The Pinocchio Syndrome—why people lie on their online dating profiles

Prepare yourself for a shock – people actually lie on their dating profiles. Oh, you’re not shocked? I didn’t think you would be. Estimates range between 53% and 90% of online daters lie about something. That seems a wide range. Could it be that people are lying about whether or not they’re lying on their profiles?

I remember one particular guy, let’s call him “Abe,” who came to Dynamic Dating Profiles for some help with online dating. Abe was a handsome guy in his late 40s, and he was tired of setting up dates with women who turned out to look nothing like their profiles.

“I hate Photoshop,” he said, “I just saw this profile of a woman who had almost airbrushed her nose off. Why can’t women just be honest? I mean, any guy is gonna see the real her the first time they meet, right? What’s the point in lying before you even meet a person?”

As I started to review Abe’s current profiles on several sites, I found a few discrepancies, and gave him a call.

“Hey, Abe, did you know you have your age listed as 37… and 47? And your height varies by three inches?”

“Oh, yeah, that younger one is there so I turn up in more searches. Let’s throw the older one out. I look 35, really. And let’s go with 6’1”. I’m taller when I wear my Timberlines.”

So much for Honest Abe.

Honesty is the best policy

That scenario reminds me of a saying… “The greatest advantage to telling the truth is that you don’t have to remember what you’ve said.”

Aside from the fact that it’s exhausting to keep a lie going, there’s the problem of “measuring up” to the lie (like Abe). Let’s look at the motivation… really, we shouldn’t call it a lie, it’s just wishful thinking. Maybe we’re thinking we’ll be twenty pounds lighter next month, and gosh, we’ve always wanted to try rock-climbing, so why not list that as a hobby? It makes us more interesting, doesn’t it?

You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it…

So you’re not a model, you’re don’t run a Fortune 500 company, and you can’t bench-press 500 pounds. If those things aren’t true today, they won’t be true in six weeks when it’s time to meet that person who loved your profile. What I want you to know is that you’re good enough right now. And ask yourself this question: do you really want to be with someone who wouldn’t find you loveable just the way you are? Give your future love a little credit. Remember, you don’t need to attract the masses like a rock star. You just need to find that one person who’s right for you.

So how can you be more attractive online?

It’s easy to say, “Just be yourself.” But being yourself on a dating website isn’t easy. Who are you? What makes your friends and family love you? Writing is tough; writing about yourself is REALLY tough. If you’re having difficulty writing your profile, it just might be worth it to seek the help of a professional. A pro will spend time getting to know you, pulling out the stories that make you interesting and appealing. Often, they’ll find facets of your personality that you never fully appreciated, and highlight them. Our clients often tell us that after working with us, not only do their dating lives improve, but the process gives them a little boost of self-esteem.

Remember, when looking for love online, it’s okay to want to put your best foot forward… as long as it’s YOUR foot.  Be honest. Use current photos (have a pro help get the best shots, but please, no Photoshop).

You don’t need to impress the whole world. Just that one person who was meant for you. It might take a little time, but believe me, the person who gets you and loves you for YOU is worth waiting for.

 Kathleen Donohue of Dynamic Dating Profiles is here to help you navigate the sometimes murky waters of online dating, and to answer your questions.