There's always a temptation to believe what you want to hear when you're dating, online or anywhere else. It pays to be a little sceptical, however, especially when it comes to the Internet. Studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of people on online dating sites lie at some point, with a range of popular fibs most commonly told. If your Mr or Miss Right seems to good to be true, they probably are.
I'm a Six-Footer
Height is one of the most popular lies on social networks and dating sites, among both men and women. It's hardly surprising, mind you, since men's profiles enjoy more clicks if they're tall. However, some data suggests women's profiles are more likely to be popular online if they're shorter, so there are short tales as well as tall tales.
I'm a size 12
Both women and men routinely lie about their weight online. However, people like to keep their lies white, so they are more likely to slightly understate their weight rather than to completely misrepresent it. After all, it might be an incentive to get in shape in case you end up meeting someone you spotted on the web.
I love to exercise
While misrepresenting weight is more popular among the ladies, men are a little more inclined to lie about their physical shape. Like understating your weight, describing yourself as having an athletic physique might be more about wishful thinking than intentional dishonesty. Making plans to go on physical or outdoor adventures together might be ill-advised unless you have the stamina to back up your claims.
I'm turning 21 (again)
Another falsehood that works two ways: many people online will tell you they are either younger or older than they are, depending on what they think you want to hear. With women more inclined to round it down a little, many men have no qualms about lopping a full decade off their vintage. This might seem like an easy fib to maintain, but it always comes out in the end.
My career is going really well
Successful people must be more attractive, as many online profiles are liberal with the truth in terms of both the type of job and the amount money being earned from it. Imagining yourself to be in a position of more authority is also popular, and it seems the more people you are responsible for managing, the better.
Let's travel the world together
The online dating market is a global one, so it pays to make yourself seem as worldly as possible. Lies about the amount of travel you have done and plan on doing are therefore also incredibly popular. If you're going to invent a trip abroad, why leave it at a week in Benidorm? If someone's timeline hints at lots of long haul travel experiences in the far flung corners of the globe but there's no photographic evidence, be suspicious.
I'm really arty
Like being well-travelled, successful in the workplace and a lover of keeping in shape, being arty is a key attraction factor for many people. As a general rule, if someone describes themselves as "really into music" or "a film buff," but only ever posts X-Factor videos and Star Wars clips, take their claims with a pinch of salt.
I can introduce you to a celebrity
People may complain about it, but the celeb rags keep flying off the shelves, not to mention the tabloids, a whole business sector built on selling tittle tattle about people with varying degrees of fame. It's perhaps not surprising then that another common fib to post on a social dating site is having a famous friend, or even having met a famous person once in the supermarket.
Related: 10 most unexpected celebrity crushes
This photo was taken last week
If you're uncomfortable with outright lying but don't feel particularly happy with any recent photos of yourself, what can you do? The simple answer is to post an old photo from when you were in better shape. If that isn't an option you can always go for one in which the lighting is so bad you're virtually unrecognisable.
This is what I look like, honest
If you can't find a picture that's old enough, poorly lit enough or in which you think you look passable enough, the internet has always something to offer. A disturbing number of people post photos of other people, passing them off as themselves. If you have the time and technical expertise, another option is using Photoshop to give yourself the cosmetic surgery you can't quite afford.
The "relationship status" field in any social networking profile is always the focus of much attention, as well as being another option for people to stretch the truth. For those uncomfortable with blatant deception but who still want to keep their options open, there is also the choice not to set a relationship status at all, so this is a sign you may be dealing with someone who's hedging their bets.
We have friends in common
Anyone with an active social networking presence will have digital friendships and connections with people they have never met. The end result of this is that you may get the impression that you're part of the same social circle as someone because you have mutual friends. Just bear in mind that those "friends" you have in common could be complete strangers to one or both of you.
False promises regarding sexuality are not necessarily the choice of people who are unsure what their preferences really are. With both men and women being routinely misleading about this characteristic, the intention seems to be to make yourself seem a little more open minded than you perhaps are. Studies have shown many people who describe themselves as being bisexual online really only engage with people of one sex.
We'll meet up soon
The ultimate false promise of a social dating liar, making vague plans to meet up some time long into the future is a fib many people indulge in regularly. If you're in any doubt, the more unspecified the location or date is, the less likely it is to ever happen. Although, if the person you're chatting to turns out not to be who they say, you might be glad not to have met them.
Related: How to reel in online dates
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