Happy New Year! Let’s hope this year is filled with love and happiness for all of you… but you know, being single is cool too, so don’t stress.

Today I will be starting the year off with a bang and talking all about manipulation – the catfishes, the dangers, the lot. Not the most cheerful of topics I know, but it’ll be important if you’re looking for love and want to make this year a good one!

As you’ll know if you read my last post, dating used to be a purely face-to-face affair – before the creation of the internet and digital technologies the only option was to communicate in ‘real-life’ (note this ladies and gents – as much as it might seem it, online dating is not ‘real-life’!). Now, as the internet has become the most fashionable source of communication, we have the opportunity to talk to someone online for hours on end – I mean everyone’s done it, right? The real question is… do we really know them? I mean, without sounding like a know-it-all, the answer is no. Let’s be honest.

Please, don’t jump down my throat just yet.

 

Let me explain…

Of course, when you see someone on a dating app or website, you’re going to assume they’re legitimate. Why wouldn’t you? We, as humans, have developed the habitual behaviour of assuming someone is who they say are – so much so that the rise of online dating hasn’t phased most of us in this sense! Yet, every time you swipe right, you’re probably getting closer to someone dodgy.

Manipulation can happen in a variety of ways online. Don’t get me wrong, it can obviously happen in real-life, but the impact digital technologies have had on it is immense. And I mean, immense. Think how much easier it makes it! I’m sure everyone is thinking of the classic catfish stories (and if you don’t know what a catfish is… where have you been?!) As much as these are relevant, it goes far deeper than this, believe me.

 

Legitimate, or nah?

Image from pexels.com (no attribution required)

First of all, sociopaths. Seems extreme, I know, but bear with me.

Though there’s many definitions for who these people actually are, common characteristics include lying, aggressiveness and not feeling guilty for harming others… not quite who you want to mix with. Quite clearly, sociopaths have always existed – the internet hasn’t birthed them, but it has certainly made it easier for them to obtain their targets without suspicion. Online dating profiles include so much personal information – you innocently post selfies, your interests, what you love… the list goes on. Sociopaths can, and will, mirror your information! Why, you may ask? To look like they’re perfect for you! It’s pretty much a given that you will want some common ground between you and your potential lover, so it’s very likely you’ll want to talk to someone who is similar to you! After all, it makes for good conversation starters at least.

Once they’ve got you well and truly hooked it’s easy for them to ask for your Facebook, your Twitter, your phone number… all thanks once again to the digital age. Before you know it, they’re telling you you’re special or ‘the one’ (you know, whatever they feel like saying at the time) and you’re, of course, believing them, all in the name of love.

However, the scariest part is that in this case of manipulation, the person you eventually meet in real life is in fact the exact replica of who you were talking to online (they’re not the ‘classic’ catfish as some might say). You still wouldn’t suspect a thing and of course, this is all thanks to online dating – without it their mission would be far harder and they could easily slip up on the way.

 

The art of photo editing…

Image from pexels.com (no attribution required)

Moving to a slightly lighter note (hurray!), have you ever thought about filters or edits? You know, the ones you get on Snapchat which alter your face and smooth your skin. Or perhaps the ones that are available on your phone’s settings which change the colour and contrast of your photo. Yeah, those.

Now, think about the photos you see on dating apps. Are they edited? Most likely. In fact, a survey found that a massive 64% of people in America admitted to editing a photo before putting it online. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with enhancing a photo, but we need to remember that this is manipulation. At the end of the day, you’re looking for the love of your life! I assume I’m right in guessing that you don’t want to be talking to someone online only to find out they look completely different in person… no thanks.

To illustrate, popular singer Zendaya has previously demonstrated how much editing can change a photo with this post:

Again, it’s safe to say that with old-fashioned dating, this definitely wasn’t a problem. It’s online dating that has produced this problem – and you wonder why I’m sceptical of it? It seems others are too as 3 in 5 Americans don’t trust online dating due to edited photos!

 

The mask of manipulation, overall…

So, I hope it’s now clear to see how easy it is for people to manipulate others when online dating. Whether it’s a small manipulation or a big one (I mean, I’ve definitely covered both extremes) you’re there to find your lifelong lover, not a fake version of them.

If you’re online dating, or thinking about trying it, just be careful! Of course, there are many success stories but also many dangers involved.

They say that ‘what you see is what you get’, but since the digital age, is this really the case?

 

Come back in 6 days for a new post! What will it be?
For now, follow my twitter: https://twitter.com/virtualloveblog

 

Mwah!
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