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After trudging through freezing rain all day and having to take a 45-minute hot shower just to get my core temperature back up from that of a hiker that’s been trapped in a avalanche, I’ve decided to book a trip home for next month. Come April 22nd, I will be flying to warm San Jose, California for a long weekend of drinking on the beach, drinking on patios, and drinking at my friend’s pool. My vacations all have a central theme, in case you haven’t noticed. As soon as I booked my ticket, I sent a message out to the group chat letting everyone know to clear their calendars in a month, and as I started getting responses I realized something. Every single one of my friends is in a relationship. Realizing that I’m essentially going to be third wheeling all weekend, I figured this is a problem that haunts a lot of people and decided to impart some advice about it. To enjoy your third wheeling experience, these are the guidelines to follow.
Pick The Right Couple.
This is the most important rule of third wheeling, and I cannot stress this enough. Everyone has those friends who turn into the worst couple ever whenever they’re in a relationship. Maybe it’s because their significant other is overbearing or jealous, or tries to control the group all the time. Maybe when they’re with someone they turn into a whipped shell of themselves, and have to ask permission to partake in activities, or “call it a night” at 9:30 after having two beers. I get it, spending money in a bar can seem ridiculous when you already have someone to go have boring missionary sex with, but have some balls/ovaries and enjoy yourself.
Avoid this couple like the plague and hang with the fun couple. You know the ones. Your friend not only stayed the same after this relationship started but actually has become cooler because of their new partner, and you legit would hang out with their boyfriend/girlfriend on your own. They’re down for whatever, and being with them is like being with two friends, not one unit. In my group, this is Matt and Monica. When I went home for New Years, they were the last two that stayed up with me to watch the sunrise, and actually called me out on looking sleepy and made me rail an adderall to make it to 7 a.m. They’re not a good couple for my health, but they are a lot of fun.
Pick A Non-Romantic Setting
Even the coolest, most down to party couple can’t withstand a romantic place. If you’re going to hang out at someone’s house, “just watching TV” is going to turn into them cuddling/groping each other until you have to leave for fear that they’ll legit start fucking in front of you. Other terrible settings include the movies, anything with a pretty view, the beach, or any bar with a dance floor.
Me? I’d recommend a sports game as the best place to third wheel. It’s really hard to get couple-y while there’s men sweating right in front of you and you’re all inhaling the greasiest, messiest foods possible. Worst-case scenario, you can always just focus on the game and not the people sucking face next to you.
Treat Them Like Two Individuals, Not One Couple
Okay, so maybe you didn’t get your first round pick. You’re stuck with two people who are pretty cool in their own right, but when they get together they are lamer than Snapchat After 30. The key here is to divide and conquer. If you talk to them as a couple and ask them about things they do together/interests they share, they’re going to respond as a couple.
For example, if you say, “How was that couple’s yoga class you just took?” he’s going to respond with “It was amazing, we totally connected and felt out spirits combine,” because he’s trying to score brownie points, and she’ll say “I loved spending some quality time together and experiencing something new”, because she won’t want to admit it sucked and she just did it for those sweet, sweet Instagram likes. Of course, you won’t hear her because you’ll have thrown yourself into traffic to avoid listening to them verbally fellate themselves any longer. Don’t give them the opportunity to be a couple. Talk to her about how the NFL rule changes are destroying the game or to him about how crazy the last episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta was (#GenderRolesReversal2016). This way, they’ll remember they are two separate entities and talk to you as normal people, not the conjoined “yes, dear” blob they’ve become.
Call Them Out If They’re Cupcaking
You may have a different word for it. Canoodling. Being lovey-dovey. Using pet names. Butterfly fucking kisses. Talking in baby talk. Any word that starts with the sound “sh” and ends with “ie.” None of that shit is acceptable, but every couple on earth falls back into it if they’re not called out. There is nothing more uncomfortable then watching your friend, who you’ve personally seen yell at a mother with two small children to “whip her tits out for the boys” whilst on a rafting trip, call his girlfriend “shnookum sauce” in front of you. The same goes for anything inappropriate. I love crude banter as much as the next douchebag, but I don’t want to watch my friend who is like a sister to me make a joke-that’s-not-a-joke about enjoying anal with her boyfriend. If any of this occurs, I would recommend a stern “cut it the fuck out,” in the same tone of voice you’d use when your dog gets too rowdy late at night and you’re trying to chill. Don’t try to make a joke of it, or ask them nicely, because then they’ll think it’s cool and keep going. Never underestimate the power of a couple to be oblivious to how awkward they’re being.
When all else fails, go back to your roots. Slam beers until you can’t even tell their giving each other over-the-pants-rubdowns or staring deeply into each other’s eyes while arguing about who loves who more (I don’t remember what couples do, ya boy has been single for a while). Alcohol is always going to be there for you to help you though awkward situations, and this is no different.
So hang in there, fellow third-wheelers. Use this advice and make a situation that could be downright unbearable into one that’s maybe even enjoyable. Or do what I’m going to do and hit up an ex to hang out with all weekend, and turn that tricycle into a four-wheeler. .
Image via Unsplash