Two of my best friends have been dating now for almost three years, and throughout their time as a couple, I have tagged along on countless adventures and excursions. When they did the long distance thing, I acted as a sort of stand-in replacement for one of them, in every way but the fun ones. Using my wealth of knowledge and expertise in third-wheeling strategies, I have compiled a number of tips into a convenient resource so others may learn and benefit from my experiences.
How To Be An Effective Third Wheel
1. Be Loud and/or Aggressively Persistent
It is easy for couples to be consumed by their love like an astronaut being pulled into a black hole of unrealistic expectations and acoustic John Mayer songs. Do not allow this to happen. Constantly remind them of your presence. Whether this means being incredibly interested in whatever bullshit topic they're discussing or snapping your fingers in their faces every five minutes, so be it. Being committed to the cause of drawing attention to yourself is vital.
2. Look Disgusted at Their Displays of Affection
Couples will undoubtedly reveal their affection toward each other while you are present. For whatever reason, people in love feel the compulsion to, like, show it. Lock that down and let them know their happiness with each other is not only disgusting, it will not be tolerated. More subtle versions of this include, "Ugh, what is that smell? Dismembered possum and sewage quiche?" facial expressions. More blunt strategies include asking them, "CAN YOU NOT?" so loudly the whole cafe turns to look and even sticking your hand or even your whole body in between them.
3. Look Interested When Things Are Not Interesting
If a friend is in a long-distance relationship, they will want to talk to you about how much they miss the other. While this is understandable, it gets old. Hone your skill of looking interested in what someone is saying when you are really having a nice, introspective moment. This is valuable because you can look like a social person, out having lunch and catching up with a friend, when in reality you are taking valuable time to yourself, thinking over important things while your friend drones on about whatever sentimental shit their boyfriend spewed while Facebook messaging last night.
4. Invite Yourself Along On Their Dates
This one's just for fun. Surprisingly, disrupting a romantic mood is actually incredibly fun and satisfying. It's kind of one of my favorite pastimes. We all need to get our rushes out of life wherever we can.
*Disclaimer: doing this too often runs the risk of getting slapped repeatedly. Employ with discretion.
5. Remember You Love Them
Just like you would for a friend going through a dubstep or meme phase, you must always remember that you love your friends in relationships unconditionally, and will take them by the hand and help them through this dark and emotionally trying stage of their life. If nothing else, remember that, regardless of how obnoxiously into each other they are, and even if their love somehow prevails against all odds, it will still eventually, inevitably, end in divorce or death. ROMANCE!