by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
dating, honesty, online personality, truth

People Who Exaggerate Themselves On Online Dating Sites Do So Just As Much In Real Life As Well

from the hate-the-player,-not-the-game dept

There's this generally accepted wisdom out there that on the internet, people lie about themselves freely. Recently, we pointed to a study that found, actually, people are pretty honest about themselves when creating social networking profiles. At the time, we noted that this might just be because on social networking sites people know they're connecting (mostly) with friends who already know them -- and then there are social mores against lying about yourself. However, we wondered if the same would be true on dating sites. We don't quite have the answer to that yet, but Nancy Baym points us to a study that says that daters who exaggerate about themselves are equally likely to exaggerate about themselves in real life as well. That is, the exaggeration has nothing to do with it being online, and everything to do with what kind of person they are.

Furthermore, the study found that those who lie online aren't doing it to necessarily be manipulative -- but because they want to better "fit in." So, it's more about appearing "normal," rather than appearing exceptional in some way.

Oh, and as for the overall amount of lying? It was actually "quite small," because the online daters hope to actually meet in person with the people they meet online, they know that lying in the dating profile will also quickly be discovered.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2010 @ 8:15am

    Let ponces be ponces.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Rob.Etler (profile), Mar 8th, 2010 @ 8:40am

    Listen, if I want to convince some chick that I secretly helped Paul and Ringo pen the lost Beatles album, who am I to say I'm wrong if it lands her in the sack? Something something suckers and every minute.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2010 @ 9:44am


    Nice double entendre there...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2010 @ 10:01am

    I love it how so many edgy news reporters try to show how the Internet turn otherwise clean cut 9-5 god fearing men into penis waggling puppy rapists.

    At least there is some studies out there are showing that it just makes it easier to express your penis waggling puppy rapist behavior to online interest groups or chat roulette.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    kevjohn (profile), Mar 8th, 2010 @ 10:14am

    Hard to be humble...

    I don't know why people would lie about themselves online. Maybee they're not as awesome as me. Oops, pardon that typo please. I was a bit busy staring at my pecs and chiseled abs in the mirror while I was typing that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), Mar 8th, 2010 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Penis Waggling Puppy Rapists

    Laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Catherine jennifer fusco, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 3:13am

    "Craigs List"

