The paper’s Guide to Being a Third Wheel

Zahir is #trianglestrong

by Zahir Quader

Staff Tricyclist

(Disclaimer: the author of this article wrote this at 1 AM in a Coke Zero fueled rage, and any similarity to anyone living, dead, or Sylvester Stallone’s early work are purely coincidental. It’s for the people so you can’t be mad #JESUS.)

As many people know, making friends is one of the earliest challenges any college student faces, but when you do find that core group of friends it is amazing. Imagine this scenario: you have formed a solid trio of inseparable friends. You do everything together – movies, concerts, bars, videogames, you name it. It’s the bee’s knees, as the kids say. Then something changes, and you find yourself a few steps behind more than once when you go out. When one isn’t around, the other won’t shut up about them. You are eating lunch and they won’t stop gazing deeply into each other’s eyes. If you haven’t figured it out yet you have become a THIRD WHEEL. Your besties have become bang buddies! Fact: the triangl

e is the strongest shape in nature, but those a-holes have decided to tear down that reliable pyramid to walk the thin line called a “relationship,” leaving you to become a lone dot drifting in the wind.

zahir pic

At first you are fueled with a passive aggressive rage that can only be satisfied by the relentless, yet loving, slut shaming of the two people who have broken your heart more than anyone else could. Some common phrases used during this time are hussy, tramp, THOT or my personal favorite, slut (said with love, of course). Yet at the same time you had seen this coming from a mile away, so while you are enraged, you are also filled with a sense of relief that they finally realized something everyone else did back in March. It is a strange dynamic; you are ecstatic about them realizing their true feelings for one another, but you are pissed nonetheless. For instance, a conversation I had with one of my best friends, “Gordon,” went like this:

G: It’s mutual! We’re going up to her room now.

Z: You slut

Z: I’m so proud of you

G: I love u fam


In all the confusion of anger and joy there is one big question that constantly plagues your mind. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Much like any social dynamic, intimacy makes things extremely complicated. There are only two definitive ways this can end. Scenario one: they live happily ever after, you accept the new dynamic, and everything is sunshine and lollipops. Scenario two: the divorce. Much like with Mom and Dad, your “family” will have some troubles. Best case, it is quick, civil, and quiet, with shared custody so you still get time with both. It’s a little strange for a time, but like all things you move on and accept this new reality. Scenario two is much more complicated. Much like how it is shown on reality TV, divorces can get ugly, with screaming, crying, and just general chaos. And again – just like with Mom and Dad – someone is going to be caught in the middle, and that someone is you. Being stuck in the middle, you will not only have to play the part of the child helpless in a conflict that you have no control over, but when the dust settles you are expected to pick up the pieces.

It’s not all bitchy texts and fear of the future that makes a third wheel, though. Once you have accepted your new reality it can actually be quite fun. With all the sexual tension out of the equation, everyone is a lot happier. You can still go out and have fun, preferably in groups of four or more, and this new reality becomes the new norm. All the gossip – and let’s be honest the deets – aren’t too bad either. At some points you get so invested it feels like you care more about their relationship than they do (#Deku x Uraraka goals). Seeing them happy makes you feel a little bit better that the closest thing you have to a relationship is watching Netflix covered in Cheeto dust after crying to the Frozen soundtrack for two hours. Yet there are still some minor inconveniences you have to deal with. From the constant forced blind and other type of dates just so they can go on double dates, to getting weird after forgetting you are in the fucking room, in the end you just have to remember they are the same people they have always been. The only difference is that they go at it like rabbits when you are not around (and sometimes when you are). Being a third wheel can be tough, but in the end you just have to own it. After all, if you are going to be a third wheel, be the best one you can be.

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