie of all…and the one that baffles me most
  • Physique: Self consciousness (especially post lockdowns) so only posting old photos or face pics
  • Baldness: A hat in every photo or again, old photos
  • Sexuality: Often people will not say openly that they are bisexual, asexual, pansexual etc for fear of people making snap judgements and not swiping right
  • People with disabilities: May not feel comfortable disclosing this immediately for fear of unfair discrimination/rejection

Unfortunately the online dating culture is a superficial one and I can see why people lie about some of these things…much like exaggerating a resume for job interviews. The idea being to get your foot in the door and let someone get to know you before you drop in the truth. Or worse, let them discover it when they meet you (or afterwards in some cases). It’s the initial fear of rejection that has people presenting the edited version of themselves online.

There’s a lot of grey area for debate on this topic…I think the scale of acceptance varies person to person. It depends on your own boundaries and what you want from dating. For me, someone not disclosing they have children is a dealbreaker, because I don’t want children, nor do I want to date anyone who has children. However I date people with disabilities, so if I learn that information after matching, I’m not concerned.

In an ideal world, everyone would be honest about themselves in their profiles. At the end of the day, when you lie or omit key information, it’s manipulation…you are removing someone’s ability to make an informed choice for themselves. It shows that you’re selfish…you are putting your needs and wants ahead of anyone you might match with, disrespecting them as a person. Also…if you lied on your profile, a match might wonder what else you’ll lie about…you come across as dishonest. There’s no foundation of trust to build on and it ends up being a date of everyone’s time in the long run. Honesty from the start is my vote! 

What are your thoughts on catfishing?

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