Catfishing, according to UrbanDictionary.com, is "The phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time)." Possible motivations for catfishing are: revenge, loneliness, curiosity, boredom.
I've recently discussed the idea that people only say what we want others to hear. Following that idea, I'm also suggesting we hear only what we want to hear, but maybe up to a point. And both ideas together are ripe for catfishing or falling prey to one.
I've also discussed my recent online chatting adventures and that one man in particular seemed to have expressed more of an interest in me. And I in him. And now, based on the ideas above, some questions have come up to start me questioning his behavior.
But, first, what are the signs of a catfisher? According to SocialCatfish.com, there are twelve signs:
- They appear too good to be true.
- They get too serious too soon, or they appear to care too much too fast.
- They have very broad interests that could apply to anyone.
- They don't know what Skype or FaceTime is, how to use either, or seem to avoid it.
- They travel excessively for business, especially to the Middle East or Africa, usually under the guise of being a contractor or an engineer.
- They ask for money too soon.
- They initiate contact via email or chat, as opposed to a social medium, to start a relationship or romance.
- They have bad grammar, as if English is their second language.
- They have pictures of friends on their profile that are not in their list of friends, or those who comment are not their friends or seem to not know them.
- They look like they could be a model or someone famous.
- They seem unattainable, far-fetched, or unwilling to meet in person.
- Something just doesn't add up.
Any one sign by itself does not necessarily constitute a catfisher, but the more there are, caution is advisable.
As a disclaimer, this guy and I have been chatting on and off for just about a month. So, some of what I may suspect is still very superficial at this time. But, I'm going through the points above. I'll skip number one as it seems more summative.
Point 2: He didn't seem to get too serious too soon, but did express his concern for me over a couple of rough days I had. We also spent several hours chatting the first couple of days, focusing on how much we enjoyed chatting. And after a few more chats, seemed to suggest we'd be a good match.
Point 3: It seems a bit early to know his interests. But what I do know seem broad; reading, gardening, painting art.
Point 4: Here he is guilty on not using Skype, but is curious about FaceTime.
Point 5: I would hardly call one trip (that I know of) excessive. And it was to Toronto, Canada. (As far as I know). And he's not a contractor nor an engineer.
Point 6: He has not asked for a dime, so far.
Point 7: Well, we connected via a social medium many gay men use for romance, relationships or just hooking up, whether in person or sexting.
Point 8: Nope, so far perfect grammar, except for typos which he corrects.
Point 9: Not applicable, as this site is not Facebook-like in that you can't post pictures of you with friends. And only on the website, not the app, can I
stalk see who his friends are.
Point 10: Yes, he is very handsome, and sexy. Not sure I'd see him modeling.
Point 11: This is possible, as we chat daily for a few days, then a few without. Again, it's still a fairly short time that we have been conversing, and he owes me nothing at this time, nor do I owe him any explanation. But, still something to keep my eye on.
Point 12: As he's told me he was badly hurt by a romance before, he might be running scared, which could explain the on-again/off-again chatting. He's opening up slowly, as he told me he was, and then taking a breather. Or, it's his way of keeping me guessing. So, I can see both sides of the coin-not always an advantage.
So, the points somewhat in his favor seem to be Nos: 5, 6, 8.
Points decidedly against: 4, 11.
The rest are a draw: 3, 7, 9, 10, 12.
So, it's all inconclusive, and partly because it's still too early.
Which means the only path to find the truth is to continue to move forward. I'll stay the course and focus on his actual behavior-and push for a bit of video chatting. And soon.
I'll be comforted by the Buddhist saying, "Only three things can never remain hidden for long; the sun, the moon and the truth."
And just maybe, he might be a needle in a haystack.