Online dating; most of us have tried it, even if we don’t want to admit it. With the way that online seems to have invaded our real life, one would expect that this trend is just going to continue to rise.
Between the variety of easy-swipe apps and more thorough text-based profile websites, there’s an online dating platform that fits every lifestyle. The ease with which we can find a potential partner is surprising. But how do we know who’s really behind the screen?
This is a question that always comes up, especially when trying to talk to our grandparents about how we met our most recent Tim, Jim, Jeremy, or Jane. Honestly? When we think about it too hard it gives us a little bit of worry as well.
What if we’re being catfished? What if they don’t actually look like the pictures? What if they’re just using us to satisfy their desire to chat on long transit commutes? There’s just so much that could be going on.
While most of us think of ourselves as technologically savvy, especially with social media combing, sometimes we need a little validation. Keep those eyes peeled for any of these twenty signs that that online prince charming isn’t quite who he’s made out to be.
20-He’s Lacking In Other Social Media Departments
Sure, maybe he’s not a technologically savvy person. He might even think tweeting is just something birds do. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be quite refreshing to find someone who isn’t refreshing their feed 24/7. However, if we can’t find any kind of profile, Cosmopolitan warns that that might be something to raise an eyebrow at.
While this sign doesn’t necessarily mean “definite catfish,” it is something that you should consider asking about. Who knows; he might just be allergic to that endless social media scroll and chooses to keep himself off of certain sites. On the other hand, it might be the first of many red flags.
19-That Classic ‘Sorry, Something Came Up’ Line Is Used More Often Than No
We’ve all been here before, haven’t we? We’re talking to someone, things are going well, and they ask if we want to get dinner/drinks/coffee. We wholeheartedly agree and then spend the rest of the week excitedly trying new hairstyles and outfits. We show up at the restaurant/bar/coffee shop only to get a regretful text message: “Sorry babe! Something came up.”
In our opinion, once or twice is fine (especially if one or both of you work hectic jobs), but only if he can back up his last-minute pull out and you two have met before. Otherwise it could be a sign that he’s hiding his real identity.
18-He Won’t Video Chat/Voice Chat
If MTV’s Catfish has taught us anything, it’s that we have to be skeptical of those people who refuse to voice or video chat. Facetime was invented for a reason, you know? That reason seems clear to us as a way to make video and voice chatting accessible no matter how early on in the relationship it is.
If a guy is refusing to drop everything to talk on the phone, that’s an annoying personal preference. But if he’s point-blank refusing to video chat? That’s a red flag that we do not have the time or energy for. No matter how good the conversation is, there has to be some kind of face behind it.
17-The Idea Of Meeting Our Friends Invokes Anxiety For Him
A little stress at the prospect of meeting family and friends is normal, both for us and for our lucky potential partner. Friends and family can be judgmental, especially if we’ve brought home not-great partners in the past. If there’s too much anxiety, however, Bustle suggests that it might be a sign he’s not necessarily telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Maybe it’s something as small as him not looking like his pictures. Sometimes, however, it’s something much worse. He could be a totally different guy, or (even worse) he could already be in a relationship. Yikes!
16-He Messages Back At Weird Hours
This is a red flag that can be caught by paying attention to his messaging patterns. Let’s assume that this guy works a regular 9-5 job; maybe he manages a retail store or works in an office somewhere.
If you find that his texts are regular throughout the day, get sporadic and sparse in the evening, and then pick up for a while after 11 pm, Cosmopolitansays that it’s probably a sign he’s got someone at home already. This is assuming, of course, that he doesn’t have volunteer work or a hockey league that he goes to every night of the week.
15-We’re Supposed To ‘Keep Him On The DL’ When It Comes To Talking To Our Friends
First off, how dare he tell us what to do. Anyone who’s trying to control us does not get a seat at our table. Right? Right! We personally learned that too late, though, with one of our past relationships.
It turns out that, when he says to wants to be kept on the down low, what he’s really saying is that he probably knows one of our friends, and that friend knows something about him that would jeopardize his chances with us. In our case it was already having a girlfriend that was attached the friend group. Who knows what else these guys could be hiding.
14-Home Is Somewhere Far Away From Us
Know It All Nancy talks about this red flag, which is one that we hadn’t even considered. In the internet age, transcending physical space is all part of the game. We can connect with people in an instant who are on the other side of the world. This is definitely an asset, but it can also pave the way for some fiendish behavior as well.
Nancy writes in her article that those men who seem to be located an hour or two away might be looking for more of a side dish than a main course. Not that we should be compared to food, obviously. But the red flag still stands.
13-His Full Name Doesn’t Come Up In A Search (Or We Don’t Know It At All)
This is less uncommon when we’re on those dating apps. Many of those are the first name only, and we have to actually message with people before it’s not weird to ask for their full name. We highly recommend you do ask, however, as a Google search can lead to some very interesting things.
For instance, if he hesitates or is evasive when it comes to asking his last name, it could be a sign that he hasn’t thought one up yet. If he does give us a name and nothing comes up in the vast expanse of the universe, Cosmopolitan warns us that he probably isn’t who he says he is.
12-He Calls Us Whenever He Wants, But We Have To Check Before Dialing
The kicker to this one is the fact that he might get grumpy about us calling to say good morning or good night. That’s a sure sign that he’s falling asleep and waking up next to someone who probably doesn’t know about you. Though, we will warn anyone reading that we might be a little too cynical about that.
Sometimes people don’t feel comfortable talking on the phone and want a bit of a warning, in which case we totally understand them wanting a text message or check in first. But if they’re calling us all willy-nilly, no check-in needed? That’s not only an unfair double standard but also a red flag.
