You were 30 years old… not too long ago. Can you tell people you’re 30? You plan to start running any day soon. Can you put running as a hobby in your eHarmony profile? Your driver’s license says 190 lbs. So it’s kind of true, right? Even though that was fifteen pounds ago? These seem like such small, insignificant details to quibble over. The temptation to embellish a little is great, especially if we feel insecure in the dating arena. If only you could seem more interesting or appealing than you really are.
For one thing, who says you aren’t interesting and appealing just as you are? (That’s something to think about.) But today’s message is a simple one: if you are tempted to say something about yourself that is just not true, DON’T. And here’s why.
Small lies lead to huge consequences. At the very least, some serious discomfort. At the worst: disaster. Neither is good groundwork for a healthy relationship, let alone a serious, committed one.
Imagine if it happened to you…
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. You are on-line, checking out profiles. You see a nice looking guy / gal with a few great photos and a profile that sounds like a potentially good match. Let’s call this person DD –Deceptive Date. DD fits the 15 year age range you are comfortable with – a tad on the younger side. Like you, DD loves animals and hiking and expresses an openness about religion. How would you feel if, when you met you realized DD had lied by almost ten years about age and the photos were not up-to-date? Do you care about DD’s age? Probably not if it is still within your range, but you sure care about the lie. Yes, DD is fond of animals, but at a distance. DD is horribly allergic and will certainly never meet your St. Bernard. It turns out that open about religion means open to different sects of Christianity and in fact DD is a little uncomfortable that you are Jewish. DD hikes, it’s true. Around the block –and that’s about it.
DD will never know if you would have made first contact had you been armed with the truth. DD blew it right off the bat by fudging reality and sending you a message that honesty is not a high priority.
So apply the lessons learned above with the fictional DD. Honesty really is the best policy. Any early gains achieved by telling white lies are quickly lost when the truth emerges, or when you have to become a different person to maintain the illusion you have created.
So here are some tips.
- Be your authentic self from the inside out. Who do you want your ideal match to fall for? You, or a fictional character you concocted on Match.com? From the color of your hair to your height and weight, age and income –be yourself and use photos no older than a year. You don’t want to see the look of surprise or suspicion on someone’s face when they realize you look nothing like your photo.
- Straight talk all the personal stuff – what you are looking for in a relationship and what you love, fear, look forward to, and hate. If you think you’ll appear less scary if you say you are only looking for fun in a relationship, who is going to be disappointed when the only people interested in you have no interest in commitment? If you say you love sushi because that seems cool, you are the one who will either have to choke down a food you hate, or have to admit that, yes, you lied.
Deceptiveness in online dating profiles inevitably leads to awkward conversations, or worse. Physical fabrications are noticed immediately whereas any fudging about your intentions, wishes, likes, and dislikes will come out over time, inevitably compromising trust, if not the budding relationship itself.
Lying by omission.
- White lies and intricate deceptions are not the only ways people can be untruthful. Withholding important information from someone you hope to have a relationship with will put that future in jeopardy. What’s that mean? Anything from neglecting to mention that you have 4 children or that your divorce is not final to the fact that you live 100 miles away or are unemployed. An important omission becomes the elephant in the room if you don’t mention it. Even if you plan to eventually, imagine how odd it would seem to casually drop something major … a month into a relationship. Again, the danger is a serious breach of trust.
- If your goal is a real relationship – you need to be real. Your confidence in who you are will be appreciated and is ultimately way sexier than any false persona you might want to create! In fact, deception in dating is a huge red flag. The oft-mentioned slippery slope is worth bringing up here. If you or your date are okay with small lies, where might such a trend end up? So neither use deception yourself nor let yourself fall prey to the lies of someone else. If you realize you are getting involved with a liar, exit, stage left.
Realize that while we are all tempted now and then to fudge the unpleasant truth, there are people who are habitual, pathological liars who seem to have virtually no control over their actions. This is a serious problem. If you or someone you may be involved with seems to fall into this category, there is work to be done. However, most lying is a choice… and a poor one. Don’t make it!
Dating is a process with a beginning, middle and end. If you want the happy ending to this process, and of course you do, full honesty is pretty basic.