“Kittenfishing” Is The New Dating Trend Even YOU Might Be Guilty Of

As if things weren’t bad enough, a new trend has hit dating apps: kittenfishing. It’s similar to catfishing, when someone fakes who they are, but it’s more subtle—you might be doing it without even realizing it. Here’s what you need to know about it.

  1. It’s about how you present yourself. The term “kittenfishing” was created by dating app Hinge and it basically means you’re presenting yourself online in a positive light that’s maybe a tad unrealistic.
  2. It’s really common. Hinge reported a study that found 38 percent of their male users feel they’ve been kittenfished, while 24 percent of women have experienced this kind of false advertising in dating.
  3. You’re faking it. You might not be uploading a fake profile and pictures that aren’t even yours, but if you’re kittenfishing, you’re twisting the truth a little bit. Examples include if you’re posting pictures that are a little outdated or you’re lying about your body type or height.
  4. What’s the big deal? They’re little white lies, but they still create an untrue version of who you are. When someone meets you in person, they’ll be able to tell that your photo dates back nearly a decade or in time they’ll find out that you lied about your job. Eek.
  5. It’s becoming a real trend. Kittenfishing has become so common, Hinge has created a video function on their dating app so that they can minimize kittenfishing from happening. It’s a shame that it’s come to this, but what can you do?
  6. Still, it’s not always easy to spot, even with videos. If you’re lying about your appearance, that’s easier to notice, but it’s not always that simple to spot when someone’s lying on dating apps. It takes time and effort to get to know someone, and the lies might only surface after a few months of dating. That’s what so crappy about it—you’re in the dark for so long and by the time you find out the truth about someone, you could’ve already committed to them. Creepy.
  7. It’s not limited to online dating. Don’t think that kittenfishing should put you off trying out a dating app. If you think about it, kittenfishing isn’t anything new and it happens in real life all the time! Many people lie in real life dates to impress someone or be liked. It’s happening more than we even realize.
  8. Who’s to blame, the user or the apps? On dating apps, kittenfishing is definitely intensified. There’s a heck of a lot of pressure to be and look a certain way. People want to be liked and swiped right on, instead of rejected. It’s only natural to want to be seen in a positive way to get dates and be able to compete with other people on the bunch of dating apps you have at your disposal. But is it ever good to lie?
  9. It feels safe behind a screen. Until you meet someone in real life and start dating them properly, no one’s going to be able to tell that you’re faking it a little bit online. Perhaps you mentioned that you have a college degree even though you don’t or you took three years off your age. From behind a computer screen, it’s so much easier to lie and it doesn’t even feel like such a bad thing to do.
  10. There is no justification for lying. You want to get a date with the hot geek you’ve been chatting to, so you say that you love reading classics even though you don’t really. Still, you want to impress him and think it’s fine to lie because when he meets you, he’ll see how great you are and so it won’t matter that you stretched the truth a bit. WTF? It’s never worth lying and pretending that you’re something you’re not. Ultimately, it just hurts you. You’re good enough without having to lie.
  11. The truth comes out sooner or later. When you accidentally let your partner see your driver’s license and he notices you’ve been lying about your age, or you mention traveling through Europe and he asks, “But I thought you were studying during those years?” the facade comes crashing down. Kittenfishing might seem like no biggie, but it can have serious consequences.
  12. It’s not worth it. Kittenfishing can make you lose out on an amazing guy who just gets a feeling that your profile is too perfect, or who starts dating you only to discover that you’ve been lying from before you even met. Isn’t it just easier to be who you are?
  13. He doesn’t like you? Screw him! One of the biggest problems that kittenfishing trend highlights is how people care too much about what others think of them. You want people to “like” your Facebook posts and Twitter updates to feel worthy, and you want that cute guy on the dating app to swipe right so that you feel good about the selfies you posted. Enough! If you stop caring so much about others think and focus on who you are, you won’t need to resort to kittenfishing.
  14. If you can’t say anything honest, don’t say anything at all. Catch yourself when you’re tempted to lie about your body weight or favorite weekend hobbies. Instead of trying to make a good impression, tell people that they should get to know you for who you really are in real life. That way, you don’t have to make things complicated AF and online dating doesn’t have to feel like a big game. If you play it with kittenfishing tactics, you’ll always lose.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.