Being Single Dating & Love

5 Benefits of Being the Third Wheel

Third-wheeling isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

What if we told you being a third wheel might just help you find love?

If you’re like most people, that sentence is already making your skin crawl. Third-wheeling has a largely negative connotation. You can practically feel yourself back in high school, the awkward single soul watching your best friend make out with her new boo over a plate of pasta at Olive Garden.

Third Wheel - jealousy

But unless your friends are real jerks (or if you’re sixteen), that’s likely not going to be the case as an adult third wheel.


What is Third-Wheeling?

In case this is a totally unfamiliar term, we’ll lay it out for you. Third-wheeling is basically when one party spends quality time with a couple. Picture yourself grabbing dinner with your bestie and their significant other (minus PDA sesh). In this scenario, you’re the third-wheel – hurray!

The term is not limited to a party of three, though. You can be a fifth-wheel with two duos, or a seventh-wheel with three. The job of being the odd one out can extend infinitely depending on how many couples you know – and the older you get, the more twosomes you tend to know.

Third Wheel - three fingers

It’s easy to see why, at surface-level, this sounds…not ideal. Third-wheeling has a funny way of making you the designated photographer for those “candid” kissing shots. Or easy bait for that creep at the bar who can clearly see you’re being left out of the conversation.

But we’re here to build a case for why third-wheeling is actually beneficial, and not something to be afraid of.

Third Wheel - jealousy

5 Benefits of Third-Wheeling 

1. It’s the best way to spend quality time with your friend’s partner.

Sure, you can chat up your bestie’s new boo in a group setting, but you’ll get real quality time with them if you agree to join the two for dinner. Being the third wheel on a date gives you ample opportunity to bond over bread baskets and develop inside jokes.

Plus, just think about how much more you can interrogate them over dinner compared to at a party with lots of distractions and an easy chance for them to flee your inquisitive stares?!

Third Wheel - happy friends at dinner

2. It shows your friend that you care about them and their happiness.

Happily resuming the role of the third wheel is a testament of your love for your friend. Especially since many other friends would probably shrivel at the invitation to third wheel on an ice cream date.

The reality is, the relationships our friends get into in their early adulthood could end up being their life partner. Invest in getting to know them early on, and show your friend how much you care about them. How awkward would it be to learn their name for the first time on their wedding day?

Third Wheel - happy friends at coffee3. You’ll quickly become their partner’s favorite friend. 

If you’re the friend who is always down to hang out and get to know your friend’s partner, their partner will love you in return. Who doesn’t appreciate someone who takes a genuine interest in them?

Furthermore, your friend’s significant other might become your new friend if you really hit it off. Then there’s one more person for you to invite to your birthday party or play beer pong with at the next pre-game. As long as, ya know, you’re not tryna steal anyone’s man/woman.

Third Wheel - happy friends

4. You won’t be seen as the friend who never shows up to plans.

Ever been invited to something, only to find out it’s going to be all couples? Or had your best friend and their partner invite you to go to a concert, but you felt weird third-wheeling? If you can get over your fear of being the third wheel, you’ll have many more social events to attend.

If your friend is a chill person, they’re not going to romantically split a piece of spaghetti with their date right in front of you. It’ll just be three people enjoying a dinner together (and then two people going home to rendezvous while you get to go binge Gossip Girl for the seventh time through. And really, which sounds more fun?).

And, if you’re that friend who’s always down to hang, you’ll get more invites in the future…and who knows what kinds of people that could bring into your life?

Third Wheel - happy friends at ice cream

5. It’s good karma for your own love life. 

Plain and simple, supporting your friend’s relationship will help you one day get into your own. After all, the law of attraction does state that “you attract the energy that you put out in the universe.”

Emitting positive energy towards your friends’ relationships will help you receive that energy back in the form of your own significant other (like, if you want one. Gossip Girl is always there for you).

You don’t need to third wheel for the sole purpose of finding a partner, but it is a good way to spread positive energy towards the people you care about.

And if you don’t believe in manifestation, you can at least know this: befriending your friends’ partners opens the door to a steamy hook-up with their hot friends. It’s a win-win-win.

By Jess Lohr

Jess is the co-founder of Adultescence, a podcast, blog and social media brand for twenty-somethings making the transition from life in college to adulthood. She writes about dating, friendship, money, and career. She also specializes in consumer insights, and is passionate about helping brands infuse the voice of their customers into their marketing, product, and CX strategies.

In her free time, you can find Jess spinning at The Handle Bar, obsessively consuming personal finance content, and playing with her adorable (but chaotic) puppy, Luca. You can follow her on Instagram @jesslohr or on LinkedIn.

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