The ’T’ Word and Why It Isn’t So Bad

Consider this first line your warning. Not that I wish to scare you off, but it’s become apparent to me that when I start throwing around the ’T’ word, I’m greeted with groans of annoyance and one time, a pencil to the face. Perhaps social media is to blame, or unrealistic television shows where beautiful people in their late 20’s play lovestruck teenagers finding their soulmates, but somewhere, somehow, we've all been led to believe that we ought to be with someone else. At some point, we got it in our heads that the ultimate happiness was that of being blissfully in love with someone. I’m here to tell you that is not necessarily the truth. I’m here to address the ’T’ word: Third Wheel. So buckle in folks, because we are about to take a ride down the road of relationships, on a tricycle.

It’s safe to say that we’ve all been there before; you’ve got a friend whose boyfriend or girlfriend spends a lot of time with them, and one way or another, ends up hanging out with you too. It happens and there’s nothing wrong with that. Hanging out with your bud and their significant other doesn’t always feel like you’re imposing. I know from personal experience, that when my two best pals started dating, it didn’t affect us all spending time together. However, we all know that sometimes throughout the course of an outing, the dynamic can quickly change. Suddenly it’s not three friends and some beers but rather a couple, their entwined hands on the table and soft music playing in the background, and you, with a whole plate of nachos to yourself and a sudden sense of emptiness on your side of the booth.

Now it’s in these moments that a lot of emotions can start coursing through you. Envy pays you a quick visit, reminding you of what you wish you had. Sadness creeps up behind you, trying to pass you a tissue over your shoulder. Anger even tries to slip you the fork from the unused utensil set on your left so you can try and poke their hands apart. Despite all of these things though, I want you to try and remember something: As lonely and depressed as you might be feeling, you are in reality, the most popular person at that table. I’m lying, you say? Just think about it! You go to a party, you see a bunch of people playing beer pong, laughing, cracking jokes. Are any of them smooching on their boyfriends? Heck no. Are any of them dancing to Michael Bublé under soft lighting? No way! Why? Because the super romantic couples don’t hang out at the beer pong table! They hang out on the used green sofa in the living room, where they can make-out without interruption. You get to walk in there like the Queen you are, with beer in one hand, a ping pong ball in the other, and the yearning for victory in your heart!

Being the Third Wheel doesn’t always feel great, believe me, I get it. It’s not always ‘cool’ and you sometimes feel ‘dorky’. News flash: that is totally fine! There is nothing wrong with being uncool and dorky. Uncool and dorky is what works, for a lot of people. Uncool and dorky is what a lot of us are looking for. Relationships can be really amazing. Being in love can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. What you need to remember is that you are the most beautiful, fascinating, and awesome person in the room, and not having someone to text you in the morning with cute words and an unnecessary amount of emoticons doesn’t make that any less true. So relish your time as a Third Wheel. Remind yourself that it’s one less present to buy on holidays, one less family to impress (you’ve got enough trouble with your own), and one less person to fight with for space in your bed at night. Embrace your Third Wheelness.

Use this time to work on you, on making you happy. Also, use it as a chance to watch your friends relationships, learning what not to do and what makes them work. Smile politely when someone asks if it’s a table for four and you correct to three. Walk ahead a little bit and enjoy the scenery when they need a moment alone. Stop being sad about what you don’t have and start being happy about what you do! I promise, you’ll quickly realize that riding a three wheeled bike is easier than riding one with two. Appreciate the training wheels and keep riding with a smile!