“Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum, In A Dish, How Many Catfish Do You Wish?”
A Catfish is someone who pretends to be another persona, in order to deceive for emotional and/or financial gain.
But why do people catfish others online?
Well, often for the same reasons people lie, cheat, or steal in general, but Catfish ARE a special breed. So special that it’s surprising there isn’t a high-profile New York therapy office devoted solely to the analysis and recovery from Catfish.
The first thing you need to know about Catfish is that they aren’t all alike. They are as diverse as those they deceive and victimize. Some are Catfishing for pleasure. Others get caught up in the lie and then feel they’re in too deep to come clean. Some are con artists and scammers who want money or to play a trick. Diverse as they are, most can usually be separated into at least one of these five categories:
Type 1: They are in search of connection
If you ask a contrite, recently caught Catfish, they might claim that they didn’t intend to hurt and deceive anyone. Indeed, some feel awful about their actions. Yet, Catfish of this variety often feel as if deceit is the only way they can have a deep level connection. This can happen when someone suffers from low self-esteem (based on real or imagined self-criticism or judgment). Once they are attached, they fear a loss of their connection or online relationship and keep ‘catfishing’ in order to maintain this fictional status quo.
Type 2: They want to disassociate from their own life
Somewhat related to the first type, Type 2’s may lie about or dramatize past or current life problems. Many Catfish, when caught, talk about a family member’s recent illness or their own. Others have shame from their circumstance or have yet to embrace themselves for having a disability. While this can be heartbreaking, those they victimize with a fake persona are also traumatized once the truth comes to light.
Type 3: They get “off” on lying
This type of Catfish is comparable to someone who hustles a fellow pool player in a bar. They like to win. They enjoy the art of trickery and have little regard for the feelings of the person they’re deceiving. To this Catfish, possibly the more dangerous type, it’s all a game. They may not even be remotely like the person they pretend to be. As with all Catfish, but more so with this type, every single detail they have given you might be a lie- even down to gender, age, or location.
Type 4: The love addict or adrenaline junky
Adrenaline is a byproduct of most texting or email relationships. It’s easy to feel a ‘hit’ of adrenaline when you get a flirty message or someone pays you special attention. It happens between lovers, friends, those having affairs, or long-distance relationships. To Catfish who are hooked on adrenaline, this ’cat and mouse’ aspect keeps both the Catfish and Catfished engaged in the endless seduction and beckoning of one another. Even if this happens primarily from afar, one or both participants can become dependent on the relationship and the payoff it gives them.
Type 5: The Scammer
Scammers want your cash and they may act alone, with a group, or as part of a Nigerian/ 419 scheme. If they are found out before money is taken from their victim, it’s often easier to get over this type of Catfish as it doesn’t go on as long or get as in-depth… most of the time. Some Scammers DO form long relationships via messaging or email if they continue to get cash and gifts from a willing participant. If money or gifts are wired or transferred, this can be financially devastating and makes it hard to trust others.
Which brings us to the saddest part for those who are Catfished, most experience a notable loss of trust after being deceived.
Although MTV’s television show, “Catfish” has proven that some Catfish and their victims still stay in contact once the truth comes out, even forming real relationships after the fact, most interactions end once the deceit is exposed.
This doesn’t mean that everyone you correspond with and haven’t met isn’t who they claim to be. They might be authentic. Just do your research and verify their identity through Social Catfish. Also, as always, use caution and keep money and gifts for those you know well. Also, never meet someone online in a quiet area or location, just to be safe.
Know another type of Catfish? Let us know in the comments below!