By Natasha Burton
There’s an adage about online dating that, upon viewing a potential intro’s profile, you should subtract a couple inches from a man’s disclosed height and add a couple pounds to a woman’s weight. Whether or not most people actually lie on their profiles is unclear, but many daters have reported this phenomenon from their own experience.
The issue with fibbing in one’s profile is not so much the fact that someone is actually shorter (or larger) than they claim but more the questions that this disparity creates: Is lying on one’s profile a red flag? Should the discrepancy between reported body size and reality be brought up or go politely unmentioned? Here’s what to do to handle the situation with grace.
1. Kindly hide your shock.
A friend of mine went date with a guy who claimed to be 5’8″ and turned out to be well under five feet. To say she was shocked would be an understatement — and rightly so. But, unless you are a terribly cruel person, don’t lead with “Wow, you look nothing like your picture/what you said you looked like on your profile” upon meeting your Intro if something similar happens to you. At the beginning of a meet-up you should focus on trying to get to know a person for who they really are. Show restraint so you don’t end up hurting your date’s feelings — and ruining your changes with a great potential partner because you couldn’t look beyond the physical.
2. Ask nicely.
There is nothing wrong with bringing up the fact that your date may have stretched the truth on his or her profile during the date in a kind, inquisitive way. In the case of my friend, she discovered that her date was having a hard time getting past the messaging stage — no one wanted to meet up with him because of his short stature, so he changed his height on his profile. The thing is, your date knows that he or she put information that could be misleading, whether through facts or by posting old photos, so if you don’t bring this up there will be an elephant in the room the entire date. Being honest and upfront can actually be the polite thing to do in order to clear the air. Say something simple and to the point like: “I can’t help but notice that you seem to look quite different than the information you put on your profile,” and allow your date to explain.
3. Evaluate the circumstances
In my friend’s case, her date’s impatience about not being able to get women to go out with him — and therefore modifying his profile to change that — was a deal breaker. Instead of finding someone who was interested in him for him, he was essentially duping women into giving him a chance. But other people’s fibs might not be red flags: like the woman who gained 20 pounds because she’s still recovering from surgery, or a guy who says he’s just two inches taller than he really is so he can select a higher “height bracket.” These “lies” are either temporary, presumably, or minor and they shouldn’t skew your opinion of someone. Plus, if a couple inches (or pounds) are dealbreakers for you, you might want to reevaluate your dating parameters: As a long-standing adage claims: It’s what’s on the inside that counts.