People are finding new ways to use and abuse the Internet everyday: The love department isn't any different.
Scot McKay, dating coach and founder of X & Y Communications, said after establishing a relationship with someone online, it is a telltale sign of deception if that person is reluctant to meet in person.
“The more self-confident and the less likely they are to disappoint you, the quicker they will want to meet you," McKay said.
MTV is launching a new reality TV series called “Catfish” that tells the story of couples involved in online relationships as they meet in person for the first time.
The show airs tonight at 9 p.m.
The show is a spinoff of the Catfish documentary where filmmaker Nev Schulman’s entire relationship begins to unravel as he realizes the young, photographer-musician beauty he fell in love with online is really an overweight, middle-aged housewife.
The film was received with mixed reviews and some controversy, mostly involving the authenticity of the film.
However, Kristian Lin, Fort Worth Weekly film critic said, the film felt real to him.
“The twists in the story are pretty mind-blowing,” he said. “But it didn’t strike me as something invented.”
With the technologically-driven world we live in, it’s natural to expand this idea to a TV show, Lin said.
Dario Alagic, an international business junior who plans to return to UTA in the spring semester, said he once dated a girl for two years after meeting her online. After seeing her once briefly and in passing at a restaurant, Alagic said, the mystery woman found him on Facebook, and that’s where the two messaged and first developed a relationship.
“She was extremely shy,” Alagic said. “It’s easier to say things over Facebook than in person.”
The difference between Alagic’s situation and those who are featured in the TV show “Catfish” is that although Alagic’s initial meeting was brief, he had a real face to link with her online profile.
People often portray themselves falsely online much like they do in person, said Linda Rouse, associate professor of sociology and anthropology.
People strive to make favorable first impressions, she said. Therefore, they present themselves in a way they think will make them more attractive.
“We don’t portray ourselves truthfully when we think that won’t get us desired results,” Rouse said. “The online process, though, potentially allows more latitude for misrepresentation.”
Rouse said people might hope that if someone gets to know them online first in a positive way, he or she may then overlook characteristics that would have otherwise put him or her off.
The key to a successful online relationship is moving forward to more rich forms of communication such as telephone and in-person encounters, McKay said. This is why it is imperative to make connections in your own area, he said.
If you live in a city with millions of people and can't get a date, McKay said, “You need to look in the mirror.”
People who develop long-term relationships that remain online are not in love with an actual person but a fantasy, he continued. Although you have communicated with a person online, he or she is still a stranger, he said. When pursuing an online relationship, look for signs of manipulation.
“Don’t let yourself get in any situations that are going to only end in disappointment,” McKay said.