We’ve all been there. A too-good-to-be-true moment when a handsome stranger catches you as you stumble and manages to keep the cake you’re carrying from crashing to the ground. Then, he says something witty and charming—like, “I hope this isn’t a pineapple upsidedown cake. Because if so, I just ruined it.” That’s when you notice the twinkle in his eye and your average, everyday life is changed forever.
But life isn’t always so straightforward. You may find yourself wondering if the run-in you’ve just had qualifies. Look no further. I have your (very nearly) definitive list right here.
1. Did your mystery person save you from a potentially embarrassing situation? That’s a good start, but not quite enough to merit the meet-cute title. Was the said saving in front of:
a) an ex?
b) your boss?
c) that one girl from middle school who made your life hell and who you just now convinced that you’re not a total loser?
Congrats, meet-cute status achieved.
2. Confusion often surrounds meet-cuting. Not that you’re confused now, but your meet-cute may have ocurred during a time when you were. Did your mystery person help you find your way? How lovely, but unfortunately short an important part of the equation. In order to meet-cute, your hero had to stick around long enough to see you were meeting a very nice, but very wrong for you date.
Level up. You just had a meet-cute.
(Now hurry up and cut that unfortunate date loose. There’s someone waiting to meet-cute them around the corner.)
3. A meet-cute need not take place away from friends. Were you recently part of a large group activity where you and your new acquaintance were the only single people in attendance? Excellent. Did you hit it off right away? Perfect. Was there a terribly awkward, but soon to be prophetic, scene where all your partnered friends talked about what a cute couple you’d be? Isn’t there always? Did one or both of you laugh it off and make loud declarations that you would not be a cute couple?
There it is. You’ve met and you’ve cuted.
4. Finally, we’ve come to the toughest meet-cute to discern. We call it The Darcy. The reason this is hard to spot is because the entire situation is tainted with an undercurrent of dislike. From the moment you met, you couldn’t help but argue. You’ve never met anyone who pushes your buttons like they do. How is it possible that you could feel such disdain after speaking barely five words to each other? But…the key factor in telling a meet-cute from just another asshole is whether or not you want to rip the buttons off their shirt with your teeth. I know what you’re thinking. This is oddly specific, but really the only way to tell.
If this is you, hang in there. This meet-cute will only get worse before it gets better.
There you have it. Four foolproof ways to tell if you’ve experienced a meet-cute. May the rest of your relationship be as fun and predictable!