Study: When it comes to online dating, everyone’s a little bit of a Catfish

But white lies may be good for your dating prospects -- and lead to actual self-improvement, experts say

Topics: online dating, Love, Romance, Manti Te'o, ,

Study: When it comes to online dating, everyone's a little bit of a Catfish (Credit: AP/Joe Raymond)

I don’t know how much I would trust a “study” from a website that allows men to bid money on dates with women, so, you know, let’s just start there.

Nonetheless, WhatsYourPrice.com conducted a survey about how honest people are in their online dating profiles, and like similar studies, found that a majority of people lie in them. Women tend to lie most about their weight; men tend to lie most about their height and income. (Oh, and their marital status.)

The survey also found the highest concentration of no-good dirty rotten online profile fabricators in Atlanta, New York and Washington, D.C., while people in Houston, Phoenix, Boston, Charlotte, N.C., and Minneapolis were veritable George Washingtons of Internet dating.

But even the big liars aren’t full-on Catfish-ing potential mates, just lacing their profiles with minor deceptions and indulging in the same kinds of white lies that men and women have been telling over watery cocktails at bars since the beginning of time: That they are fitter, better educated, wealthier — you get the idea.

Other research has found that around 81 percent of people misrepresent some aspect of their real identity in their profiles. But according to a study led by Catalina L. Toma, an assistant professor in the department of communication arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the lies usually tend to be small. (You are, after all, going to meet in person soon enough.)

Now, before you go and delete your Internet dating profile of choice, consider this: Small lies can actually be good for your mental health and dating prospects, some researchers say. In a 2009 study on the issue, researchers found that some untruths — like exaggerating your college GPA — can actually lead to improved performance. The fibs, within reason, can become self-fulfilling.

You Might Also Like

“Exaggerators tend to be more confident and have higher goals for achievement,” Richard Gramzow, a psychologist at the University of Southampton in England and one of the study’s co-authors, told U.S. News and World Report. “Positive biases about the self can be beneficial.”

And lying may be necessary to “compete” in an over-saturated online dating market, but it’s incumbent to find a proper balance of honesty and the desire to present oneself in the very best terms, experts say.

Major takeaways? When it comes to lying in your Internet dating profile (which, statistically speaking, you probably will), exercise caution. Want to say you’re 5-foot-10 instead of 5-foot-8? Go ahead! Feel like describing yourself as a “natural” blonde? By all means. But you might want to reconsider, say, pretending to be a Stanford University undergraduate with leukemia in an effort to snag the football hunk of your dreams.

Really. That’s going to be a hard one to explain.

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 8
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Sonic

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Sonic's Bacon Double Cheddar Croissant Dog

    Sonic calls this a "gourmet twist" on a classic. I am not so, so fancy, but I know that sprinkling bacon and cheddar cheese onto a tube of pork is not gourmet, even if you have made a bun out of something that is theoretically French.

    Krispy Kreme

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Krispy Kreme's Doughnut Dog

    This stupid thing is a hotdog in a glazed doughnut bun, topped with bacon and raspberry jelly. It is only available at Delaware's Frawley Stadium, thank god.

    KFC

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    KFC's Double Down Dog

    This creation is notable for its fried chicken bun and ability to hastily kill your dreams.

    Pizza Hut

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

    Pizza Hut basically just glued pigs-in-blankets to the crust of its normal pizza. This actually sounds good, and I blame America for brainwashing me into feeling that.

    Carl's Jr.

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Carl's Jr. Most American Thick Burger

    This is a burger stuffed with potato chips and hot dogs. Choose a meat, America! How hard is it to just choose a meat?!

    Tokyo Dog

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Tokyo Dog's Juuni Ban

    A food truck in Seattle called Tokyo Dog created this thing, which is notable for its distinction as the Guinness Book of World Records' most expensive hot dog at $169. It is a smoked cheese bratwurst, covered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo in a brioche bun. Just calm down, Tokyo Dog. Calm down.

    Interscope

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"

    This album art should be illegal.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>