8 ways to avoid dating weirdos online
And by weirdos, we should clarify – we mean dangerously strange. If it’s just that you like cooking in the nude or have a massive collection of vintage teapots, then that’s fine, we’re down with that, we’re talking here about avoiding the sort of people who will wait outside your house in a bush at 2am. Or maybe turn up to a first date looking like a completely different person, because they’ve used a stock image of Brad Pitt in their profile (although to be honest, we’re hoping you’d spot that.)
Because let’s be honest, that’s one of the things that puts people off online dating isn’t it? We all want to live that dream of finding ‘the one’ online, but we don’t want it if it means dating 27 fraudsters in the process. We pride ourselves at eHarmony on having a process that eliminates much of this risk, but it never hurts to be cautious.
Here are 8 top tips to help you sharpen those detective instincts and separate the weirdos from the wonderful:
- A picture tells a thousand words, so do have a good look at their profile pictures for clues. Do their shots look too good to be true? One shot, staged, against a white background can seem a little forced, and a blurry photo taken at a distance, doesn’t give much away. It’s nice to see a range of pictures in different situations, as this way you get an insight into someone’s hobbies, interests and friends.
- Conduct an image search. Use Google Goggles to search their profile image, and see if it appears anywhere online. If you find it on a website that’s advertising toothpaste, then chances are it’s a fake. (Unless your potential date is a tooth model, of course.)
- How much detail do they go into? Obviously you don’t want their full life history straight away, but one of the giveaways when someone isn’t being entirely honest is that they’re generally vague, or don’t give much away. So, if they go into some specifics and have written answers of a decent length, then that’s a positive sign.
- Check out their opening paragraph. If it doesn’t feel very personal, you could try searching for a few sentences of it online – some people do copy and paste profile text from other places.
- Don’t be lured away from your dating site too soon. It can feel flattering if someone is keen to take your conversation forward by text or email, but do be wary of giving away too much personal information too soon. Top tip – consider setting up a generic email address just for your dating emails that doesn’t give away any personal information.
- Ask a lot of questions. We’re not saying you need to conduct an interrogation or anything, but do ask plenty of questions to find out about them and their life. A faker will probably be reluctant to go into too much detail, and will want to ask you questions instead.
- Do the details add up? A man might say he’s 6 foot tall, for instance, and then be pictured with a group of guys all taller than him. Now it might be that he hangs out with basketball players a lot, but those sorts of details raise red flags. Have a look through the facts and figures and make sure everything adds up.
- Pay attention to the language they use. Apparently liars have a few tell-tale signs you can look out for, like fewer users of ‘I’ and phrases such as ‘not bad’ instead of good and ‘not boring’ instead of exciting. It’s apparently to do with a reluctance to tell an outright lie, and a case of trying to avoid the truth instead.
So there we go, those are our top tips. We hope that you never have to use them, but as every Boy Scout knows, it’s good to be prepared!