Translating the Language of Online Dating Sites
There are several common deceptions on online dating sites that are so familiar they might not even count as deceptions any more.
I have a friend who recently survived a terrible divorce, and decided to get back into the dating pool by joining up with a few of the modern online dating sites – the ones that claim all sorts of science behind their matches, almost ensuring that you will find your life partner. Her experience on these sites was less than optimal, and when she told me the stories she pinpointed the problem very simply: People lied. They filled out their questionnaires and profiles and put misleading information there that made the dates she arranged pointless.
I argued that it wasn’t actually lying – that online dating sites have their own rules when it comes to language, and that it’s actually a failure of translation.
The Common Deception
The question is, if a deception becomes so common that you recognise it instantly and know exactly what it really means, is it still a deception? Or does it actually transform into a form of code? Let’s consider some of the lies on dating sites that are so common everyone – even people who have never gone to a dating site – know exactly what they really mean:
- Not Into Looks: Let’s face it, we’re all into looks in some sense. It’s hard-wired into our brains. The more truthful approach is to admit that we all have different standards of beauty and can agree to disagree. But saying you don’t care about looks means you are lying in order to appear more mature.
- A Bubbly Personality: People always describe themselves in the way they want to be perceived, not the way they actually are. You can learn everything about a person by asking them to describe themselves and then simply reversing the list.
- I Always Speak My Mind: Generally means they are rude and think that being rude is something to be proud of. Also, see the above point.
There are plenty of others – the point is, when we read these statements on online dating sites, we know instantly what they really mean.
Translation Services for Dating Sites
I’ve often thought I launch the world’s first translation service for dating sites. I could develop an App that would let you enter the URL of a profile and it would render it more truthfully. Likely, I would be sued.
None of this is to suggest that online dating services don’t ever work – indeed they do, though I’m not sure they work any better (or worse) than blind luck and the occasional set-up performed by family and friends. For people like my friend, I think the main power and benefit of online dating is simply being able to do something, to make contact and start the process of meeting people, regardless of how well the matching algorithms on the site work.
And once you know how to translate the common deceptions, your success rate on those sites will go up exponentially!
Image courtesy bookcycle.eu
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