Researchers Have Found The Lies Most Commonly Told On Dating Apps
"Sorry, something came up."
It’s hard to get a good read from someone you’ve met online. You can’t see their facial expressions and body language when they talk to you, so you’re forced to take everything they say at face value.
Two researchers from Stanford University, Jeffrey Hancock and David Markowitz, wanted to know exactly how common lying and deceptive behaviour is when you’re online dating. They reported their findings in a report titled ‘Deception in Mobile Dating Conversations’. “Until now, it has been relatively unclear how often mobile daters use deception in their messages before they meet the other person,” said Markowitz.
So, what did they find?
“Sorry, Something Came Up.”
The good news is that lying on dating profiles is less common than you think. The study found only 7 per cent of all people surveyed admitted to telling a fib to a potential date.
Unsurprisingly, most lies are about users trying to look better than they are by exaggerating personal interests. Or, appearing like they’re way less available than they really are. As Markowitz told Stanford News, “Being always available might also come across as being desperate. Therefore, people will lie about their availability or their current activities.”
According to the study, 30 per cent of lies followed this kind of deceptive pattern, otherwise known as “butler lies”. They’re lies that tactfully avoid or terminate awkward conversations. A specific example involved someone texting a potential date and saying, “Hey I’m so so sorry, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to make it today. My sister just called and I guess she’s on her way here now. I’d be up for a raincheck if you wanted, though. Sorry again.”
We’ve all received that one before, hey? But according to the study, it wasn’t considered a lie big enough to stop communication between the couple. This is because “butler lies were one way that daters try to handle saving face for both themselves and their partner.”
Sometimes we know someone’s being flaky, and we kind of get it. It’s hard to work up the courage to meet someone for the first time. Heck, it’s hard to leave the house in winter.
Online Dating’s Not That Bad
But according to the study, communication through online dating is actually pretty straightforward. As Markowitz noted, “Most of the messages people report sending are honest and this is a positive step toward building trust in a new romantic relationship.”
Looks like we all got the memo not to be a dick on Tinder. Yay.