Catfish the TV show is a hotbed of deceit. It is a reality series about people who meet online and often turn out to be someone other than the person they’ve portrayed themselves to be. It is hosted by Nev Schulman and Max Joseph, and it gives me plenty of opportunity to point out where words can betray.
Catfish Season 4, Episode 7: Whitney & Bre
Whitney emailed the casting department to get on the show. She told them:
Within the 4 years, I have only accumulated a few pictures of her. I have asked her to be friends on Facebook, but it just never worked out.
“Only accumulated a few pictures…” Ask yourself why she worded it that way. Most people would say, “She only sent me these two pictures.” Or “I’ve asked her numerous times to send me more pics, but …” The phrase, “I have only accumulated” is evasive and deceptive language. She was hiding something.
“But it just never worked out.” Whitney’s language when talking about asking Bre to be friends on Facebook is also evasive and deceptive. Why didn’t it ever work out? A credible way to word that would be, “but she always had an excuse” or “but she told me …”. She knew more than she was saying.
When the guys were Skyping with Whitney, Max asked if she tried to video chat with Bre:
I’ve downloaded oovoo, Skype, Tango, but nothin’ has been successful. There’s either been a problem with like wi-fi connections or phones being broken.
Again, she was evasive and deceptive. The question, “Have you tried to video chat?” warranted a yes or a no response. Instead, Whitney avoided answering the question directly, which should have been a red flag to Max and Nev.
The above was revealed within the first three minutes of the episode. In both the written and video communication, the overwhelming theme of the Whitney’s story was that they were in love, and lack of money was the only reason they hadn’t met in person. Typically, Catfish applicants are concerned about the true identity of their online relationship.
Agreed to Help
Max and Nev agreed to help, so they flew to New York. They met with Whitney in person and conducted online sleuthing to learn more about Bre. It was at that point they realized Whitney’s story wasn’t adding up. They knew they were played to get the MTV show Catfish to fund the flight so they could meet each other.
Whitney and Bre ended up admitting they lied to get on the show.
Ask yourself why someone worded it the way they did. Sometimes a denial only sounds like a denial. Truthful responses will answer the specific question asked.
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As Managing Director of Concealed Statements, and author of Drive Thru Deception, I work with men and women who want to increase their deception awareness to avoid wasting time or money and avoid making poor decisions based on inaccurate information.