Shortly after my friend Mary got engaged, she discovered her fiancé had fibbed about his age. “I was cleaning my apartment, and found his passport,” she recalls. “His date of birth showed that he was five years older than he told me he was.” Naturally, Mary was upset to discover his secret. But when she confronted him, he shrugged it off: “35? 40? What’s the big difference. I look younger, and I feel younger. I don’t calculate birthdays.”
Men Lie About Their Height. Women Lie About Their Weight.
Mary’s situation is not unique. One survey found that over half of men and women stretch the truth on their dating profiles, although they lie about different things. Men are more likely to lie about their job (indicating they have a better one than they really do), or about their height (indicating that they are taller than they really are). Women fib too, but it’s more commonly about their weight (saying they weigh less than they do), and about their age (subtracting a few years).
It’s obvious why people stretch the truth on their dating profile. They want to attract more eligible people and feel they need to be a shinier version of themselves to succeed. This has become such common practice that many don’t even consider it lying.
So, here is the million-dollar question. If “the competition” is stretching the truth, should you too? After all, why should someone else have an unfair advantage.
Honesty IS The Best Policy
Just because the majority of other people are playing fast and loose with the facts, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Here’s why: It demonstrates a lack of confidence.
When men post old photos of themselves with lots of hair (when their hairline has now receded), or when women post photos of themselves when they were a size six (and are now a size sixteen), it suggests they aren’t happy with who they are now.
Those who are unapologetic about how they look, the size of their bank account, or the fact that they hate “long walks on the beach” are being truthful to themselves, and to a potential mate. Confidence is a very attractive quality, and can more than compensate for whatever perceived shortcomings a person thinks they have.
Isn’t loving yourself the first step in loving someone else?
It’s a poor way to start a relationship
Disappointing someone is a bad start to a relationship. I know many friends whose hopes were dashed when they met someone for a coffee date who was a far cry from the person they thought they were meeting. Rather than their date getting a “foot-in-the-door”, it was slammed in their face. They felt duped.
Many fibs are short lived. People can’t pretend to be taller or skinnier than they really are once they meet face-to-face with a date. And while some things like age are easier to hide (especially if one is blessed with good genes), social media can uncover lies quickly. Sure, a young looking 45-year-old can pretend to be 35 but if their LinkedIn profile indicates they started their professional career twenty years ago, it would be surprising. It takes a lot of effort to erase our digital tracks.
Is over-promising and under-delivering really the best start to a long-term relationship?
You may not find your “best” match
Perhaps the best reason not to lie on a dating profile is that it may draw the wrong people to you. For instance, if being with a successful executive is important to your “match” (and you have stretched the truth about your employment) you may never measure up. Or, if you claim to like spending time in the great outdoors and are really terrified of potential encounters with a bear, then your vacations together won’t be that much fun.
Lying demonstrates a lack of respect for the other person. Essentially it is saying to them, “I know you think you want someone younger/taller/richer/more adventurous/ (fill in the blank) but you really don’t.” One shouldn’t have to convince someone else about their preferences. And many people don’t care to be with someone younger/ taller/ richer/ more adventurous/ (fill in the blank).
Do you really want to waste time luring the wrong people to you?
It can be tempting to stretch the truth on a dating profile in the hopes of attracting more people. And while this may seem like a good idea, it really isn’t.