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Stanford University’s “How Couples Meet and Stay Together Survey” queried a nationally representative sample of adults to determine how and when they met their current romantic partner (Rosenfeld & Reuben, 2011). Less is more: Why online dating is so disappointing and how virtual dates can help. They can be quite sophisticated AND PATIENT in hooking unsuspecting victims, before trying to reel them in.
For example, when you read in a man’s profile that he’s a movie buff, you might think that's something you have in common, but when you get to talking about movies on your date you realize that you’re a foreign film aficionado, while he’s obsessed with horror flicks.
But if we choose to focus only on online dating, because it’s safer, we could miss out on other opportunities to meet people. (2005), What Makes You Click: An Empirical Analysis of Online Dating, University of Chicago and MIT, Chicago and Cambridge. If they lie and obfuscate what will become readily apparent upon meeting, what other, more important, character traits are they lying about?
For more on misconceptions about online dating, read my post on 4 Myths about Online Dating. More importantly, that they don't see the problem inherent in the dishonest representation is a huge red flag.
But this can also lead you to pass up on potential dates because with all those options, you can't help but think, "There must be someone better out there." Online dating sites can thus foster an attitude in which potential mates are objectified like products on a store shelf, rather than people (Finkel et al., 2012). Online profiles are missing vital information you can only glean in person (Finkel et al., 2012), so it can be difficult to know if you’re really compatible with someone based solely on what they have shared on a dating site.
Research shows that people spend their time on dating sites searching criteria such as income and education, and physical attributes like height and body type, when what they need is information about the actual experience of interacting with and getting to know the person on the other end of the profile (Frost et al., 2008).