11-Personal Questions Are Immediately Avoided
This was included on several of the lists we saw about online dating red flags. Apparently one of the best ways to find out if someone is being honest about who they say they are is to just ask! Asking about their hobbies, likes, dislikes, and daily routines is a good way to test the waters.
If they don’t want to talk about their friends, family, and roommates, there might be something questionable going on behind the scenes. Or, he could just be lonely. That might be an option too, though we wouldn’t necessarily place any of our bets on it.
10-He Doesn’t Talk About The People In His Life
Independent mentioned this tip, which is actually one we’d never even considered. Online dating can be tricky because most of that “get to know you” stuff happens through text messages and online chats. Sure, we might get lucky and jump on a phone call every now and then. But, for the most part, what happens online is all we have.
Due to that separation from the “real world,” it can be easy to let all those life things fall away. Don’t get stressed if he forgets to mention his friends or siblings. However, if he avoids the questions, it’s time to get worried; he might be trying to keep us from connecting people to him.
9-Every Message Is Just A List Of Questions
This one might not be as red flag-y as some of the others, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. It also ties into a few of our other tips. Know It All Nancymentions that any guy who sends a laundry list of questions (without answering any of ours) should probably be a no-go when it comes to relationships.
Questions can act as a deflection from having to answer anything about his personal life, which is great for someone who’s trying to hide something. Not to mention how they can also just be flat out too much to think about. Nobody wants an interview in the dating world, they want conversation!
8-His Profile Picture Is A One-And-Done
Does he say “I don’t have any good pics” or “no recent photos I want to post”? That might be code for “I want to keep my identity on the down low.” This is especially true if his singular profile photo is blurry, cropped weirdly, or is just a photo of his abs (yuck).
Cosmopolitan reminds us that any guy who hesitates to represent himself online is probably hiding one or more aspects of who he is; physically, emotionally, mentally, or otherwise. Plus, it doesn’t make for great photo scrolling if he only has one picture. We want a variety of photos because it helps add legitimacy and tells us a little about who he is.
7-Or, Alternatively, All Of His Nice Photos Are Super Close Cropped
Here’s the other issue with profile photos, especially in the online dating world. Sure, on certain dating apps we’ll allow for a guy to have some photos with a group of people. His sister, his best friends, his teammates. It’s not weird to post a photo that features us and somebody else.
What is weird is putting in the effort to crop someone out and having it look not so great after. We’ve noticed a trend where those that might be hiding a relationship tend to crop their partners out of the photos. This leaves the pictures of him oddly centered, way too close-up, and just looking a little off.
6-He Doesn’t Have Much Of A Relationship History
This is one that might depend on the guy, so use your best judgment. It’s worth mentioning though, as Bustle points out it certainly can be a red flag. If the person we’re talking to online doesn’t seem to mention much about their last relationship, it could be a sign that they’re actually still in one!
If they don’t have an answer for when they broke up with their most recent ex, or if their profiles allude to anything about love, it’s worth asking them about. Sometimes it’s just because they want to be positive and don’t like to revisit old hurts, which is valid. But sometimes it’s because their ex isn’t their ex yet!
In every article we read when researching for this list, something was mentioned about overcompensation. Cosmopolitan specifically points out that, sometimes, it’s not a partner or a hidden identity he’s concealing. Sometimes it’s shortcomings, flaws, or personality traits he doesn’t like. He might think it’s harmless to misrepresent himself in “innocent” ways, but it’s still not fair to us.
If he tends to talk himself up and brag about certain things, it could be a sign that he’s actually covering for something that makes him insecure. This isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it might make for an awkward first date.
4-We Get A Message That Was Meant For Someone Else
Uh oh! Did our online pal just text us something along the lines of “Hey baby, what did you want from the store again?” That’s a big ol’ red flag and one that can only mean one thing. We believe that if he’s using different pet names, or sending out of context messages, it could be a sign that he’s not necessarily being totally open with his relationship status.
After all, picking up snacks at the store for a friend is totally cool. But calling that friend “baby”? That raises a few questions. Don’t let this red flag slide by. Confront him about it and end things ASAP if you find out he’s not who he says he is (especially if he said he was single).
3-Things Move Too Fast, Too Soon
This might be a personal quirk of ours; if things move too fast, too soon, we find it usually means one of two things. Either the two of us are totally soulmates, or there’s some insecurity on his end. If you two are texting “hello” one day and saying “I love you” the next, the relationship might be heading for a crash.
Things get tricky when we try to merge our idea of a person with who they are IRL. If he’s trying to establish emotional integration online, with no effort to meet up, it might be a sign that he’s not exactly who he says he is but he doesn’t want to lose you.
2-Hanging Out Never Happens Anywhere Near His Place…
Okay, let’s say that we did actually meet up with our online person. In fact, let’s say that we’ve met up two or three times with them. By that point, one might expect the relationship to be moving in a direction that leads back to somebody’s place.
Cosmopolitan reminds us that, if he does everything he can to keep us out of his neighborhood, there might be something (or someone) at home that he doesn’t want us to meet. While this isn’t a red flag exclusive to online relationships, we believe that it’s still a red flag worth keeping in mind.
1-Or He Flat Out Refuses To Meet
The classic red flag, we don’t even need to write about it, right? Everyone knows that, if someone is refusing to meet up, they’re definitely hiding something. Cosmopolitan backs us up here, as they believe that refusing to meet is a bit of a sketchy thing as well.
Online relationships eventually have to move into the real world. We have to be able to look into our partner’s eyes. While we totally get that some exceptions need to be made for long distance love, if your guy lives down the street and still refuses to meet, it’s safe to assume that he’s not as forthcoming with who he really is.