Biggest Lies Told On Dating Sites, Most Common Lies Men & Women Tell On Dating Apps: White Lies, Kittenfishing & Deception – Photos, Profiles, Bios & Communication

Dating apps, in my opinion, are merely another avenue (or channel if you will) to meet others outside your daily life. It should not be your only option nor should it be viewed as background check. Consider it more like a digital billboard. With all billboard advertisements, there is sometimes a little lie in the marketing. 

It’s important to understand that not everyone tells the truth on dating apps (which is true of offline encounters i.e. people hiding wedding bands or individuals wearing form fitting outfits. All introductions should be reviewed carefully, thoroughly and with cautious optimism. With dating apps comes anonymity and with anonymity comes increased temptation to lie because of a disconnect with others, matches or people you know.

People are typically too trusting of people they meet (read the latest book by Malcolm Gladwell, Talking To Strangers) and either assume they always tell the truth, are overwhelmed by looks, bios and messages or read into profiles too quickly before verifying information is accurate or interpreted correctly.

Some lies are blatant (i.e. different photos, using photos that do not reflect your appearance aka catfishing) while other, smaller white lies fall under the kitten fishing umbrella i.e. (adding 1-2 inches to your height, using photos where you weight 10-15 less etc.

I constantly scour the internet for all things dating related (I even created a page to highlight the most informative, provocative and best advice out there to help folks). A study by Stanford researchers caught my eye when they covered the 4 most common lies people tell on dating apps.

I agree with much of the finding but I added my take as these groupings should ideally be broken down so you can review and put to the test when analyzing profiles, photos, bios and communication with matches. The four groups are listed below:

Self-Presentation (Make Yourself Look Better)

Examples: Mostly exaggeration i.e. mimicking hobbies, claiming to do something outlandish.

Test: It’s perfectly normal to have things in common but putting people to the test i.e. if they claim to love salsa dancing, ask them where they take classes or places gone.

Avoiding Dates, Schedule Mix-Ups

Examples: Lies to avoid meeting up i.e. have to get up early, have to study, missed the bus, got dates confused, stuck at work, not feeling well.

Test: Harder to catch in a lie, but ask if they are feeling better, ask if they can meet at your office and drop off a gift etc. In my etiquette guide, I put the onus on the person who canceled to reschedule the date. Some people are desperate and make up excuses and while trying once more to set up a date, that is the max I recommend anyone extending themselves to accommodate others, particularly strangers on dating apps.

Lies About Timing

Examples: Running 10 minutes late when you are taking a longer time or telling someone to visit you at a place but then leaving early to avoid them but wanting to appear like you made an effort.

Test: Communication is key, just extend courtesy that you arrived early or that you might be running late even if you are not 100% sure. Being early and on time is one way to prove you value someone.

Indirect Lies of Avoidance

Examples: Oh, I wish I could go. Sounds fun let me know when you go to x. Attempts to soften rejection but preserve connection.

Test: Some examples are indeed honest and some people are truthful about their intentions. You can ask in advance or on the spot to see if people can look you in the eye. It is easier to lie over phone or text than in person in public places.


Other White Lies In Dating Profile

The above are all very much accurate but are more so related to dating app communication rather than dating app profiles. Those lies often involve a date to be planned or a communication to be established after matching. The other white lies frequently told on dating apps are usually in the photos, caption, bios and answers to prompts. These lies could largely fall underneath the category of kittenfishing but others are much more than a simple white lie.

In of themselves, these individuals lies can be nothing to some, but they can be a sign of insecurity, narcissism, deception or straight manipulation. It’s important to ask questions, take your time, reference answers and ask for help if necessary. I routinely round cursory reviews for clients on suspicious profiles and people they meet on dating apps utilizing all my many years of analytical, creative and research skills.

Many of these lies can be proven with a video chat, video date or similar via Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts or Facetime.

Job Title, Employment

Lie: Entrepreneur, Consultant, Founder. These could all very be true but could be a cover-up for unemployment.

Test: Asking about concept, MVP, clients, current projects, look up LinkedIn profile


Lie: Women are notorious for listing the wrong age in the bio age field but will write I am a actually x + 5 years old or Facebook/Tinder/Bumble will not let me change my age. Men just straight up lie. Both are liars and insecure about age.

Test: Ask about graduation years, references to childhood, significant dates, where were they when X happened or find an excuse to look at their ID.


Lie: Adds 2-3 inches in height to profile.

Test: Find a creative way, bet to see ID. Find a natural measuring stick like the door frames at 7-11, look for clues in photo backgrounds or just go on a date.


Lie: Often happens when people outside the city say they live in the city i.e. Daly City vs. San Francisco, Long Island vs. Brooklyn, Walnut Creek vs. Oakland.

Test: Ask what neighborhood they live in, ask if they have been to XYZ down the street (make up a lie) if you think they are indeed lying or have lied about other things.

Marital Status

Lie: Single but married before, divorced but only recently separated.

Test: Ask about proceedings, dates etc. These things can take time. Also, they are sometimes not definitive especially if super recent.

Have Kids

Lie: No mention of kids in profile.

Test: If you are looking merely for a hookup on Tinder and suggest that very obviously, then kids are not needed to be mentioned. If you have kids and suggest about dating, long-term plans etc. then definitely bring it up. Ask about last minute getaways, look at their social media posts, see their caller ID screens.

Want Kids

This is a rather touchy subject for most. I understand some people are in a rush more than others but there is a fine line being clear in your desire for family planning and its another thing to treat dating like a job interview process. Dating takes time (time to learn about each other, develop chemistry and align goals). Just because someone wants kids it might be under the right circumstances (certain date, with the right partner or once a level of safety net is attained).

Make sure you talk to your partner and make things clear. Assume nothing. Actions speak louder than words. Also, people have the right to change their mind, it sucks, it is unfortunate but it happens. Rushing into the kids conversation can be seen as your focus on fighting a mate to bear kids rather than the person himself/herself.

Lie: Saying not sure or saying yes but not letting the person no that means not now and not anytime soon.

Test: Ask about their future plans, settling down, where they want to live, housing plans, timelines, immediate plans in the next 6-12 months etc. Asking someone too quickly and too abruptly about kids can turn them off as it may come off like job situation. Start with indirect questions in early dates. Evaluate partners based on values, priorities and outlook rather than looks, grand gestures and great sex only.

Balding aka Hatfishing

Lie: Many photos in dark lighting, from a distance, with hats, or taken possibly years ago with more hair.

Test: Look for recent photos, timestamps, social media, dates that require a dressed up look (no hats), reverse images searches, EXIF data on photos etc.

Roommate Situation

Lie: Live alone but live with roommates, parents or rent in-law unit from parents.

Test: Ask to go to their place if they insist on your place. Ask about apartment details, location, layout etc.

Photo Age

Lie: Photos taken years ago.

Test: Reverse image search, cross-reference other social media platforms, look up photo EXIF data, ask about timestamps, when photos were taken.

Photoshopped Photos, Skin Softening, Filters

Lie: Slimming photos,

Test: Go on a video date, look for other social media photos (non-Linkedin pictures) as those have a tendency to be photoshopped.

Cropped Photos

Lie: Cropping your photo to show a favorable part i.e. headshot with face turned.

Test: Ask to see full body photos. go on a Skype or FaceTime date.

Photo Angles

Lie: Taking photos at high angles to appear slimmer.

Test: Ask for photos at eye level, zoomed out, full body, go on a zoom date.

About Eddie Hernandez 

Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice and date ideas.

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