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I can’t tell you how many times I talk to somebody from a dating site and after exchanging phone numbers, pictures and finally making plans to meet up, they tell me how they have recently been catfished. It’s funny because when I tell them what my tech startup does, they instantly say what a good idea it is and how they wish they had known about it sooner. The funny thing about being catfished is that is has been happening for decades and nothing has changed in the online dating industry to help people avoid it.
There are definitely ways people could avoid being catfished (besides my app). Some of the ways may be obvious to you, but for some reason, not everyone abides by these unspoken rules:
1. Make sure the person you’re talking to has at least a couple of full body pictures in their dating profile. Head shots don’t count because they could be hiding a 300 pound body underneath that beautiful selfie.
2. NEVER meet up in person before seeing said full body photos. This is the ultimate catfish syndrome. You are attracted to someone’s photos, but then not being attracted to their body. There are some of us (including me), who actually prefer women who have a little more meat on their bones. But for those guys or girls out there that don’t, it’s always best to show what you have up front.
3. Do your research. You can easily Google someone and look up their social networks to find out a lot about them, especially their LinkedIn profiles. Wouldn’t you rather find out if the guy or girl is a creep? Or just to find out if they have different tastes or a different personality than you do before investing your time, money, and emotional energy in meeting them in person?
4. Try your best to convince the person who you are talking to, to have a video chat with you, whether Skype, FaceTime, or other apps (shameless plug), to break the ice and have a first date to find out if there is any chemistry. A face to face video chat is by far the best way to get to know someone besides meeting in person. You can see their smile, hear their voice (and laughter), and get a good reading on if you are a match. Is he / she laughing at your jokes? Are your eyes connecting? Is their house a mess? Does she have 17 cats? Does the guy have all his hair and teeth? Stand up in front of a mirror and show yourself right then and there to show what you look like TODAY, not 10 years ago!
5. The worst part about being catfished, is being stuck on a date that you don’t want to be on. So the best way to avoid this is to not have a first date be a long dinner or a show, or a movie, or anything that requires you to be seated with this person for more than an hour. Take a walk in the park, grab a coffee, a quick beer, an ice cream, something quick and simple that you would otherwise enjoy by yourself or with a friend. That way it’s not awkward and you are not stuck for a long time if you need to make a quick exit.
I can’t believe that there is still an overly abundant amount of people getting catfished out there. I hear it every day, and nothing is being done to change it, with all the dating apps out there, not one of them helps avoid this and I think it’s crazy. I’m glad to be in business of helping people avoid being catfished forever.