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We’ve all been there: You meet someone at a crowded, sweaty, EC party; The music is loud, the drinks are gross, and the floor is sticky. An ideal situation. You vibe, you talk, maybe dance a little, and at the end of the night, casually exchange numbers or Instagram handles. Fast forward to the next morning, and you wake up either with a smile, feeling like you need to text this person, or with a pounding hangover from too much jungle juice and a sinking feeling when you see a “Good morning :)” text from that person. Whether you’re the ghosted or the ghostee, Spectrum is here with the 10 most popular questions people have during cuffing season, courtesy of your very own Agony Aunts.

1. How fast do I text back?

We suggest playing it cool. Wait a day, process last night, and ask yourself if they were really a great conversation maker or if it was just the medicinal jungle juice talking. If you get a cute, casual, “what’s up” text during the day, it’s a green light. But if you get a “You up?” at 3 a.m. the next night, DO NOT TEXT BACK. MISSION ABORT. WE REPEAT. MISSION. ABORT.

2. How long do I wait before I realize they’re ghosting me?

Granted, some people are just terrible texters, but if you don’t get an answer to that “Wanna get dinner sometime?” after three days, max, forget about it. It’s rare that someone can’t find the time to literally just answer with one word in an entire 72 hour period. I mean c’mon, if you’re that bad at texting, @ghoster, you might as well throw your phone in the Hudson River.

3. Is a coffee date a date?

It’s a step towards an actual date. It’s not not a date, but it’s not a date date either. Unless when you say coffee date you mean going to ButCaf at 3 a.m. after a day in the library, then there is hope. On the other hand, if it’s something along the lines of a “quick coffee between class,” they probably just want answers to that pset from your 10:10 a.m. Econ class. In which case, run.

4. How do I bump into them more?

If you know they like working out in the evenings, start going to Dodge at that time. If their favorite library is Avery, study there instead of Butler. If they prefer Ferris over everything else, start going to Ferris more. The trick is to incorporate yourself in their daily routine without going too much out of your way.

5. How do I show I’m interested in more?

It’s all about the subtleties in your interactions. Instead of asking to grab lunch, suggest dinner! There’s something about night time that sets the romantic tone. The more intimate your hangouts, the better. A picnic at Central Park, coffee at a cute bookstore cafe, watching a Broadway show together, hanging out at a museum—essentially, interactions that show you actually like hanging out with them. Sure, Netflix and chill is fun, but by doing more than that, you will show you’re interested in taking the next step. When the time is right, pop the “What are we?” question.

6. How do I keep it casual?

Mention other dates you’ve been on, other people you think are attractive or interested in and don’t, I repeat, DON’T introduce them to your parents. Text them instead of calling or FaceTiming. There’s an impersonal aspect to texting. Try not to have those 3 a.m. conversations, which tend to get very deep and emotional. Hang out in groups instead of always meeting one-on-one. If you follow these steps, they’ll be sure to get the message that you want to keep things casual.

7. How do you finesse the sleepover?

If they ask you to come up to their room, say yes. Then go to sleep on their bed while they’re using the bathroom. TA-DA it’s a sleepover! JK, JK, JK. We suggest watching a really long movie: try Bollywood movies which are usually over 3 hours long. Once the movie is over, it will be too late or dark or cold or all of the above to go back home. That’s when you can mention “staying over” instead. Alternatively, you could explicitly mention times when your roommate will be out of the room, suggesting you guys “chill” then. Just please, never, ever, EVER say “You up?”

8. What if my friend is interested too?

DIBS. YOU NEED TO CALL DIBS. Never disrespect the sacred law of dibs. Bros before hoes, but dibs before fibs (we just made that up, but hey, it works.) Tell your “friend” you’ve been hanging out a lot with said person of interest, express how much you’re into them, and hopefully, your friend will get the message. Otherwise, re-evaluate your friends.

9. How do I ghost them?

If you realize this isn’t your scene a week into knowing them, it’s never too late to pull out. Not responding at all is always an option, but you don’t necessarily want to be rude. Instead, be more subtle about it. Turn your active status off, switch off your Snap map location, say you have a really busy week and “midterms” (works at any point in the semester tbh), or take 24+ hours to respond. They’ll eventually get the hint. Fingers crossed.

10. How to keep it platonic

This is probably the most difficult question because you still want to be friends with them. Hang out as friends a lot, but always be explicit about it by saying things like “You’re such a great friend,” and “I enjoy your company.” Tell them about people you find cute or ask them for advice about your love life. A not-so-subtle way would be using the word bro more than eight times in a sentence. Or just exclusively call them ‘bro’. Who needs real names anyway?

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