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How to Survive the Night as a Third Wheel Without Losing Your Mind

third wheel

No one wants to be a third wheel. But when you find yourself stuck on a night out with a lovey-dovey couple, here’s what you should do.

Nobody with a considerable amount of dignity would ever want to play the third wheel on a date, even if you are friends with the couple. As the third wheel, you are the literal “odd one out.” Not only are you reminded of being cursedly single, but there are times that your friends would be kind enough to pour salt on your gaping wound by allowing you to witness their escalating public displays of affection.

Your only choice is to accept your fate, as your existence fades from their memory, until what’s left for you is to go back to your apartment and cry yourself to sleep.

The melodrama aside, we tend to avoid third wheel traps because of the unpleasant things mentioned. However, there are times when an innocent get-together will turn into a single person’s nightmare.

A common scenario would be you and your buddy deciding to get a couple of drinks and do a little catching up later that night. But by the time you arrive, your buddy smiles apologetically and announces that they invited their “lady friend” or “guy friend” along since they’re around the area anyway.

By now, you realize that you’ve been betrayed. It’s too late and too rude to turn back now, so you’ll be spending the next couple of hours being room meat that’s bound to spoil. Oh, how you wish you went straight home to the loving arms *or paws* of your cats. [Read: 10 possible reasons why you’re the struggling single one!]

We now present you with useful tips on surviving such a situation and maybe, get a little revenge on the side. Because it’s only fair, right? In the words of a psychopathic ex, “if I’m not getting any, I’ll make sure nobody will.”

Third wheel survival tips

Third wheel traps usually start pretty much okay – introductions are made, the usual small talk, long-time-no-see’s, and drinking. The party is initially balanced in terms of attention and engagement. But when the time comes and your companions start traipsing into the lush meadows of their budding romance, time to fumble your bag, pockets, and wits in order to reassert your presence. Or you could just play the wallflower all night. Your choice. [Read: 15 reasons why being single can be more fun than being in a relationship]

#1 Use your gadgets *smart phone, music player, handheld console, etc.* Because you can’t thank modern technology for being modern enough to save you in these kinds of situations, you can now keep yourself busy by playing games on your phone or handheld console while your supposed “friends” get their thing going.

In normal social situations, using your phone would be frowned upon, but it isn’t really good manners to stare blankly and watch them suck their faces off either. [Read: 9 social media sites to use to snag yourself a date immediately]

#2 Text or call someone else. It could be your crush, a witty friend, or a long-forgotten acquaintance. If you find that it’s hopeless to get the couple’s due attention, find someone else’s. A witty friend would keep you entertained with their usual antics, allowing you to buy yourself some time until your friends realize their cruelty.

In the same way, texting and flirting with your crush or a sexy friend might increase your chances of getting a date of your own, so that you’ll never find yourself a third wheel in the future. [Read: The step-by-step guide to making a successful booty call]

#3 Observe and flirt with someone in a similar situation. The universe might not be too cruel that it only has you as the in-between in your friends’ make-out session. So brush up on your scouting skills, and survey the area for people of the opposite sex who seem to be in a similar situation.

Tell your friends *if they could even acknowledge you while lip locking* that you’ll just go and get a drink while you approach a cutie at the bar. You could even use your third wheel similarity as a conversation starter. If it turns out well, you would have found yourself a partner of your own while escaping the third wheel pit. [Read: 15 perfect conversation starters you can use as a third wheel]

#4 Keep the conversation going. Another useful trick to keep them from getting sweet while you lapse into a diabetic coma is to get them preoccupied with conversations. Since you’re really desperate to survive the night, you have a no-holds-barred, anything-under-sun range of topics at your disposal.

From friends of friends’ gossip to the latest episode of Game of Thrones, hell, you could even discuss particle physics or the history of curling if you want to. Talk away, and unless they’re really mean, they’ve got no choice but to listen! [Read: How to keep a conversation interesting and fun the whole way]

#5 Blow them away with your humor and story-telling skills. The idea is to steal their attention from each other and direct it towards you. This is tricky, however, and requires a deal of oratorical skills and showmanship. The awkwardness of being a third wheel starts once the silence kicks in. So you need to be careful by preventing this and keeping them entertained by animatedly narrating your old college shenanigans or that movie you watched last night.

