Like it or not one of the key things we’re all looking for in a partner is a sense of safety and security. So much has been written about how we are biologically primed, neurologically wired and psychologically gripped by a desire to feel safely and deeply connected to another human being. If the experts tell us it’s the case (just Google it if you have any doubts) then it makes sense not to fight it and go with. So how do we take this knowledge and translate it into our arsenal of online dating tools? My number one tip would be…get confident about what you want and what you’re doing!

What is confidence? Confidence is that quality a person has when he or she has faith in his or her talents, abilities and personal strength. Importantly, as many of us know, it’s also a really attractive quality. Why? Probably because a person who conveys a sense of calm, caring and confidence is sending a message that they’re likely to offer what the experts tell us we’re all seeking…the feeling of safe, secure, reliable connection.  And, without doubt, confidence attracts confidence.

Here are two of my favour quotes about confidence:

“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.”   Joe Namath (American football champion)

“Confidence has nothing to do with what you look like. If you obsess over that, you’ll end up being disappointed in yourself all the time. Instead, high self-esteem comes from how you feel in any moment. So walk into a room acting like you’re in charge, and spend your energy on making the people around you happy.”   (Marian Seldes – American Actress)

Armed with this knowledge that confidence attracts confidence the next step is to work out how to maximise our confidence as a way of preparing for the world of online dating. How do you create a solid sense of self that can withstand the rough and tumble our egos have to go through (like being ignored or rejected) when dating online?

Below are the three principles I come back to again and again with my clients. I learned them the hard way and developed them through my own online dating experience four years ago that led me to the man of my dreams and the secure relationship I was (and all of us are) seeking. First and foremost I chose to back myself and be confident by consistently checking in on these three things:

1.  Letting go of negative dating experiences

When you enter the online dating world it is important you go in with a fresh pair of eyes and a positive mindset. The online dating world gives you the opportunity to catch a lot of fish in a big net and you open yourself up to the possibility of meeting someone you would never expect to meet. Just because your ex-boyfriend lacked ambition and all he wanted to do was go fishing may have no bearing on the profile you just read about a business executive that lists fishing as a hobby he loves. Don’t just keep scrolling because you saw something that resembles a trait of the ex you can’t stand now. You may be missing out on the chance of a life-time, the “one” you have never ever known that makes your heart jump for years to come when they walk into the room.

2.  Open your heart

This is a tough one. Pain from the past can cause us to shut down to new experiences and new opportunities for love. If you have been badly hurt in the past or if you have been in a relationship that eroded your self-esteem you may need to take a bit of time to heal before jumping straight online. These negative experiences can cause you to be closed to love or, worse, too open because of needs that lead you to yet another negative experience. Heal your heart and get things into perspective. Talk with a therapist who deals in this area about how you see yourself. Explore whether a previous relationship has skewed your opinion of yourself. Just because an ex-partner cheated does not mean there is something wrong with you! It’s important you see yourself clearly and especially all the good you have to offer someone in a relationship.

3.  Know yourself and what you want

Knowing yourself means having the ability in real time to know what does and doesn’t feel right for you and then to follow it. If you meet someone who you have been chatting online to and something inside you screams at you to run a mile, it’s important that you listen. If you know yourself well you have an ability to check in with yourself and get a sense of what lines up with your own expectations and ideals in a relationship. This kind of confidence comes from exploring what you find unsettles you at times and giving it meaning. For example, say you meet someone that you like but you find when you go out on dates that they drink too much for your liking. You know that in your family there is a history of alcoholism that as a child made you feel uneasy and unsafe. Added to your personal history you also know for sure that you don’t handle heavy drinking very well in adults you socialise with. Even if you have seen a therapist and focused on your history as it relates to drinking in your family you still do not feel OK around heavy drinking. For you this is a boundary that you can draw clearly that tells you immediately this is not the right relationship for you.

Good luck on your search and remember confidence is about many things and while looking good is helpful and needs your attention it’s what you generate from the inside out that makes you attractive to a prospective love and make them go after you!