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Let’s Talk About Third Wheeling

Picture this: you’re sick, struggling with the hottest fever of all time, lying down on your bed while doing last minute homework on your laptop at 1 A.M., and covered in sweat from the amount of heat your body is producing. But could you imagine the amount of annoyance and disbelief you were in when you peeped beyond your computer screen to see your roommate being all cuddly and smoochy-smoochy with her boo watching a movie on their little laptop?! That was me just the other day…

Now hear me out, when I say “annoying” I don’t really mean it’s annoying. Well, maybe that’s a lie… it was a little annoying, but more so it was a little symptom of a bigger issue of jealousy. Also note that when I also say it’s “jealousy”,  I don’t mean it so much as jealousy but the craving for the same affection and attention that person is getting… and a little bit of jealousy, of course. But alas, this feeling is definitely not new to me. I’ve always been a third wheel.

I know, tragic. Being a third wheel means that you tend to be the person that is always the side character to the main characters, the side of carrots and celery to the chicken wings, the butter knife to the fork and spoon, the coleslaw to a KFC order— you get the picture. Basically, the third wheel is the person in a situation, with typically two or more people, who is the estranged social outcast lacking the intimacy and closeness that other people in that social setting have with one another.

Key characteristics of being a third wheel are usually being the single person to hang out with a couple or being that one friend in the friend group that’s not in tune with everyone else’s vibe, we third wheels stick out like a sore thumb. Growing up, I used to get sad over the fact that I was a third wheel, I always felt kind of lonely because I was never getting the same attention everyone else was getting. It made me develop social awkwardness, which wasn’t a good thing.

But let me not ramble on about the negatives, there are some positives that made me grow to not mind being a third wheel. As I got used to my position of being a third wheel, I never got the attention I wanted, so I was never near the top of the social ladder in middle school, high school, and probably even now in the real world. But having less time and effort to socialize gave me the perfect opportunity to hone my own skills in art and cinematography! Not only did it help improve my own personal talents but it kept me clear of most drama. You see, if you’ve ever third wheeled a couple, as cute as they may be when they’re lovey-dovey, when they argue it’s a different thing. About 99.9% of the time a couple argues in front of you, you just end up sitting back and thinking to yourself how lucky you are to not be in that load of crap.

The same thing also applies to being the third wheel of any social group. Typically a lot of drama always revolves around the more socially connected people in the group, what with rumors, fights, breakups, and hooks up… and then there’s you chilling in the background not relating to anyone’s unnecessary drama because you’ve always been the third wheel.

The best part about being a third wheel is that in the long run, when you finally do get attention from people and you make real friendships/relationships they tend to end up liking you for you, and not because of something else.

That being said, cheers to us third wheels. May we have our day one day soon!


Graceann Bhagat

Stony Brook '20

Name: Graceann Bhagat  Year: Senior  Major: Double Major in Biology (Neuroscience) and History (European History)  I write about the mediocre things in life that don't matter but do.   
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