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How Do You Feel About Catfish?

Catfishing is when someone sets up a fake online identity and uses it to trick and control others.

I pretty much assume everyone on SW is not who they say they are. As long as we're enjoying the conversation and you are not trying to control me, I have no need to find out if you are who you say you are. I feel like I am probably in the minority on this.

I am really me. It's 2024, there are a million ways to verify. I would have no problem setting up a video chat so someone could know that I'm me. But ten years ago, I was stuck in a straight relationship I couldn't be fully present in. I was overwhelmed and miserable. I needed an anonymous space where I could escape and pretend to be someone else. That became the catalyst for me figuring out who I really am.

So I get it. I have a TON of grace for people pretending to be someone they are not. But please don't confuse me playing along with thinking I believe you.

What do you think about SWeeps pretending to be someone they aren't?
I think catfish should be battered and deep fried.
@Pinkstarburst Don't forget the onion rings
@NativePortlander1970 An pickled tomato!
@Pinkstarburst Or fried green
RubySoo · 56-60, F
I get pretending. But, i had friendships i belived were real, shared pics, learned about each others families.... only to find out 5 years in all the pics had been pinched from someone elses Insta acc. I was terribly upset at the time.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@RubySoo Yeah, that's another level of intense. Wow.
sarabee1995 · 26-30, F
Oh I remember 10 years ago so well. And my experience with you at that time has shaped my attitude toward online relationships in general. I see how EP/SW helped you find your voice and your truth. This place had real, tangible value for you. For that, I am very happy. 🙏

But yes, as you said, there are a LOT of people on here and online in general for whom the online identity does not match the IRL identity. Is this a problem? Well, I think you nailed it. Is the intent to manipulate and control people? Or is it simply to find a place to live your truth?

When I first found EP through Google searches on life and love and sexuality, I was quickly horrified by what I found. If not for a few very early friends (Beth, Kelley, others) I wouldn't have lasted a week before running for the hills. But they impressed upon me the importance of protecting myself here. And taught me skills.

So, yeah, today I don't presume that anyone is who they say they are. I take them at face value and I protect myself against manipulation. And within that framework, I make friends, like you! :)
sarabee1995 · 26-30, F
@ShadowSister Oh yeah ... They are out there for sure. I've had more than my share of "incidents" ... You know that someone figured out what high school I attended back when I first joined EP, right?? Kinda scary that someone would take the time to deconstruct my posts to figure out something like that.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@sarabee1995 I do remember that. It freaked me out when you wrote about it and got me to be a bit more careful about what I post. It's also part of why I go by my middle name on SW.
sarabee1995 · 26-30, F
@ShadowSister Exactly. This is a different kind of place.
LilPrincess · 41-45, F
To me I think its a huge waste of time to pretend to be something you ain't.

For me what you see is what you get. I don't have the time or energy to be someone else.

I did the account verification, even a post holding a sign with my name and the date. Plus a couple of members are on my Facebook which has my family, friends, and coworkers.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@LilPrincess I completely understand. To me, part of the magic of SW is that it's not Facebook. We don't have the pressure of having to measure up to what other people think of us irl. I suppose I am not too different on SW from who I am on FB, except I don't post pix of family on SW. But when you're anonymous, it allows you to be vulnerable in a way you can't be when people know the real you.
LilPrincess · 41-45, F
@ShadowSister I guess I am different than most. I act the same way on FB as I do here. Im really no different irl.
DDonde · 31-35, M
There's nothing wrong with anonymity - It's when you deliberately try to trick people is when it becomes a problem.
You can remain anonymous without stealing someone else's identity.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@DDonde That's fair. How did she burn you?
This message was deleted by its author.
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Blondily · F
Ive encountered alot of fake people online but just go with it.
I really dont care because this site is just for entertainment purposes anyway.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@Blondily I agree. But also I've had some profound conversations here that have gone way beyond entertainment.
They don’t bother me.

Occasionally I get blocked. Usually by American Fundamentalists. If that helps them on their way to God, I don’t mind. The Spirituality forum seems to be full of people who argue all the time, and have no inner peace.
I know one person who I helped blocked me and write something untrue I cannot defend.

So if catfish chooses to comment on my posts about the concerts I go to, books I read, or watercolours I paint, I simply don’t mind. There are far worse people than catfish on here, intolerant, or not at peace.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@sunriselover Good point! I try to avoid political and religious conversations here. But I do get sucked in from time to time.
Some people lie about names and ages and genders and are truthful about most else what they share.
Some are truthful about names and ages and genders and lie about most else what they share.

