Why You Should Lie in Your Online Dating Profile

Illustration for article titled Why You Should Lie in Your Online Dating Profile

Russ Ruggles, who blogs for onlinedatingmatchmaker.com, makes an argument for lying in your online dating profile (in a post by the same title).


He notes, first, that lying is common. People lie in the direction that we would expect, given social desirability. Men, for example, tend to exaggerate their height; women tend to exaggerate their thinness:

Since people also tend to restrict their searches according to social desirability (looking for taller men and thinner women), these lies will result in your being included in a greater proportion of searches. So, if you lie, you are more likely to actually go on a date.

During which, Ruggles explains, things are unlikely to fall to pieces (provided your lie was small).

It turns out that people's stated preferences have a weak relationship to who they actually like. Stated preferences, one study found, "seemed to vanish when it came time to choose a partner in physical space."


"It turns out," Ruggles writes, that "we have pretty much no clue what we actually want in a partner."

So lie! A little! Lie away!

And, also, don't be so picky. You never know.

This post originally appeared on the blog Sociological Images. Republished with permission.



Everyone tells me to lie about my age in my profile. My profile and photos have gotten better and better, but the fact is that the older I get, fewer men even see my fabulous profile, since they do not adjust their age preferences as they age, and I simply do not come up in their searches. (As one 35 year old male friend put it: "I am looking for a woman 23-30. That hasn't changed in the last five years and it won't change even if I'm 50.") I've been on one site for almost a decade, and while I used to get dozens of emails a day, now I am lucky if my profile is viewed once in a month. There was a sharp decline in interest when I hit 30 and it's decreased dramatically with each year, even though I replaced my crappy photos with ones taken by a professional. So, the advice I get from most people is to simply lie.

But I don't want to. I don't like lying. And I don't want to get someone to meet me based on an untruth. If a guy blatantly lied to me about something, it would make me really uneasy, even if I met him and liked him. And, while it is possible that, say, a guy might think he wouldn't be attracted to a woman over 140 lbs but then meets a 150 lb woman (who'd lied and said she was 135) and finds her gorgeous, or a woman might think she'd only be into a guy over 5'10'' but then meets a shorter guy (who'd lied) and thinks he's the hottest thing ever, I also grant that men are adults who know their own minds and preferences, whether I'm happy about them or not. If a 40 year old guy won't date a woman more than a decade his junior, it could be that he's bought into the idea that every woman over 30 has gained weight and isn't fun (in which case he might be pleasantly surprised to meet my hot and fun self). Or, he could just want someone in her twenties, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Let's put it this way. I was at a party recently and spent the entire night getting hit on and seriously wooed by this dude who was clearly very into me. When, after hours of pursuing me, he found out that I was not, in fact, "twenty one or twenty-two" but only two years younger than he, he simply said "Sorry, I thought you were younger" and bolted. The moral of the story is that you can lie and wow them in person, and they might not even care that you'd lied, but they might still want someone taller/thinner/younger/richer. People want what they want, even if what they want is ridiculous. Usually they wise up to their ridiculous expectations at some point, but on the Internet, when they can sort through another 25,000 profiles of people who are or claim to be taller/thinner/younger/richer...then not so much.