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Online Dating: Why Honesty is Still the Best Policy

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April 30 marked National Honesty Day and, in honor of the occasion, Match.com dug through their latest Singles in America study to unearth some pretty interesting data on honesty and dating. According to their research, over half of singles (57%) say they DON’T tell white lies when they’re dating.

In fact, Match.com shows that two-thirds of singles believe any small fib is unacceptable. It’s understandable – no one wants to date someone who is dishonest and, therefore, untrustworthy. But if we’re truly being honest, I feel like many of us have been in a position where we’ve perhaps massaged the truth on a date in order to paint ourselves in a more desirable light. Whether it’s adding a more flattering filter to our selfies to help mask our budding crows feet, concealing how many dates we’ve been on recently or saying that we quit a job (when really we were downsized), I’m willing to bet that we’ve told a fib in our time.

So, what are people lying about? Match.com discovered that the top white lie singles tell on a date is their sexual history, followed by dating history and finances. And, while you may be inclined to think that men lie more about their number of sexual partners than women, they found that both men and women are equally likely to have lied about this! But men both lower and increase their number equally, while women are more likely to decrease their number.

So, what else are people lying about? Good question!

  • Age: Gay (44%) and bisexual (56%) singles are more inclined to lie about their age.
  • Height: Conservative Republicans are more likely to lie about their height (91%).
  • Finances: Men are more likely to lie about their finances (29%) and their job (32%).
  • Social Media: 27% of men who have had a date bring up their social media accounts have been busted in a lie, as have 17% of women (sorry, the jig is up – those three topless girls pouring tequila down your gullet are not your “cousins”).

So, what’s the worst things to lie about? According to survey participants, not telling your partner by the third date about an STD, a felony record, or that you’re in the country illegally are the top ‘lies by omission’ they’d be upset by, with medical history, income and political views not as crucial to reveal. That makes sense – while I’d appreciate if someone revealed their political leanings from the get-go (especially after the 2016 U.S. election), I won’t feel betrayed if, by the third date, they reveal they voted for a candidate I find unpalatable. However, someone lying about their STD status or criminal record could seriously compromise your safety.

If you’re looking to meet someone who is honest, you might want to head to Nashville or Seattle. Match found that Nashville and Seattle are home to the most honest singles in the U.S., with 62% not lying on dates. Here are some of the other top cities for honest singles:

  • Nashville (62%)
  • Seattle (62%)
  • Memphis (59%)
  • Denver (59%)
  • Phoenix (59%)
  • Detroit (59%)
  • Washington D.C. (58%)
  • Jacksonville (57%)
  • Fort Worth (57%)
  • Indianapolis (57%)

Although it would be wonderful if we were all honest all the time, it makes sense why we lie. Rejection is scary and dating can make you feel really vulnerable.  White lies are born out of insecurity and a desire to be liked. However, while a fib or a bit of “creative honesty” may seem harmless, it actually doesn’t do anything to bolster our chances romantically.

According to Dr. Helen Fisher, Match’s Chief Scientific Advisor, “Those who tell white lies are no more likely to get a second date; no more likely to have gone on a date in the last year; and no more likely to have had sex.”

In other words, if you’re fibbing in order to score more dates or have more sex, you might want to stop because your chances basically the same if you tell the truth. Besides, you want the other person to accept and (possibly, eventually) love you because of who you really are – not some smoke and mirrors version of yourself. This all goes to confirm what we knew all along: honesty really is the best policy.



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