General Question

Aethelwine's avatar

Is there ever a time when it would be better to not tell someone they are being catfished?

Asked by Aethelwine (41486points) 1 week ago

I always had my suspicions about a certain person online and about a month ago a friend of mine came to me with evidence that this person was not who they claimed to be.

I knew someone who adored this person. She was experiencing some difficulties and relied on this friendship. I decided to not tell this acquaintance what I found out because I knew it would devastate her and make her more miserable than she already was.

I knew there was no chance that the two would ever meet so I never confronted her. Was this the right choice?

Is there ever a time when not telling is the best thing to do?

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26 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

What is your motivation in telling? Just to show that you found something out? Is your friend about to meet the other person?

And, are you sure your friend doesn’t already know?

Aethelwine's avatar

I don’t like to see people I care about possibly getting hurt.

I’m positive she didn’t know,

SergeantQueen's avatar

If things get serious between them, and they get romantic or she starts developing feelings for him then yes.Tell her. Otherwise, you might be okay not telling her..

SergeantQueen's avatar

I think you are in the right not telling her for now. If it isn’t going anywhere

MrGrimm888's avatar

I would tell her. It might hurt now, but someone is deliberately manipulating her. They could cause her more harm, down the road…

NomoreY_A's avatar

Depends on the specifics of the situation. There are 10,000 shades of grey to every situation. Without more info, I wouldn’t be comfortable making an awnser to that question.

Aethelwine's avatar

@NomoreY_A I understand. I am wondering in general as well if there is ever a time when it’s better to not tell.

NomoreY_A's avatar

Sometimes it’s better to let a dead dog lay.

Patty_Melt's avatar

If someone is engaging and keeps me happy through internet contact, I would not want someone to ruin that for me.
If they tried to entice me, or otherwise take advantage of me, I would hope someone would warn me they were misrepresenting to me.

NomoreY_A's avatar

Well as that proverbial wise man rascal once said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Patty_Melt Thank you. This has been very difficult for me. I hope I did the right thing. I wanted to reach out to her but my gut told me not to.

Kardamom's avatar

It would depend upon how close the friend is to me and what exactly you mean by the alleged “catfisher” is saying or doing that is misrepresenting him or herself.

It’s one thing for the “catfisher” (if they are actually doing that) to say that their name is Rex and they own a dry cleaning store, when actually their name is Rex and they work at a dry cleaning store. In this case, it will be known to your friend soon enough, and really isn’t that big of a deal, unless they are being horribly mislead about how much money they have (and are planning to support your friend, financially).

Another scenario is that they say their name is Rex and they are pursuing your friend, romantically, and you know that their name is actually Ted, or even Barbara. I’d want to know why the person is lying about their name, and possibly their sex. If I knew the friend well, I’d probably ask them about this discrepancy and tell them how I found out.

Another scenario is that the person says their name is Rex and they are physically fit, in good health, and trim, but you have found out (and it needs to be certain, not just something a third party told you) that their name is indeed Rex, but they are in bad physical shape, very unhealthy (maybe a druggie, or they smoke, or they have an STD), and they are morbidly obese. I think I would tell my friend, because he or she is most likely making some type of romantic overture towards someone who is not anything like what they have described. If your friend tells you she doesn’t mind those things, then no harm no foul, anyway.

Another scenario is that the person says their name is Rex and that they are single. If you know for a fact (not just that someone else has told you) that Rex is married, or involved romantically with someone else (if your friend is expecting someone to be exclusive with her and has told Rex as such) then I think I would tell her.

