The Phenomena of ‘Catfishing’

Everyone says that there are plenty of fish in the sea, and one of them in the end, will be right for you. Except, what happens when the one that’s right for you isn’t a regular fish, but a catfish?

What is a catfish you may ask?

catfish is a user that has faked their identity online in order to pursue relationships with others.

It originated from Catfish, the Documentary where directors Henry Joost and Ariel Shulman film Shulman’s brother Nev as he goes into an online relationship with a woman he’s never met on Facebook.

They now have a show that airs on television each week, on MTV, where they go across America to help others who may be victims of catfishers.

If you’re wondering, yes… I have been catfished. 

It happened when I was around sixteen, and I decided to get into my first online relationship. I was naive at the time, and believed everything he told me. Stories ranged from parental abuse, to having a friend commit suicide, to being in the hospital for over a month.

Needless to say, I sat by the computer and worried about him for hours on end, while I ignored my inner voice telling me that all of this couldn’t possibly be true and he was just doing it for attention.

Eventually, I finally got the courage to end it after numerous fights and confrontations of him lying about who he was and, what he looked like.

How to distinguish a Catfish:

  1. A random person adds you who you have no mutual friends with, from a long ways away.
  2. When they send you photos of themselves, it’s a scarce number. Mostly selfies and if with others, they aren’t tagged on a social networking site.
  3. They have under 100 friends on their social networking site.
  4. They have few posts on their profile, (it’s mostly one gender commenting on their profile, and no one in tagged photos).
  5. They always give some excuse as to why they can’t webcam with you.
  6. They blow you off when you’re about to meet in person.
  7. They always work around giving you an address to send packages or letters to.
  8. They tell you stories from their past that seem bizarre and unlikely to happen.
  9. The names, places, and time of the stories they say don’t add up or aren’t consistent.
  10. They disappear from being online for the span of a week to a month.
  11. They get an interest in you quickly and in an unhealthy, dependant way.

How to catch a Catfish:

My advice on if you think your boyfriend/girlfriend is catfishing you is to first, think of yourself. 

When questioning the authenticity of their identity, they will become very angry and upset by your allegations.

They will act as if you have deeply offended and wounded them.

“If you love me, why would you say something like that?”

“Why won’t you believe me?”

It is very likely that they are feeling you slip away from them, and now in order to keep you close, they must begin to manipulate you.

They will make you feel like it’s YOU who’s done wrong, that you’re an awful partner. Try not to let it get to you. You would not be having all these doubts if everything was truly okay.


Tell a friend about the doubts you’ve been having. Show them past conversations you’ve had and get an objective perspective on what they think the truth is and on what you should do to resolve the situation.


By continually bringing up the slips in their stories, they’ll begin to fear lying to you. Even if the first time terrifies you, keep persistent.

Whenever something seems ‘fishy’ and a warning sign appears, you need to address it. If you don’t do anything and let it hang by the wayside, in the end, it will be much more damaging to you.

It will be much harder to let go, and end in a messier break up.


If you’re strong enough to do this, try to convince them that no matter who they are, you will still be willing to be friends or in correspondence with them.

Being catfished is a very difficult thing to go through, especially when it reaches the point of being unable to see yourself without them. Coping with the relationship being broken off is something everyone dreads. However, with time you’ll see how much stress and sadness they put you through, and how you’re better off without them, no matter how happy they made you feel temporarily.

Just take it day by day and look towards bettering yourself, and becoming stronger.

Here’s a clip of from Catfish of Nev meeting Aimee, the real girl behind the photos being used by the catfisher.

Have you ever been catfished?

What do you think about catfishing or the TV show, Catfish?

Your online friend,


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