In dating—and in business—the best long-term strategy, by far, is to be yourself.
Let’s start with dating. I came across an article in Psychology Today, “Why Authenticity Is the Best Dating Strategy”. It summarized four different studies that basically demonstrate authenticity is the best strategy for finding a healthy and satisfying long-term relationship. For example, while game-playing might be effective for attracting romantic partners, it tends to attract “Dark Triad” partners (those who display narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy) who don’t make good long-term mates.
I’d argue similar principles hold true in business. By projecting a false image, you might attract clients and investors more easily, but it will be extremely difficult to keep them. You can pretend to be someone you aren’t for a few months or even a year, but not for five or ten years.
Of course, we live in a highly competitive and often divisive world, and the pressure to fit in can be immense. It’s tempting to tell others what they want to hear and to try and fit their ideal.
Once you get over the fear of doing so, it is much easier to be yourself than to put up a false front. You’ll attract the right partners—both in business and life—and you’ll be happier being true to yourself.