Once you’re on a face-to-face date, there’s not much you can get away with lying about.
Certainly not your appearance. Or if you’ve exaggerated how keen a cook you are, as the truth will be right there in the first dish you cook for them.
When you’re using technology to woo your potential partner, however, it’s a lot easier. And some little white – or not-so white – lies are made more often than others on dating apps.
Researchers at Stanford University in analysed 3,000 messages sent from 200 people who were in the middle of their “discovery phase” – the bit when you’ve matched online, but have yet to go on a date.
They were then asked to rate how honest they’d been in their early stages of communications.
Thankfully the research, published in Journal of Communication, found that lying isn’t super-common (unless the participants were lying about lying too), as only 7% of them admitted to doing so on a dating app.
Some lies that were actually told, however, were more popular than others.
One popular type of lie was what the researchers called a “butler lie”; one to do with social availability.
Attempts to look busy or difficult to get a hold of fall into this category, including saying that work has got in the way of a date or a double-booked drinks date with friends, for example.
According to the scientists’ figures, about 30% of lies were “butler lies”.
A third of lies were deceptive messages, or what the researchers called “self-presentation lies”. Basically, this means pretending to share similar interests with your match, which isn’t hard to identify with.
If you feel pretty neutral about pizza, for example, but pizza is their “thing”, it’s not hard to exaggerate your feelings about it.
Finally, the nastiest category were no-shows. They messaged that they’d meet their dates, then didn’t. Ouch.
Some of these lies can be seen as relateable and harmless (perhaps minus the last one), at least, and the overall results of the study seem to reflect quite positively on humanity.
“The data suggests that mobile dating deceptions are strategic and relatively constrained,” David Markowitz, researcher and assistant professor of communication, told Stylist.
“Most of the messages people report sending are honest and this is a positive step towards building trust in a new romantic relationship.”
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