During eight years of online dating in both New York City and central New Jersey, Jane Coloccia has met over 200 men. Not surprisingly, she consideres herself an online dating expert. The Pennington resident has written “Confessions of an Online Dating Addict: A True Account of Dating and Relating in the Internet Age,” self-published through AuthorHouse. She appears on Thursday, August 21, at the New Writers Night at Barnes and Noble MarketFair.
Coloccia, who has also authored articles for national consumer and trade magazines including Modern Bride, and Home by Design, owns JC Communications, a PR firm. She grew up in Long Island, the daughter of a mechanical engineer and a housewife, and earned a bachelors in communications from CW Post University in 1984.
As a result of this book, she is developing an online course for the Learning Annex about online dating and will be launching her own blog on www.burbia.com about online dating in the suburbs.
“Online dating is not difficult, but it can be overwhelming for someone divorced or newly single to learn the ropes. I’ve pretty much seen and heard it all so I thought why not offer tips to women and men who want to learn the rules of the game,” says Coloccia. Her top 15 tips include:
1. Post a current photo. And include both a headshot and full body shot. Guys, please take off the sunglasses and baseball caps. Sure we all want to post our favorite photos from 10 years and 20 pounds ago but who do you think you are fooling? If that person in the photo isn’t going to show up on the date, it is best to leave them in the past. And make sure you post a photo, no matter what. No one will contact you if they can’t see what you look like.
2. Don’t lie in your profile. Be upfront about age, income, occupation, marital status, kids, etc. As well as what you are seeking in a relationship. Guys, if you don’t want a serious relationship or to settle down, don’t waste ladies’ time please.
3. Make your first date a short one — coffee or drinks. It is a good opportunity to check one another out and see if you click in person. If you aren’t a good match, dinner can be a long, painful affair.
4. Don’t give out your home address until you have been out with the person a few times and always meet them at the appointed spot. It is also good to tell a friend where you are going. Believe me, stalkers come in both the male AND female varieties.
5. Beware the Conquistadors. These are men and also women who have a frenetic energy and are into you right away. They want to meet you immediately, call you 10 times a day, and are already telling you they are falling in love with you — they aren’t, they just want to get you into bed and then they are gone.
6. Be wary of someone who doesn’t have a photo posted and won’t send you one when you ask. In this day and age of technology it is very easy to upload one and if they refuse or provide all sorts of excuses as to why they can’t send you one, then you know they are doing something they probably shouldn’t be doing or they aren’t very attractive and hope you will fall in love with their personality once you meet them. Fair is fair — if you have a photo posted, they should too.
7. Ladies, it is okay to make the first move. And guys love it, too. Need a good opening line? Just comment about something you see in their profile. If they love to cook and you do, too, comment about that. If they post a photo of themselves with a dog, and you are a dog person, ask about their dog. If they’ve traveled to someplace you have never been but would love to visit, ask them for suggestions! Hey, you are on a dating site…go ahead and be bold and ask them to coffee or tell them you find them attractive and would like to get to know more.
8. It’s okay to date a few people at the same time. You are in an arena where everybody is there for the same reason — to date. So it’s perfectly okay to go out and meet a few people at the same time. Especially when you first get online, there will be a lot of opportunities to meet many people so go for it. See who is out there, have fun, and then when you find someone you think you can click with and really want to know better, then focus on that one individual and see where it goes.
9. Don’t take rejection personally. Lighten up…there are going to be people who you find attractive, who might not reciprocate, and vice versa. Send a wink online or write them an E-mail. If you don’t hear back or they respond with a “no thanks” just move on to the next person. Keep trying. Put yourself out there. And have fun with it. When else in your life will you be able to flirt and meet a wide variety of different people?
10. Focus on people in your immediate area. Since the Internet is global, you are bound to find yourself either looking at or getting contacted from people who are not in your immediate area. My advice is to focus on people within an hour’s drive from you. With the high cost of fuel these days who wants to drive a few hours or even fly to meet a date? And with the odds the way they are, your chances of really finding chemistry with someone across the country or around the world are probably no greater than someone in a neighboring town or city. Keep it local.
11. Beware of someone who is consistently vague. If someone is vague or changes the subject whenever you ask them questions about their marital status, where or who they live with, occupation, etc. be wary. And if they only want to chat online late at night or will talk on the phone at odd hours, they are probably married or in a relationship and doing something they should not be doing.
12. Don’t ever give anyone money. If someone you are conversing with online starts giving you stories about being on a business trip and getting mugged or needing money for some particular reason, do not give them any. These people are scammers and out there to bilk women of money. If you want to check them out, there is a new site called Romancescam.com where you can check out postings by other people who have been scammed online.
13. Consider online dating sites that match your interests. Sure there are the top sites like Match.com and eHarmony.com, but if you have a specific interest, you might want to narrow down your choices by trying one of these sites. If you are of a specific religion there are sites like Jdate.com or Christiansingles.com, if you are into the environment, you might want to try greensingles.com, etc.
14. Be wary if someone is “newly separated.” When I was dating online, I made it a policy that someone had to be divorced — and oftentimes I preferred that they were divorced for a minimum of a year. The same is true of someone who wasn’t married, but was in a long-term relationship. They should be out of the relationships for a minimum of six months, but a year is better. Why? All too often they were not ready for another long-term relationship or once or twice I even had the person I was dating go back to their ex! If you want a long-term relationship, make sure the person is ready to settle down and completely out of their previous relationship.
15. If someone contacts you and you aren’t interested, be kind in your response. There are a few schools of thought here. Some people who don’t see a match with you will just not respond to you. I think the silence or no response is not the greatest thing. I think it is better to send a short, polite E-mail that thanks them for their interest, but say you just don’t think you’re a match. And wish them the best of luck. Wouldn’t you want the same courtesy?
Apparently Coloccia’s tips work. This November she and her boyfriend, Victor, who she met on match.com, will celebrate the second anniversary of their relationship.
New Writers’ Night, Thursday, August 21, 6 p.m., Barnes & Noble MarketFair, West Windsor, Local authors discuss and sign their latest books. 609-716-1570. www.bn.com. For more information on “Confessions of an Online Dating Addict” visit www.confessionsofanonlinedatingaddict.com or www.janecoloccia.com.