Let me clarify upfront that I personally think lying in your dating profile is not a good idea, but social media research doesn’t back up my position. Much the opposite, it seems that if you lie in your profile you’re significantly more likely to get a date and initiate a relationship.
Over at onlinedatingmatchmaker.com, blogger Russ Ruggles cites research from Nicole Ellison of Michigan State University, which found that 9 out of 10 people lie in their dating profile. “As expected, men exaggerate their height, and women under-report their weight. But, the deceptions were usually very small, and – as the study says – ‘would be hard to detect face-to-face.'”
Since people focus their searches on desirable physical traits–taller men and thinner women–the lies position you in the more dynamic section of the search pool, making actually getting a date much more likely.
Here’s a graphic showing more specifically how folks lie their asses off.
But then when the liars meet, something strange happens–their stated preferences change, indicating that they didn’t really know what they wanted in the first place. The graphic below shows the shifts on attractiveness, personality and earning potential.
Quoting Ruggles: “The left side of this graph shows how participants in the study scored their ideal mate in attractiveness, earning potential, and personality. As expected, men value looks a bit more than women, and women value earning power a bit more than men.”
So it turns out that what people say they want in a partner doesn’t hold water when they actually meet a living, breathing human on the other side of the profile. Unfortunately, however, it looks like lying may be the only way to up your chances enough to benefit from that fact.