Online Dating and Lying

I have done my share of online dating. Thanks to e-Harmony, I wrestled with how to present myself, what to communicate about who I am and what I like. I was often tempted to make myself sound better than I am–fudge a little on my interests (ancient Chinese cultures anyone?) or my habits (running 5 miles everyday after a mile-long swim?) or my height/weight/shoe size!

Once a potential suitor ask if I were feminine or a feminist? Can one like girly things and demand that women receive equal pay for equal work? One friend of mine showed up for a date after meeting a fellow online only to discover that her date had no legs! His photos were all from the waist up–sailing, playing basketball, etc. Don’t you think it only fair to be honest about one’s situation? Trying desperately to be unaffected by this surprise, my friend stuck her foot in her mouth(!) by saying something his home makeover “must have cost an arm [and, yes!] a leg!” Both she and her date pretended she didn’t say it.

According to a recent study on online dating, lying (or concealing the truth) is not uncommon. Here’s how to spot it online: “Liars tend to use fewer first-person pronouns . . . . this is an indication of psychological distancing: ‘You’re feeling guilty or anxious or nervous.’ Liars use more negative words like ‘not’ and “never,” yet another way of putting up a buffer. Liars use fewer negative emotion words like ‘sad’ and ‘upset,’ and they write shorter online personal essays. (It’s easier not to get caught if you say less.)” Noted.

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