Monday, March 24, 2008

Online Dating: Determining Honesty

With so many people asking the same question - perhaps now is the time to closely examine how to tell if the person you are dealing with on the "net" is, in fact, the person they are purporting to be. But how? How do we determine this? If we come out and blatantly interrogate them, they will no doubt be offended. On the other hand, this micro-scrutiny may well be what we have to resort to - and in turn, we must be prepared to subject ourselves to the same. Still, a cunning and masterful liar will jump through any hoops to satisfy their goal - so, after some thought, I have put together, based on my own experiences and insights, a list of possible ways to determine if you are dealing with an Honest person.


Listen To Them!

I cannot stress enough the importance of really "listening" to the person you are dealing with. Of course, the notion of "listening" to someone's words on the screen is ridiculous - but if you consider that in the sense they are "speaking" to you - this makes perfect sense. Do they sound too good to be true? We'd all really like to believe the person we are coming to enjoy knowing and speaking with is exactly as they say they are. We want nothing more than to take them at face value. But reading these stories we find often that the real-deal is the exception rather than the rule. Read what they are writing - pin them down on "iffy" details - if they refuse to be pinned, or remain evasive, consider that a RED FLAG and proceed with caution!

Does it Make Sense?

What if you are left with questions that, in your mind, really don't make sense - but the person you are speaking with has a quick explanation. Ask yourself, more than once - is it really believable? For example - "I'd love to meet you soon.. but I have some details or personal matters to take care of first" should provide a RED FLAG. While none of us wants to pry or probe for information, we have to ask ourselves "what kind of personal details or matters are so important that preclude this person from being able to meet me?". Do you have to ask online permission first to call someone? If so, that is a good indication that the person you are dealing with isn't really "free" to meet you at all. Who else lives there? Is it possible the person you are dealing with is still married? While it is true that many people looking for love on-line may still be married, and dealing with the aftermath of terminating their marriages - it's important to establish this well in advance of involving yourself with someone else. Most people understand that often, marriages can take time to end - that doesn't make the person any less available, as long as you can clarify details, and this can be accomplished by calling them at their home (once you have established a comfortable rapport with each other and have exchanged phone numbers). Call when they aren't expecting your call - do they have an answering machine? Who's voice is on it? Are they secretive, do they speak in hushed tones or are they angry or upset that you called without notice? These are pretty good indications that your unexpected call was not as welcome as you would have liked. If this is the type of response your surprise phone call receives, be prepared for some fancy footwork from the other person when they finally do hook up with you, while they explain the reasons for their reaction. Fancy footwork usually involves weaving a tale that on it's surface - sounds plausible, but little else. Do it again! If your first surprise phone call wasn't as welcome as you would have liked, do it again! If you get the same kind of reaction - you can draw your own conclusions. Make these calls at different times. This does not mean harass anyone! But a couple of calls spread out over the span of a week or two certainly do not equal harassment. After all.. this is someone who is supposedly very interested in you.

Current Photos!

With the issue of dishonesty or deception as to the other person's actual weight or age clearly being one of the main issues of Honesty - how do we accomplish the goal of finding out if they're telling the truth? I won't begin to discuss the issues surrounding why weight, etc., is so important.. suffice it to say - if you're telling the truth about yourself, then it doesn't matter. On the other hand, if you want to base a relationship on dishonesty, and the person you are speaking with has a clear idea as to your weight - and you're lying - why do you think you deserve to have any kind of relationship at all? Often, people will try to put off that inevitable first meeting for as long as possible when they are being dishonest about weight. The logical thinking behind this is that for as long as they can delay this, they will make every effort to lose this weight. Of course, this is ludicrous on it's surface as weight loss takes a long time, and people who haven't started a diet aren't likely going to be able to manage substantial weight loss to their own satisfaction in this time frame. But how do you know what they Really look like? Old pictures often tell a thinner or younger story - and we can be stunned or shocked to go to meet the person in the old picture, and find the real person - who we didn't even recognize! There are no shortage of excuses for "why" people don't have current pictures.. "I don't have a scanner", "I don't have a camera", "I haven't gotten the pictures scanned yet", "I don't have time" .. Let's be real here. Any photocopy service in this day and age does photo scanning. They charge an average of $10 (and that's judging from prices of about a year ago) and it takes less than an hour. With the emergence on the marketplace of low-cost personal scanners, we all probably know someone who has a scanner. No current picture? Nobody to take one for you? Heck, there's no shortage of places you can get a picture taken. I once resorted to asking the guy at the store where I buy my bottled water to take my picture, handing him my polaroid. If you aren't being dishonest about yourself, chances are, you have a current picture or have the means to get one. How do we know if it's a current picture? That indeed seems to be the big question here. The best idea I had (and this is lame, I know) is to hold up the day's newspaper (not in front of you, but just off to the side). Sure, the actual date will be impossible to read - but the day's headline sure won't be hard to miss!

