Musical Chairs: Should car passengers rearrange their seating to let a couple sit together?

Q: A man picks up a female friend and gives her a ride to a destination (they are both going to the same place).  She sits in the front as the car’s only other passenger.  Next he picks up his girlfriend. Where does his girlfriend sit and what is the rule of etiquette to guide this behavior?  Does the man ask the front seat passenger to change places so that his girlfriend sits in front?

 

A: It is logical that if the man is picking up the female friend first she would sit next to him in the front seat rather than ride in the back with no one in the passenger seat.  It would be awkward for him to then ask her to hop in back when he picks up his girlfriend, although it would be nice for her to offer to get in back, or simply do so, so the “couple” could be seated together.  However, if she doesn’t do this, it is assumed that it is not a big inconvenience for the girlfriend to simply get in back, where a seat is free.  Either way they will be at their destination shortly and can all talk as friends regardless of who is sitting where.

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