To spend time with two people who are in a romantic relationship and cause an awkward tension as a result. As John and Betty started cuddling up in the cinema, I wished I had just gone home instead of playing gooseberry.
play gooseberryBRITISH, INFORMAL
If you play gooseberry, you are in the company of two people who are having a romantic relationship and who want to be alone together. I left early — I didn't want to play gooseberry with you and Bev. Note: The origin of this expression is not known, although it may refer to the third person picking gooseberries to pass the time while the other two are busy being romantic.
play gooseberrybe a third person who stays in the company of two people, especially lovers, who would prefer to be on their own.
Gooseberry is short for the earlier gooseberry-picker , referring to an activity as a pretext for lovers to be together.