    My girlfriend,like a sister to me,surprized me,one day when she entered me on "Crags List!"..First of all,he placed the wrong photo as being the "then"..becuase unless he had full body plastic surgery,could never have turned in the "after" photo! This guy,was such a sick creep..he was unatracrive,when I was dated good looking, I know all about the deeper sense,"It's what is in the heart stuff",but there was no compensation there too! Why should I settle? I swore I would report him to "Craigs List",for being a phoney! He was promising me things like calling up to order something I said I wanted,just in conversation,then said the company said they'd take $20 from hos credot card each month! That didn't make any sense,because,it had "one price",& that was it! Then he said his sister was really sick,the other sister called him,wanting him to go to N.J right away..he said he told her"oh,no,first I'll speak w/ the doctors,I can't just leave,I have appointment w/ my customers"[plumber] I aksed what happened,to your sister..he said "the doctors don't know"..but what happened in the first place?,I said?" he still said "I dont know yet",but he did know the underlying problem!I kept asking..saying "but Paul,what happened to her in the 1st place that was so shockingly upsetting?" He never said,nor did he even make something up! What a frustrating freak!He had a computer in his car,[laptop w/ GPS hook-up]he showed it to me[when we met at a nearby CVS,for the first time after approx 7 calls,10 e-mails!] We went to breakfast,he splattered ketchup all over his omelet!,I mean,I wans't raised to eat Ketchup on spagetti either,I was raised Sicilian,I thought I'd faint! There are things one just cannot accept,unless desperate[I am not]rather an attractive[always was] at 52 I look great! He was inferior..I am intellegent..& didn't need his sick constant "offerings",then saying nothing after I brought it what happened when you called to order that thing I wanted[he said $20$ is not going to break him,indeed,he had plenty of money!]When a woman is in her 50's [especially] it is she should be receiving gifts,not the other way around..he said "it's the guy who should be "getting" something First"[You see he told me the last girl on Craigs List,didn't let him go near her,that he took her to dinner over 8 times..I said,"when did you finally catch on she was just looking for dinner dates?" I mean what guy goes w/ a girl who gives nothing after 4 dates[a kiss] something??..he said "I touched her knee,she quickly picked my hand up,placing it back on his knee".So,I blasted him,saying you offered to order 2 things for me,even saying "oh I got you a cell phone"[but it's only good for 2 months& there's 60 calls you must use[something like this] I don't even know 6 people,to call!You mean all this time while you were telling me you were working on a "cell phone plan" that's what it offered.only?"Afetr these lies,I told him off,calling him choice names..this was beginning to sound like "prostitution"[although there's thin line between a woman giving,& the man paying,many wives Take their husband money,while they have headaches everynight!] I mean,not to knock the "working girl",but he wanted "IT" first...PAUL a sicko..look out girls if you're too pretty,too intellegent..stay away from this sick freak! By the way he never even saw "THE PRODUCERS" I mean,really! another thing,each time I mentioned something I heard on the news,{anything] he'd say "oh,that's too negative,,I don't think about those things"[exact words!]what,are you talking about,all I said was [so& so happened]..he'd always say that..I told him,"believe it or not..but not all things are Possitive,Paul!I'm actually afraid to tell you anything again,suddenly you're so pious,re: the negative&possitives of life?He was unattractive,his picture was NOT him,he was sloppy,his truck was sloopy too,papers to left over bagels,in a bag [which he threw out after] he spent the entire time after ordering our breakfast talking to the wairess,we both did..but we were suppossed to be talkining to EACH OTHER!!!right?? He made excuses for everything,his passivity was driving me nuts.."oh,she's fat because she stopped smoking" No Paul,she stopped 10 yrs ago!!Shouldn't she be loosing weight by now? I hated this liar,I wanted to tell Craigs List so I DID,,THEY NEVER ANSWERED ME..they no doubt had a mundane excuse for "at your own risk thing"..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Dave, Mar 9th, 2010 @ 1:19pm


    Can I draw everyone's attention to: Hall-murder.html I think no further comment is warranted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    shel, Mar 12th, 2010 @ 12:35pm

    virtual dating

    This is why I'm now weopia with online dating. It's hard to really get to know someone through messaging within a dating site. The virtual dating with has helped get to know someone a lot better before deciding if I'm going to meet them. So far its a noticeable improvement. I can see why dating sites don't offer this. They want you to stay as a customer!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    christophe, Mar 15th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    No MORE lying

    There really is no need to misrepresent yourself online anymore. I was able to meet lots of women online just by being myself. Be clever, witty, and stand out, and you'll have no trouble meeting women online.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    John, Sep 11th, 2011 @ 3:25am

    Interesting to see that most people who lie on their profile tend to lie in real life too. There is somebody out there for everyone, so if people just realized that by being themselves they will have far more success with online dating than trying to be someone they think they should be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    tony, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 11:41am

    nice post

    Now this is something different and awesome I read in this week. I loved they way you explained things in your post. You should provide some references in your next posts too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Wink2date, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 2:03pm


    Men always increase their height to 6ft lol

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    JT, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 11:15am

    Lying in your online dating profile

    I think you're right on with this post. I help guys write profiles ( and the subject of whether to lie or not comes up all the time. There are certain things you can flub a bit on, like your age, but with some it's just better to be truthful, no matter how hard that can be.

    If you're a big guy, don't post a pic from 10 years ago when you were a 34 waist. When you meet the woman, she's going to be expecting what she saw in the picture. There are ways, however, of taking truthful pictures that put you in the best light. There's a ton of free info out there that can help you make the best profile possible (and not just on my site, lol), so take advantage of it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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