You’ve just entered the party (bar, club, or ball-drop) and that person you ghosted two months ago is standing in the corner waving you over, there are 15 minutes until midnight, and you know they have a kiss on their mind. We know you want to stay and party, but you also want to avoid an awkward first moment of 2019 locking lips with a stranger or past fling. Here are five easy ways to get out of an unwanted New Year’s kiss minutes before the clock strikes 12.

1. Fake a coughing fit. This may seem simple, but it’s very effective. Who wants to kiss someone who’s displaying signs of an infection? Start coughing around 11:58pm, so it’s very clear that you’re occupied trying to get it all out. *cough cough*

2. Blame your bladder. The bathroom is always the best place to hide from at any social event, NYE included. Dip in a few minutes early and ring in the new year with a perfect bathroom selfie showing off your ‘fit.

3. Be someone else’s photographer. Chances are there’s at least one couple who’s been selfie-ing and practicing their kiss all night; make some friendly conversation and offer to take their pic at midnight. If your admirer comes around while you’re snapping the photo, give them a confetti popper or other prop to keep them busy. Can’t lock lips if you’re busy capturing someone else’s moment.

4. Make yourself uncatchable. In other words, be overly celebratory of the new year. Make everyone think you’re just an excited person and NYE is your fave holiday ever. Whether you’re spastically jumping in the air or filling your arms with bubbly and sparklers, keep yourself moving closer to midnight.

5. Get a drink refill. Easy excuse: It’s almost midnight, and it’s bad luck to toast with an empty glass! Run to the bar and make small talk with someone else who’s topping themselves off. Pour slowly to take up as much time as possible (you can explain your glacier-like speed by saying you’re trying to minimize bubbles).

Share your worst NYE kiss stories with us on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Illustration via Casey Callahan)