Don’t be a catfish

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If you are serious about finding romance, don’t be a catfish. The rules about online dating are no different to any other form of dating. Don’t be ungracious, treat others as you want to be treated, act naturally. All common-sense stuff. But because it’s online, you get an opportunity to fine-tune your marketing before you launch your heart into cyberspace. You can present as anything you want to be – younger, slimmer, richer, smarter, more active – whatever takes your fancy.

The temptation to pretend to be somebody you’re not because you think it’ll help you get lucky is understandable, because unless you’re a narcissist, most people are self-conscious about their looks or attractiveness to others.

Here’s a tip: don’t do it! Sure, it can be fun – if you’re somebody who likes wasting everybody’s time. But genuine singles looking for love don’t play the catfish game. Catfishing is the term applied to people who pretend to be someone they are not online. At one end of the spectrum the people doing this are scammers and criminals, out to rip you off financially, or worse. Down the other end, the sad end, you have the very lonely. They might be trapped in a poor relationship or socially ill-equipped, and attempt to live fantasy lives through the Internet. That’s still no excuse.

If you are serious about romance with a living, breathing, standing-in-front-of-you human, there is no point painting a picture of yourself that doesn’t stack up to close scrutiny. It could lead to acute embarrassment. Here’s an example. One woman I know who is quite tall has a preference for partners that she doesn’t have to look down upon. She makes this quite clear on her dating profile. She agreed to a date with a man who matched her height preference, according to his profile. When she arrived at the cafe he was already there. He recognised her as she walked in and stood up to greet her. It stopped her dead in her tracks. “You’re not 5ft 11 are you?” were her first words. He spluttered something about nearly being that tall but he was nowhere near it. She turned on her heel and walked out.

Another friend had a similar experience with a man who lied about his weight. It was all going so well with the online chatting bit, but when they finally met he was much older and very much fatter than his photograph suggested. There was no second date.

I went the other way when I signed up for eharmony. I found a very daggy photo of myself holding a fish (not a catfish, but a very handsome barramundi). I was sporting a three-day growth and wearing a stupid hat. Anyone looking at that photo would have preferred to date the fish.

Rory for catfishing piece

But it was honest, as was my profile. I let my personality do the talking. And when I did agree to meet someone I looked better than my photo suggested (that wouldn’t have been hard), which was a relief for my date! She perked up no end. You might get more attention by pretending to be someone you’re not, but will it lead to love? Unlikely.

By Rory Gibson

Have you been catfished? Tell us in comments below or join the conversation on  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  


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