An Open Letter To The Perpetual Third Wheel

Hey, dude. How’s it going? Probably not too stellar, if I can guess. You were probably actually having fun at one point though, right? When your friend and their partner were actually listening to the things you said and not just nodding along absently because they were too caught up in each other? Let’s have a moment of silence to honor all the solid jokes you totally could make but are keeping to yourself because you haven’t actually been included in the conversation for the last half hour.

I know how you’re feeling. You’re ready to just call it quits on this whole thing. Because like, why even bother hanging out with two people who are basically joined at the hip and know each other in ways you probably don’t/would not care to (even though they’ve only been together a couple of months)? You’re probably wondering why you thought this was a good idea in the first place; haven’t you learned your lesson by now? Hadn’t you sworn never to do this again after the last time when you were exposed to countless inside jokes you didn’t understand even after you sat through the whole story and apparently “just had to be there” for them to be funny?

For a while now you’ve been that awkward, vestigial appendage on the singular entity that has become your best friend’s relationship. (Weird how quickly they mold into one being, huh? Even weirder how quickly we begin to feel like an appendix or gall bladder.) But what else are you gonna do on a Friday night? It’s not like it’s that much better to be at home re-watching "Parks and Rec" for the fifth time, even if you wish that was exactly what you were doing. At least you can justify this to yourself because you managed to get out of the house.

You never expected it to be this way at the start. Originally you were there to break the tension, to keep things lively and fun, to make sure there was never a dull moment or uncomfortable lull. And you performed this duty admirably, of course, because that’s what you do for your best friend. Except now your jokes fall on deaf ears as they gaze into each other’s eyes (how have they not managed to walk out into oncoming traffic yet?). Suddenly the only bits of stunted conversation are coming from you, despite how funny that comment you made about the food stand guy’s toupee was. Sorry they couldn't enjoy it, they're just too busy relishing their new-found intimacy while you’re missing the relish on your increasingly soggy hotdog.

This one goes out to you, long-suffering best friend. This one goes out to anyone who has ever found themselves somehow bumping along as the permanent squeaky wheel of the tricycle. You are brave. You are strong. You are appreciated, though you may not always feel like it. Someday your moment will come, though, and maybe you can finally figure out the trick to unicycling and ride off on your own.

Until then, stay strong. Push past the relationship advice they keep trying to offer you (because, like, their relationship is going so well! They’re basically experts!). Keep sticking by your BFF’s side because someday they’re gonna need you and you’ll actually be there because you didn’t give in. You didn’t opt out of AYCD to finish your “X-Files” binge (even though they might have just offered you the invite out of pity).

Someday this might just all be worth it. At least, we have to hope so.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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