Catfishing has become so common in our society, especially with the raised number of dating app users due to the effects the pandemic has had during these past years.
Catfishing can end up in light results, good ones, and unfortunately fatal ones. There are interesting stories, and terrifying ones floating around on the internet.
We all have at least one friend who got catfished or a friend that practiced catfishing. But what is a catfish in dating? What are the signs?
A catfisher gives off many red flags, but due to the overwhelming beauty and personality they claim to have, we ignore those red flags and learn the lesson the hard way.
Let’s get some basics learned to avoid the hard way learned lessons, shall we?!
A catfish in a nutshell: What is a catfish person?
The term catfish represents a person making false claims about their personality, career, or appearance and using it to benefit something particular (e.g money) from one or more people.
In a few other words, they’ll lie to achieve a particular goal through you. They’ll use that false persona to get money from you, get validation, revenge, etc.
You can tell you’re being catfished once you sense that the person you’re communicating with isn’t who they claim to be; when they ask you for money/your bank details; when they’re reluctant to have a voice/video call, and when things they tell you don’t add up.
For more details on each of them, here are 10 signs to help you tell if someone’s a catfish:
1. They’re so perfect it’s unbelievable
One of the most common signs that you’re being catfished is their ‘unreal’ personality and looks.
This person seems to know exactly what to say, how, and when to say it. It’s unbelievable!
Their pictures seem to be professionally done, they text you back right on time, and they seem to just love talking to you.
Catfishers pick a particular facade to seduce you into perceiving them as very successful, adding the good looks, and nearly untouchable but for some reason easy to reach out to.
Such perception of them can often trick you into inferiority towards them, making you forget to question their identity and their looks.
2. They’re so famous and glittery
A catfisher picks a glittery facade/persona, purposefully making you feel inferior and lucky to have the chance to communicate with them.
They seem famous, successful, and good-looking, they’ve got it all together wrapped up in a glittery persona that blinds you from the truth.
Now, there are odds that famous people and celebrities use dating apps, they’re people too at the end of the day.
However, there’s something wrong with it once they start coming on too strong. They’re coming on too strongly about their personality, about their looks, about their fascination with you.
Think about it, you haven’t met them yet; How much of you have they seen for them to be so fascinated?
3. They won’t send you pictures of themselves
The real reason why they refuse to send you pictures is that they couldn’t find any other pictures of the person, or the pictures are all professionally done.
That will wear their mask off, it’ll put their catfishing game at risk of being found out.
They come up with excuses as to why they’re not comfortable with the idea of sending you pictures, or they’ll talk you out of the idea.
Now, it’s normal for a person to not be comfortable sharing pictures of them with a stranger, however, this particular person is very mysterious and reluctant when it comes to pictures in their profile, or messaging.
Note: There are times when a catfisher sends you pictures, and they do add up with the pictures they have on their profile. Keep note of other signs if that’s the case for you.
4. Excuses when it’s time to meet up
This is one of the most obvious signs of catfishing online.
Catfishers, most of the time, deceive you about their appearance and information about themselves. Meeting up with you would, once again, expose their facade to the risk of falling.
After a while of communicating online, of course, it’s very normal to ask the person to meet up. A catfisher will have excuses as to why they can’t show up.
If the planning failed at the last minute once, it can be replanned for another time. However, that’s not the case with a catfisher. There’s always something to come up when it’s time to meet up, not just once or twice.
Of course, there are times when they agree to meet up, and show up.
That’s the part where it can get dangerous, or you get the chance to see the real person hiding behind those unreal pictures.
5. Their words don’t add up
Catfishers lie. They lie while telling you a story, they lie about their personality, they lie about their looks and their preferences.
Their entire persona is built upon lies to make themselves seem a particular way to you.
It takes a good-good memory to keep up with all the lies. Despite the strength and the ability of memory, it can oftentimes betray you; Especially when it comes to lies.
You’ll notice there’s something wrong once their words, stories, and preferences don’t add up. They’ll eventually fail to keep up with what they’re telling you. Something will slip.
Their words won’t seem to add up, especially if you met up. You decided to swallow the fact that they lied about their appearance, but now it’ll be hard to swallow once they start failing to keep up with the personality that they’ve created.
6. You sense there’s something wrong
Your intuition will warn you. Trust your gut.
As we develop further over years, we learn new ways and leave old ways of forming connections, expressions, and ways of communication. However, we start building a standard of what ‘normal’ looks like.
Your intuition will pick up on it. You’ll be able to sense that there’s something off, something is weighing more on the ‘bizarre’ side rather than the ‘normal’ side.
We’re constantly picking signs of normal and bizarre.
Often there’s a balance between both and behaviors tend to meet the ‘normal’ standard. Whether that’s online, verbal, or nonverbal communication.
When in contact with a catfisher, one of the most common signs that you’ll get when being catfished is that you sense there’s something wrong, something off in their communication.
7. They’ve asked for your bank details or straight-up money
Now, this is where the balance between normal and bizarre gets messed up. It’s a stranger directly or indirectly asking for your bank details, or straight up asking you to send them a particular amount of money.
There are times when they get the money and disappear (i.e. ghost you), and there are times when they get back for more.
Money gain is, oftentimes, the main purpose, the main goal of catfishers. It’s mostly what they’re known for.
Take serious notes, and be cautious the moment a person you’re ‘mingling’ with online asks you for money.
