So they lied on their profile and now you’re sitting with an unexpected version of Mr. or Ms. Thought-it-Could-Be-Fun. What’s the right way to play it?
Seriously. I’m not even being cynical.
The internet says that only approximately one third of us are able to identify our emotions as we feel them, which means there are two thirds of us who are lacking in self-awareness. That’s a pretty important thing to take into consideration when online dating. Furthermore: the internet also says between half and three quarters of the approximately 590 million online dating participants have fibbed, embellished, and flat out lied on their profiles. (2)
I wanted to give you an idea of the facts to give you a scope of the panorama of human behavior you’re sure to run in to out there. I, personally, didn’t need these facts as my experience has been that just about every man I actually met online lied directly in some way or withheld valuable information in the dating experience. (The internet also says that women lie more than men.)
I once met a man online who’s profile said he was 40. He had a good looking, Jacuzzi photo with washboard abs, complete with cowboy hat. He and I really hit it off and chatted online and by phone for about two weeks before we set up our lunch date. Now, at the time it was customary for me to do a bit of a background check and at least verify their age and other vital information prior to meeting, but I didn’t this time. Wouldn’t you know that upon my arrival, the 60-year old at the bar was my date. Honestly, he didn’t look anything like the photo and my first impression is that he didn’t look well. I think it was his sickly appearance that kept me in a place of compassion as I said, “Hi, are you Dave?”
The minute he saw the look on my face I saw the guilt come over his. I didn’t address it directly; for some reason, I didn’t feel the need. He was the same charming intelligent man I’d been communicating with and we ended up sitting and chatting at the bar of the lunch place. Lucky for me they had already closed their kitchen. I had a glass of wine and he downed four beers in our 45-minute visit. We talked about the state of the world and previous relationships until I finished my beverage and politely thanked him.
To his credit, he made no attempt at seeking further communication. He really was a lovely man, but truly too insecure to be dating. If he’d been honest before we met, I would have still met with him and maybe we could have been friends.
I’m telling you all of these things, not to scare you right out of the dating scene, but to help you expand your self-awareness. When I said that everyone lies in some way, I meant it.
People lie to themselves first, and to you second. It’s only a person’s incredible courage to see and accept themselves as they are that will get you the whole and true story. The honesty you need to start with is your own. So, do yourself a favor and know that most likely every profile that you read will have some inaccuracies. Men lie about their height, job, and financial standing, and women lie about their weight, job, and financial status: just for starters.
So Here’s What You Do:
- Let your date know you’re going to do a Google search and maybe a short background check to make sure the person you’re going to meet and they’re name, birthdate, and home match. If you can find them on Facebook and other social media: that’s a good sign.
- If there are huge discrepancies ask about them before you go, or don’t go.
- If the information you find is accurate go on your date with an open heart and mind.
- Know that everyone has insecurities and be willing to deal with them head on and with compassion. Doing this will weed out the folks you really have no business dealing with.
- Play the fun first date game: Find the Fib on the Profile. Humor makes everything easier.
Most of all, remember that we live in a society that is rife with judgements about who we are, what we like, and what we look like so much so, that it sets us up to lie in the face of judgement every time. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t all strive for truthfulness and honesty: of course we should; but we need the love, compassion, and humor of others to support us in achieving it.
“So if you see something, say something.” Give your date the opportunity to be honest and give yourself the opportunity to be gracious and compassionate. There is always a future in that.