People will always do what serves their agenda.
Each one of us has a duty to taking responsibility in our choices. That includes getting duped by another. There is a reason people get catfished. And it's not just because catfish exist.
WintaTheAngle · 41-45, M
Some are harmlessly engaging in a fiction that makes them happy. But the scammers should be run off the site.
Girlbehindthecurtain · 31-35, F
I am also me,i do not pretend to be someone else.
I feel sorry for these people,it comes from self-hatred/low self-esteem. It's sw,you can be yourself with your kinks and weirdness
I do not get it🤷‍♀️
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@Girlbehindthecurtain I get that. But also, at least for me, revealing my true self and revealing my kinks/weirdness feel mutually exclusive.
Girlbehindthecurtain · 31-35, F
@ShadowSister i understand.this is the place i think people can be fully you could tell me "hi,i am amanda and i am attracted to balloons" i'd be like cool!whatever makes you happy.
Usually i do not care,not my business...just don't hurt others- unless they are into it lol
But if i saw my friend's mom being turned on by balloons on fb,i couldn't look into her eyes and not make a joke about it😁
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
AlchemyFox · 36-40, F
I don't assume people are fake, but I do wish to avoid catfish. I want to be accepting, but also, it's lying. Maybe I just don't want more fakes and liars in my life.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@AlchemyFox Depends on what you're looking for, I guess. I'm not going to meet anyone from SW irl. So if it makes them feel good about themselves to roleplay as someone else, I don't personally see the harm. But also maybe that's WHY I assume everyone here is fake, so I don't get hurt by lies.
DHggmu · 31-35, M
I get it to a point, using an online platform to express yourself in ways you can’t really in your real life. But when it comes to manipulating others that’s when it’s a problem for me.

I like to be anonymous to a point, unless I talk with someone for a decent amount of time. But I am pretty much how who I am both here and in my day to day life. Some thoughts and feelings I find better to express to strangers online, that’s about it.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
Some thoughts and feelings I find better to express to strangers online

So weird how we can be much more vulnerable and honest when we are anonymous. You can end up being super connected to someone you've never even met irl.
DHggmu · 31-35, M
@ShadowSister Exactly, somewhere like this you can usually find someone who understands you perfectly. And there’s almost safety net of opening up with little consequence.
Badmaster · 61-69, M
I can only be me. When I try being something,someone else the real me comes out sooner or later. So just being me
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@Badmaster Good principle!
Umile · 41-45, F
@Badmaster 👍
I don’t pay much attention to them. But I also don’t get invested to many here.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@Pinkstarburst Hmm good point. I guess that's the trade-off, isn't it?
Umile · 41-45, F
Camelia · F
While I acknowledge that some people may struggle with low self-esteem, catfishing isn't the ideal way to address it—what exactly does it do, and won't it only make you feel worse? It isn't you; it's someone else, and using someone else's identity is wrong in the first place. It betrays those who have taken the time to get to know you, and the damage to trust is severe.
Umile · 41-45, F
True. True. Didn't think about the false identity part. Why am I thinking more like a random picture from a catalog?
GerOttman · 61-69, M
Sometimes I think it might be the other way around. There are those who spend their entire 'real world' life pretending to be someone they are not. Their online persona allows them to let their true inner personality free! We are each the sum of our true substance, if being 'fake' is who you are, be the best version of your fake self and keep it real.... or something?
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@GerOttman YES 💯!!!
TrashCat · M
I am really me. I am really an angelic opossum
GuyWithOpinions · 31-35, M
Maybe we are a little paranoid about the subject.
RedBaron · M
You don’t have much trust or faith in humanity, do you?

It’s a pity. Personally, I have only one profile and it’s just me.

People can take it or leave it. 🤷‍♂️
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@RedBaron That's awesome! I think it is common consensus that many here do not present as themselves. Maybe you are not exposed to it as much since you have an M after your name instead of an F.
RedBaron · M
@ShadowSister Fair enough. I didn’t think of it from a female perspective.
zonavar68 · 51-55, M
Online almost everyone has a mystery or several. Nobody is really who they claim to be.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@zonavar68 Are you telling me you are not really Max Headroom?
zonavar68 · 51-55, M
@ShadowSister No I am not, but my life feels very much like it's a permanent animation and/or holographic projection more than half the time, so it's an appropriate metaphor. Esp. because Max exists inside effectively a black box which is also a perfect metaphor for me in relation to dating/sex/romance/intimacy/relationships. 8-)
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@zonavar68 I was never a huge fan of the character, but omg the show was fantastic. I bought it on DVD earlier this year, but have not had a chance to actually sit down and watch it yet.
Umile · 41-45, F
I guess everyone needs an outlet.

A persona, a new identity for some.

Not morally correct, but understandable.

I am 💯 me, cloaked in anonymity.

CestManan · 46-50, F
I couldn't care less. Not like I am going to meet or date anyone on a forum.

I think people hold others to too high a standard.

No one's story on here affects my life nor livelihood so it does not matter.

I know some people believe some online lover and send them money and all that. I do not know why. People should know by now that there are a lot of catfish online.

The ones getting romantically catfished are delusional. They have no luck in the real world of dating, so did they really think Mr. or Ms. Wonderful was going to show up on a forum? Especially THIS one? 🤨
WandererTony · 56-60, M
I don’t mind catfish. If i trust a sweep, especially gender and age-that’s my problem.
CrazyMusicLover · 31-35
It's despicable.

I also think it's possible some who admitted to being a catfish actually were who they showed but claimed that in an attempt to protect their identity and to get rid of undesirable people that bothered them on here.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@CrazyMusicLover Huh, that's a new one for me. I could totally see that though!
as long as we're enjoying the conversation and you are not trying to control me, I have no need to find out if you are who you say you are.

