The single friend: Sometimes she's pitied, sometimes she's envied, but most of the time, she winds up getting run into by the waiter because the restaurant stuffed the three of you into a two-seater booth.
I've spent most of my life perfecting the art of third wheeling because, for some reason or another, I have yet to find a Bumble match who won't make me regret wasting a pair of contacts on him.
As I continue swiping left, a lot of my friends happen to find themselves in committed relationships. This leads to a lot of "table for three" requests as I make my best effort to hang out with my friend and her bae.
There is a silver lining, though, because now my remarkable talent of maintaining my single status can finally be put to good use as I relay the wisdom I've amassed during my time as a perpetual third wheel.
Here are the five ways to make third wheeling a much more enjoyable experience.
1. Make Sure You Get Along Well With At Least One Half Of The Couple
In order to ensure at least a minimal amount of enjoyment for yourself, one half of the couple should be someone with whom you have a proven record of merriment.
Seriously, you need to make sure that one of these people is cool -- frenemies need not apply. If the half that completes them happens to be a total dullard, there's nothing you can do about that... but at least you took precautions to make sure the outing isn't a total snooze-fest.
2. Do Your Research Before Saying "Yes"
Agreeing to a vague third-wheel outing is a rookie mistake. As much as you might enjoy hanging out with your couple friends, they've been coupled for so long, they might not consider what will be awkward for you.
For example, a movie is OK as long as it is action or comedy, but make sure a romance doesn't sneak in there. You're not there to gush over how adorable your friends are as they snuggle up during a rom-com.
If they're looking for "awwws" to validate their relationship, that's what a wedding is for.
3. Have Some Input In The Planning
If you want to make sure you don't wind up chaperoning their "date night," speak up. Suggest a location where there will be a somewhat equal number of couples and people who don't have to pick a side of the bed.
A brewery is always a good go-to. Don't worry about finding a teammate when it comes time to pair up to toss some bags. I'm sure you'll be able to snag a like-minded third wheel who secretly hoped to meet an insanely cool and independent gal like yourself as he or she begrudgingly joined his or her sister and brother-in-law for her "dirty 30" party.
4. There Is Always The Alcohol Option
You don't need to get plastered in order to survive being a third wheel, but a little buzz might help when your couple friends seem to forget each other's names and answer only to "sugar butt" and "honey bunch" (and yes, I agree that learning this information is grounds for dissolving those friendships).
Seriously, I know you've been there. Instead of getting annoyed, get a drink. The perk of being the third wheel is that you'll be splitting the Uber three ways, or sometimes your friend wants to get drunk too and guilts her boyfriend into being the designated driver -- drinks all around!
5. Feel Free To Say No When You Want To
You'll be able to see your friend in other settings than just palling around with her and her BF, so there's no reason to feel pressured to hang out with them whenever she asks. If it does feel that way, then schedule her for a FaceTime and call it a day.
You don't need to waste your time in a miserable third-wheel situation when you could be doing all the things that make being single amazing AKA doing whatever you want, when you want.
Midday pedicure and mimosas, anybody?