It should come as no surprise that people sometimes distort the truth when looking for love, but until now we didn’t know just how much.
OkCupid.com, one of the most popular online dating sites, compiled data from their more than 1.5 million users in attempt to analyze the lies that people tell on online dating sites. They found that people lie about everything from their height to their looks, but one of the most striking fibs is the one we tell about our salaries.
According to OkCupid, the average user exaggerated their annual salary by 20%. The site made this determination by comparing the salaries that users listed on their profiles to the average salaries earned by people in their age group and zip code. One of the things they noticed, according to their blog, is that “there are consistently 4× the number of people making $100K a year than there should be.”
This salary discrepancy only gets worse with age, as older users, particularly men, are more conscious that women will value their wealth more. “If you're a young guy and don't make much money, cool. If you're 23 or older and don't make much money, go die in a fire,” the site explains.
Similarly, men tend to lie about their height, with most male users claiming to be between 5 foot 8 and 6 foot 4, despite the fact that data shows they should be an average of two inches shorter. But women aren’t perfect either. OkCupid found that as a general rule, “the more attractive the picture, the more likely it is to be out of date.” And as with salary, there is a direct correlation between the age of a picture and the age of the person who posted it. Women in their early 20’s post pictures that are about 200 days old, while women in their 40’s past pictures that are 300 days old.
Of course, you can lie about things offline too. Men and women have been known to lie about their jobs and personal lives on a first date, and people in relationships can have trouble with the truth sometimes too. More than a quarter of couples lie about money matters to their significant other.
But as OkCupid notes, lying about yourself online has some potentially serious consequences. “[I]n many online situations, self-misrepresentation is totally harmless… But in online dating, where the whole goal is to eventually meet other people in person, creating a false impression is a whole different deal.”
If this doesn’t bother you, check out our list of the best, worst and weirdest online dating sites, or follow MainStreet’s Facebook Dating Project, which follows one woman looking for love on the popular social network.
—For a comprehensive credit report, visit the BankingMyWay.com Credit Center.