A person nervously holding their phone

Online Dating Red Flags That Should Send You Running

by Eharmony Editorial Team - April 1, 2021

Dating apps have many advantages (a wider dating pool, access to dating sites no matter where you are, the ability to take your time getting to know someone) but apps also comes with many dating challenges… one of which is that it’s much harder to be sure that what you see is what you get. Which is why it’s even more important to pay attention to online dating red flags. Don’t be shy about the things that are dating deal breakers, it’s much better to have an excess of caution, given the world we live in.

While it’s always best to trust your gut, here’s a list of online dating no gos that should have you running for the hills:

1. If their profile looks too good to be true

Granted, it’s possible the stunningly gorgeous, funny, kind, sweet, generous person with the beautiful house, fancy car and great job who’s always jetting off on vacations somewhere fancy really does exist and is also single. But, a online dating red flag that is far more likely is that their bio isn’t entirely truthful. We all like to present our best faces to the world when we set up our dating profiles, but someone that perfect is likely living a much different reality than what’s on their bio and are best to be avoided.

2. If there’s nothing – or not very much – in their profile

If someone can’t even be bothered to fill in their profile on a dating app, how much effort do you think they’ll put in when they’re actually in a relationship? It’s the same thing with super-short answers, or the classic ‘It’s too much to write, just ask’ line – really, monosyllabic answers and/or asking you to put in this much work this early are major online dating profile red flags. Don’t bother, since they clearly can’t be.

3. If they have no other social media presence

Someone who has a detailed profile on a dating app but may as well not exist anywhere else on the Internet? Big online dating red flag. Even if you two are really hitting it off, someone with absolutely no other social online presence or someone who has one but don’t has any posts – is definitely someone you should be wary of. While it’s possible they aren’t fans of social media, the likelier explanation is that they’re hiding something… most likely a pre-existing relationship.

4. If they freak out when you don’t respond immediately

The fact of the matter is, you’re not surgically attached to your phone, and it’s not reasonable for anyone to expect you to be, especially during the early stages of a relationship. One call or text to check on you if you haven’t responded in a couple of days is fine… fifteen messages demanding to know why you haven’t responded to the previous five is not. An absolute turn off for men and women. Do yourself a favor and block this person immediately.

5. If their communication style doesn’t match their profile

It turns out that just like fingerprints, everyone’s communication style – whether written or verbal – is pretty unique. Which means that if someone who seemed incredibly articulate in their profile suddenly starts forgetting basic English grammar, it’s sadly not that you have them so turned around they’ve lost a few dozen IQ points – their profile was likely fake in the first place.

6. If their photo game is less than great

A few group photos are actually a great sign – they’re proof that your potential partner has friends and a social life. But if the only photos on their page are cropped, or with other people? That’s a bad sign, as is a photo that’s obviously several years older. The possibilities are endless, ranging from catfishing to hiding a relationship to someone wanting to present as younger and hotter than they really are. Either way, these are major online dating red flags and you should run.

7. If their profile is filled with complaints and negative assumptions

As mentioned previously, when seeking for a partner online, your profile is where you should be presenting the best version of yourself. So if a profile is filled with complaints about the state of the world, or disparaging comments about exes, or a huge list of things they don’t want, these are pretty big red flags in online dating, because honestly, it’s doubtful that the relationship will be much more positive. So save yourself the trouble and don’t even click.

8. If they’re super dodgy about any personal information

Safety is important when it comes to online dating, and it’s a good idea not to reveal too much too soon. But if even once the relationship progresses, your date is cagey about innocuous information like hobbies, or refuses to talk about work or always says ‘it’s complicated’ when you ask about anything remotely personal, odds are high that they’re hiding something… or even someone.

Being aware of dating red flags online makes finding the good ones easier

Online dating can be a great way for busy singles to find love at their own pace and with less pressure than the traditional dating scene. However, given how much easier it is to lie about yourself through an app, it’s even more important to be aware of online dating red flags. While some are relatively harmless (who hasn’t told a little white lie in order to impress a date?) ignoring others can have serious consequences when it comes to your safety. So, while dating apps are a great place to find your next relationship, be sure to keep these dating deal breakers in mind so you can stay safe while you look for love on eharmony.

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