Lies in Online Dating

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Paul Oyer, author of Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating: When I think of things that you mentioned, I think about the lying or misrepresentation on online sites.

Do you see that from your experience and find that to be as big of a problem as some people think it is? What can people do about it if it is prevalent?


Paul Oyer

It is quite prevalent. The studies on this are very clear. I certainly saw some exaggeration or outright lying.

Lies in Online Dating: 2 Kinds

There is two kinds of lying.

There’s what an economist would call, “cheap talk,” and that’s rationally deciding to misrepresent yourself about your age or weight.

There’s a whole other set of lying that we as economists aren’t very good at understanding.

That’s one of the limits to using economics to explain dating, and that is lying to yourself.

Lies in Online Dating: Age and Body Type

When I dated, the documentation on this is very strong, you see a lot of people who say they’re a certain age who are actually older than that.

Some people say that they’re a certain body type and they don’t really look like that either.

Lies in Online Dating: Attitude

Then there’s a whole other kind of lying, which we as economists aren’t very good at explaining, and that’s lying to yourself.

I met a lot of people in my online dating days whose profiles said that they were optimistic or a lot of fun. That type of lying is harder to put in an economic context.

Lies in Online Dating: What To Do?

Now, what should you do about it? Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about it.

You just have to play defense. You have to keep in mind when you’re reading a profile that you have to discount it.

The parallels to the job market are very strong because, whenever you go to hire someone and read their resume, you discount what they say a little bit. You know that they’re padding the truth, if not lying.

The same goes for online dating. You should set your expectations up that the person is going to show up at their first date and probably won’t look exactly like their description of themselves. Maybe they’re also not going to have some of the other things that they say they will.


Tell Us:

What lies in online dating have you encountered? Share the most outrageous stories with us below in the comments section.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Paul Oyer

The entire interview transcript is at: Dr. Paul Oyer Interview – Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating

Listen to the entire interview on iTunes