What to Do When Your Online Date Looks Like a Stranger IRL

By Amanda Rodriguez, Copy Cutie

credit: Helga Weber (Flickr)When it comes to dating online, it can be extremely easy to be bamboozled by the eloquent pictures people post. I mean, look at a show on mainstream media like Catfish — MTV has shown what can happen when daters are duped by dubious pics of people they’re seeing. But to be honest, there’s no need to panic when meeting your online interest and they’re not quite like what you’d imagined (or what they’d posted).

Here are a few ways to deal with a date who may or may not have majored in Photoshop:

Trust Your Gut.
If someone looks too good to be true, you may be dealing with a faker. While we don’t recommend checking out potential matches’ social media profiles or pics (or doing any Google stalking prior to your first meet up), make sure you’re making plans to meet IRL within six messages (three messages each way).

Approach With Caution.
Even if conversation is flowing and everything seems peachy, beware. Anyone who compromises their picture for the means of impressing others may be embellishing when it comes to the rest of their lives, too. Listen to details they give you about their work, family, and leisure activities. Those topics will always be the signals telling you which way to go. 

Inhale, Exhale, and Have A Seat.
It’s really important to remember that while the person you’ve gotten to know may not totally look like his or her picture, it probably wasn’t the only thing that brought you out of your home. Realistically, even if your date went from a 10 to a 6, they (hopefully) have other assets they bring to the table. Take a seat and see what you learn. Compatibility is more than just looks! 

Location, Location, Location!
You can always sense when the pictures you’re looking at seem a tad bit fishy. Whether or not you’re feeling a bit apprehensive about meeting your online crush, make it point to meet in as public of a place as possible. You never want to be put in a situation that may require the authorities — or a restraining order.

But Take the Risk.
Be a fervent believer in the universe bringing things together. If your potential One doesn’t look like his or her photos, it’s solely a surface level issue. Aesthetics are nice, but you should be engaged with the quality of the individual, not only their looks. Some people are shy, some are insecure and of course, some people just lie. But if you have a budding romance based solely on looks, it won’t last long. Take the risk and get to know the person before you write the date off as an internet nightmare.

Has this ever happened to you? Share your story below!