I don’t watch much TV these days. But I do rather enjoy the odd episode of House (or “Doctor House” as my brother’s fiancée rather charmingly calls it).
The eponymous character is a grouchy diagnostician who works in a New Jersey teaching hospital.
One of the things that makes him such a prolific solver of medical problems is that he rarely believes anything his patients, or their families tell him.
He prefers to look at the facts in front of him (or have his underlings break into people’s houses if he’s feeling really suspicious).
In fact one of his catchphrases is: “Everybody Lies”. He believes that people lie all the time. For Dr House, dishonesty is the baseline, the standard. People lie to impress, to save face, to avoid embarrassment, to avoid causing harm, to avoid confrontation. It shouldn’t be surprising when people lie. It’s human nature.
Dishonesty and Online Dating
Dr House could easily have been talking about online dating. Everybody lies. Guys lie. Girls lie. Guys lie on their online dating profiles. Girls lie in their online dating messages. Guys lie at the end of online dating dates.
We’ve all done it. We’ve all tried to make ourselves sound cooler, or taller, or more well-travelled on our online dating profiles. We’ve all tried not to sound keen when we really are (and vice versa) in online dating messages. And we’ve all told girls we don’t like that we want to see them again (to avoid hurting their feelings).
And of course it’s all happened to us in the other direction! How many of you have tried online dating and found that:
1. The girl looks nothing like her online dating profile pictures when you finally meet her?
2. The girl sends you a message saying she wants to meet you and then never writes again?
3. At the end of the date the girl says she wants to see you again, and then stops replying to your texts?
So if “everybody lies” how can we ever figure out if a girl we’ve met through online dating is telling the truth? House is right in that everybody lies, but that doesn’t mean everybody lies all the time.
Talk is Cheap
If you want to know if the girl is telling the truth or not, stop listening to her! Talk is cheap. Judge her by her actions, not by her words. If you want to know if she likes you, for example, just look at what she does, not what she says.
What did she do that could be a lie? Did she say she wanted to see you again at the end of the last date? Could that be a lie? Yes easily. It’s not difficult to say it, and she has plenty of motivation to say it even if it’s not true: she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings; she wants to get out of there without things being awkward.
What did she do that isn’t easy to fake? Did she travel half-way across London just to meet you for a coffee? That’s not something she’d do unless she was genuinely interested. Coming a long way to meet you requires effort, requires investment.
So think of Dr House next time you’re trying to figure a girl out. You don’t need to go all the way and become a misanthropic, cynical, narcissistic curmudgeon – although he was voted the second sexiest doctor of all time). Just maintain a healthy scepticism and be aware that things are not always what they seem with online dating.