If you’ve run out of ammo, make fun of yourself being the third wheel, and get a few laughs. Just don’t hang yourself in your closet afterwards when you get home. [Read: How to be funny and make people love your company]

#6 Cock block them. Now is the time for revenge. If you think you’re up for it, you can ruin the mood and rain over their sweet time. Start conversations about deep and depressing topics like the global recession, existential ennui, the sorrows of the human condition, or that puppy you ran over three years back. Your buddy could hate you for your sabotage afterwards, but it’s every man for his own this time. [Read: What’s a cock block and 11 perfect reasons to use it]

#7 Space out, malinger around. If you think it’s a worthless effort to keep the kissies at bay with talking or with any of your tradecraft, just distance yourself from them once it starts. Go on, take a walk and admire the evening sky or the bar posters.

#8 Find an excuse to bail out. If you’ve exhausted all your options and your friends are close to getting a cab to conclude their canoodling in bed, launch a preemptive strike in the form of a text ruse that something is urgent or you have stuff to do. Never ever allow them to leave before you do. This will be easy because they’ll be too busy to accommodate you anyway.

[Read: How to meet new people and network at a party like a social butterfly]

Being a third wheel sucks, and there are times that you will be caught unaware and find yourself in such an awkward position. But it’s no reason to let your night end like the usual third wheel nights end. So go out there and fight for your right not to bear witness to excessive smooching while you’re alone and lonely.

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Paul Timothy Mangay
Paul Timothy Mangay
Paul aka Morty is a keyboard-pounding cubicle-dweller based in Manila where he occasionally moonlights as a writer for anyone in need of his mediocre word-strin...
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5 thoughts on “How to Survive the Night as a Third Wheel Without Losing Your Mind”

  1. Anna says:

    I have been in that position a few times and mid way through I would always think to myself “this sucks”. As the third week under the urging of both parties saying we would all have fun I found myself feeling pathetic. So finding a distraction to put my attention to so it would not be so blaringly obvious that I was the third, I would call someone or text and converse to pass the time. Also on a few occasions I did end up making conversation with other solo individuals and that was a bit better. In most cases though I would rather take a pass on that option as there is less in it that is satisfying to me and I really think deep down the couple I may be with also.

  2. Valerie says:

    Yeah, I’ve been here on more than one occasion, too. When my best mate found herself a new boyfriend, our relationship went on the back burner. I know, I’ve done the same thing to her in the past, but it’s really boring to go down the pub and just be sitting around lonely all night. When I have to now, I’ll still go out, but I rarely stay out more than a few hours. If it’s really obvious that I’m the third wheel, then I don’t want anyone else to see. I just end up going home if I’m feeling too left out.

  3. Anne says:

    Rather than using your gadgets, why not hit the dance floor and mingle with others? I hate going out for a night when I know right off the bat that I’m going to be the third wheel. That’s not fun for me at all, but if I can split up from the happy couple, then I can definitely get my groove on with others around me and hopefully find someone else to make my own night complete ;).

  4. 3rdie says:

    I actually love being the third wheel, it’s just that I could casually hook up with anyone I want to because I’m single. I may be a third wheel but that doesn’t mean I can’t pick up anybody I want. The couple I’m with are cool with me acting like a slut sometimes. I would just drag someone over to us and explain that I’m a lonely third wheel, before I knew it he’s buying me drinks. Being a third wheel does have its perks, you know. Just try to think positive about it. Everything will go the way you want it to. TRUST ME.

  5. no games says:

    I’ve always been a third wheel all my life and I’m not complaining anymore than the next guy. It’s just so frustrating being the third wheel because you get jealous of your best friend and his girlfriend. I’m a guy that never ever had a girlfriend before and when my best friend got a girlfriend, he thought it would be nice to invite me every time they would go on dates. I ain’t gonna lie though, his girlfriend is so fine. I’d smack that if he wasn’t my best friend. There was this one time though, I was at tmy best friend’s apartment and his girl was there. My boy went out to go buy some stuff from the grocery store because he was going to cook something. Me and his girl friend were talking and then suddenly, she became sexual after a couple of minutes. She asked me if I wanted to get my dick sucked. He started touching my dick and trying to suck it but I said no. I shouted no. I didn’t want to ruin my friendship with my best friend. She kept on coming to me and asked me to hold her breasts. She was slipping her hand inside her pants and fingering herself. I shouted stop! and ran outside. There, I saw my best friend and he got tears rolling down his eyes. He said that I was a true friend! Moral of the story? Always put your condoms in the glove container of your car. Nahh, I was just joking, I really ran outside because I didn’t want to ruin my best friend’s trust in me. The asshole was testing me. Like what the fuck. They had a good laugh about it and his girlfriend said sorry to me. It was funny though, I must admit. It was kind of awkward now though because I saw how horny his girlfriend can get and I might get me some next time. She was faking it though, I don’t know if she would do that to me seriously.

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