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Previously: A guide to flirting with plausible deniability.

The worst thing that could possibly happen to you is thinking someone is making a pass at you when they aren’t, full stop. There is no worse outcome. That’s the end of the line. Here is a handy guide for those times when you’re not quite sure whether someone’s trying to flirt with you or not:

If you leave the room, and don’t go home, but instead fling yourself into the dirt, burrow into a black-walled cave, and scrabble down through the foamy soil until you reach a gleaming crystal chamber, and they follow after you to bring you an everything bagel.

Check to see if you have any remaining dignity. If not: they just might be trying to ask you out. If so: gather your dignity up and leave immediately. Sew yourself a garment out of your dignity and shroud your face in it.

If he carefully removes his eyes and presses them into your hands with a fevered kiss, he might be available.

They aren’t, of course. My God. You very nearly put yourself out there. Set yourself on the first swan boat home and take a seven-year vow of silence. You could have lost everything!

Has she sobbed and sung:

Seven long years I served for thee,
The glassy hill I clamb for thee,
Thy bloody clothes I wrang for thee;
And wilt thou not waken and turn to me?

at you? If so, odds are good she’s interested. Proceed with caution.

At midnight, did they bestow the beautiful plum meant only for the night of greatest need in their life upon you? Because if someone else has it…you’re dreaming.

Can food and drink of mortal men pass their lips? If so, they do not love.

If you feel terrible, she probably likes you. At the very least, you should spend a lot of time worrying about how much she might like you, as this may push her over the edge, liking-you-wise.

If, when he took off his shoes at the door, he left them pointing in the direction of the town you were born in, you might stand a chance.

Turn into a sparrow. Do they turn into a hawk and follow you on th’wing?

Did he, the saucy minx, offer you a bite from his bread-basket filled to the brim with almonds and sweetmeats his mother gave him, even disguised as you were as an old crone by the side of the king’s highway? If not, he’s not interested. Curse him with leprosy, a harsh voice, and marriage to a cobbler.

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