Online daters realize that while, on the one hand, they want to make the best possible impression in their profile, on the other hand, if they do want to pursue an offline relationship, they can’t begin it with outright falsehoods that will quickly be revealed for what they are (Toma et al., 2008).
One survey of over 5,000 users of online dating sites asked them to rate, on a 10-point scale, how likely they were to misrepresent themselves in areas such as appearance and job information (Hall et al., 2010).
In general, , people are more likely to lie when looking for a date than in other social situations (Rowatt et al., 1999).
However, research suggests that while slight misrepresentations on online dating sites are quite common, major lies are actually rare.
It’s difficult to lie about factual information on Facebook, unless someone is fabricating a completely false identity with a fake profile.
Because the social network is large and includes dozens of people who already know you offline, if you lie about your age, occupation, or other such information, these people will know.
You can read an article about the ongoing study by clicking here.
When we might be especially honest Surprisingly, people can sometimes be more authentic online than offline in the way they express their personality.
In an earlier post, I discussed how people involved in online relationships can develop intense bonds due to the unique ability for the anonymity and control provided by online interactions to enable expression of the “true self”: traits that a person possesses, but does not normally feel comfortable expressing to others.
It’s certainly true that it can be easier to lie online than offline, particularly about your physical appearance or job.
So the lies we tell online have the potential to be far more all-encompassing than anything we could get away with in person.