Do I just leave? Do I kiss him goodbye? Do I wake him up?

No matter how many times I have a one-night stand, I can never figure out the classiest way to leave. I know what I want to do – pick up my clothes and leave as quietly and as quickly as I can, without waking him up. But the last time I did that, I had to block a guy’s number because he wouldn’t stop texting me asking me if I was okay. Then there’s the time I was convinced I fell madly in love with this man on the first date. I swore his snoring was the cutest and I never wanted to leave his side… Then he woke up and showed me to the door faster than I could say, “Wanna do it again?” Sigh…

So how do I leave a hookup and still maintain my cool-girl status? It has taken years to perfect this science, and here I am to share it with you. You’re welcome.

The most important thing to do is read the other person. If they’re cuddling you, they may want you to stay. If that’s the case, stay for breakfast (yes, even if it’s 1 pm when you both wake up). I would really never suggest staying for too much more than that, unless you two have been hooking up for a while now – in which case, you probably don’t need to be reading this.

If he’s cuddling too much and/or you don’t want to be cuddling, politely say it’s time for you to go get ready for work! There’s nothing sexier than a woman with a job, right? And it gives you the perfect excuse to leave without making things awkward. (On another note, never tell a guy that you don’t work the next day or what time you work. He will definitely remember and use it against you if you need to lie to get out of his house in the morning.)

If he is definitely awake, but not really talking to you, this is your time to shine! It’s time to show your I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T girl status and show him who is boss! Get up and go to the bathroom for a minute or two, fix your hair, and then in a flirty voice tell him you’re going to go now, without an explanation. If it seems right, you can give him a little peck goodbye. If not, just gather your things and leave as sexily as you can. Once again, it’s all about reading the person, and there’s no harm in making him want more, even if you don’t.

If he tells you that you can stay as long as you want, be cautious. If you like him, it may be really tempting to stay and watch TV at his place all day. Be aware though, doing this could come off as a little weird or needy, and it could potentially ruin a future for you both. Stay for breakfast, or suggest going out for a walk, lunch, or even watching a movie. Then get back to your life by early afternoon. If he’s really interested, he will definitely text you (or you can text him later that day). Always strive to leave a little bit of mystery and leave them wanting more.

If the guy is the least bit disrespectful about you leaving, or about the night before in any way, you have my permission to leave with no explanation. You do not owe him anything. Being the one to leave a hookup is empowering, and there’s really not a wrong way to do it. Read the person, figure out if you want anything more from that person, and follow your gut instinct.

And by the way, leaving from a hookup is NOT a walk of shame. It is a stride of pride. You’re glowing, you just got that D, and it’s time to go have a great day, whether you spend part of it with him or not!