A University of Wisconsin study estimated that 81% of people with an online dating profile lie about things like their height, weight, or age in their profile.
The University of Wisconsin study isn’t the only study that’s revealed people’s tendency to lie in their profiles. A recent study examined the online dating profiles of over 1,000 online dating profiles. 53% of profiles from United States participants admitted to lying on their online dating profile. Women were more likely to lie than men, and most of the lies centered around physical appearance. 20% of women posted older pictures of themselves. But men also admitted to lying on their profiles. Their dishonesty tended to center around subjects like their finances and job position. More than 40% of the men interviewed admitted to lying about their finances.
Since a majority of people dating online lie on their dating profile, should you stretch the truth a little, too? Absolutely not. In fact, lying on your online profile is one of the most common online dating mistakes people make (that and not uploading a profile photo). Although it’s tempting to tell little white lies, here are three ways that lying on your online dating profile sabotages your dating and love life:
1. Lying discourages vulnerability in your relationship
When you’re creating your online dating profile, it can be tempting to lie about the aspects of your life where you’re the most vulnerable. For many people, they assume an online identity that represents more of who they want to be rather than who they actually are.
If you’re self-conscious about your height and think that your height keeps people from messaging you, it’s tempting to make yourself a little shorter online. Not only will your date quickly find out about your white lie, but lies are an awful base to build a future relationship on. If you’ve convinced yourself that small lies about your appearance are okay, it won’t be too much of a stress to lie about your emotions and personality, too.
Brain scans reveal that the more we lie, the bolder and bigger our lies become. “Thus, a little bit of dishonesty might be viewed as a slippery slope that can lead one to grow more dishonest,” writes Dr. William R. Klemm. “As as we get in the habit of lying, the associated guilt habituates. We get used to it and our conscience doesn’t bother us so much. So, we are less constrained in our future behavior.”
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.
2. Lying may keep you from meeting someone
Maybe the best reason not to lie on your online dating profile is that those lies can keep you from meeting someone who is attracted to the real you. Maybe you claim on your profile to love spending time outside, in attempts to attract someone who values athleticism and fitness. But if you actually would much rather be inside reading, you’ll be disappointed when your date only wants to spend time in the mountains or on the trail. But in addition to leaving you feeling discontent with your dates, you’ll also be disrespecting those who are pursuing you.
Instead, be honest on your dating profile in order to show who you really are. Maybe you do like spending time inside versus outside – there’s nothing wrong with that! But when you’re honest about those preferences, you allow people to truly get to know you and your interests.
Everybody has their own personality traits and different personalities will work better or worse with each other. But if you try to hide your personality on your dating profile, you undermine any chance you have at a relationship that can last.
3. Lying undermines your confidence
Ironically, lying about your physical appearance or financial situation can lead to less confidence in those areas. “Self-loathing makes us lie in order to trick people into liking us—because we believe that, without being tricked, they won’t,” writes Anneli Rufus. “Every lie we tell is a missed opportunity to learn. It’s a missed opportunity for courage—not the creepy courage of fomenting deception, but the stronger, brighter courage of telling the truth.”
It’s easy to buy into the lies of the devil and the world that tell us we are unworthy of love. We wonder if anyone would love us, or if everyone just thinks our story is too much (or not enough!). But one way you can build your self-confidence is to stop lying about things you’re insecure about. Instead, simply show up and let yourself be seen by those who view your profile and reach out to you.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure,” writes poet Marianne Williamson. “It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”