Another scenario is if the person says their name is Rex, but you found out for certain (not just because someone else told you) that their name is Todd and you know that Todd is taking gifts and money from your friend, and your friend thinks that they are in an exclusive and loving relationship with who they think is Rex, and they think Rex is a great person who will also be sharing money and gifts with her, this would probably be the biggest red flag of them all. I would definitely tell her. One of my friends (who is a very intelligent, and resourceful woman, got catfished, but she figured it out on her own, before any money or bodily fluids were exchanged. I only found out about this particular situation after she told me, not the other way around) In another instance, and this was years ago with a much younger friend, her supposed “exclusive boyfriend” lived with another woman. I found out and tried to gently tell her, then he caught wind and told her himself in a roundabout way and broke up with her, but she blamed me for the breakup, and never believed either one of us that he was living with this other woman. That friendship ended on that day. So you have to be prepared that the friend might not believe you, even if you have proof.

Aethelwine's avatar

Thank you for such a detailed response, @Kardamom. I appreciate it.

NomoreY_A's avatar

Rex, Todd, or Clyde Crabgrass, it’s probably best not to interfere in another persons emotional attachements. Well intentioned or otherwise.

Kardamom's avatar

@NomoreY_A I would want to know if I was being “catfished.” If I found out later that a close friend knew about it, but didn’t say anything, I’d feel like I’d been betrayed twice.

janbb's avatar

I don’t know what I would do; it is a true dilemma.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

As a gay man, I despise lying. I loathe liars. They are scum. I would tell.

I’m thinking about it, too.

marinelife's avatar

I pour out my innermost feelings on this site. Issues from my childhood and adulthood that I use to help make a connection or offer guidance to other users.

If I am interacting with someone I am doing it in good faith, expecting that they are doing the same thing with me. Lying negates this whole process.

To think that a liked and valued former Fluther user was lying about his whole life on this site totally confounds me. I am just dumbstruck. All of the lengthy posts, all of the stories, all of the PMs! It was all a lie. That totally saddens me. But yes, I would want to know the truth.

I think that we deserve the truth from each other.

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Aethelwine's avatar

I do not understand the apologists. People I care about are hurt by this revelation, but we’re all supposed to care more about the one who deceived everyone? No one can tell another that their feelings are invalid. What this person did was wrong and anyone hurt by him should not be made to feel guilty for saying so.

this is too much drama for me, I’m going to finish baking my snickerdoodles. hugs to my friends who are hurting and confused

BellaB's avatar

Was the person in the OP being emotionally supported by the other person? was there a physical or financial danger?

if the answers were yes/no/no, I’d leave it alone.

Emotional support outweighs a lot (in my rarely humble opinion).

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Aethelwine's avatar

@BellaB Was the person in the OP being emotionally supported by the other person? Yes.

Aethelwine's avatar

Everything I wrote in my details was based on true concern for a particular person, as well as others, who were emotionally invested in a relationship based on lies. I was told information about the deceiver the 2nd week of November. I have a friend who was romantically infatuated with the deceiver. I truly did not know if I should tell this friend. If it were me I’d be furious for investing emotions in something false. Thank god I’m married and I don’t have to search for romance on the internet.

If my concern for my friend makes me a bad person, so be it.

linguaphile's avatar

There was a female jelly some time back that catfished a few male jellies. Through different clues, I figured out she wasn’t who she was pretending to be.

I did not say anything when one young male jelly told me he had fallen for her—instead, I suggested that he ask more probing questions (just in case I was wrong), but unfortunately, he got his heart broken. After he realized he had been catfished, I shared my information with him in hopes that he would find solace in the fact it wasn’t just him, and that it wasn’t about him. Sadly, he couldn’t trust anymore and eventually left the site. I have not felt right about it since. I miss that guy- he was sweet and just was looking for companionship.

The female jelly, probably sensing that too many of us knew, took a quick and hissy departure.

Would it have been better to tell him? What if I had been wrong? Would it have been better to be wrong and save the guy’s feelings? I’ve wondered the same questions.

I finally decided for myself to take what I see online at face value and trust until proven otherwise—I would hate to take laughter, love, and light from so many good people because of a hostile distrust created by a small handful of deceptive individuals.

Should I have shared this catfisher with other jellies? I did share with a few other jellies, but all of us agreed to just let it go, considering the female jelly’s departure.

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