Everyone knows orchids are notoriously finicky—water them too much and they die; water them to little and they die; water them just the right amount, but offend their political sensibility, and they die. Perhaps you’ve found yourself wondering, “Is my orchid testing me?”

The answer is that your orchid is always testing you.

Here’s the secret: you must not only care for, but also enter into a committed inter-subjective relationship with your orchid. Though at times you’ll want to give up, like a concert pianist or a die-hard Belieber, you must devote yourself entirely. Then one day, after posting a selfie casually posing next to your living orchid, it’ll all be worth it. Just follow these simple, no-nonsense tips.

— Never look directly at your orchid. Orchids love attention, but hate staring.

— Every now and then, creep up behind your orchid and shout, “BOO!” An alert orchid is an alive orchid.

— If your orchid’s buds start dropping before they bloom, this is likely due to pollution. Move. The Pacific Northwest would be ideal.

— Orchids will wither and die if exposed to direct sunlight or stuffed with garlic. In these ways, they’re exactly like vampires.

— Expose your orchid to Georgia O’Keefe paintings to build its self-esteem.

— Before potting your orchid, give birth to a baby and bury its placenta under the soil as fertilizer. It’ll give your orchid that “new baby” smell, which research shows is everyone’s favorite smell after Cinnabon.

— Don’t get more than one orchid because, and you probably guessed this already, orchids feel weird about other orchids.

— Run circles around your orchid while making “buzzzzzz” sounds. An aroused orchid is an alive orchid.

— Give your orchid gifts on its birthday to let it know how much you appreciate it’s not-deadness. Since the average lifespan of an orchid is 9 days, it’s appropriate to give it a present every few hours. Freshly cut flowers are always nice. You might be thinking, “But isn’t that like, a sacrifice?” Yes, and orchids love it when you make sacrifices in their honor. I’d recommend roses.

— Dance for your orchid. Dance like nobody’s watching! But also remember your orchid is watching and orchids are very judgy critics of dance.

— If your orchid gets invaded by snails, follow this foolproof, three-step plan. Step one, bait the snails. Step two, domesticate the snails. Step three, train the snails to guard your orchid against possible invasions from other snails.

— You’ll want to avoid discussing politics in front of your orchid, as orchids find this gauche. Try gossip instead: “Carnations are so basic.”

— The most frequently asked question regarding orchid care is: after its flowers fall off, how can I get my orchid to re-bloom? Best answer: voodoo.

— Whisper into your orchid, “orchidaceae.” Orchids love it when you call them by their Greek name. This is because it means testicle, which they find hilarious since they’re clearly flower-vaginas.

— If your orchid seems more aloof than usual, take it with you to therapy. When you finally break down and yell at your orchid, “You think you’re better than me?” you’ll want a professional there to help you unpack those feelings.

— Lastly, you’ll want to water your orchid.