Have you ever tried to make an impression by pretending to be something you’re not?

That’s not really a fair question, is it? I mean, everyone has done that at some point. Guy or girl, everyone one of us has tried to get the attention of someone we’re attracted to by presenting them with a very specific picture of who we are.

And most of us have made the mistake of taking it too far.

You know what happens then. Either you pull it off and he thinks you’re a huge sports fan, for example—and then you have to lean into that white lie for weeks or even months. Or you say something that gives you away, and he sees through the act.

Pretending to be someone you’re not is uncomfortable, exhausting, and possibly embarrassing.

The tough thing about this issue is that there’s a very fine line. It’s totally okay to pitch yourself a certain way to guys—as long as your pitch is fundamentally true. If it lines up with who you really are, then it’s not really a pitch at all.

For example, Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign works because it’s good marketing and it aligns with the company’s mission statement. If they ran ads saying every woman is beautiful just the way they are, but only used pictures of heavily airbrushed models, it would never work.

At the end of the day, Dove is just soap. But they’ve found an authentic way to describe who they are beyond their product . . . and their ads don’t just get the job done. They’re inspiring.

You can do the same thing when you meet a guy. You can present the best possible version of yourself and be 100% authentic at the same time.

Would you like to know how?


The Prep

Most of the time, guys know a bit about you before you even speak. They’ll see you across the room or read your online dating profile. So you need to do some authenticity prep work.

For example, if you do the online dating thing, make sure everything from your profile text to the photo you use paints a flattering-but-true picture of who you are. If you’re meeting guys at a bar, wear something that looks good on you, but stick with a style that lines up with how you normally dress.

Here’s a good rule of thumb. If your friends wouldn’t recognize you, you’re not being authentic. That goes for online profiles and face-to-face encounters.


The Pitch

When the conversation starts, you have a short window of opportunity to make a good first impression. This is where most of us get nervous and end up saying something that doesn’t represent who we really are.

So don’t do that. I’m serious. It’s that simple.

If you have a cheesy personality and like goofy jokes, tell one. If you really are a sports fan, say something about the game. If you hate the bar scene, it’s okay to admit that.

That’s your pitch.

Humor goes a long way at this point. A casual joke will help both of you drop your guard, which makes it easier to stop “trying” to be yourself . . . so you can just be yourself.


The Payoff

Every conversation you start that way won’t launch an epic romance. In fact, most dating scene getting-to-know-you conversations don’t even last that long—until you meet someone who’s a real match for you.

And that’s the one-two payoff. One, you don’t waste time chasing guys who don’t really fit into your life. And two, when you meet someone who does, you’ll both know it much sooner.

Here’s why this matters. You have a limited amount of time to meet guys. Don’t waste it on men who aren’t what you’re looking for. Streamlining your dating strategy just makes sense. That gives you the best shot at having the kind of relationship you want.

Who knew passionate romance could also be efficient?

When you’re meeting new guys, be charming and fun. Always put your best foot forward. Take the time to look and sound good. That’s just smart. But make it a point to be as genuine as possible at the same time.

If you can strike that balance, you’re set up for a really fun, really fulfilling dating life.

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