Paula(50) was a bit worried by a reaction from one of her contacts on Parship when he found out that she was using a pseudonym. We asked the service’s members what they thought about this issue.
When I make contact with people on Parship I always use a pseudonym and usually only tell them my real name the first time we talk on the phone. One man was a bit put out when he found out I had decided to do this. Is it really such strange behaviour on my part? Paula (50), marketing administrator
If, over a period of several weeks, a man thinks he’s in email contact with a woman who signs herself off as Elizabeth and, on the phone, she tells him that she’s actually called Harriet, then it can be a little alienating. He will have built a picture of her in his mind, and her name is part of that picture. He will maybe also start wondering whether she has other surprises in store for him and what it is about him that she does not trust.
We surveyed Parship’s members about online anonymity and received responses from 400 Parship members (221 women and 179 men).
Around 78% of both men and women had no problem with using their real name. 3.6% of female respondents and 9.5% of male were happy to supply other personal details straight away, for instance their phone number. In the course of the first few emails 14% of women and 18% of men stick to initials, nicknames or their Parship codename.
7.7% of women and 4.5% of men use a pseudonym, but a quarter of women and half of men make clear from the start that this is the case, for instance, by saying “You can call me X”
Parship protects your privacy
So it seems that only very few women - and even fewer men - choose to be as discreet as Paula about their identity. Of course, some caution is necessary when you are online dating. Parship’s mailboxes conceal your identity - and you should obviously be careful about revealing your full name, phone number, personal email address or the address of your home. How much can really happen, though, if you give another person your first name? Think about doing him or her this little favour: it will round out what you say about yourself in your profile and your messages. It’s very unlikely that anyone could trace you by means of your first name - unless it is very unusual or you work in a job that very few other people do in your part of the world. Perhaps you are uncomfortable that someone who is an unknown quantity should use your name. In that case, just use your initial, your middle name or a nickname that clearly is not what appears on your passport. That way, everyone knows the deal.