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Online Dating Profile: Contradiction or Lie?

Mar 18, 2008
Jennifer 8. Lee at the New York Times City Room blog, reports on an art exhibit called "I Want You to Want Me". The idea of the project is to show how people act when they are alone in comparison to what they present to the rest of the world in their online dating profile.

One of the creators of the exhibit Jonathan Harris explains, "People think contradictions are sexy, so they try to describe themselves as having contradictions."

That is probably true. Along with an air of mystery, people are also excited meeting another person who does not quite fit into a stereotypical box. For instance you may see someone's photo where they are dressed to the nines in punk rock attire and figure that tells you all you need to know. However after exploring a little bit further you find out they love Shakespeare sonnets and nights at the opera. Finding out something unexpected about a potential dating partner can have a startling effect especially when it turns out to be compatible.

Unfortunately with online dating, contradictions can also mean something else entirely. In other words, they are just flat out lying. There could be any number of reasons why they refuse to tell you the truth.

1. The Unthrilling Life
They read your profile, chat with you and come to the conclusion you have led a pretty interesting life. They on the other hand do not feel so good about their experiences. It could be embarrassment, just plain hurt or the feeling they cannot compete with what you have to offer. No, they should not feel that way but human nature causes many of us to analyze our life and circumstances constantly to the point of extreme.

2. They REALLY like you
Sally Field's Academy Award acceptance speech has become part of our pop culture folklore: "You like me. You really like me." Many people have made fun of that speech over the years but more than anything it was all about acceptance. No matter what level a person may be on, everyone wants to be accepted in some way. Sometimes if a person likes you enough, they are more than willing to shade or change their answers outright so you will accept them. They may think this is flattering. It is not. It has the stench of neediness written all over it.

3. The Dark Side
Thankfully instances of online dating hookups that have gone tragically wrong are few and far between. But they do happen. There are people out there whose sole intent is to pull you into their own personal insane asylum; so they will say anything they can to get you to open the door. They have to be clever in many instances to do this so playing on mystery, human curiosity and contradictions can have your emotions spinning out of control.

Contradictions in an online dating profile are great as long as they are of the truthful variety. Knowing that a person's likes and interests go further than what you initially assumed is a wonderful thing. Building a relationship on a lie however even if the intentions are good can only lead to disastrous results for everyone involved.
About the Author
Contradiction is one thing. Lying is another. Find out how to check your date's honesty as well as more tips and advice on the ins and outs of online dating at The Relationship Tip
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