Have you ever been the third wheel in a conversation or at a party? It’s awkward. You feel totally out of place, and any time you try to jump into the conversation, it feels like everything you say is irrelevant. It’s especially bad when you’re the only single person in a room full of couples. And the awkwardness factor intensifies when you’re the only person in the room not holding hands with someone else.
And it’s nobody’s fault. That’s just the way it is when everyone else in the room “has somebody” and you don’t. Like sitting in church and realizing that I’ve got my parents on one side holding hands and my two closest girl friends with their significant others on my right. All of them snuggly and cute.
And then there’s me… with my coffee cup … living the single life.
But being the third wheel isn’t always a bad thing. I mean, society talks about it like it is, but I realized that I’ve been a third wheel for most of my life. Actually, I’ve been a third wheel for all of my grownup life. And, frankly, there have only been a few times when it was awkward. The rest of the time, it’s just hanging out with friends. So what if they happen to be dating? I’m friends with both of them.
Sometimes, being a trio is better.
Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Moe, Larry, and Curly. All of them are famous trios from TV/film or literature, and they all have one thing in common–you can’t really separate them. Sure, they’re individuals, but they act so much like a unit, it’s hard to think of one without thinking of the other two.
Not all trios work that way. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli from The Lord of the Rings are remembered for hanging out together, but they don’t compose an unbreakable unit. It’s the same with Rand, Perrin, and Mat from The Wheel of Time series or even Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo from Star Wars. Honestly, in some instances, it’s much easier to work with a duo, like Batman and Robin or even Han Solo and Chewbacca.
Could you imagine if Kirk and Spock didn’t have Dr. McCoy to lighten things up or overreact about stuff? And Harry and Ron probably would have died twenty times over before Book 7 was even written without Hermione and her annoying big-sister goody-two-shoes attitude.
So as I was thinking about being a third wheel, I randomly started googling and found a Huffington Post article about it! And as I read it, I was pretty impressed, although some of the points aren’t exactly my cup of tea. I thought somebody had already beat me to finding the benefits to being the tagalong in a relationship…. until I got down toward the end, where it sort of turns into a joke.
Because, come on, who wants to be a third wheel? That’s awful, right?
Well, without being sarcastic, I wanted to share why I actually enjoy being the single person in a room full of couples. Because it’s not nearly as bad as people seem to think, as long as you keep your perspective where it needs to be.
1. Another perspective than just yours and your friend’s
Admit it. Sometimes it’s nice to have a third point of view in a discussion, especially if you and your best girl friend think exactly alike. It’s awesome to throw someone else’s thoughts into that mix because it makes for better, deeper conversation.
2. Someone else to chip in on road trip expenses
ROAD TRIP! Road trips are the best, and gas and lodging gets cheaper and cheaper the more people come. So it’s always nice to have a third person on the road for that matter. Plus, if it’s two girls traveling cross country, it’s doubly nice to have a guy around. Maybe that’s not something an independent-minded single woman should admit to, but I know I feel a heck of a lot safer in the scary parts of town when I’ve got a guy with me.
3. Opportunity to see what works in a relationship and what doesn’t
This is such a selfish thing to say, I almost didn’t include it, but it’s true. I’m single now. I anticipate that I’ll be single for a very long time, maybe for my whole life, and if that’s what God has for me, I’m all in. But what if I do end up in a relationship at some point? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to observe the relationships I see and take some notes?
4. Nieces and Nephews that you can give back
As the third wheel in a relationship, you get to be that awesome Aunt (or Uncle) who can be responsible for fun and mischief … and then turn the little munchkins back over to Mom and Dad when the kid springs a leak. 😉 I’m only half joking.
One of the great joys in my life is hanging out with my good friend’s little girl, Hoochild. This little girl makes me so happy. And the other night, I got a huge wish granted that I didn’t really expect. That little booger came running out of her room and stopped at my knee and asked me to read her a bedtime story.
It’s so awesome to get to hang out with her and with her mom, but I’m not going to lie, I’m not ready for my own kids right now. If that day ever comes, sure, I’ll be ready, but that day isn’t here. So right now I adore hanging with Hoochild and I’m thankful to give her back to her mom!
5. Another friend in your life who loves your friend as much as you do
This is the best part of being the third wheel in a relationship. I don’t know if anyone else agrees with this, but this is my perspective on it. I love my friends, and I want the best for them. I want them to be happy. And when they find another person who fills all the gaps in their life–you can’t help but be happy for them.
Granted that doesn’t mean life will always be sunshine and daisies. Lots of times it’s hailstorms and weeds. But those moments are precious too, because when you come through them together, you’re better friends than you were before.
If you’ve got a beloved friend, isn’t it great to celebrate that someone else loves her (or him) as much (or more) than you do? That’s the way I see it. Someone who meets the needs of my friend is my friend. Someone who becomes the family of my friend is my friend.
That doesn’t exclude me. On the contrary, that means they’re both stuck with me now.
I know I’m not the only person who has gone through this weird sensation of watching your family and friends pair off and turn into snuggling lunatics. So if you’re in my same position and you feel awkward when you’re “stuck” with the lovebirds, just chill. If you’re friends with both of them, keep being friends. If you’re friends with one of them, do what you can to get to know the other.
No, not all trios work out. Sometimes it needs to be a duo. But even then, where would Batman and Robin be without Alfred?