Your Guide to Third Wheel-ing Done Right

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s due to some unforeseen circumstances (your girlfriends showing up with their significant others on your supposed girls’ night out) or a deliberate request to be a chaperone, each of us has been put in that mother of all awkward situations and has endured being made painfully aware of our solo status.

If there was such a thing as a Third Wheel Club, I’d be its first official card-carrying member. With most of my friends either coupled up or expecting little additions to their families, I’m one of the last women standing, who, for one reason or another, are stubbornly clinging to being a lone wolf. As such, being a third wheel is something totally unavoidable for me—unless I want to go on full hermit mode. And while it can be a tricky situation to find yourself in, it can also be just as fun and entertaining as hanging out with your once-single girlfriends. Here are some tips on how to be the perfect third wheel.

1. Pick the right couple. You may be chums with one or both of the people you’re going to hang out with, but you gotta remember that their personalities as your friend and who they are as a couple can be vastly different. Your friend may be the biggest goofball when it’s just you around, but she could transform into a complete lovelorn puppy in front of her beau. It may be a good idea to avoid hanging out with couples who can’t refrain from sucking faces every fifteen seconds or so (if unavoidable, at least ask them to give you a heads up).

One more kishy face from either of you, and I will start holding your heads underwater until you’re about one second away from drowning. Then dunk you again.

2. Know your place. Perhaps the trickiest part in being a third wheel is figuring out where to sit or how much space you’re supposed to give the couple. Just make sure that you don’t encroach on their “couple space” and that you give yourself enough room to move around without disrupting them. I also find that it’s always better to choose a spot where you can see other sources of distraction (other people, the street, TV, etc) just in case your companions decide to have their “private” moment.

3. Avert your eyes. We all know it’s rude to stare—especially if the people in front of you are engaged in some, uh, “activity.” Staring them down with your best Sgt. Slaughter impression in the hopes of getting them to stop may work, but it will also kind of make you look like a creep. So just don’t. Depending on how good your relationship is with the couple, you can either make light of the situation and call them out (a simple “get a room” should suffice) or simply take your leave the moment it starts to become uncomfortable.

4. Location is key. Going to the movies may not be the best idea if you’re third-wheeling, but if that’s unavoidable, at least make sure you’re not watching a sappy romantic comedy. What I’m saying is, don’t go anywhere that has “date place” and “couples only” written all over it. Try the firing range, the pool hall, any other place that won’t make you feel left out for not having someone to hold hands and snuggle with.

Even THE Bruce Willis can’t escape the third wheel syndrome. Ha! [Vanity Fair, May 2007]

5. Don’t isolate yourself. Come on, just because you don’t have someone to make goo-goo eyes with doesn’t mean you have to sulk in your little corner. Engage the couple in conversation that you can all take part in, ask questions, tell jokes (whether it’s at the expense of your friend is entirely up to you). Take this chance to get to know your friend’s significant other, but make sure you don’t turn it into a I-know-her-better-than-you-do pissing contest. That aint cool.

6. Know when to get out. When things start to get too cheesy for you to stomach or if you  get the feeling that the couple wants to be alone, then it’s the best time for you to flee the premises. If the couple can’t be bothered to consider how uneasy it must make you feel, there’s no reason for you to sit through the torture. Bolt!

Admittedly, hanging out with a couple can be awkward as hell. But it doesn’t have to be just as long as you keep an open mind and are mindful of each other’s limits and feelings. It may be hard to get past the petty bickering (which couples think is cute but is actually just downright annoying to the rest of the world), vomit-inducing baby talks, and kishy faces that just make you want to punch a teddy bear, but you just have to remember that these are people you care about. Don’t let your lack of a partner get in the way of having a good time with your friends.

[Featured Image by Michael Naples]


I write for a living. I don't think I'm good at it, but since I can't be a rap superstar (though not for the lack of trying!!!), it will have to do. Traveling is my one true love, and it has changed the way I see my country and my life. In between writing and vagabonding, I read zombie survival guides. Also, my laptop has a retarded L key.

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2 Responses to “Your Guide to Third Wheel-ing Done Right”
  1. Lia Lia del Castillo says:

    This is a nice post, Nek! And personally, you’re doing a really good job at that, I must say.

  2. Rhas Rhas says:

    That makes the two of us! :) haha. Kailangang i-master ito.

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