I’m a huge fan of online dating – these days nearly half of the new couples I meet made their initial connection online. In most cases, they’re proud of their “how we met” story, as the stigma of searching for love online has dissipated and people of all ages are flocking to their electronic devices in search of love.
There are, however, risks related to dating online, so be sure to look out for these red flags as you pursue romance in the digital world.
Red Flag #1: Their profile focuses on their “wants”, but doesn’t reveal much about what they bring to the table. Research suggests that you should dedicate 70% of your profile to sharing information about yourself and the other 30% should highlight what you’re looking for in a relationship. The willingness to share information about your own history, interests and offerings is essential to conveying availability and interest. If they’re not willing to do so, perhaps they’re not as available and interested as you are.
Red Flag #2: They only post photos, but don’t bother to fill out the details of their profile. If they’re really interested in finding a partner, they’ll take a few minutes to share some details about both themselves and what they seek in a partner. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a few simple words can paint a much clearer picture of the person behind the filtered images.
Red Flag #3: They disappear and reappear without a plausible explanation. Most of my clients have run into temporary ghosting while dating online and it is almost always a harbinger of bad news. If your online love interest disappears more than once for so-called emergencies, there is a good chance that they’re not being completely honest about their intentions and/or relationship status.
Red Flag #4: They make excuses to avoid phone calls, Skype/Facetime dates or in-person meetings. While the initial courtship may begin online, in most cases, online daters plan to meet over the phone or in-person as time elapses. One of my clients has a two week rule. If she meets a guy online, she insists on speaking on the phone by the second week and chatting over Skype or FaceTime by the third week to make sure that she isn’t wasting her time with a married man or a fake profile.
Red Flag #5: They talk often about exes and bad dates. If they share a series of stories about bad dates and sour relationships, you may want to consider that they’re the common denominator in each of these equations.
Red Flag #6: They sound too good to be true. If their life seems unrealistic, they’re probably lying about one or more details. Research suggests that the most common lies may be relatively harmless (fibs about height, weight, build, age and income), but some online daters are more brazen when it comes to stretching the truth. Outlandish lies I’ve heard from online daters include claims of royalty, connections to politicians and A-list celebrities and even denials of obvious parenthood. If your love interest claims to jet set to Singapore each weekend to chill on Leo’s yacht, but can’t succinctly define their job in a sentence, there is a good chance that their stories are simply too good to be true.
Red Flag #7: They have very few photos and/or no social media presence. Though some people avoid social media platforms altogether, online daters should post a few photos to garner interest and provide a small glimpse into their offline world. If your love interest has no online presence and you suspect that their profile is fake, use Google’s reverse image search to double check their background.
While you have to be on your guard when you’re dating online, if there’s a small chance you can find love, the struggle might just be worth it! Have an interesting online dating story that you’d like to share? Have you gotten catfished one too many times? Let us know on Twitter (@Astroglide).
Images are for illustrative purposes only.