I, like many others, have had what I thought was a platonic friendship quickly turn into an unintentional relationship or an uncomfortable confession of love.

In order to help you avoid the same situation, here are some steps I’ve actively implemented in my own life. (I do not recommend any of the following if you have recently had a break-up or are menstruating – especially #8 below).

1. Seek out a gay best friend.

He will never be into you. You can disregard all suggestions below and be your true self. He will not only love you unconditionally just the way you are (ditto), but will also be an essential resource for dissecting the male psychology regarding dating or in the workplace.

2. Find a taken dude.

This may seem obvious, but it has nuances. The core nuance is you need to befriend his girlfriend/partner/fiance/wife regardless of whether you like her or not. She may be a full blown egg (see Arrested Development), but hanging out without her or without her knowledge is a big no-no and puts you at risk of unintended consequences.

3. Fart, talk with your mouth full, and swear.

You may find yourself feeling like a modern drunken sailor, but alas: unladylike behaviors will cause almost any guy to consider you more a dude than a prospective wife. Side effects may include heightened confidence in public.

4. Wear unattractive clothing.

Consider it a challenge. You’d be surprised how fun it can be to appear more akin to a shapeless amoeba than a Kardashian.

5. Avoid touching him.

This one is critical. Unless he’s recently had furry friend or relative pass, keep warm hugs to a minimum and opt for side hugs. Consider greeting cards as a means of communication.

6. Eliminate one-on-one hang outs between 10 PM and 5 AM. 

With a standard deviation of one hour, take caution with hanging out in within these danger zone times. Take up night owl water-coloring as a distraction instead.

7. Don’t look him straight in the eyes.

Eye contact may be misinterpreted. To avoid this all together, one of two strategies can be performed. Eye contact with one of his ears will do or always dart your eyes along his face in a zig-zag motion.

8. Never, ever laugh in front of him.

This final point is not one to be taken lightly. We all know laughter is the true key to the soul and you want to keep yourself safe. If necessary, hold it until you get to the nearest restroom. Unless, of course, you can laugh while farting.