3 Ways To Tell If Someone You Are Interested In Is 'Wokefishing'
What do you do when you can't tell if someone is faking their wokeness just to get with you?
By Jourdan Travers, LCSW | May 19, 2023
Social awareness and progressivism have become increasingly important for many people, especially when it comes to dating and relationships. Unfortunately, some choose to exploit this trend by pretending to be more socially conscious and 'woke' than they actually are in a bid to attract partners. This is known as 'wokefishing.'
The bad news is that it can be frustrating and even harmful for those who are looking for a genuine connection. The good news is that it is often easy to see past the deception once you know what to look for.
Here are three signs that someone you are interested in is likely wokefishing you.
#1. They seem to agree with you on every aspect of every issue you are passionate about
What you want to look for in a romantic partner is compatibility that is not overly dependent on agreement. You want to look for someone with whom you can have productive discussions that help you explore different (and unique) perspectives on the issues you care about.
For instance, if you are someone who cares deeply about equal pay, a compatible partner would also likely believe that people need to be compensated fairly for their work, regardless of gender. They may also bring in nuanced arguments about the nature of work, the safety of the work environment, and so on, to add perspective to the discussion. A wokefisher, on the other hand, is likely to simply agree with you and not offer their real experiences, thoughts, and perspectives on the issue of equal pay.
Additionally, it's not necessarily the level of agreement between partners that determines the success of a relationship, but rather the ability to communicate and navigate disagreements in a healthy manner. A recent study published in Human Communication Research supports this idea, finding that the similarity or difference in political views between partners is less significant than the quality of communication and conflict resolution strategies used when dealing with political issues.
#2. They seem to only have a superficial understanding of the issues they claim to care about
Wokefishers may try to impress you with buzzwords or slogans without truly comprehending their meaning or only having a surface-level understanding of complex issues such as systemic oppression or privilege. They may only engage in superficial activism, such as posting about social issues on social media or attending protests, without actively participating in social justice efforts or contributing to meaningful change.
It's important to be aware of this kind of behavior, as it can be frustrating to those who are looking for a genuine connection with someone who shares their values.
A few questions that can help you gauge whether someone's interest in a social cause is genuine are:
- Why are they interested in the cause?
- What did they learn from their involvement in the cause?
- Do they wish they were doing more for the cause? If so, what steps are they taking to get to where they want to be?
Genuine social awareness requires more than just knowledge of popular terms and ideas – it requires a deep understanding and commitment to equity and justice. If someone seems to be faking their woke persona just to get with you, it's important to be extremely cautious and take things slow.
#3. They are obsessed with their social media presence and are inconsistent with their opinions
Yet another sign that your potential partner is a wokefisher is if their social media looks and reads like a documented account of what social cause was trending each week.
While it is certainly possible that they are curious about every trending cause, it's unlikely that each cause resonated with them enough for them to take a stand publicly. If they seem to use their social media to overemphasize their social justice credentials, try to ask them how the social causes they care about have evolved over the years and be curious about why they felt the need to take a stand on it.
A 2023 study explains that with virtue signaling becoming a common way to communicate our "goodness" to others, it is increasingly difficult to differentiate people who genuinely share our values and those who are only interested in appearing that way to establish social proof.
Try to challenge the views of your potential partner on a social cause they have posted a strong opinion on and observe their reaction. A wokefisher is likely to fold and side with your opinion, which can be an obvious sign that they are disingenuous.
Being aware of the signs of a wokefisher can help you avoid potential heartbreak and disappointment. Remember that genuine social awareness and progressivism is about more than just buzzwords and surface-level activism. By keeping these dead giveaways in mind, you can better navigate the world of social justice and dating, and find a partner who shares your values and commitment to social justice.