September 27, 2012

Quick Rant: I've Got The Third Wheel Blues

Duke Silver should write
a blues song about this topic
I'm starting to think that I was the front wheel of a tricycle in a former life because I'm constantly the third wheel. Almost everyone in my life has coupled up, which is great news for them, but a one-way ticket to third-wheel city for me.

Here are some of the shitty things about being a third wheel:
  • Having to file behind the couple when we walk together on narrow sidewalks. I feel like Farnsworth Bentley (aka P. Diddy's assistant) half the time we hang out because I'm trailing behind them. 
  • Being in a restaurant and watching them order entrees to share with me left in the cold to order an entire dish to myself. Why doesn't anyone want to share anything with me? I actually flipped out about this on Sunday night. 
  • Them snuggling up on a couch to watch a movie while I sit by myself and feel like I'm crashing a date or something.
  • Not really spending quality time with one person since we're always in a group. For instance, I can't gab with my friend about the guy I hooked up with last weekend because her boyfriend will probably tune out or feel alienated. Therefore, we have to stick to more neutral subjects that everyone can talk about it. And you know what? That's super boring!
  • I have best friends who I never get to hang out with one-on-one anymore since they always invite their significant other along. Stop doing this, couples! At the very least, ask for permission to bring him or her along. That shows that you understand that you're altering the dynamic by bringing another person into the fold.  
Sorry to boohoo in my Honey Nut Cheerios over here, but this third wheel bullshit is getting old as hell. I wish there was a support group where I could meet a bunch of other third wheels and we can bond over our status. Obviously, I love my friends and this isn't an issue with anyone in particular, it's just the annoying social reality you have to deal with when you're single and it seems like the entire world is in a one giant longterm relationship. 


Unknown said...

Ask your friends to hang out one-on-one. Girl time. If they're not willing to do that, they're not very good friends.

@sssuzy said...

I too am the third wheel friend. Here is my solution:
1. I always walk in front of the couple, OR I immediately link arms with the lady of the group when walking on sidewalks to gab and gossip on the way to our destination. It's usually taken as 'cute'. Survival of the fittest!

2. Same deal with meals, make eye contact with one of the two mention an app you know they would like and say, 'I really want to try this one, want to share it with me?' That or just announce that you're ordering an app for the table to share.

Eff this, I get what I want. :D

Mike said...

Picture this, a beautiful day in the Cherry Blossom Garden behind the PMA, big community picnic. Me and two other (newlywed) couples chose to nosh at the same blanket. I knew them all before they were hitched so this is not abnormal.

Then, in an attempt to be fun, one says, "We could all go out! It would be like Newlyweds Night!" I just awkwardly smiled as she realized what just happened. 3rd Wheeled!

Katie said...

WORD, sister.

Rachel B. said...

I will join this club with you. In high school, OVER TEN YEARS AGO, a friend actually called me the "designated third wheel." A lot has changed since high school (thank heavens), but that has not!

Solo4114 said...

I was the third wheel to my two best friends in college. As a result of CONSTANTLY being the third wheel to two people who are basically family to me, I basically got to a point where I really don't care anymore, as long as I like both of the people. I view it less as being a third wheel, and more as hanging out with my friends.

As for the boyfriend not being interested in your conversation about the guy you hooked up with, (1) I bet he'd be interested and/or could offer "the guy perspective," or (2) if he tunes out...fuck it. Who cares? You wanted to tell the story to your friend. Don't censor yourself just because he's around.

And if you want to hang out with your best friend, then say "Hey, let's hang out. Just you and me." Chances are they'll go for it.

The rest of it is just the sort of residual frustration of being reminded that you're NOT in a couple yourself -- which is totally understandable, of course.

Anna said...

