Hi! Kind of a silly advice question but me and my partners are looking into a new vehicle. Our old car is falling apart, and there’s a bit of an emotional problem too. One of us always has to sit in the backseat and feels left out. Any advice?

I have zero advice about purchasing a car - I’ve done that once, it was agonizing, I love my car, I hope it lives forever so I never have to do it again. Unless you’re looking for an old car with one of those bench seats in the front, I don’t think you’ll find a new car that lets all three people sit up front.

I have actually gotten a very similar question on this blog before - you can read my answer here. To be honest, I don’t think any type of new car would solve the issue of the person in the backseat feeling left out. That’s something to address on a personal level.

Why does the person in the back feel left out? Is it because it’s hard to hear the conversation up front over the a/c or the radio? Turn down the radio or the a/c, and have the person in the back sit in the middle rather than directly behind the driver or passenger. Is it because the two people in front are holding hands or otherwise physical? Maybe stop doing that in the car. 

Is this a larger issue in your relationship, or does it only happen in the car? If someone has a tendency to feel left out, you need to address that on a deeper level. Is it the same person who always feels left out, or does anyone sitting in the back feel left out? Does this happen on all car rides, or just long ones? Basically, is someone(s) using their position in the car to identify a much deeper unmet need or emotional frustration, or is this something more surface-level that is honestly just about the car?

If it’s just in the car, consider things you could do to alleviate it. Play a car game that includes all 3 people. Rotate who sits in the back. Listen to a podcast or audiobook together, so you’re all sharing an experience. Figure out whether one of you - perhaps the most introverted one - actually wouldn’t mind some semi-quiet time in the backseat to read or knit or play Pokemon Go or nap or whatever.