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Being A Third Wheel (23 Ways To Deal With Being the Third Wheel)

Sometimes it's a selection, at other times, people just find themselves becoming the third wheel among a group. It could be one-time, multiple times, or even every time. Whichever way it is, the third wheel is usually well-acquainted with one of the members of the group but not that cordial with the other.

Let’s face it, it can be a bit uncomfortable and sometimes annoying, especially when the third wheel situation has a romantic side to it. Yes, that very awkward third-wheeling scenario your bestie decides to bring her boyfriend to crash what was supposed to be a just-two parade.

All of a sudden, you become a misfit. The funniest thing is, after many hours, your friend thinks you are fine, not knowing you were just an amazing friend, hanging in there, trying so hard not to be rude.

Hanging in there while two people enjoy themselves can be a bit difficult. Still, it doesn't have to be a bad experience. If you find yourself almost always being the third wheel, I call it the ultimate test of your survival skills in the social world. 

Not to worry, this article is here to help you navigate that challenging and awkward third wheel situation and make the best of being a great third wheel.

23 Ways To Deal With Being The Third Wheel

1. It’s okay to feel a little jealous

2. If your best friend got a new boyfriend, there are chances you may feel replaced. With a new boyfriend in her life, there might be a significant change in the way she spends time with everyone, including you. You are human, don't feel bad if you are a little jealous as long as you are not being petty or mean about it.

3. Have a mindset that being the third wheel is not a bad thing

I know that being a third wheel already sounds like a derogatory term. Many people even view third-wheeling friends as nosy, lonely, and hard-to-get-rid people that won't let love birds enjoy their quality time alone in their relationships. You don't have to go in with that mentality. 

Try not to put yourself in the lonely girl box that doesn't have anywhere to go or her own relationship. On the contrary, see yourself as great, fun-loving, and cool to hang out with friends. That's why your friend wants you to be part of moments that naturally should be between her and her man only. 

It doesn't matter what name the third person is called. See yourself as enjoying a social get-together with two other people and you'll undoubtedly have the time of your life. After all, the more the merrier.

4. Own it like a champ

Being a third wheel to your friend and her boyfriend can be one of the most uncomfortable third wheel situations ever. News flash; if the friend is your bestie, brace yourself as there's likely no getting out of it unless you don't want to be friends anymore. That's because even if they break up, she'll get another boyfriend.

One of the first things you need to do is own the third wheeling position like a champ. How do you do this? Establish your position. Let it settle in your mind that you are the third wheel, so don't get any ideas trying to swap the position. He's the lover, you are the friend, that's not going to change.

This tip is important because it’ll help you naturally fit in without being grumpy when you guys hang out. Even when they start doing their lovey-dovey, you'll just naturally smile/be happy for them rather than feel left out.

5. Know your role and you’ll be fine

Sometimes, a third wheel is like a confidence booster to her friend, a protector, chaperone, or sometimes a photographer. If your friend is just seeing someone new, chances are you are there to ensure she’s safe before she can fly on her own. 

My bestie in high school had very strict parents that never wanted her to be in relationships until she was 17. I was the third wheel in their relationship because they needed the perfect cover to make it look like a group of friends thing. I did my third-wheeling role with joy and pride because I was doing it for a great cause: “love.”

6. Get him in your corner

Now I don’t mean steal your friend’s boyfriend, I mean try to get along with him. If you can, make him your friend too. Still, try not to get too close since you don’t want your friend to feel uncomfortable. We are ladies, remember? Jealousy is our middle name.

The reason you need to get along with him is to make the outing itch-free, promote harmony, and eliminate awkwardness. Naturally, you will want to talk more with your best friend. Still, try not to make her boyfriend feel out of place. Yeah, it's okay to introduce your girl talk but don't make it look like you are trying to steal the show.

7. There’s no competition here

theres no competition here

Competition is one journey you don't want to start here. Trust me, it may not end well. I know it's possible you might not like your friend's boyfriend. However, it's not the best idea to start competing with him for your friend's attention when you all hang out together. 

It could send the wrong message. You are important to your friend, that's why she would want you to be part of the time she shares with her man. If you mess it up, you'll probably see less of her.

