And Cameron Diaz Makes Three: How to Deal with a Third Party on Your Date

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A few nights ago, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow were enjoying a casual date night at a sushi restaurant in LA. Not long after they got to the restaurant, though, Gwyneth’s bestie Cameron Diaz showed up and joined the date. If these photos of them leaving are any indication, Cammie D was also pretty drunk. I’ve definitely been in situations where a third party dive-bombed my date (in once case, the third party was a not-so-recent ex!), and I probably made a face similar to the one Chris Martin is making in this picture. But here’s how to deal with the situation if it happens to you.

1. Be firm, but not mean.

You can ask your friend to leave without saying “Hey douche, get lost.” Not everyone realizes they’re crashing a date, and you don’t want to make things even more awkward than they already are. A simple but firm “Hey, Gwyneth and I were really hoping to spend some quality time together — just the two of us” ought to do the trick.

Plus: 10 Easy, Non-Annoying Ways to Ensure You Won’t Break Up

2. Help out.

If the third party on your date is drunk, depressed and crying about a dude, or otherwise out of sorts, be supportive. You can offer to call them a cab, get them some coffee to sober up with, or get another friend to pick them up.

Plus: 5 Perfectly Good Reasons You Might Be Single

3. Follow up.

If you feel guilty about asking the third party to leave, make sure things end on a positive note. Say “I’m so glad you came over and said hi, but I’m kind of distracted right now. Do you want to grab coffee next week?” You’re making sure that Cammie – er, “generic party crasher #3” – knows it’s time to go, but also making sure she knows you genuinely were happy to see her.

Plus: The 6 Types of Non-Dates I’m Not Going to Go On in 2012

4. Set boundaries.

If your date is all “Hey, Cameron, please join us!”, you probably have to let it slide. But you can set rules: ask her to join you for a drink but mention your dinner reservation is just for two, or let her stay through the meal but then leave separately.

Plus: Zing! 18 Comebacks To “Why Aren’t You Two Married Yet?”

5. If they order something, ask them to chip in.

Crashing a date is one thing, but crashing a date and then not throwing in for those drinks you ordered is quite another.