The Art of the Third Wheel

Depending on your standard relationship status and the couple that you’re crashing, embracing the role of third wheel is a love it or hate it kind of thing. Whether you’re a serial dater or spend most of your time in a committed relationship, you probably don’t know the dos and don’ts of sitting on the sideline. On the contrary, if you’re routinely on single mode (no judgment here), you likely have it down. Even more than single vs. duo life, when it comes to reading the situation, every couple is different. For those new to the world of the wheel, read on.

Check the Mail

Generally, waiting for an invite applies more to the weekend than the workweek. However, it’s kind to keep the tid-bit tucked away. Beyond grabbing a drink after work or dropping by to watch the game, don’t go making ‘the crash’ a casual thing. Depending on personal circumstances such as work hours, little ones and family life, some couples only get a limited amount of quality time per week. It’s definitely not cool to wiggle your way into a date night. To avoid doing so, make plans ahead of time or hold off until a group outing.

Side note: be mindful. Before joining the team, be sure to know where they’re going and what it is they’re doing. Nobody likes awkward.

Make Friends on the Fly

If you haven’t already made friends with your bestie’s partner—get to it. Acting as a third wheel, especially on the regular, is much more fun when you’re on good terms with both of the individuals who make up the twosome. Separately, you’ll be able to find common interests and form inside jokes. Before long, you won’t remember that you’re tagging along.

Outside of the triangle, look to make new friends while the three of you are out and about. Whether making conversation in line or chatting to a table at the restaurant, find a balance between being all in or half in on the action.

Free tip: the worst thing a third wheel can do is point out the obvious. Don’t be a drag. You’re the odd one out; we get it.

Read the Situation

While it’s best to know your sidekicks, that’s not always the case. Fact: you don’t always have to be described as the tag-along. Whether you’re lifelong buddies or meeting the couple for the first time, tune into the signs and signals. As noted, read the person, pair and/or situation. It’s your first time third wheeling with the couple? Take note of the little things like how long the two have been together and how they interact as a couple. Along with your attitude and approach, these factors will help to determine the success of your shared time.

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