When we were little kids growing up, we'd call out our friends if we found out they were fibbing and yell, "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire."
Our childhood game has followed many singles into adulthood, where the Internet is the easiest feeding ground for white lies, as well as big major lies. The desire to fit into a search, or idealize who we want to be ends up in many online dating profiles and social networking sites. Are singles worldwide really that insecure? Do you want to date someone who has lied about their age, height, income, job, marital status and more?
A recent UK survey conducted by Voucher Codes Pro of 3000 singles showed that about 58 percent of daters lie on their profile to impress potential dates. In the survey, men lied most about their employment, age and marital status. Some even lied about not having children, when in fact they were paying child support for three kids.
Men weren't alone in the big lie category. In the survey, almost half of women lied about their weight or body shape in online dating profiles and on social networking sites.
Here are some of the biggest lies and how to detect them.
The married man or woman. While I wish those who were married would head over to Ashley Madison, instead of Match and OkCupid, they may not want to tip off others that they're looking for an adulterous affair. As a result, they will lie about where they went to college, their age or even their zip code to fulfill their fantasy.
Take *Bill, for example. He posted a profile on Match saying he was 60, but his primary and only photo showed him wearing a hat on his head. One wouldn't notice that he had no hair at first glance. He copied and pasted the same email to many women waiting to see who would reply. He bragged about his job, his possessions and how he would lavish the woman he wanted to marry. At 60 and divorced, he was ready to settle down and travel the world with the woman he would adore. Sound too good to be true?
After wining and dining a woman at a fancy restaurant with a big bar bill, inviting her to a fancy party and picking up her valet parking ticket, she never heard from Bill again.
How did she figure out he was married? She couldn't find anything about him anywhere on the Internet. She knew he looked much older than 60, but didn't know if he had just spent too much time in the sun. He told her about the Ivy league school he went to and she knew his last name from his cell phone's outgoing voicemail message. She conducted a Google search of his email address and nothing appeared online. When she did a search on Google and Linkedin, she found nothing for the names of William, Will, Bill or Billy with his last name anywhere. During his date, he mentioned what street he lived on. Her search for his name did not reveal anything. Online, it appeared that this guy just didn't exist. Finally, she paid $4.95 for a "People Search" company for his cell-phone number, only to find out that his first name wasn't Bill, but the last name matched. There were no photos of him on the Internet, but one of the sites did reveal that he was 70 and not 60. She found his home address and the property appeared to be co-owned by him with a woman with the same last name, most likely his wife. Just to be sure, she checked the local court records, only to find out that he had never filed for divorce or legal separation. Her cyber-sleuth activities, while may appear obsessive, led her to the truth about the man who appeared to adore her. Her last step was to block him from contacting her on the dating site and on her mobile phone.
If you're unsure if your date is lying about their marital status, conducting a simple search for about $5 to see if they've filed for divorce isn't a bad idea. Many singles will say they're divorced, when in fact they're separated, with a divorce pending. Knowing the truth will help you make better decisions before entering into a new relationship.
Old photos. It's a fact that men want to date pretty women who aren't overweight and women want to date tall handsome men. While this digital fairytale courtship behavior is so common, it just isn't realistic. As people age, men lose their hair, women tend to gain weight and their perceived looks from a decade ago stay with them as they post old photos to attract someone younger. We are all imperfect in many ways, and being authentic and genuine is important in finding a date or a mate. To find out if someone's photos are recent, you might want to check their Facebook or Instagram accounts and see if the "Selfie" looks familiar. You can also download their online dating profile photo into Google Image search.
This may help reveal the full name of the person you're about to have a date with and where that photo may have appeared elsewhere on the Internet. Often people use their Facebook or Linkedin profile photos on dating sites. If there's only one great photo on the profile and handfuls of others on social networking sites, you may find out more about your date. If you want to impress your date, list the actual dates in a caption under each photo so they'll feel more comfortable in approaching you.
Age. Does age matter? Only if someone is really lying about it. Just how much should you fib about your age? I believe you should always tell the truth about your age. For those who believe they have to fit into a search and think their shelf life has expired, I beg to differ. My grandfather remarried at 87 and was madly in love with his new bride.
In USA Weekend, Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger said that women over 50 must say they're still in their 40s on their dating profile. I disagree. Know that there are many men and women who want to meet age-appropriate singles, are confident enough with themselves to post their accurate age. Shaving two years off your age shouldn't be a big deal, but if someone does fib a little about his or her age, it's best to list it on the profile bio section. Once you start with a lie, your date may be wondering what else you might be hiding. In the case of Bill above, lying by a decade is not a character trait I'd want to have in a relationship. Many sites such as Radaris, U.S. Search and Spokeo may reveal the true age of someone.
Take the example of *Jayne, who had just turned 40. The thought of being single at 40 was so depressing to her that she posted her age as 36, with the hope of attracting more suitable men to her profile. When she went on her date with the handsome architect John, she confessed that she was really 40 and not 36. While she thought four years wouldn't have made a difference and that most men were visual, John told her flat out that he had expected to be meeting a 36-year old woman and he walked out on her.
At the end of the digital day, our life lessons define who we are in life and our character. Pretending to be a decade younger or posting unrecognizable photos will backfire. I believe in truth-in-advertising and hope that you will as well.
Julie Spira is an online dating expert and author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating. Julie was an early adopter of online dating and as an Internet dating coach, she creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. For more digital dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and sign up for the free Cyber-Dating Expert Weekly Flirt newsletter.