Guidance on how to avoid unpleasant situations when being deceived and what to do.
It can be scary in and of itself to meet an internet date in person. Imagine going on a first date with someone you don't even recognize when you eventually meet them in person.
Perhaps they made themselves appear taller than they actually are, heavily edited their photos on Facebook, or cleverly cropped and applied filters to hide their features. You're not sure what to do because you're seated across from someone you didn't recognize from their dating app profile.
To provide you with the finest guidance on how to avoid these unpleasant situations and what to do, we spoke with Heather Dugan, author, speaker, connection coach, and founder and director of Cabernet Coaches.
Prior to meeting in person, Dugan advises being proactive and inquiring about your match's photos. Take it or leave it;but, being truthful can help to spare you from potentially awkward in-person circumstances when you first start messaging on the app. "My photos arefrom last month. How current are yours." is one template she suggests.
Become a private eye by carefully examining their photos to determine what time period they're (probably) from. "Was apicture taken at the concert of a now-defunct band?" Dugan asks. If so, chances are that your match doesn't look like that anymore. Plus, if it's ascanned film photo, you can be confident it's at least 10 years old...unless they're artsy and own a Pollaro.
With a few basic details, like a last name, company, hometown, or college, you can find someone's social media profiles within just a few searches. I like to call this method "creeping, "but call it what you will. While it's tempting to go years deep into someone's Instagram profile, Dugan cautions against spending too much time researching.
It's far simpler to connect if you aren't mentally separating what you should know from what you clicked through on Instagram. "Yes, learning as much as you can ahead of time minimizes surprise, but it also lessens the enchantment of real-time discovery."
After chatting with someone for a day or two, ask whether they have Snapchat. If they have, you can swap photos and videos for a few days until you get a better sense of who they are.
Dugan asserts that most people publish outdated photos because "they're either clueless or acutely aware of the discrepancy, which means they're either being stupid or lacking in confidence." A deceptive photo may not always be the product of manipulative motivations.
There are many levels of photo-offenses, and while we may understand confidence problems or a little forgetfulness, other circumstances, such as plain laziness or attempts at severe distortion, are less forgiven.
There's no excuse not to upload an updated Pic when we all have mini cameras chill in' in our back pockets 24/7. Taking a selfie is as easy as whipping out your phone and taking a couple in 1-2-3. If someone can't be bothered to do that bare minimum, they may not be worth investing your time in. If someone claims they simply don't have recent pics, then let's be real.
It's up to you to decide whether you want to be the truth-teller who educates their date about the importance of using up-to-date photos, or the mercy-giver who balances the understandable annoyance with a little bit of empathy if you find yourself in this situation. If you find yourself in this situation, there will probably be a few questions you ask yourself: Do I go home? Do I address the obvious discrepancy? Or do I push through the date then ghost them after?
Dugan asserts that both are respectable options but advises always choosing kindness.
If you feel that you've been tricked or mislead, you shouldn't have to stay, but attempt to excuse yourself as gracefully as you can, advises Dugan. "You don't need to spend more than a few minutes with someone way outside your posted search profile," says Dugan.
Dugan advises avoiding accusations: "Simply say, "I had trouble recognizing you from your photos. It might have been the camera angle, but how old are your photos? I just updated mine to make it easier for everyone." if you choose to address the obvious discrepancy between their profile pictures and real-life appearance.
It's important to know how to spot deceptive photos and deal with the situation in person, but it's just as important to periodically review your photos so that your date isn't in for any surprises of their own. Perhaps you've spent so much time analyzing your matches' photos that you overlooked issues in your own profile.
If you want your dating profile to reflect who you are right now and not the person you were five years ago, Dugan advises including these five sorts of images.
If your profile is flawless already (hey, you could even do it scientifically), at the very least keep this list in mind when you're attempting to determine how recent a match's photos are.
Avoid being caught off guard. At the end of the day, images just don't do us credit sometimes... and that's good, but when you find yourself in a scenario like this, it's crucial to assess (to the best of your ability) whether the discrepancy was manipulative or simply a slip-up.
In the wise words of Dugan, "Give yourself every opportunity to attract a right-fit match by sharing who you are now," this is a frequent scenario that may happen to anyone - fact, you can even be guilty of doing this yourself.