The Scammers!

When you read these stories, you'll see that indeed, it is possible now to meet up with someone who isn't interested in you at all, but rather what you can do for them or what they can take from you. Too bad they're there - until we can find a means to stop them, the best we can do is protect ourselves. How do you know if someone is out to "con" you? Let's look at the theory behind "cons" or "confidence" people. That's how they work isn't it? The put you at ease immediately, they agree with everything you say, they pour out undying and heartfelt emotions almost immediately. How is it possible?? How can they "love" you almost immediately without ever having met you? I've heard the lamest arguments on this point "well what about in the olden days with pony express? People met, fell in love and married that way all the time!" Uh huh.. hellooo! This is not the 1800s.. we have the means, we have the technology - why would ANYONE make this kind of argument to validate their feelings for someone else? If you defend that train of thought - I'll expect to see your story here sooner or later. The fact is - "LOVE" is not possible without physically meeting someone or spending time in getting to know them. I will not argue that infatuation is possible, or that feelings of joy, contentment and overwhelming desire are possible. But the "connection" between two people who have not met, or have spoken for less than a month online is not. Why the rush to love? These people aren't going anywhere.. I can certainly understand the feelings of loneliness and the wonder and joy of being "in love" and having someone who "loves" you in return. It's Wonderful!! But.. it takes a bit of time. Anyone Who tells you they love you within the first week or so of knowing you online is a liar!. There, I've said it - it's out. Would you believe anyone who, in real life, told you they loved you if they'd just met you the week before? No way! Same rules apply here. NOT POSSIBLE. When and if you hear those three little words that mean so much, step back. Step back hard and tell them you are doing just that. If it's "real" or "true" love, it will last forever and stand the test of time, and they will respect that you question your feelings and thiers. If it's still "love" after a few weeks or a month - meet and meet soon!! You will know when you meet in person if what you felt online is what you feel for them in person.

Why Meet Soon?

Let's face it - the internet provides us several unique opportunities to meet a great number of people from one "site". Personals sites list several thousand people each - chat rooms give them the chance to interact - e-mail affords them the privacy to correspond with several people at once. If you have the means to meet people who live far away - wonderful! When you meet that "special someone" and you feel very strongly for them, and you believe that they are honest and genuine - meet them soon! Find out before you make emotional investments if they are the same in person as they were online. Spare yourself the agony of allowing yourself to "feel" for them online, to live for their letters, only to find out that you were not the only one, or that your online feelings did not translate "in real life" when you met them face to face and found out that really, the spark was not there. Be true to yourself, if you do not have the means to sustain a long distance relationship - don't pursue one. Yes, I know, you will have to make yourself wait longer to meet someone from a closer area, but too many have already invested heavily in trips they could ill afford only to find disappointment and deception on the other end.

Background Checks

There are services that I have recently found - that cater especially to those of looking for love on the internet. They are extremely affordable - and for a minimal price - you can find out some things about the person you are becoming interested in - even if these aren't things you really wanted to know.

Summing Up

In Summary - I have addressed my thoughts on how to tell if people are honest. They include 1. Listen to them! Watch for stories or aspects about them that sound "iffy" or evasive. Press them for details and stand firm if they try to lead the conversation away from those details! 2. Get a Current Photo! It's tough to ask someone to take a picture holding a newspaper - but if they are who they say they are - you need only explain to them you've "been there, done that" with others who were deceptive or dishonest - and you just really need to know, that it's not personal. If they take it personally, there is yet another RED FLAG for you to pay attention to! 3. Take Your Time! If they seem to have fallen in love with you almost immediately - Step Back!. Why are they telling you so soon that they love you? Why the rush to love? Sure, we all love being in love - but why the rush? If it's meant to be it will last forever.. TAKE YOUR TIME! They aren't going anywhere and if they are, you should be worried anyway! 4. Meet Them Soon! Do not allow yourself to make a sizeable emotional investment in anyone that isn't able to meet you! People who delay or put off that first meeting, it would seem, have something to hide. Insist on meeting them within a month of meeting them online. Allow yourself that month to get to know them and determine if after that month, you still feel for them. Allow yourself the opportunity to meet them in person to see if it's really "love". Be kind to yourself. If they're the right person - nothing you could ask them would put them off. If they've spent any time on the net - they've had similar experiences and Should Be Asking The Same of You!! And if they're not - perhaps you should wonder why...5. Background Checks - This is accessible to you - if you have ANY RED FLAGS - use the service above or one like it. You can be sorry for something you didn't do for a very long time - using common sense is something you'll never regret.

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