>>> Edited For Content
By staff writer Mike Forest
June 15, 2005

Ever hang out with a couple and feel like a third wheel? It’s even more awkward when they invite you over. I was invited to dinner at my buddy's place and his girlfriend made us dinner because she said she owed me a favor. Never one to turn down a free meal, I went over there.

About halfway through dinner, they started pecking at each other over something dumb. Something about the sauce or how my buddy doesn’t like vegetables. Something stupid that every couple argues about, but they don’t realize how un-fun it is to watch. Not one to keep my thoughts to myself, after a few minutes I told them both to shut up and and stop acting stupid. I was right. They knew it. They shut up.

Usually when I’m hanging out with a buddy and his girl and they start arguing, I don’t listen. I don’t. I have no interest in their conversation so I totally ignore them. I figure if he gets to hit that, then he has to face the consequences that come along with that. One of those things is getting bitched at. So I don’t listen. I’m just glad it’s not me. This was a little different because it was just the three of us eating dinner. I had nowhere to run.

“Your job is to back your buddy up on everything. It’s not really your responsibility to bail him out (unless he asks you).”

Apparently, this is an abnormality. Another buddy’s girlfriend turned to me during an argument and asked me what I thought about whatever they were arguing about. I was deeply engrossed in whatever I was watching on TV, so she had to ask me twice.

“Listen,” I told her, “When you guys start with one of your little things, I stop listening. I have no interest in whatever you are talking about. As soon as you guys started, I turned up the volume and changed the channel. Not because I wanted to make you think that I was watching TV while secretly listening in on you, but because I wanted to watch TV and not be a part of anything you got going over there. The whole thing sounds to me like a mosquito buzzing in my ear. If I ignore it, it goes away. Background noise. Newsflash: I don’t watch you guys when you kiss either. So don’t ask me to critique that.”

I wasn’t being mean. I really wasn’t. Other people’s relationships are tricky things. You gotta be able to look at them objectively. Wait a second, no you don’t. Your job is to back your buddy up on everything. It’s not really your responsibility to bail him out (unless he asks you). Trust me, do not try and bail a buddy out. It will come back to bite you on the ass and it will just make things worse.

What do you think Billy meant when he said that?
You: That’s nothing, you should have heard what he said to the stripper he nailed last semester. Now that was wrong. He likes you. When he said you looked like a mule, he meant it in a good way.

Her: Did I tell you what Billy said to me last night?
You: Was that before or after he stuck it in your pooper? He told me everything but I forgot because I was really wasted too. Where’s that roommate of yours? The cute blonde one….

Her: What’s up with Billy? He’s being an ass.
You: You know Billy, he just gets this way sometimes.

That last example is close; at least you’re not telling her something she doesn’t already know. You’re not admitting anything, but you could still screw your buddy over with that noncommittal response. So how should your response go? Take a look…

Her: I think I’m having Billy’s baby. What should I do?
You: [Steadfast silence]

Take a drink of beer, light a smoke, excuse yourself, fake a heart attack, pretend to be deaf or whatever; don’t answer. Not your problem. Unless you have known the girl longer than the guy, you are not obligated to answer. It’s in the rulebook for guys. Not your problem. If you open your mouth you will only make it worse and then you buddy will come over and kick your ass. Now you have a problem. Save yourself the trouble and keep your big mouth shut.

Save yourself a lot more trouble and get rid of all your friends. Pay a hooker to hang out with you at the bar if you need company.