You may have heard of catfishing, where a person creates a false identity online in order to pursue romantic relationships. While it may be easy to avoid falling for this more obvious peril of online dating, have you heard of kittenfishing?
It’s the subtle, seemingly innocent online dating trend almost all of us have fallen for hook, line, and sinker.
Kittenfishing is what happens when putting your best foot forward goes south.
Instead of being clear and honest in an online dating profile, the lines of reality get fudged a little. Some may add a few inches onto their height, only to be found out when they walk into their first date. Others may post pictures of themselves from back in the good old days, which were about twenty years ago.
These little white lies can have a huge impact on future relationships.
“We have to wonder if people think this is harmless or if people do it intentionally. They may figure they’ll shave a few (or more) years off their age to make themselves seem more attractive to grab a person’s attention. Or they may post a picture when they were thinner, so they can get more attention in the beginning,” love coach Nikki Leigh said in an interview.
“It’s sad they don’t realize that they aren’t doing themselves any favors,” she continued. “They are actually hurting their own chances if they are really looking for a date or love. They’re hurting other people.”
Want to avoid being kittenfished, but also make sure your online dating profile is on the up and up? Here’s how to spot kittenfishers and avoid blurring your own lines of reality.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Does the person you’re chatting with on your online dating app only have head shots in their profile? Maybe the photos that they’ve posted have a little bit of a early 2000s vibe. If the pictures on their profile are outdated or are taken from weird angles, they might be kittenfishing.
But while it’s good to keep an eye out for kittenfishers, take a quick look over your own online dating profile, too. Do your photos accurately represent who you are in the present moment? Do they capture your personality?
If you’re self-conscious about your online dating profile photos, you’re not alone. It’s scientifically prove that almost all of us are disappointed with photos of ourselves.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can schedule a photo session with a professional photographer, or ask a friend who’s great with a camera to take a few shots of you.
It’s tempting to pull a photo from a few years back, but do yourself and your future relationship a favor and post accurate photos.
The old fashioned phone call
If someone sounds too good to be true, they might just be kittenfishing.
Maybe they claim to be a successful business mogul, but their profile is full of run-on sentences and awful grammar mistakes. Something is a little off but you can’t put your finger on it.
It may not just be that your date lied on their dating profile about themselves. They could also lie about their interests in an attempt to be more attractive to you.
For instance, maybe your date told you that they share your love of vintage cars. But if they can’t tell a difference between a ’55 Chevy and a ’69 Lincoln Continental, they may have been exaggerating their knowledge and passion about the subject.
Worried that the person you’re chatting with online is kittenfishing? Invite them to log off the online dating app and have an old fashioned phone call. If their wit and expertise starts to falter on the phone, they may not be exactly who they said they were.
Give it time
It’s worth keeping in mind that first dates, first phone calls, and relationships can make people a little nervous. But kittenfishing is a dating trend that has a short fuse.
Sure, people can create brilliant online dating profiles and snag a lot of matches. But as soon as that first date starts, things begin to fall apart.
Whether they’re actually six inches shorter than they claimed, or ten years older, they can’t keep a mask on forever. Sooner or later, the story will unravel and they’ll reveal themselves to be not as great of a match as you thought.
The unfortunate things is, if they’d told the truth from the beginning, it could have had the beginnings of a healthy relationship. Instead, kittenfishers dishonesty is off-putting and throws red flags on the relationship field.
Intimacy in your relationship is built when you’re truthful and authentic. Lying on your dating profile sets the stage for dishonesty and distrust, which can sabotage your future relationships. Keep your eyes peeled for people on dating apps who embellish the story a little too much.
Remember the golden rule, and be as honest in your online dating profile as you hope everyone else is.