Two’s Company … – How To Be A Good Third Wheel

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Of course being single has its benefits. You get the whole double bed to yourself. You are free to waste a weekend dossing about in your PJs, eating ice cream and indulging in a SATC marathon with no judgement. Or just go wild and book yourself a trip of a lifetime without worrying about the logistics. The list is endless I suppose. But there are also times when being single simply sucks! Never more so than when you start to feel like you are the last single gal (or guy) left in a world full of couples. I’m sure there are many of us that can identify with that nightmare scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary where Bridget finds herself at a dinner party surrounded by smug married couples.  Ugh!  So this brings me to the topic of today’s post – The Third Wheel.

As much as singletons can try to avoid the coupleverse there are just some times you are going have to suck it up and go with it. Perhaps your bestie found herself a new man and really really really wants you guys to meet or maybe it’s just that you are a larry no mates on New Year’s Eve so you have no other option but to gate crash your parents’ Tinder date. Whatever the case here are a few tips to help you through the process of Third Wheeling.

Only go where you are wanted

First and foremost, a no brainer. Most people want to avoid the awkwardness of being a Third Wheel and then there are others that are…ummm lonely (or just plain annoying) I guess. It’s important to gauge where couples are open to your presence as a Third wheel. Perhaps it’s a meeting that none of you three particularly want to be at so it’s pretty much a matter of safety in numbers and you split a cronut in three as you wait (and wait and wait) for this torturously boring social obligation. Then there are those times when couples need their alone time (and no this doesn’t always have to be limited to in the bedroom). Say you see your brother from another mother wining and dining his missus … just know this is NOT the time gatecrash the party, ask him to fix your broken iPod and use it as an excuse to catch up on all the gossip! Really you aren’t doing yourself any favours here and you’ll end up looking like nothing more than a needy loser.

Know your place

As much as you may want sympathy and feel victimised, couples don’t invite singles out to coupleverse events to make you want to feel inferior and go home with thoughts of suicide.  Hopefully, these people are your friends. They may have invited you out to set you up with one of their single friends or simply to enjoy your good banter. While in most instances they do appreciate your presence it is important that the third wheel understands their purpose. Don’t use it as opportunity for one-upmanship, or to make yourself the centre of attention by flirting with your friend’s other half.

Calling it a night

Say you are out and about sarging on Kloof Street when you bump into your bestie and her beau. They politley invite you over for a drink. The chit chat is good and you are having fun, much more than you would on your lonesome, in fact. Whatever the situation and no matter how epic the conversation, learn when to call it a night. There are always subtle signs that’ll show you where you’ve outstayed your welcome. Whether it’s that you’ve got to attend some exclusive event in Camps Bay or just have a date with your kitty cat – just make your excuses and get out of there!

And yes it is not always about the Third Wheel

Loved up people also have a responsibility to play when it comes to this Third Wheeling situation. Unless you are one of those Ivy Women that are literally jumping from one relationship to the next – we’ve always been single at some point in our lives so don’t make things awkward for your single friends by flaunting your happiness in their faces all the time. If you do find yourself with one of those annoying Third Wheels that don’t get a hint (you know those one who’d even volunteer to join you and your man for a weekend away even though they know you aren’t into threesomes!) then it’s also up to you to take charge of the situation. As kids we were all taught to be nice and more inclusive towards the weird kids/outcasts in the playground. Well we are all adults now and we no longer have to do what Mummy tells us. Don’t be a YES Wo(Man) all your life. If the Third Wheel doesn’t get the hint as unpopular as it may make you,  sometimes there is a need to tell a person straight. Believe me, your better half will probably thank you for it later 😉 (Thank me later!)

So, yup being a Third (Fifth or Seventh) Wheel is never an ideal (so just go get a life and find yourself plus one! JOKES!) but there probably has been/will be a time in our lives where we all have to play this role for whatever reason. There is an art to being a good Third Wheel, much of which centres around self-awareness, understanding social cues and assessing each situation properly.

Alrighty Rinsers, we’ve all been there so share your Third Wheeling experiences. What are your tips on being a Third Wheel or on how best to deal with an annoying one who doesn’t realise that two’s company? Tell us in the comments section below.





  1. Rosie luv, innit the answer (harking back to the spirit of revengebody) for single folk to invite a couple to a thoroughly debauched singles-dominated party, where MrandMrs can be judged openly, and come to regret their hurriedly muttered matrimonial vows? Just asking.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha! That can also be arranged. And yes, being in a unhappy relationship and seeing your single friends having fun can be almost as bad if not worse than being the Third Wheel. Nice point 🙂


  2. The onus should be on the coupled up people to only invite happy single people to the party rather than the spinster types. I mean why do you want to be surrounded by your misery unless of course you are so unhappy in your relationship that you need to be reminded how much worse it is to be single.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My ex and I would invite my ex bestie out with us fairly often back in the day and when the three of us were together, sure, me and the boyfriend were a couple, but we didn’t act like a couple; make sense? It was more like three friends hanging out. The bestie was pretty wired and hard to handle for long periods of time, but that was a quality that I liked about her. Usually when we parted ways, the ex would comment that the bestie was annoying in some way or another, then after we split, they started hanging out together A LOT! I guess that’s a good sign that the three of us could be friends and hang out together in a couple+third wheel situation. It also proves how two-faced my ex is.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These are great tips! The part about the broken iPad sounds like a very specific memory hahah! I am friends with a couple and often third wheel so this was a good read for me. They don’t really make me feel like a third wheel and I try my best to know when to give them their space. I can’t wait for the day I finally get a boyfriend and we can start going on double dates! Great job with the post!

    Liked by 2 people

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