Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Catfish" and a giveaway

Via MTV.com

Have y'all been watching this show "Catfish" on MTV?  I'm fascinated by it, and only partially because of the attractive host.  I also enjoy seeing the stories and trying to figure out who they're going to find when they seek out people behind the online personas.  It's pretty interesting, and it's safe to say it's gained a little more traction since the Manti Te'o hoax.  I'm not about to weigh in on the Te'o story.  I don't know all the details, and honestly, I don't really care.

What I do care about is all the chatter about how someone would have to be stupid to be duped by someone online.  That hits a little close to home for me.  I guess it's safe to say I have been "catfished" to some extent.

Several years ago, a "friend" set up a fake e-mail that supposedly belonged to a guy I had a crush on.  I received e-mails from this account on a regular basis, and obviously they made my day. I didn't think too much about the fact that the guy didn't talk to me in real life.  He said in his e-mails that he was just shy and wanted to get to know me better through e-mail before we decided the next step.  I believed him, and to be honest, I didn't think this was that odd.  I've never really been the girl that got the guy.  In fact, my high school crushes pretty much told me that they'd prefer I didn't like them.  Apparently it was embarassing.  So, yeah, I was just happy this guy wanted to keep talking to me.  That was new for me.  The e-mails went on for several months and then just stopped abruptly.  I knew I'd been fooled, and I was upset and disappointed.  But I didn't know a friend was behind it until months later. 

Why did I let it go on like that?  Why did I believe it? 

Well, I think the answer is pretty simple -- I couldn't imagine anyone would want to mess with my emotions like that.  I took the person at face value because I honestly believed all people had the same good intentions that I have.  I would never knowingly lead someone on or hurt their feelings.  That's just not in me.  Maybe that does make me stupid.  It certainly made me feel stupid.

Sadly, I've learned over the years that not everyone is like me.  There are people who not only try to make people feel horrible, but they enjoy it.  There are people who will go out of their way to dig into all of your insecurities and feed on them.  There are people who will be nice to your face and then do a 180 when your back is turned.  The anonymity of the internet makes it easier for these people to find people like me.  They can hide behind a computer screen and pretend the person on the other end doesn't have a heart or emotions.

I haven't become completely jaded from my experiences, but I am definitely more cautious.

When I started communicating with a new guy last summer, I was careful.  I did my best to keep some walls up until I could be sure he was real.  It wasn't easy though.  Especially when he refused my requests for phone calls and backed away at the idea of meeting.  I immediately wondered if I had been duped again.  I did some extensive online research to make sure he was a real person and not a fake persona that had been made up.  Everything I found matched up with what he had told me, but I was still a bit wary.  And I was pretty insulted that he didn't want to have a real-time conversation with me.  It took me back to that fake e-mail situation I was dealing with and all of the feelings I had at that time.  We have since had a few phone conversations, and I'm confident I have not been "catfished." Just normal heartbreak here.

No matter how careful I am, I'm not sure I'll ever lose the fear of being fooled again. 

Have you ever been fooled by someone online?

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I'm part of an awesome giveaway over on The Vintage Modern Wife.  Check it out!

6 comments:

  1. I've been DVRing and watching a ton of Catfish! (And yes, holy cow, Nev is dreamy!) One fascinating thing for me is how the research that Nev and Max do parallels the digging that I do on people at my job.

    I accidentally Catfished some guy when I was very young, maybe 11 or 12, in the days when the Internet was all chat rooms and everyone lied. I came clean as soon as I realized he may have been having feelings.

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  2. I don't watch it but I think I have said before in my blog when defending Te'o (You know me...God, Country, Notre Dame!) that I could so easily be duped that way and I know that part of the reason that I have fallen for people in the past has been their on-line persona which is not always what you get in reality. (In one case, I actually think the person on-line is more who they are but they are afraid to be that person in reality. I guess I am dumb.)


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  3. I am fascinated by the show too. It's so crazy to me, but not hard to believe. I am sure I have been fooled by someone online, but I never found out about it if I had.

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  4. To be fair, I think it's possible to Catfished by people in real life too...the person who appears all wordly and sophisticated, but then you get to know them and they are in fact complete, shallow jerks? The truth is, everything we put online and anything we wear or purchase is a way for us to tell the world who we are...and we can lie in any circumstance.

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  5. I feel like I am the only person in the world who hasn't seen Catfish. My husband and I met on MySpace, and I was kind of cautious when we first met, but it all worked out for us. I'm sorry your friend did that. It sounds like she needed some attention.

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  6. I love that show!

    I have been half catfished lol In high school I was chatting with this guy online at my best friends house but when I went to eat my OTHER "friend" hopped online and introduced herself and met him THAT day! Then she had the nerve to come to my job and tell me she SAVED me because he didn't look like his pic at all! SO I am just going to write that one off as HER catfish haha

    It's a shame that people feel the need to do these shenanigans...when I met my now husband we were upfront from the beginning head to toe posts & phone calls and we met up after a few months.

    There are good ones out there =D

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