Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Permission to Third Wheel

Before heading to the polls yesterday, I got into a lively online debate with my friends Lucy and Kevin.

Both of them were coming at me with their opinions on the presidential race, and while I appreciated both of their views, I also appreciated something else about the situation.

Lucy and Kevin are a married couple, but I consider them both my friends.

They're one of those couples that are fun to hang out with, even if it means technically being the Third Wheel.

I would feel perfectly comfortable tagging along with them to a movie, to a bar or for dinner at their house. And I could hang with either of them independently as well.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I realize I have many couple friends that fit that same description.

But then I definitely have other Coupled-up-friends that I've never agreed to be a Third Wheel with, and probably never will.

The difference, I think, is that some couples are good with singles and some are not.

Good Couples:
-- Still go out and socialize, and are still able/willing to hang
--Are both equally interested in you, even if you started off as one person's friend
--Aren't too lovey-dovey-touchy-feely with each other. Or if they are, will let you poke fun at them
--Aren't trying to fix you up with every single person they know
--Don't consider your single life entertainment

On the flip side...

Bad Couples:
--Stop going out and always complain that they're "too old."
--Have one person who is your friend, the other who just pretends to be interested.
-- Get lost in each other and stop caring about others
-- Feel sorry for you that you haven't found "The One" yet
-- Get a kick out of your single stories and say things like "Thank God we're done with that."

Breaking all this down makes me wonder why anyone would ever allow themselves to be part of a Bad Couple. I hope that when I'm hooked up, I'm still able to hang with my single friends.

Then again, maybe there's another side to all of this. For all I know, Couples are sitting around blogging right now about Good Single and Bad Single friends.

Thanks for all the good comments/policing of the blog, you guys. Jac, you're right, I do need to figure out how to watch over the comments a little better. Going to explore blogger options now... stay tuned.


Paco said...

That's so true Vicki!! Great post. Half the couples I know are great fun to be around and the other half make it hard.

fence swinger said...

You have girlfriends who let you and their husbands hang out unchaperoned? Lord knows that's never led to any trouble ;-)...

John said...

Once a "good" couple starts having kids after not having them before, many, though not all, turn into your definition of "bad," in my experience. There are always exceptions, but many simply venture with other couples just starting to have kids too, and change virtually overnight, as opposed to their previous couple and single friends.

It sort of reminds one of long ago when Jerry Seinfeld started having kids and stopped being funny. His traveling act turned into Paul Reiser, very disturbing.

New parents that mostly change and only associate with other new parents has to be included. It's understandable to change priorities and schedules w having kids, but many move on to social circles of kids only. The ones who can balance and don't, are the good ones.

InFact said...

John makes good points in his 2/7 post.

I agree with him that it's "understandable" people/couples change when kid(s) arrive.

Having experienced both sides of what Vikki mentions (singlehood/third wheel and the married side of the situation with kid), it's ultimately more of a "time management" issue with couples that have kid(s).

With a kid or two, couples simply often have to make priority choices of how to spend their limited time.

That doesn't make it correct or even excusable to be a "bad couple" with the qualities Vikki correctly listed.

Yet the mindset of a couple is forced to make time effective decisions that aren't always concurrent with the heart.

That's too bad - yet also a reality when both folks have to work full-time, taxi the kid around to daycare/extra-curricular after school activities, go to the gym, shop, etc. et al.

Life for a couple with kid(s) is when a true marriage begins -- and it's evidently when couples decide how strong a bond they have with BOTH their single/third wheel friends and married friends (who have kids).

In my experience, the latter (the married friends who have kids) ALSO get left behind by some married folks who have kids.