Pretty much this.
HumanEarth · 56-60, F
You sure don't look like a potato
Jessmari · 41-45
I think it's fine until they start asking for information or start demanding attention. I've talked to a few that just want adult conversation and that is fine sometimes. It's all fantasy and I can go with that.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@Jessmari Same
OldBrit · 61-69, M
If they are pretending to escape a difficult reality I don't worry. As long as no attempt to be truly deceitful and take advantage of someone.

I'm pretty much me but surely there is a difference I project on here even unconsciously and the me on real life.
Ferric67 · M
I call everyone here my imaginary acquaintances

By the way, I'm suspicious of a catfish potentially trying to befriend me
I don't know if they are or not, but I'm a little suspicious
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@Ferric67 Right. Maybe that's my issue. When I get a random DM from a rando I've never talked to in the comments, I just assume something's up. Like getting a call from a telemarketer.
A lot of us have catfished in a way on some site but I’ve never done it here.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@Gingerbreadspice Wow. Kinda mean but ngl I laughed. I'm not generally attracted to men, but when I am, why do they all have to be gay men? 🤣

I confess I am completely clueless about how anyone can fake a snapchat. How do you fake real-time selfies?
@ShadowSister I added him but he never accepted the request and never spoke. I think I would have only messaged him and not send snaps. 😂
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@Gingerbreadspice It would have been difficult I think
iamnikki · 31-35, F
Tastes good 😋🐟 🎣
HumanEarth · 56-60, F
So catfishing is Google, Facebook, MSN, Yahoo, Instagram, TikTok, and so on

They all lied to us and then lost (sold) our data
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@HumanEarth I mean, you're not wrong
Julien · 36-40, M
I’m actually the president of the Russia federation 🤫
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@Julien I KNEW it!
Julien · 36-40, M
@ShadowSister and now that you know…
I drop them once I find them... I prefer talking to real, genuine people.
brian29715 · 46-50, M
I’m who I am. Not a fan of catfishing. Would rather folks just be honest.
SilkenHippie · 51-55, F
Don't care, its the internet
Not good eatin
Quetzalcoatlus · 46-50, M
Great show!
pancakeslam · 41-45, M
if they aren't actively trying to scam someone it's kinda sus
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@pancakeslam It was back in 2013 and it lasted only a few weeks. I was stressed out from work and stuck in the wrong marriage. I imagined, what would it feel like if I could be the out-and-proud lesbian in my 20s I had always longed to be. So I made a fake account. I wasn't really looking for attention or to fool anyone. I was just trying to experience a version of myself that I didn't feel I could be in real life. Technically I was trying to trick people, but not because I wanted something from them. It's because I wanted something different from me.
pancakeslam · 41-45, M
@ShadowSister that is not catfishing. catfishing is when you ask for others opinions on photos that arent yours clearly trying to mislead them. what you did was just create an alt. IMHO.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@pancakeslam Hmm, good point. What do you think is the difference between an alt and a catfish?

Back in the days of EP, you could write more long-form posts, not like on SW where everything goes into the same feed. I created a whole life story, including an ex girlfriend who died from cancer and a couple of crushes who rejected me. I went all in lol. It felt a little bit like writing a book. I kind of fell in love with the character I created. Oh, and I did post a few photos that weren't mine. 😳 I'm not especially proud of that part. But there was something intoxicating about feeling young and cute.
iamonfire696 · 41-45, F
I think it pretty 💩 behavior pretending to be someone else and stealing another person’s photos.

When those online dating websites first came out my friend got scammed and she was heart broken.

If I see one I will call them out. I understand wanting to be anonymous online and that’s okay but lying and manipulating someone is wrong.

It’s not even about stealing photos either. There are people who have made up complete lies about their whole lies, it’s so wrong.

I am who I say I am, I am verified and o do t have the energy to pretend to be anything I am not.

I am glad you found yourself.
iamonfire696 · 41-45, F
@ShadowSister I am way more open than j should be 😂. Yah I get it in that sense when it’s just so ridiculous that there is no other way that you could take it then knowing that
Person is lying.

I feel the same way you do, I assume everyone is lying but I have seen people taken advantage of so when I see the lies I just show people that they are not talking to this person and then they can decide if they want to continue 🩷.
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@iamonfire696 That is the saddest part, when a friend gets taken advantage of. I know what to do to protect myself, but not everybody does. That breaks my heart.
iamonfire696 · 41-45, F
@ShadowSister I am really glad you do 🩷
Honestly, I don’t really care. I’m not looking for a husband, I’m not lending or borrowing any money, and I’m unlikely to visit with anyone. Online friendship is definitely possible, but even I keep my public posts relatively neutral.
I'm more of a cod guy.
Filleted and beer battered, they're good with hush puppies and onion rings.
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ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@Workerbee That's good!
Workerbee · 31-35, M
@ShadowSister just out of curiosity, your username, do you know a user on here named lordshadowfire?
ShadowSister · 46-50, F
@Workerbee I do. We've chatted a few times. No official connection.

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