It’s the classic scene. A man and woman just finished a spectacular date. Evening transforms into night. Both parties are lingering, food and drink long depleted. The mood seems right. So the man leans in for a kiss… And promptly gets shut down. The woman throws her hands up and leans away from the man. An excuse is proffered. She just wasn’t ready, she isn’t looking for anything right now, she needs to move slower, she only wanted to be friends. Ending a date with a kiss ended up being a bit more complicated. What if this scenario happens (or has happened) to you? It can be tricky to gauge whether a woman wants to be kissed.

The first kiss doesn’t have to be on the first date

Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways a first date could go wrong. You might be too busy trying to impress her that you may forget to relate to her. As much as women do like to be impressed, we like a couple things just as much as — if not more than — that. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to seal the first date with a kiss. Each woman is going to be different from the last. Some genuinely prefer to take it slow. Others will take the initiative and go in for the kiss as soon as they feel the chemistry bubbling between you. If you don’t get the kiss on the first date, don’t give up. Ending a date with a kiss will happen. It just might not happen on the first date you ever have with a woman.

Work on building the anticipation

During your date (or dates), pay attention to the woman you’re seeing. You can gauge how into you she is by noticing her reactions. If she laughs at your jokes or some of the things you say, that’s generally a solid rule of thumb to tell that she definitely digs you. If you can see that her eyes are alive and present, that she’s not stuck on something else while simultaneously paying attention to you, that’s another good sign. Does she turn her phone on Do Not Disturb? Does she seem hesitant to end the date? Does she reply to each of your texts? You’ve got her hooked, my friend. She can’t get enough of you and she wants more. The next part of this is extremely crucial and relevant.

Ending a date with a kiss should not be the ultimate priority

It’s important to ensure your date is comfortable with you. It’s even more important to ensure that she’s comfortable with kissing you. If you lean in for a kiss and she gives you a cheek instead, don’t get angry at her for wasting your time, playing you, or stringing you along. Follow her lead instead. If she backs down, you back down as well. She could have an extremely valid backstory that she’s just unwilling to divulge just yet. Ending a date with a kiss is not the most important thing in the world, though it is quite nice. A good way to figure out whether or not she is going to kiss you back is to let her know your intentions. “I think I’m going to kiss you” or “Do you mind if I kiss you” is a good way to let her know what your plan of action is. And once you’ve said it, do it! Lean in for the kiss. She will respect you more because you asked! This shows you care about her feelings and are not just another douchebag! If she cuts you off by behaving a certain way or saying something, don’t be entirely dissuaded. Rather, ask her what it is she wants or doesn’t want you to do. Does she want to kiss you, but just not this moment? Is something else the matter? Ask her about the situation and then listen to her response.

Never underestimate the power and importance of communication. If you’re able to talk about whether or not you should kiss, it could lead to a better and healthier relationship. You should never push a woman to do something she isn’t ready to do. That’s why you need to find out exactly where your date stands.