Over the weekend I found myself in the dreaded 5th wheel situation. I spent the entire weekend with two couples. It was a weekend where every table seemed to only have four chairs and the car was just a bit too snug for five passengers.
In short: Despite the fact that my companions were very gracious, it was glaring obvious that things would have been a bit more comfortable (and the conversation a lot less awkward at times) had I not been there. I stuck out like a sore thumb.
The 5th wheel scenario is a pretty common occurrence with the singleton set. Often friends will want you to interact with their spouses more often (or just get you out of the house) and so you end up as the “odd man” in the outing. Many times it’s possible to forget the number of people present and that you’re the only singleton until, well, it’s not.
How do we make the best of these scenarios? Well, generally, by just going with the flow. I took all the odd little exclusions like the time they forgot that we needed an extra chair with good humor. I quietly corrected the omission even though that meant sitting at the corner of a table. (Very uncomfortable!) The exclusions in conversation (topics all geared toward marriage) left me with nothing to contribute so I was quiet a lot. Fortunately, no one seemed to care that I checked my email a lot via my smartphone.
The other really great way to deal with the 5th wheel dilemma happened when I got home. I commiserated with other singleton friends over our similar experiences and actually managed to laugh at the more awkward situations. In fact, I think that having a “singleton support group” to talk to about these things does the most good out of anything. Once I was able to laugh at the situation, it bothered me so much less and I was able to move on.
How do you deal with the 5th wheel dilemma?