Single women over 50 worry that all the men on online dating sites are liars. As a dating coach for women, I understand your concerns. So let me reassure you that from a statistical standpoint, this could not possibly be true; there are a lot of attractive, nice — and honest — guys on these sites. However, most midlife women have some degree of mistrust about online dating and are suspicious about how truthful men really are.
Younger singles are less concerned because they grew up immersed in technology and the Internet. They have been playing games online since they were little so their perspective is more relaxed and accepting. They know the reality of dating today includes technology and are less concerned about the possibility of liars than older people are.
So How Much Lying Is Really Going On?
A study conducted by two college communications professors, Catalina Toma of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Jeffrey Hancock of Cornell University, suggests that the risk for deception certainly exists. Their research, reported by the Huffington Post
found 80% of the sample profiles from dating sites wandered from the truth. To be fair, they only tested 78 profiles, which doesn't seem like a statically significant sample size, but regardless, we can infer that people are fudging some details on their profiles.
What Do People Lie About?
Surprisingly, the two professors discovered that women tell more tales online than men. Most often, they lie about their weight; women were off by an average of 8.5 pounds while men under-reported by 1.5 pounds. About 50% of people overstated their height (honestly, I would do the same since I'm only five feet tall) and 20% fibbed about age.
But let's be realistic: how much does it matter if you fudge an inch of height or 8 pounds of weight? These are minor details in the scheme of things. To find a compatible partner, what you really need to know is if you have the same basic values, lifestyle and dating agenda. These are the factors that will help you choose an appropriate long-term mate.
Signs of a Liar
The study did go on to discuss certain words that indicate a potential liar, which was probably the most useful finding. One clue for stretching the truth or hiding something is when a person avoids using the word "I." This permits a liar to distance him or herself from the lie and makes the written word less personal according to the research. Liars also tend to use negative descriptive language such as "not boring" instead of the more positive term "exciting." And last but not least, the fibbers seemed to have shorter profiles overall with less specifics. This is probably because it's easier to remember fewer facts.
8 Online Dating Safety Tips
While it's accurate that not everyone online is truthful, it's not the same as saying everyone is a big fat liar. Be smart when you read through a profile and pay attention to your intuition. Make sure to meet online prospects sooner rather than later so you avoid virtual relationships that waste your time and take up space in your heart. Follow these safety tips to make the most of the dating sites:
- If a profile sounds too good to be true, maybe it is.
- Don't just email, text or talk on the phone. You need to meet people face-to-face to determine compatibility.
- Don't share your last name, place of employment or address for at least the first few dates.
- Use your cell phone and not your home phone, which can be looked up in the online reverse phonebook to access your private information
- Meet in a public, well-populated place with a good parking lot or close to public transportation.
- Don't get into anyone's car; take your own transportation.
- If you feel very nervous, tell a friend where you are going and when to expect you back.
- Don't "lend" anyone money. That's what the online horror stories always mention.
My best advice for dating over 50 is not to let the media's sensationalizing of online dating keep you from using a good resource. The fastest growing group dating online is the over 50 segment. Men tend to use the web for meeting women more than attending live events. That's why if you're a single gal over 50, your best bet for love is online dating. Be smart, don't fib too much and have fun using this essential singles resource.
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