How to avoid being ‘that couple’ and cringing out your single friends

Maybe tone down the snogging… just a little? (Picture: Getty/

We all know what it feels like to be in the presence of that couple.

You know the couple we’re talking about. They seem to be surgically attached to one another. Preferring to sit on each other’s laps even when there are enough chairs, unable to stop holding hands even when they’re blocking the entire pavement, whispering in each other’s ears, noisy kissing in public.

Now, displaying affection when you’re in a couple can be cute and heartwarming, and is often a sign that your relationship is healthy and strong. However, being too ‘couply’, clingy and all over each other, can be off-putting – particularly for your friends.

It might not be your intention, but being too affectionate when you’re in a group of friends can leave other people feeling alienated or left out. Or even just a bit awkward.

Public displays of affection are definitely not everybody’s thing, and if you want your friends to actually enjoy being in your company and not feel cringed out by your lovey-dovey antics, you might need to rein it in a little bit.

‘Let’s be honest, nobody really likes being around the couple that can’t keep their hands off of each other,’ says life coach Sam Adams. ‘It feels uncomfortable. But it is also very normal to feel this way.’

Sam says that your friends may be struggling with the change of dynamic if you suddenly start bringing your partner to everything. They now have to treat you as a pair, and may be reconciling the fact that they have less time with their friend.

‘You have to make adjustments to how the friendship works, because this isn’t how it started,’ she says. ‘It’s normal to find it a bit annoying because we feel our feelings aren’t being taken in to consideration, that their blissful love is almost being shoved down our throats,’ she says. 

‘Of course, you want your friend to be happy, but it’s a rollercoaster of emotions. In the beginning there is jealousy, but that can turn to anger and resentment. You have to learn to find a way for the dynamic to work.’

So, where is the line between being affectionate as a couple – and actually just being a bit obnoxious or thoughtless about it?

‘Nothing is wrong with being affectionate when you are with your friends,’ says Chris Pleines, dating expert at Dating Scout.

‘However, you should set boundaries because other people around you may not be comfortable seeing you being so “couply.” It may alienate them or make them feel that they are not present with you.’

Chris says it is important to be considerate, especially if your friend is single or is longing to find a partner.

‘You don’t want to make them feel lonely,’ he adds. ‘You are there as a friend, not to show them that you are a couple. Instead of sticking together with your partner, enjoy the time with your friends. Reduce the PDA. This is the perfect time for you to show your friends who your special someone is.’

Ultimately, Chris says the way your behaviour is received will often depend on the intention of showing affection.

‘People can see the sincerity behind a person’s actions – from the body language to the overall vibe and reaction,’ he explains.

So, if you’re all over each other in order to put on a show, or emphasise just how in love you are, people are more likely to see through that, and more likely to be turned off by it.

How to show affection as a couple without alienating friends

Real friends shouldn’t have an issue with you showing affection to your partner – a kiss, a hug or the odd in-joke shouldn’t be a problem.

However, when it crosses a line and starts to exclude people – that’s where it can become unpleasant for your friends to be around. It really isn’t rocket science, it just takes a little bit of consideration.

‘When we’re in love, of course we want to show that in many ways, and being affectionate is one of them. But it can lead to thoughtlessness and that could actually be easily avoided,’ says Sam. 

‘You just need to put yourself in the position of your friend. You’ve been single before, or in a non-loved-up couple, so remind yourself what you would have needed in that situation.

‘Do your best to keep in contact with your single friends, respond to messages, and instead of bringing said partner along to every event ask in advance, consider other peoples feelings, You might want to be around them all the time but your friends might just want you – like the old days.’

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Chris adds that it’s okay to do you as a couple, but it doesn’t hurt to be sensitive of the people around you.

‘You are socialising in a group, and so you have to make the most of it,’ he says.

‘Mingle with your friends and social circle, you don’t have to be next to each other all the time. After all, you two are still individual people despite sharing a relationship.’

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