Cruel and Unusual Punishment: How to Survive Being Third Wheeled

Mia Zanzucchi

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “awkward third wheel?” Urban Dictionary defines it as “one who deters the socialization of a couple, perhaps when being invited out of pity or through a feeling of duty. This person may be eased into the situation by being allowed to stay in an environment he or she has become accustomed to (perhaps a kitchen, where the third wheel can bake cookies for the couple.)” Being the awkward third wheel may sound like a death sentence, but with a little charm and humor, it can become bearable. Take it from me. I’m what you would call a professional third wheel.

It’s clearly not a serious date if you’re there, right? So don’t worry about getting in the way. Honestly. If they’ve dragged you with, it’s also possible that they’re nervous and don’t want to be completely alone. This is the perfect situation to make a few jokes to lighten the mood and make yourself feel less lonely.  It’s up to you, the designated third wheel, to make the night fun.

But don’t spend the whole time whining about being forever alone. Nobody likes a sad sack. Make a joke out of it (“Aw, you guys are so cute! Hey, maybe my cat will finally sit by me!”) But don’t be the date-dampening Negative Nelly.

So should you find yourself third wheeled, just remember: relax and enjoy yourself! The date/party/evening won’t last forever. Embrace the awkward, and let the laughs come rolling in.

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 “Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim doubt at yourself. Be bold.”
-Alan Alda, actor and writer

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