Ryan Chartrand

One of the most awkward situations you can ever find yourself in is next to a couple that is getting hot and heavy. No, you’re not alone. It’s excruciatingly uncomfortable to be the third wheel.

At the beginning of this year, I realized that a plethora of my close friends were dating. But it wasn’t that which bothered me. It’s that when I hung out with them and their respective snuggle buddies, who were also my friends, each were all over each other. It was like every time I wanted to hang out with my friends, I was forced to watch someone’s inadvertent show.

In the name of politeness, I didn’t say or do anything, despite how uncomfortable it made me, and sometimes others, feel. I also didn’t want to be hypocritical because in previous relationships, I had done the same as my friends. The discomfort, however, was killing me.

There are some options for the third wheel. You can sit through the torture of your friends being totally into each other, you can say or do something that pulls their attention away, or you can simply stop hanging out with the couple when they are together. It’s no fun to have to watch your friends snog like they are the last two people on earth, but don’t think you’re stuck being an unwilling voyeur.

Your friends’ makeout sessions are probably the last thing you ever want to watch, but hopefully you can make the most of it. If you know you’re going to be with a couple, try to bring other friends, who are not dating each other, along with you. It helps to have someone to talk to while the couple mauls each other away. It’s distracting, at least. The more friends there are around you that are not in need of a hotel room, the more you can ignore those who do.

Another step you can take is to say or do something. This path, however, can get just a little bit thorny. What do you say or do to make a young couple get out of each other’s mouths without seeming rude or unfriendly?

There are a few methods I have personally found to work quite well in my quest to not be forced to watch friends jump down each others’ throats. Simply throwing something harmless, such as a pillow or a towel, distracted my friends from groping each other long enough for others to arrive and grant me a repreive. One of my friends in a relationship had a birthday come up, so in his card I discretely wrote, “please stop molesting my daughter in front of me,” an inside joke we shared. This bold move made them laugh and helped them realize that they were overdoing it.

Finally, there’s the option of simply avoiding being with the couple while they are together. This is the easiest route if you’re only friends with one-half of the couple. Complications could arise if your friend is particularly attached to their other half, but most can be persuaded to spend some time away and with friends. Sometimes, the other half isn’t happy with it, but if they can’t realize that you’re not seducing your friend away, then maybe you should politely let them know that they’re being a little over-possessive. If your friend’s other half can’t deal with a bit of separation, maybe it’s for the best that you take them away from each other a bit.

I, like most, didn’t realize that it was OK to change my awkward situation, and suffered through too many makeout sessions before actually doing something about it. If you don’t want to seem rude in front of your horny friends, try to remember that they are, in fact, being rude to you. They should forgive you for letting them know that you’re uncomfortable when they make their alone time public.

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