Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Online Dating -- Five Things to Avoid(1)

Everyone's doing it - over 40 percent of U.S. singles are finding matches online. That's more than 40 million single Americans cruising the Internet looking for love (based on census results that say there are over 100 million single Americans).

So the Internet must be a great place to find true love, right? Not so fast. While online dating can be a great way to find someone new, dating sites are littered with scam artists, cheaters, and straight-up liars.

Now, this doesn't mean you should avoid online dating altogether -- just don't believe everything you see out there. In order to help sort out the winners from the losers, we've compiled a list of the top five types of online daters you should definitely avoid, along with some tips to help you save some heartache. Be careful out there, and good luck!

1. Liars

In a recent survey, it was found that most online profiles contain some sort of lie, whether it's the person's age or -- in some cases -- relationship status. White lies -- adding an inch to height or dropping a couple pounds -- are the most common and not a big deal to most people.
Consider these facts according to the April 2007 issue of Proceedings of Computer/Human Interaction:

About 52.6 percent of men lie about their height, as do 39 percent of women. Slightly more women lie about their weight (64.1 percent) than men (60.5 percent). When it comes to age, 24.3 percent men lie compared with 13.1 percent of women. When it comes to misrepresenations of age or relationship status, be careful or you could get seriously burned. In one recent case, a woman met a man on a popular dating site with whom she immediately hit it off. She even put her life on hold to go with him to Dubai when he was transferred for work. Eleven months into the relationship, she came across an e-mail -- from his son! What's more, the e-mail said something about "Mom" saying hi. In one fell swoop, our poor girl found out the man she met online was not only a father -- he was married! She moved back to the United States and has given up on online dating since.

How to Avoid Them:

Ask questions. Though it may be listed on someone's profile, someone's age is fair game in the questions department, so feel free to ask your potential date how old (or young!) they are. You may find that 35 suddenly becomes 42. While you don't want to ask too many questions and scare the person away, it's perfectly fair to verify the big things: age, weight, height, and -- most of all -- whether or not that person is, in fact, single. Half the time, people lie on their profiles to get people interested -- nine times out of ten, someone will level with you about their stats once you show some real interest, since they know they might have a chance of meeting you in person.

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