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Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of social things without Jared. He’s super-busy with his new bars and will be for the next few months, so I’m trying not to let his rough work schedule interfere with my desire to eat food and drink wine in places other than my own home. I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now and, while I do miss him, it’s actually quite nice having this time to hang out with friends and talk about something other than bars (Jared likes to talk about them and other people are interested). I’ve actually learnt so much about people that I honestly would never have known if it was a three or four person dinner. No joke, not a chance in hell.

Usually I try to make my sans-Jared social activities one-on-one because, quite simply, this is my preferred style of interaction. However, knowing what dinners I have planned over the next few weeks, I can’t help but think back to another time when we were in a similar situation with his work. During that period, I used to spend a lot of time third-wheeling a couple who were friends of ours. Initially, I felt weird hanging out out with them, like I was infringing on their couple time, but they kept inviting me back so I figured they enjoyed my company.

Having a good third wheel is actually beneficial for both the third wheel and the couple. The couple get an entertaining sidekick and the third wheel gets people to hang out with for the night (which is especially awesome if your other half has no time to socialise). Jared and me have often had male or female third wheels that have hung out with us on a regular basis and it’s been fun. We’re one of those couples that are easy to hang out with. We rarely fight (and especially not in public) and we’re always super conscious of being overly affectionate in circumstances when it might make someone uncomfortable. Having/being a third wheel is definitely not something that has to be weird, so long as you choose the right person/people.

So, without further ado, here are my two golden rules for choosing an appropriate couple for third-wheeling purposes (note: you find that you may have more deal breakers or that you don’t give a shit about the things that bother me – feel free to make your own rules, be a rebel):

  1. No drama – there’s nothing more awkward than being out with a couple in the middle of a fight (or who always get into a fight as soon as they’re out)
  2. Minimal PDA – that’s not to say they can’t be affectionate but where do you look when you’re third wheeling a couple who are making out right in front of you? If you’re at a bar, you can wander off and make new friends but, if you’re at dinner… how much time can you spend time studying your nails or excusing yourself to go to the bathroom?

I’ve been in both of these situations and it’s awkward, that’s what makes picking who you hang out with so important. Fuck, these rules apply even when you’re out one on one or with a group. No one wants to hang out with people who bring drama with them wherever they go. Fuck that shit on a Saturday night (or any night for that matter). The PDA shit is just as annoying. I once had a girlfriend who would make girl’s night plans with me and then, without fail, would hook up with a guy and ditch me within a few hours of being out.

Now, I’m not one to stand in the way of anyone getting their freak on but when you make plans with someone and each and every time they find something better to do (quite literally), you have to re-assess whether assigning them a night out is worth it. Or at least always make it a group thing so, when she gets lucky, you can send her off with a shot and hang out with the rest of your mates. Maybe that’s what I was doing wrong this whole time. See, just a sucker for a one-on-one, even when prior history shows it to be a very bad idea.

And so, I hope this post has either (a) convinced you to give being a third wheel a go or (b) made you consider taking a lonely little third wheel into your company. It can be an enriching experience for all involved (I can vouch for both sides).

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