One of the scariest things about online dating is that you never really know who is behind the profile that caught your eye. They could be as lovely as they appear or they could turn out to be the son of Satan who was sent to reform school because he was too bad for even Satan.
Or it could just be somebody out for a fun time but didn’t let you know you were only part of the fun time. That’s usually the story for your common online catfish.
So last week, I went over how to spot a catfish. Did you get a chance to read it?
But how do you make yourself less attractive to catfish in the first place?
As promised, here are three quick tips that you should start doing right now to avoid being catfished.
Quick Tip #1: Spend money
Ha! You knew it was coming. Let’s just get this one out of the way.
Catfish don’t want to invest; in fact, some of them want to get paid. But they generally won’t spend money to catfish you.
Catfish are aggressive; they’re likely to contact you first. Sites that allow people to message users for free are likely to be catfish-infested waters.
You can lower your chances of encountering them by being very careful about the dating sites you use. Yes, some sites are pricey. But that’s exactly why your odds of being catfished are lower.
If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, at least pay attention to what users can do for free. If you can message someone for free, remember that so can catfish.
Quick Tip #2: Mind those social media accounts
These days, everybody loves to share, share, share.
Catfish like to read, read, read, and not the New York Times necessarily either.
The more information you make visible to strangers, the more reason you are giving them to contact you.
You may already know not to leave certain facts about you visible: your job, your birthday, email, telephone number or address. But what about your posts? What about your photos?
Maybe they think they like your personality from your visible posts. Maybe they’ve scrolled through your photos. Maybe they’ve even figured out where you live or what you do for a living from your posts or photos.
Whatever it is, you’ve just told them a lot about you and how they should approach you and even given them some ideas of how to make themselves attractive to you.
Stay on top of those privacy settings!
Quick Tip #3: Don’t give away too much information too soon
This follows from quick tip #2.
So you are in contact with someone who appears to be promising. She’s nice and attractive and you’ve exchanged a few good messages.
Be careful. You want to walk the fine line here between sharing enough so that you get to know each other but not telling your life story right upfront.
Catfish are looking for your vulnerable spots so that they can exploit them.
Have a difficult relationship with a parent? Maybe you have been in an abusive relationship. Don’t put that out there yet. That’s a conversation better had face to face (or Zoom to Zoom) anyway.
While we’re on it, conversations don’t last forever in emails or dating profile inboxes. They grow and progress.
You may be ready to share the important and more vulnerable parts of you with your new “potential,” things that, as I said are better left for more intimate situations, but she’s not ready for that next step.
Don’t force her.
But relationships that develop online SHOULD progress to closer and closer contact and if she doesn’t seem interested in, say, a Zoom date or FaceTiming, it’s probably time to go back to the last email and put her through the catfish test.
So, there you go! Three tips to help keep you from becoming catfish bait.
Good luck out there in those waters!