Back to the great world of Tinder we go.
I’ve learned a couple lessons here. The biggest of which is, not everyone is sincere. Not everyone is who he says he is.
You may presume an adult and a parent would know this. I guard my children online like an insane watchdog. I failed to realize the need to guard myself, too.
Once, a really good-looking guy and I started chatting. We had a nice intellectual conversation about politics. He called me, not just text conversation. All the profile photos and phone photos checked out. The accent matched the history.
Then I asked him where he worked. He had given me a last name and I couldn’t find anything about him. He said he was an optometrist in town, but I couldn’t even find a person by this name. After this, he sent me some graphic sexual images and then stopped talking to me.
There was another guy who seemed great. We had a terrific date. He said he was going to call and went on and on about how he couldn’t wait to see me again. The next day, he cut off contact on all platforms and disappeared. Sometimes you’re the fire and sometimes you’re the kindling. This time I got burned.
One of my girlfriends has requested I thoroughly vet suitors online before seeing them. I forget this rule a lot. I’m trying to learn to do better, though. The truth is, it’s necessary to not be trusting with online dating. This is hard for me. I’m not naïve, but I do generally think people are being real when we interact. It’s a hard lesson to learn that many people are not like me. Many people aren’t honest or upfront or no nonsense. I have to protect myself from this.
I’m not sure exactly what people get out of being fake, or “cat-fishing.” I think it probably speaks to a deep loneliness and a hatred for the opposite gender or oneself. Perhaps it’s just a twisted way some people choose to entertain themselves. These are just my armchair psychologist’s opinions.
I have learned a few ways to avoid this, though. I hope this helps you, too.
1. Look at the common connections. Most online dating sites tell you if you share any connections on Facebook or other platforms. It’s more likely you’re talking to someone real if they live near here and know some of your friends.
2. Ask for last name, occupation, and how long they’ve been around right away. Be leery if he says he’s just moving here. Be leery if he says he only talks to people on random platforms like Kik or WhatsApp. Be leery if you type his name into a Google search and absolutely nothing populates.
3. Be careful if the person seems reluctant to meet or to share much about themselves. I don’t mean to imply someone should give their whole life story or jump in the car for a coffee right now, but the point of dating, even online, is to get to know one another. I, personally, like to meet as soon as possible. All the nice chit-chat in the world amounts to nothing if we don’t care for one another in person, and I don’t like to waste my time.
Above all, just trust your gut. If the interaction seems off, it’s off. There are literally hundreds of other chances out there. You have no obligation to continue talking to anyone who makes you uncomfortable. Douse those embers at the first sign of trouble. It may help you avoid being burned.
Chryssy Moor is a Tallahassee resident, a mother and friend. She is a board member for two privately held autism companies and founder of one of them. Contact her at www.facebook.com/chryssy or email firstname.lastname@example.org.