What do you do when someone seems too good to be true?

Let’s say you’ve been dating for a while and you meet someone who just seems too good to be true. Maybe you finally checked out a dating app everyone has been raving about, maybe you changed how you approach dating, and this seemingly perfect person just sort of fell in your lap.

You matched, or met, or they picked you up, and so far they’re everything you’ve ever wanted in a partner. They’re thoughtful, considerate, and you communicate really well. They’re showing interest where others haven’t, they treat you better than anyone you’ve ever dated, and your connection is undeniable. It’s all a bit suspicious, right?

How could this person just pop up in your life and be this damn good? They must have an ulterior motive! They must be trying extra-hard to be perfect potential partner and soon the mask will slip, right?

Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

When you’re worried that someone is too good to be true, you’re worried about someone using your own confidence to scam you. All confidence tricks require that the con artist gains the confidence of their mark. Let’s say you have a rule, like “no sex before the third date”, or “no sex unless we’re in a relationship”. Let’s say you tell me, an unscrupulous ne’er-do-well and confidence man about those rules. I don’t want to do either of those things, I just want to get laid as soon as possible and dump you right after I’ve gotten what I want. So what will I do to make sure that happens? During the build up to our first date, and during our first date I’m going to be the perfect gentleman. I’m going to be everything you’ve ever wanted a man to be. A gentleman who plans the first date, one who doesn’t bring up anything vulgar, and on that first date I’m going to be every bit as charming. I’m probably going to come on a bit strong, maybe by planning multiple dates within a short time frame, or communicating on a very frequent basis. I’m going to build your confidence in me by being so great, so quickly, that you’ll reconsider your rules. I’ll build up your confidence in the idea that we will make it to the third date, or we will progress into a relationship so that you’ll bend your rules because you’re confident our connection will progress.

What’s the difference between having sex on the second or even first date if you’re confident that we’ll make it to third date? What’s the big deal if we have sex before we officially commit if you’re confident that I’ll commit down the line? We’ve already talked about the future, and that’s built your confidence that I’ll stick around, so obviously it’s okay to take a short-cut here and there. Right?

I’m not saying that every single scenario where you meet someone and they seem too good to be true is one where someone is purposefully going out of their way to trick you into doing something you wouldn’t normally do. Sometimes you meet someone who is just that good. Someone who actually is as good as they appear to be. It’s not all doom and gloom and shady people trying to con you, but it’s always a possibility.

The problem with the person who is too good to be true, and the person who is genuinely great is that they look the same from the outside. The person who is trying to get laid so they can hump-and-dump you, and the person who genuinely likes you and wants to stick around long after you sleep with each other engage in the same sort of behaviors. Their behaviors are going to mirror each other, up until the point where the person who really is too-good-to-be-true gets what they want and drops the charade.

If you’re in a situation where someone seems too good to be true, here’s my advice: Be wary, stick to your rules, and don’t let your own confidence make you do something you normally wouldn’t. I’m not telling you to say that you’re wary of them, or doubt their intentions, just date the way you would normally. If you’d never sleep with Mediocre-but-nice on the first date, don’t sleep with This-person-might-be-my-soulmate on the first date either.

This goes for things like sleeping with someone sooner than you normally would, but also things like giving strangers money. Seriously, it feels like every month there is a new story where someone dating online gets scammed out of money. PRO TIP: Don’t give strangers money. I don’t care if it’s because you’re confident in a greater return on that money (i.e. if you give me $10, you’ll get $1,000,000 once my funds are released from the bank), investing in them going on a date with you (i.e. if you pay for my flight to your city, we’ll have an awesome date), or they’ve unexpectedly hit a rough patch (i.e. I’d love to go on a date with you but I can’t, I just got hospitalized. If you cover my hospital bill I can meet you).

Worst case scenario if you meet someone who is as good as they seem is that you were being overly cautious and you have a cute story to tell if things work out. Best case scenario if you’re being cautious with good reasons is that they’ll reveal who they really are before they have a chance to take advantage of you. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Good Luck Out There.