We know that “Cat Fishing” is just plain WRONG in so many ways, yet we need be very self-aware about tendencies to fish for compliments, affirmations, validation, or information.
When we start trying to date a new interest, we are usually looking for positive signals that the person we are crushing on likes us. We also want to get to know the person and are naturally curious about how they handle themself in a dating situation and beyond. How we go about getting that information makes an impression.
The difference between a mature potential match and a person who has communication habits that can quickly become a deal breaker – is found within the communication style.
A confident person asks, “What are the top 3 things you look for in a match?”
A person who is fishing may say, “I think I could be a good match for you.”
Although The Fisher in the example above isn’t saying anything wrong or unusual, and appears confident, they are setting up an awkward space in the communication by stating something then leaving it open ended for the other to not only fill in the blanks but formulate a response to an ambiguous and loaded statement.
OK, so how is a seemingly harmless statement like, “I think I could be a good match for you” considered “fishing”?
If you’re on the receiving end of the statement, how would you respond? This is a question you should always ask yourself during communication with a match or potential match.
I once had a guy I was starting to date, and had already kissed, tell me, “I think I’m a good kisser.” Aside from many other turn offs, we dated for 3 or 4 weeks before it became a total NO for me. When he made that statement, I was baffled. I didn’t know how to respond because the reality was that I did not think he was a good kisser. Had he asked, “how do you like to kiss?” or “what do you think makes someone a good kisser?” I could have easily snuck in a few tips that could have helped his game.
Fishing is a communication style.
For some people, it’s the only style they know when they start to become interested in a crush. It’s hard to identify for people who use this style a lot, because it isn’t something that is done out of malice or bad intentions. It’s innocent. Yet, in the end it is self-sabotage.
How to know if you’re fishing:
- When trying to get to know a new crush, you find yourself wondering what they think of you, more than you analyze what you think of them.
- When you want to ask about what they like in a partner, you end up telling them something good about yourself, or a preference of yours.
- When you want to find out how they feel, you end up saying something like, “you probably don’t like sports then, huh?” or “don’t you think that movie was funny?” Instead of asking, “do you like sports?” or “what did you think of that movie?”
- Asking questions about what they think of you and feeling yourself wanting a certain response.
- Feeling anxious when you’re trying to get a feel for the other person, and communicating more than they are.
- Bragging about yourself, or trying to make a lot of statements to assure them of your positive qualities.
- Conversely, making self-deprecating statements about yourself or trying to bring up all of your negative qualities.
- When you communicate, you don’t end up saying what you mean, but rather joke around it or use hyperbole.
- Their responses to your statements and questions seem defensive or awkward.
- If you feel unsure about how to communicate with a new crush and find yourself overanalyzing, it or walking on eggshells most of the time.
The main way to avoid fishing is to want to get to know your crush, already have your list of ‘deal breakers’ and ‘must haves’ made so that you’re not as concerned about being rejected as you are about finding out if they are the right match for you.
There are plenty of fish in the sea, and although we tend to look at dating like it is a sea of possibilities, it’s also a huge maze of fun and obstacles. So many people making their way through the craze of all of the new styles of dating – knowing what you are looking for going in will save you time and energy.
In the dating phase, it’s rare to find the perfect match and to know it’s the perfect match right away. It takes a great deal of time to get to know a person, and there are different stages of dating. So, the best way to avoid fishing is to be prepared before you go into the arena.
One of the ways we burn out on “dating” or “looking” or even being open to having a partner, is due to getting depressed from a bunch of failed tries. We tend toward finding potentials and getting excited, to come upon an insurmountable obstacle that has us back out searching through the sea maze of possibilities.
If we step back and assess what we really want to find out there, and which part of the maze has been traveled and has only provided deal-breakers – we have to have a better plan mapped out. We have to know what we truly want, and what we really don’t want. Make a list of both.
When you’re looking for a good match, you’ll want to present yourself exactly as you are. Especially on dating apps where you’re building a profile. Obviously “cat fishing” is devious, but so is presenting old photos or photos with filters, so is writing in info about yourself that makes you look a certain way and omits other information that is indicative of your current lifestyle.
When we present ourselves as something we are not, we will have almost no chance to redeem ourselves when we are there in person. We don’t want to be tricked into being attracted to a person only to find out some of it was fabricated.
To avoid fishing we have to be real. We have to be confident. We have to be self-aware.