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How to spot a liar in online dating

By Sarah Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 12:12
Who is likely to bend the truth more on their online profiles? Men or women? Wait, don't bet just yet! This latest research could surprise you!

Best foot forward

When it comes to online dating, who doesn’t want to put their best foot forward? But there’s obviously a difference between choosing flattering pics or describing your best accomplishments … and lying about things like your appearance or how much money you make.

Despite this, anyone who’s dated online has probably come across a guy or girl who’s bent the truth a little – or a lot. So wouldn’t it be great if there was a way you could tell who’s lying in their profile and who’s not?

Well, you’re in luck. Not too long ago, a team of US researchers tracked down over 5000 online daters to find out who lies in their profile, what they lie about, and whether this differs between men and women.

How to spot one?

The number one predictor of lying online is ‘self-monitoring’, the researchers learned. Now, what’s that? Basically, people who are high self-monitors are really aware of how they come across to others and are willing to do what it takes to look good to get a date.

On the other hand, people who tell the truth in their online profiles are more likely to have three personality traits, the research also showed. Someone who’s conscientious probably has a lot of self-discipline and thinks and plans for future consequences. So it makes sense they wouldn’t be interested in lying about who they are. Same goes for agreeable folks, who are typically kind, cooperative, and considerate of others.

More men or women

Open-mindedness was the final personality trait linked with being truthful online. People who are less open might feel they have to lie to come across as interesting or adventurous because they haven’t had many life experiences, say the researchers.

Personality traits aside, more men than women lie in their profiles, the study showed. For women, it’s more often about their weight than anything else. Men tend to exaggerate about things like how much money they have. They also lie more about their interests, for example, if they’re addicted to a television show they find embarrassing, and whether they’re serious about a committed relationship.

Talk first to demystify your date

So what does all this mean when it comes to spotting a liar online? Personality clearly has a lot to do with whether someone is telling the truth. Getting to know a potential date first, perhaps over the phone, might be a way to learn more about their personality and whether the details they’ve included in their profile are likely to be true.

Reference: Strategic misrepresentation in online dating: The effects of gender, self-monitoring, and personality traits. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 2010. 

Have you ever lied about yourself on your online profile to get more dates? Share with Love Matters (LM) on our Facebook page. If you have a specific question, please ask LM experts on our discussion forum

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