I hear you guys about saying to my buddy, "Let's hang out--just you and me," but a lot of times a friend will invite me over and I'll be under the impression that it's just "us" time, but her boyfriend will be there. Or, she'll invite him along with us right as we're about to head out to grab dinner/ a drink/ see a movie. What am I gonna say? "No, don't invite your dude out with us" after she's already extended the invitation? Some couples are so used to hanging out together that I think they don't even realize that they do this.

And, some friends are sensitive. If I ask, "Is it just going to be us tonight?" I could see them being like, "Why? Do you not like my boyfriend?" And, I'd have to be like, "No! I like him, I just want some solo time with you" which they make take at face value or they make feel weird about it. That could lead into some other conversation that makes everyone awkward. It's tough!

Mandy said...


The having to keep to "safe" topics suuuuuucks, especially when your friend's husband is 12 years older than you and only really wants to talk about cars and football. STOP BRINGING HIM ALL THE TIME. Can't we just have girl talk once?!

Anna said...

I've actually been years since I've had girl talk with one of my close friends because her husband is always around. It's been a few years since we've even had a good conversation because even on the phone, he's usually right next to her. I wanna talk about ding dongs and sex and crack each other up but she's not gonna talk like that if he's around. IT'S SO BORING FOR ME!

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's been a long time since I've been a relationship but this phenomenon of couples who can't unglue themselves from each other is really troubling. I understand that when you go to an event it's nice to have a built-in support system so that you don't stand there awkwardly until someone chooses to talk to you, but there has been a few times lately where couples would not split up, even when sitting around a table, lest they sit two seats apart. Seriously, I get it, you two like each other but for gods sake, distance makes the heart grow fonder.

Anonymous said...

I have the never having one on one time with my friend problem too. Her boyfriend and her are inseparable. They even moved in together after like six months of dating. They are lame together. She makes dumb excuses all the time. And they even work together. It makes me frustrated and sad. I sent her an email a while back about how she isn't the same and I feel like I don't even know her anymore. We worked through it and things are somewhat okay. However girls just suck. They get lost in playing house and lose themselves. I don't ever want to be that girl. I was that back in college. Anna, maybe just loosen your attachment to this friend. Let her get in touch with you and make your hangouts count. I like my friend's boyfriend a lot, but I don't like how SHE is around him. You deserve the friendship you've had, but you shouldn't have to fight for it.

Sabrina said...

I dunno about this. Maybe I am some sort of magical Unicorn but I rarely get this feeling and I am the token third wheel in all my married peep's relationships. I think it might be because I blur gender lines. It could also be due to the fact that I am seriously so out of touch with giving a shit what other people are doing, and I am busy just doing my own thing. Also, I am way cooler and more fun than my lady friend's partners. Also, none of my male friends are allowed to talk to me the second their significant others meet me. Nothing kills a friendship faster than allowing that new bitch to meet my tits.

Anonymous said...

I go out to dinner pretty frequently with a married couple I'm very close with--she is my bff and he is, well her husband whom I'm lucky enough to really really like. They are super good about always making me feel included and comfortable. However, being a party of 3 has had some interesting results: not once, not twice, but THREE times we have been accidentally seated at a 2 person table and have had to ask to be moved. Even with a 3 person reservation they see the couple and apparently assume "oh that girl standing behind them must just be really lonely and chatty with strangers and is obviously here to dine alone"... awkward. but my favorite was when a server actually said "where is YOUR boyfriend?" to me when resetting our plates at a tapas place. my response: hanging out with your tip in imagination land.

Traci said...

I think I have the inverse (or opposite, or whatever) of this problem. I'm in a relationship, have been for a few years, going to get married, and a lot of my lady friends are his friends too. So when those girls want to hang out, I'm freaking thrilled because, yay girl time, but he is always invited along as well. It's not like he's a conversation killer, or that anyone censors themselves around him, it's just that I would like to occasionally be recognized as a separate entity who can bring the part just fine by herself. I feel suuuuper dickish requesting we leave him out just this once, because as I said, he's fantastic, love him, etc, but I don't need him by my side day and night.

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