How to Deal with Being the Third Wheel

I really can’t think of anything that isn’t awkward that doesn’t have three wheels. There’s tricycles and wheelbarrows ... both items have their own little touches of weirdness and imbalances. I mean, think about it ... a tricycle and a wheelbarrow both have two wheels in the back and one lonely wheel in the front.

This is how I look at being a third wheel in a relationship. It’s quite a literal point of view. It’s lonely and bumpy and just plain uncomfortable. No one wants to be that third wheel friend who sits on the sideline while her friend and her beau are making googly eyes at each other.

When I think of third wheeling I always think of this one mental picture: a couple sharing an ice cream sundae together at a cute diner and then a couple seats down is the devoted friend crying and shoving a brownie in her mouth. Okay, yes I know that is a bit extreme, but it’s kind of true.

Whenever I find myself in the third wheel position I always feel like a complete loser. It’s really hard to muster up some positivity in that situation because all I can think about is “oh, my gosh, I’m so lame. I’m basically on a date with my friend and her boyfriend.”

Before you go down the sad-stuffing-your-face-with-a-brownie-soaking-in-your-tears road, listen to me. There is a light at the end of this long tunnel ... even if you’re riding a tricycle to get out of it.

1. Don’t Be Too Serious
You might want to cringe at the sight of your friend and her boyfriend cuddling in the theatre seats right next to you. But hey, you have a huge bowl of popcorn drenched in butter, and the movie you’re watching is making you laugh so hard that your stomach hurts. Just let the PDA fly for a bit and enjoy yourself. The situation may not be ideal, but at least you have food and some good entertainment to distract you from the unwanted lovebirds.

2. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Just because your friend has a boyfriend and you don’t, that doesn’t put her ahead of you in the game of life. It’s going to be hard not to feel bad for yourself when she and her boyfriend are frolicking around in a field of happiness while all three of you are out and about. Don’t let it all get to you though. One day, you’re going to have someone like that in your life, and you can frolic to your heart’s content. For now, try to dig up some positivity ... maybe he has some cute friends to introduce you to?

3. Speak Up When You Need To
Sometimes this whole third wheel thing gets to be too much, and you need to let your friend know. She might not even realize that she is putting you in an awkward situation because she is too busy being swept off her feet by her new lover. Be clear with your thoughts, and tell her that you feel uncomfortable and would much rather hang out with her and her boyfriend in a group setting or just have a girls’ night. If she cares about you she’ll understand, and you will get out of the swing of third-wheeling.

There is no “fun” in third-wheeling, but with a lot of patience and a dose of positivity you can make it somewhat bearable and help support your friend at the same time. Try not to be the "Debbie downer" and rain on her parade. Remember that one day you’ll have someone special in your life while you’re friend might not.

So when the thought of third-wheeling your friend into a situation comes to mind, don’t forget about your days of being the third wheel. Save her some sanity and ditch the tricycle scene.

Two-wheelers are cooler anyway.

By: Kaity Martin


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