Catfishing in the dating world has nothing to do with swimming critters. A catfish is a scammer who assumes a fake identity to make you fall in love with him or her — and this nickname for "online frauds" has existed for over a decade.
The world of digital dating is ever-dynamic, with trends like breadcrumbing and breezing making things more complicated than ever. The latest dating term to confuse all of us? Kittenfishing (which made me raise my eyebrows at first blush).
Kittenfishing is when a single person presents himself/herself as unrealistically positive. Maybe they've posted a picture of themselves from 20 years ago or 40 pounds ago. Maybe he says he is 5 feet 11 inches tall, but when he walks in, you can see he is shorter than you (and you're 5 feet 7 inches tall). Yes, we've all had it happen to us. The old adage says men lie about two things: their height and income; women lie about their age and weight.
What are some signs that you are being kittenfished, and what are some ways to uncover it?
1. He has many photos and they all look different.
Maybe different lengths of hair, different colors, some look dated, some look recent — red flag!
2. He's wearing hats in all of his photos.
He might be trying to hide his baldness. Why not just embrace it?
3. His profile only features head shots.
This is a clear sign he may be insecure about his physique and is trying to hide it.
4. Most of the photos are taken from strange angles.
Pictures taken from the "down" angle are slenderizing and can subtract 10 pounds if done properly.
5. There are grammatical errors in their profiles.
If someone says he has a very professional job, a great salary, and yet includes many spelling/grammatical errors in his profile — he might be lying about his career.
So now that you know how to spot it, here are a few steps you can take to prevent it:
1. Talk to them on the phone first.
Talking on the phone is a great way to see if someone's digital comedic chops match their real life wit. If he's super funny online and mute on the phone — you'll know something is up.
2. Skype or FaceTime before going on a date.
Seeing someone real-time on a screen is almost as good as seeing the real thing. If you suspect that something is off with your date and want confirmation, you can suggest a FaceTime or Skype chat first.
In today's world of often unattainable beauty standards, even the best of us can feel insecure about our appearance or age when online dating. Just like our moms said, "Honesty is the best policy." Dress yourself up, put your best foot forward and take great pictures to get good results online. But remember that people want to date the person in the picture — so show up looking JUST like your photos and watch your date break into a huge smile when you walk up.