Sean Faye | Contributing Writer | Friday, 20 February 2015

How Not To Be A Dick When You're In A Couple: A Comprehensive Guide

The Debrief: Hey guys, we're really happy for you. Unless you're a dick about it.

The tipping point came without warning. I was sat waiting for a friend I had previously worked with in the pub. 'I’m in the back – I’ve got us the last table' I texted. 'Cool! Mark’s coming too!' came the reply. Mark is my friend’s boyfriend and I loathe him. Mark dominates the conversation with his banal opinions on topics as varied as corduroy and recycling. To use the famous Shakesperean expression – Mark is a 'tool'. When alcohol is involved it’s pretty much a certainty that my friend and Mark will have an argument about one of his many opinions in front of me. I hadn’t invited Mark and I was angry so I snapped and fired back a text 'ok. I didn’t invite Mark though.' It created a brief awkward moment before she took my point and apologised. I endured Mark but I made an important point for the future.

As a resolutely single person, there is a deference I feel that is regularly paid to couples. Partly because the dominant culture – books, TV, pop music, musical theatre (ok, I know a lot of gay men) still suggests that only the coupled are the truly happy. While I think many single observers know that’s bullshit, we frequently don’t speak up when couples actually impose on us like my friend and Stupid Mark. I was often worried that it looked bitter – that I would be proving slightly smug friends right by saying that I found their couple-y behaviour obnoxious. But why is it assumed that an invitation to one half of a couple automatically implies both are welcome? I never said that, actually! Just because you and your partner eat takeaways and have sex once a week doesn’t mean you’ve incorporated and become a single entity. When a friend gets into a new relationship obviously I make an effort to befriend and include their partner, I write their name on the Christmas cards – I play the game. I have some wonderful couple friends but I think it’s time for the single people to take a stand and briefly outline some tips on what not to do around your single friends so we can all get on with our lives:

1. Don't full-on snog in front of me

Unless one of you is about to go and fight in some dreadful war or we’re all trapped in a burning building, where death is certain, kissing with me in the room is unacceptable. Even in those cases, it really should just be a quick peck on the cheek, not 30 seconds of tongue lock while I find an interesting stain to look at on the wall. I recently decided that whenever it happens I would say to the couple 'I really enjoy watching you two kiss' with a creepy smile. It’s creepy that I would enjoy looking at it, right? Then why are you doing it in front of me? By the way, when I’m looking at my phone it’s not that I simply haven’t noticed – I’m distracting myself by tweeting about you. With the knife emoji.

2. Don't put ‘Partners welcome’ on anything

I see this on an invitation and I read 'anyone can bring the moron they met on Tinder three weeks ago but single people can’t bring a friend'. Why are romantic relationships so highly prized over any other kind of bond that you feel the need to base dinner parties around them? Get a grip. Single people hate this. Invite individuals or invite everyone.

3. Don't be a prick on social media

If you live together or see each other every day I would question why there is any need for couples to write publicly on each other’s facebook walls. If you post on someone’s facebook wall, you’re consciously seeking an audience. If this is a light joke at each other’s expense and all your mates can get involved – fine. If it’s some bizarre way to boast by pretending to 'thank' each other for the delicious stew you made together, how adorable your boyfriend looks when he’s asleep or simply how 'wonderful' your life is, my eyes have to be surgically unrolled. To the people who have 'boyfriend of @username' in their twitter bio: I am very sorry, you are beyond all help.

4. Don't openly row in front of people

One of the regular favours your single friends pay you is listening to your problems. We grumble about career worries and bad handjobs, you sometimes express similar concerns about your relationship – that’s friendship. I can do this with you one on one. I can’t referee when you openly row or make pass agg jibes at each other all night in front of me. If you’ve not realised your girlfriend actually doesn’t want a baby for at least five years or if one of you dramatically blurts out something like 'I moved to south London for you and I hate it!'– order an uber immediately and go row about it in that, far far away from me. More so if it’s about sex, don’t talk about your sex problems in front of me -  I beg you.

5. Don't say 'I miss you. I never see you anymore!' to your single friend

To any person in a relationship considering saying this to a single friend I promise you: this is always, without exception, totally and utterly your fault. Cheers.

6. Used condoms

If you ask a single friend to help you pick out an outfit please remove these from the floor as it is likely to be a deeply scarring thing your single friend will take to their grave and never forget. Ok, maybe this isn’t actually obnoxious couple behaviour but the obnoxious behaviour of a couple I know. You know who you are – fyi, I’m still not okay.

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Follow Sean on Twitter: @glittercrisis

Tags: Relationships