The Juice & the Squeeze

Kittenfishing in Online Dating: The Problematic Behavior You Should Look For

We have your guide to spotting deceptive behavior online.


In the ever-evolving world of online dating, new terms and trends emerge, and one that’s been making waves is “kittenfishing.”

It’s a concept that sits somewhere between being genuine and outright deception, and understanding what it is, how to prevent it, and how to detect it is crucial for navigating the online dating scene effectively. FFWD designed our platform around eliminating these kinds of behaviors in favor of authenticity. In this post, we’ll dive into the world of kittenfishing and provide tips on avoiding falling victim to it — no matter what dating app you use.

What Is Kittenfishing?

Kittenfishing is a relatively recent addition to the online dating lexicon, and it refers to the practice of presenting oneself in a slightly exaggerated or misleading way in online dating profiles or social media. While it’s not as severe as catfishing, where someone creates a completely fake persona, kittenfishing involves subtle embellishments or deceptions to make oneself appear more attractive or desirable to potential matches.

Here are some common forms of kittenfishing:

  • Using Outdated Photos: One of the most prevalent forms of kittenfishing is using older photos that no longer represent your current appearance. This can lead to unrealistic expectations when you finally meet in person.
  • Selective Information Sharing: One may selectively share information about themselves, highlighting their positive qualities and achievements while downplaying any flaws or negative aspects.
  • Exaggerating Interests: Some individuals may exaggerate their interests or hobbies to appear more appealing to potential matches.
  • Misleading Biographical Details: This can include minor age adjustments, height exaggerations, or fabricating professional accomplishments.

Why Do People Engage in Kittenfishing?

Understanding the motivations behind this behavior can shed light on why people resort to it. Some common reasons include:

  • Insecurity: Individuals may feel insecure about their true selves and believe that presenting a slightly enhanced version of themselves will increase their chances of success in online dating.
  • Pressure to Impress: The desire to stand out in a crowded online dating pool can lead some people to exaggerate their qualities or achievements.
  • Fear of Rejection: Daters might worry that if they present their authentic selves, they will face rejection, so they opt for a more appealing persona.

How to Prevent Kittenfishing

If you’re entering the world of online dating or looking to improve your online dating experience, here are some tips to prevent this behavior:

  • Be Honest About Your Photos: Use recent, unaltered photos that accurately represent your current appearance.
  • Authenticity Is Key: When creating your online dating profile, be genuine about your interests, hobbies, and achievements. Honesty is an attractive quality.
  • Open Communication: Encourage open and honest communication with your potential matches. If you sense that someone is being misleading, don’t hesitate to ask questions for clarification.
  • Trust Your Gut: If something doesn’t feel right or if you suspect someone is kittenfishing, trust your instincts and proceed with caution.

How to Detect Kittenfishing

Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Inconsistent Stories: If the information someone provides seems inconsistent or contradictory, it could be a red flag.
  • Too Good to Be True: If a person’s online persona seems too perfect or flawless, they might be exaggerating their qualities.
  • Refusal to Share Recent Photos: If someone avoids sharing recent photos or provides excuses for not doing so, it could indicate kittenfishing.
  • Selective Disclosure: Be wary if someone is selective in what they share about themselves, especially if they only highlight positive aspects.

At FFWD, we’re building against problematic dating behaviors like these. Our platform is designed to curb these behaviors, by requiring users to be authentic in their profile onboarding (using unfiltered video). Download FFWD today to get more authentic connections, more efficiently.

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