Helpful to keep in mind: A stranger asking for money (or bank details) directly or indirectly, is not normal.
8. They’re not into video/voice calls
Another thing a catfisher is reluctant to be called, whether that’s a voice call or video call.
They seem to constantly find excuses to avoid a phone call with you. They don’t want you to go away, so they’ll be super nice or will put it on you for being so pushy for asking.
A phone call can reveal a lot about a person you never talked to before.
You’ll be able to notice their tone of voice and detect bits of what they’re feeling. Seeing their face through a video call also adds up to picking up their realness.
If they’re lying about their appearance, they’ll hesitate to have video calls. If they’re lying about their identity (e.g. gender), they’ll hesitate a voice call too.
Keep note, that there’ll be something to be cautious about once the person is hesitant to attend an activity that’s likely to reveal more of their personality.
9. Their socials look a little suspicious
They either refuse to share their socials with you or when they do there’s something off about it.
Again, the balance between the bizarre and normal is a little off. It’s more bizarre than it is normal.
A left out a profile on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media that seems inactive for years, or a profile with a very low number of friends/followers, it’s a profile to be most likely owned by a catfisher.
A profile like that is likely to be created by the catfisher as part of their plan of convincing you they’re a real person, or that they are who they claim to be.
10. They seem to be in a rush
They don’t have time to be attentive and get to know you better. It’s like they’re in for the action right away.
You can notice their impatience especially when you start texting/talking about something you’re interested in, or when you’re simply sharing something about yourself.
Once it gets about you or deeper things, they talk you out of it to the topic that’s convenient to them only.
They’re in a rush to benefit from you. Whether that’s a financial benefit, emotional, sexual, or something very particular to suit their needs.
What do you do if you suspect a catfish?
Finding out you’re being catfished takes skills, a bit of effort, and attentiveness. You’ve got to know what to say to a catfish to know how to outsmart them.
Once you pay enough attention to the person you’re communicating with you’ll be able to tell and prove you’re not being catfished, or that you are being catfished.
Here are 8 things to do once you suspect a catfish:
1. Pay close attention to what they’re telling you. Catfishers lie a lot, so much that they won’t be able to keep up with the lies they told you. Something will slip, and if you pay enough attention you’ll find out the lies one by one.
2. Search their pictures on google. If they’re using celebrities’ or someone else’s pictures, something will show up once you google their picture.
Similar pictures will show up, and it’s likely for you to find a name or something more of the real owner of the pictures the catfisher is using.
3. Search their name and other info about them. You can search it up on google, or use third-party platforms such as Socialcatfish to find more information on a specific person.
The results will show, and you’ll find things related to their name and other information they gave you. You’ll then be able to connect the dots and find out if what they’re telling you is true or not.
4. Ask to talk with them through a voice/video call. Again, a voice/video call with the person will reveal a lot about them.
Their hesitance to your request will give you a sign, or if they accept, you’ll have the opportunity to detect lies or truths through their tone of voice and facial expressions.
5. Ask them to meet up in public spaces. Find a public space, and offer them a cup of coffee. If they cancel once, it may not be much of a big deal.
Though, if they cancel more than once, something is off. And you should start taking notes.
6. If you think your safety is threatened, cut off contact with them. Catfishers often don’t go too far emotionally with the people they target.
If you feel that you won’t be safe if you keep in touch with that person, then you can send them a polite message (just in case) and cut off all contact with them.
7. See if their dating profile is verified. Most dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, or Hinge have verification processes, some of them are pretty strict, and some of them are strict enough to not be able to escape them.
Once you successfully pass those verification processes a sign will appear on your profile indicating that your profile is verified.
Start taking note if their dating app profile isn’t verified.
8. Ask them questions. One of the best ways to find out the truth is to ask questions. Here’s a list of questions to ask a catfish that’ll reveal more about them:
- Did you hear about [restaurant name] that opened recently[their town]?
- I dare you to send me a picture holding a spoon next to your face!
- What do you specifically do at work? Do you enjoy it?
- What impressed you most about France? Did you get to visit the Louvre museum?
You can outsmart a catfish by asking detailed questions about specific stories that they tell you. Not suspicion, curiosity. Give off curious vibes, eventually, you’ll catch them lying.
How to end a catfish relationship?
Once you find out you’re being catfished, it’s best to leave it there. Notify your friends, and people you know so that they don’t fall prey to their game, and move on.
To keep things safe and steady, start with letting them know you’re no longer going to be contacting them because you found out that they’ve been lying to you, and that you don’t feel comfortable with that.
Ending a relationship, any relationship, it’s difficult. But in this case, it’s for your best. You’re being respectful by sending them a message to let them know of your reasons and your ‘disappearance’.
Leave it there and save yourself time, effort, tears, and most probably money.
Examples of catfishing: Catfish stories that’ll blow your mind!
A few catfish stories the team of Hetexted found are ones to give you examples of what a male/female catfish looks like:
- My strange catfish story
- I got catfished
- 5 ‘Catfish’ couples who ended up together
- A catfish getting caught
Conclusion – Being catfished…
In a few words, you’re being catfished if they lie to you about particular things that aren’t normal to lie about. Whether that’s appearance, personality trait, or a particular status/identity.
Keep your eyes open, and be attentive. The extremes which people are willing to go through just to reach their goals are mind-blowing.
Be cautious, not paranoid. You’ve got this!