13 Ways To Avoid Third-Wheeling Your Friends When You’re In A Relationship

13 Ways To Avoid Third-Wheeling Your Friends When You’re In A Relationship ©iStock/max-kegfire

Being a third wheel sucks, but we’ve all been there! There’s nothing worse than a night out spent awkwardly texting on your phone as your best friend and her boyfriend make out, hold hands and whisper sweet nothings to one another. There are a few tricks to dealing with being a third wheel, but preventing it from happening in the first place is the best remedy. This doesn’t mean that couples can never go out together when they want to see their friends, but it does mean that couples can and should be more mindful when it comes to how they act around others.

Here’s 13 ways to avoid third wheeling your friends when you’ve got a new man on the scene.

  1. Keep the PDA to a minimum. There’s nothing more awkward for a person than standing there as their friends make out, hold hands, cuddle or just generally display affection in public. If you want to make sure your friend is comfortable, save the canoodling for when you have some private time alone together.
  2. Make sure your friend knows your bringing your boyfriend. Being a third wheel can suck. Being a surprise third wheel? Not much more fun. If your friend knows you’re bringing your boyfriend, their a lot less likely to feel like you’re dismissing their feelings, and much more likely to feel like you’re going to be mindful of them and not put them in an awkward situation.
  3. Talk about something other than your boyfriend. Find neutral ground. Work, travel, movies, concerts… all good topics that your friend can easily contribute to. Remember, you had a full and happy life before your boyfriend, in which you had interesting conversations that didn’t revolve around him.
  4. Focus on group activities. Hiking, for example, is great for groups. Going to the cinema? Not so much. If you’re worried about third-wheeling your friend, try to do things that cater more towards a group dynamic.
  5. Overcompensate and spend more time with your friend. The reality is that you probably spend a lot of time with your boyfriend already, and not as much with your friend. Overcompensate when it’s just the three of you and pay extra attention to your friend.
  6. Sit beside your friend. Related to the above point, but deserving of its own space: sit beside your friend. Where you sit when at a bar, on a bus, on a plane, in a ship, etc. is really important to creating a group dynamic. Try and insert yourself closer to your friend so that you can bridge the conversation and create a comfortable atmosphere between the three of you.
  7. Don’t talk about missing the single life. If your friend is having a great time being single, then fine, it’s OK to talk about missing it sometimes. However, if they’re looking for a relationship, then you telling them how great their life is won’t help.
  8. Make sure that your friend is included in invites. Ever experience the blatant, “We’re making plans, and you’re not invited” situation? Yeah, it’s nasty. If you’re making plans, and your friend is there when those plans are being made, invite them. If you don’t want to have them there, then don’t make the damn plans right in front of them!
  9. Don’t constantly bring up the third-wheel thing. If there’s one thing that can ensure your friend feels super awkward and third-wheelie around you, it’s talking about it all the time. If you want to make sure your friend is comfortable, try to ask them if things are OK while your boyfriend is in the bathroom. A quick, “Hey, it’s not weird being out with the two of us, is it? Let me know if you ever feel left out!” can be enough to make your friend aware that you’re trying not to alienate him/her.
  10. Allow your friend and boyfriend some bonding time. A long trip to the bathroom or a phone call to your mom can be the perfect excuse to give your boyfriend and friend some time to get to know each other better. Plus, it’s important that your friends like the guy you’re dating.
  11. Don’t stick to the same schedule as your boyfriend, if you don’t have to. If your boyfriend has to head home early, that doesn’t mean you have to. Letting your friends know that the two of you are individuals and independent will do a lot to ensure that when the three of you do hang out, they’ll see it more as hanging out with two friends, rather than a couple.
  12. Don’t ever make your friend “pick sides” when you and your boyfriend argue. This one’s pretty self-explanatory.
  13. Create some inside jokes with just the three of you. There’s something about an inside joke that really makes a person feel like they belong. Make sure your friend is included in the jokes, and don’t be shy about bringing them up again. The more your friend feels a part of your inner circle, the less they’ll feel like a third wheel.
Sarah is a full-time content marketer, part-time freelancer. She’s a serial hobbyist (which just means that she does a lot of random things, but none of them particularly well). Her real talent lies in her ability to consume copious amounts of wine, whilst discussing feminism and reading A Song of Ice and Fire for the 8th time... All while saving puppies from burning houses, of course. You can see more of her work here, or pop over to Twitter and say “‘ello ‘ello” @daughterdipstik