How to Survive Being a Third Wheel

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Today’s guest post is from the gal behind Gourmet Rambler on how to survive being a third wheel.  Follow her at @GourmetRambler.

It’s a tale as old as time. Girl #1 meets Boy, they become friends. Girl #2 arrives on the scene. The trio becomes BFFs, joined at the hip, like the Three Musketeers (I want to be Porthos). Finally, one night at a party Boy and Girl #2 make googly eyes at each other. Things take a turn, and now the fab trio is not a trio at all. It has split into “us” and “her”. Boy and Girl #2 pretend to not be together when they are around Girl #1. Girl #1 pretends not to notice their secret hand-holding and stolen smooches when they think no one is looking. Girl #1 rolls her eyes A LOT. Finally, she confronts the subject head on. The secret is out, everyone knows. Things should get back to normal. Or at least less awkward. Right? RIGHT?!


Take it from the Queen of Third Wheels: being in that position with a newly budding couple is not just awkward, it’s Fifty Shades of Awkward. Forget about the feeling of suddenly being excluded. That’s half the trouble. What’s worse is the “we really want to include you because nothing has changed” bit. Really? Nothing has changed? So, the games of tongue twister aren’t news? The gazing longingly into each others eyes while the third person rambles on awkwardly is par for the course? Come. On. Nothing has changed, my ass, pardon the French.


Now, believe you me, having been single as long as I have you get to third-wheel it plenty. Slowly but surely everyone around you couples up. It’s the circle of life or dating or whatever. And I am all for the romance, honestly. I can’t wait for the day I can become a part of one of these couples I love to hate. But until then, I will leave you with some friendly Dos and Don’ts from the third woman out point of view, a primer on how to survive being a third wheel.


  • DO keep in touch with your third wheel friend individually. You three were friends for a reason, and everyone would do well to remember that. Catching up one on one is the best way to go.
  • DON’T infringe on the previously made individual plans of your new significant other with the third-party. Just because you are now together doesn’t mean that tagging along is fair game. Trust me, it’s awkward and nobody wins, especially not the third wheel.
  • DO include your favorite third wheel in group outings that include more people than the three of you. Group settings tend to take some of the pressure off and there are other people there for the third wheel to talk to.
  • DON’T ramble on ad nauseam about your new relationship during these outings. Give it a rest unless specifically asked. No. Really. There is other news in the world.
  • DO skip the PDA if the third wheel situation is absolutely unavoidable. Watching you smooch isn’t going to make the third wheel feel happy for you. It will just emphasize the fact that they are single. Think about it, no one is holding their hand or stroking their hair. It’s hard enough being single in the couples’ world without it being flaunted in your face.
  • DON’T try to be sly. It never works. Just assume that everyone knows and that everyone sees. Trying to hide your budding relationship makes things even more awkward when the truth does inevitably come out.

Look, we support your relationship, we truly do. It’s great that you found each other, s/he had you at hello, s/he completes you, blah-blah-blah. Really, it’s fantastic. But pretending that nothing has changed? That’s dumb. So, don’t make your third wheel single friends feel any more awkward than they already do (and they already do, TRUST ME). Let them bow out of the situations that make them uncomfortable. Practice kindness. We, single folk, have feelings too.

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