8. Be likable

Everyone likes a fun-loving person. If you are jovial, friendly, and don’t act all weird, your friend and the SO will naturally love to have you around their dating bubble. Remember there will also be times when it's just an all-girl thing, so that means you get to spend more time with your friend altogether. 

9. Try to avoid awkwardness

Whether your friend invited you to hang out with her or they both came to your planned girls outing, this third wheel situation naturally comes with moments of holding hands, cuddling, or kissing each other. This is not the time to start looking like you've got the flu. 

Perhaps, you are single? If so, this is also not the time to feel all sad about your long-gone boyfriend. You’ll only make them feel it’s a bad idea to have you around, so don’t ruin the moment for yourself and your friend. What you can do is join in the fun with a group hug and a selfie. Taking pictures is probably one of the jobs of a third wheel anyway in everyday life.

10. Throw in some jokes and cheer

After family, you are probably your bestie’s greatest supporter in everyday life. Without asking, you should cheer for her and a man from time to time. What’s more, a good idea will be to throw in some jokes. Like I said, whether they both called you to hang out with them or he came in to crash the party, you are still going to be the third wheel. So, be a good third wheel.

11. Don't be a "killjoy," know when to give them some space

I hate to break it to you, when you are third-wheeling, it might get to that point where you just have to be quiet and allow your best friend and her boyfriend to do their thing. I know it sounds a bit unfair but it's okay to indulge them just a little. Of course, the space you want to give them isn't going to be forever, so don't get all mopey about it. 

Thank goodness, we are in the mobile phone era, you could jump online and do some web surfing to kill time. If you are at a party, it might be a great time to fraternize with some others at the party. 

12. Don’t get involved if there’s a small fight

13. This point is like a sequel to the previous one above. Chances are, a lover's quarrel may come up when you are all chilling out together. As long as it's nothing serious, the best thing to do is give them some space.

However, try not to go too far in case your friend needs you. The significant other might have a short fuse and probably get physical. He may even be a serial killer. Altogether, avoid taking sides in any fight. If you must take a side, don’t you dare break the girl code. 

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14. It might be time to communicate with your friend 

it might be time to communicate with your friend

If your friend is becoming inconsiderate and less sensitive, it might be time to let her know. It might just be that she’s a bit carried away with love. Whether it was you who came into her life first or the boyfriend, you both have a special place for her to feel comfortable hanging out with you both at the same time. 

However, if your best friend shows up with her guy every time you have a girl’s thing planned, you can let her honestly know how you feel. It doesn’t mean you don’t want her to be with her man. Also, it’s not like you are not down with being with them on occasion but the triangle thing shouldn’t be every time. 

15. Whatever you do, don't forget to have fun

Whether you are there as a cover for their secret relationship, an emergency photographer, the bag/gift-holder, try to make sure you have fun as well. Try not to wear a sad look perhaps you've been through a recent bad breakup.

I know the presence of two people in love can stir up feelings but don't let that make you all sad. If you are noticeably sad or grumpy, your friend won't be happy seeing you moody and everyone will be moody altogether. 

Think of the bright side. When I was a regular third wheel, everything was free. Food, drinks, movie tickets, it was never a dull moment for me as the third wheel.

16. You don’t have to be the third wheel

No jokes, third-wheeling can be a bit uncomfortable, especially if you're an introvert in everyday life, or your boyfriend just broke up with you. If you can't swing it, just be honest with your friend instead of trying to go out of your way. 

I know good friends do things for each other. Instead of ending up being an annoying, rude single friend, just tell her you'll take a rain check. If it goes bad, your friend might think you are not happy for her, or worse, think you are jealous. Nothing else causes a huge fight between two ladies that a cute guy 

17. Invite a friend

If you can't say no to your BFF and you are pretty sure you might ruin the day, it might be best to bring in some help. You can invite a single friend to tag along. If you are in a relationship and your man is up for it, it's not a bad idea to make it a double date. 

This way, you'll balance the scales and avoid feeling less alone. Furthermore, boys will always be boys. With a double date, they can get talking about football once they meet, which can also give you some quality time with your bestie. The fun thing is, the double date can morph you guys into a couple of friends.

18. Let your friend know when she's overdoing things

If it seems like your friend can’t go anywhere without her guy, it’s okay to let her know she might be overdoing things. I’ve lost a couple of good friends just because they got into a new relationship. At first, making plans to spend time became difficult. Later, they just simply got lost in the love bubble and forgot to invest in other relationships.

19. Offer support

What are friends for, if not to support each other in their relationships? If your friend regularly wants to hang out with you when she’s with her man, it means you occupy an important place in her heart. You’ll do well to offer good relationship advice and be there for her when there’s a fight between them. Also, give her tips to invest more in her relationship. You know she’ll do the same for you in your own relationship.

20. Don’t get too attached

I know I said you should offer support and advice. On the flip side, try not to get too attached to being part of the relationship. When you are third-wheeling, you may find that you are getting too attached to both your friend and her guy. 

This scenario happens when both parties are your friends and respect you a lot. Try not to be involved in everything even if they both want you in their business. I’ve been there once, so trust me when I say it might not end well. 

21. Initiate fun activities

initiate fun activities

Couples will naturally have their inside jokes and fun things while dating. If you sit and let them initiate all the topics, fun, and games, chances are you may not have the best time. You'll find yourself fake-laughing at their inside jokes. 

Like I mentioned earlier, make it interesting for you too. If you are initiating conversations, activities, games, you won't be left out or be forced to do whatever they want.

22. Suggest an indoor activity

If you suspect you will be bad at third-wheeling and you don't want to say no to your friend, you can suggest indoor hangouts to help manage the situation. You could order drinks and pizza, play games, and more. This way, if the couples decide to get more than comfy, you can always switch your attention to Netflix without feeling neglected or odd.

23. Work on yourself

There was a time I was the third wheel among my friends. I always feel a little left out of the group anytime we gather together to do our girl thing. Two of them just seem to get along with each other more than with me. 

At first, I felt like they did it deliberately. However, I later realized they were more fun-loving than me as I was a bit of an introvert trying to break into the social world. I worked on my social skills and with time, the fun never starts until I'm around. 

24. Make yourself available

If you feel like a third wheel among your regular friends, this tip, like the one above, is also for you. Sometimes, if you are not always around when your friends hang out, chances are, you may feel like the odd one. There’s always bonding time, event time, movie season. If you are missing in action, you’ll likely not flow with discussions when they come up. 

25. Expand the group

If it seems like you are the odd one out among a group of three friends, who says you can’t bring in an extra person. Perhaps, one or two friends shouldn’t be a bad idea. You shouldn’t make this move look like you are trying to get back at your friends because you feel left out. Initiate an expansion so that the friendship can improve. The more people, the more the interaction, making it less possible for one person to feel totally out of place. 


Is it OK to be a third wheel?

Being the third wheel can be fun if you don't see yourself as a needy, lonely person, desperate to be among her friends. Remember, your friend can always hang out with her man by herself bringing you into the parade means you are a great person she doesn't mind sharing those moments with.

What does being a third wheel mean?

A third wheel means you are that one person in a group, usually three but could be more that doesn't necessarily need to be there. Still, it can be fun. Ladies sometimes want their friends to be around when they are hanging out with someone new and in an unfamiliar environment. Meaning you are an important third wheel in the dating world.

What does it feel like to be a third wheel?

It can be a bit uncomfortable especially if the other parties are couples. You could feel neglected when they start kissing and cuddling with each other. However, you can make it less boring by initiating activities and joining in on fun things and games.

What do you do if you are a third wheel?

If you are a third wheel with a romantic couple, try to avoid the awkwardness by joining in on the fun. You can also throw in harmless jokes and initiate conversations so that the whole outing isn’t about their inside jokes and talks exclusive to the couples.

Is third-wheeling awkward?

Yes, it can feel awkward. Couples will naturally get cozy with each other, making it feel a little weird. You may not know if you should look away or just sit there and pretend like they are not there. Sometimes, you may even have to give them space, making you totally alone.

In Conclusion

In the dating world, being the third wheel can be awkward and uncomfortable, but that's if you allow it. You now have all you need to navigate the third-wheeling world. I hope you enjoyed the article. You'll do well to drop a comment for improvement and share it with friends.


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Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.


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