People Are Using Reverse Catfishing To Prove Love Is More Than Skin Deep, But Is It Really Ethical?

If you’ve ever dated online, chances are you’ve been catfished to some degree. Meeting up with someone to ends up being completely different than how they portrayed themselves in their dating app profile isn’t just disappointing, it’s also a waste of valuable time. After all, you were always going to realize the 6’3″ rugby player you were chatting with wasn’t real when he turns out to be a 5’6″ freelance dog walker who lives in his parents’ basement. However, there’s a new dating trend taking hold: reverse catfishing. This one’s all about turning the toxic version on its head. But is this approach to finding love really any better?

What is reverse catfishing?

On the surface, reverse catfishing sounds like a good thing. While regular catfishing relies on using highly filtered and edited photos to show you looking way different — read: way better — than you do in person, this trend aims to get hyper-real on potential matches. After all, there’s so much emphasis put on appearance. It can be super demoralizing to feel like no one is interested in you unless you have the face of a supermodel and the body of Kim Kardashian. Placing the importance on personality makes things so much better… at least in theory.

Reverse catfishing entails using the absolute worst photos of yourself on your dating profiles. We’re not just talking #nofilter. We’re talking no makeup, acne, terrible angles, the works. The idea is that by showing the very worst of yourself first, your matches know what they’re getting into. So, if they reach out, they must be legitimately interested in a relationship with you. They like you for you, not the way you look.

On the surface, this sounds like a good thing. However, it may not be as smart (or ethical) of a choice as it appears.

Is it really okay to do this in dating?

It sets a deceitful tone.

Sure, you’re downplaying your hotness rather than trying to pretend you’re Emily Ratajkowski. However, you’re still lying. Your date might be pleasantly surprised, at least aesthetically speaking, when you meet in person. That doesn’t mean they won’t think it’s weird that you started off your potential relationship with dishonesty. That’s not a good look.

It’s hard to trust someone who lies.

You might think that reverse catfishing ranks pretty low on the lying list, but the fact that you felt the need to BS someone about something so silly won’t sit well with most people. Since you lied about this, what else might you be hiding or not telling the truth about? It’s one of the worst parts of the dating world, but if you still want to find a partner, our sister site, Sweetn, can help you out. They have some great tricks to change your luck in love. Check them out here.

It’s a very cynical approach to love.

If you’re tempted to try reverse catfishing because you want people to see the real you, you’re sending the message that you think most people are superficial. You don’t believe that there are decent, solid folks out there who want the same thing as you. That’s not just untrue, it’s really cynical.

It makes you look insecure.

Your date might wonder why reverse catfishing sounded like a good idea to you. Was it some sort of reverse psychology because you don’t think you’re attractive so you don’t want someone else to be disappointed when they meet you? It kind of reeks of desperation, and you’re better than that.

It implies that you have some unexplored and unprocessed baggage.

Maybe an ex only wanted you for your looks, or your personality wasn’t enough to keep them interested. If that’s why you’re trying to make yourself less attractive, you shouldn’t be dating. You should be going to therapy instead.

It keeps you from being your real self.

According to a 2022 Bumble survey, 51% of users said they were most attracted to photos in which people appeared down-to-earth and human. They also tended to be doing something they really enjoyed, such as reading or cooking. By and large, they wanted REAL pictures, not ones that are overly posed or curated. That works in reverse, too. By reverse catfishing, you’re not showing the real you, no matter what you tell yourself.

It’s not really all that different from catfishing.

Both are dishonest and underhanded. That’s not you, so don’t do it. Be yourself, just as you are. For the right person, that will be more than enough.

It pays to be yourself in dating

It may feel like you’re constantly striking out in the search for love. It’s easy to panic when you’ve had one too many bad experiences. You desperately try to think of anything you could be doing differently to change your luck. So, you decide to try one of the latest dating trends. However, more often than not, they don’t work out. Reverse catfishing isn’t an ethical new way to date. Instead, it’s another misguided move to make ourselves feel better about being single. We feel like we suddenly have our power back, but we’re really giving our power away.

The best way forward is always by being yourself. You have so many wonderful things to offer a potential partner. From your bomb personality to your hotness — it’s about attitude, after all — anyone would be lucky to have you. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you need to trick people into being interested in you. If they’re not, they don’t deserve you. It’s really as simple as that.

Like what you’ve read? Follow Bolde on MSN for more!

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill