How to Be a Male Third Wheel

Fellow blogger Penelope is launching her newly designed blog,, with a complementary blog entry about how to be a female third wheel. Both of us have experienced what it’s like to be a third wheel in our days as single people, so we thought it might be helpful to you other third wheels out there to know how to fulfill (and be fulfilled) in that role.

And no, we’re not talking about threesomes today.

Don’t whine about being single. If you’re not happy about your dating situation, don’t complain about it. It’s possible the couple will delight in thinking of good matches for you, but no one likes a whiner. Instead, tell funny and entertaining stories about the single life. That way the couple can live vicariously through you and your exploits.

Ask good questions. This goes without saying for any conversation, but there are some particularly fun conversation topics that can be broached with a couple. Have them tell embarrassing stories about one another or get them to talk about past girlfriends/boyfriends. Or talk about their current relationship. Don’t act like a therapist–that would be weird. But you can bring up some quirky aspects of their relationship and have some fun with it.

Space out the seating arrangement. This may be out of your control, but if you can make sure that the opposing couple isn’t right next to one another, that’s ideal. The closer they are, the more inside jokes, whispers, and caresses you’re going to have to compete with.

Don’t overstay your welcome. You know that episode of Seinfeld where George makes one really good joke at a staff meeting and then immediately heads home for the day, leaving everyone with a really good impression of him? Two words: Do that. At some point the couple is going to want to start to do couple-y things with each other, and it’s your job to cut the cord when the time is right.

What does any of this have to do with being male? Just be conscious that adding you to the equation makes the guy to girl ratio 2:1. This isn’t guy talk time. Leave the fantasy sports at home. Be relevant, be considerate, be topical. Also, be respectful. Nobody wins if you go home with the girl and your guy friend goes home alone.

All I have to say is that being a third wheel can actually provide you a unique opportunity to get to know friends who are couples in a new way. You can see a different side of those people than when they’re separate or in a bigger group.

Last, I want to say to all you people who are dating out there: You don’t need to do everything as a couple. You too can be a third wheel at times. With only yourself to rely on instead of a partner to work off of, you might just grow as an individual by being a third wheel.

For a way more entertaining take on being a female third wheel (it includes the line, “I always like to push for the couple I’m hanging out with to get laid”), head on over to Penelope’s blog.

3 thoughts on “How to Be a Male Third Wheel”

  1. Three words: “light and fun.” These are my goals, dating or single, but if you’re a third wheel, I think it’s especially good to remember. It’s the same as your first suggestion, but more positively focused which makes it easier to implement (what to do instead of what not to do).

    Admittedly, there are always times in life that you have talk about whatever is frustrating you, big or small. But we sometimes overestimate the theraputic value in comparison to the cyclical nature – when you talk about what annoys you, and it just stays on your mind and bugs you more. Sometimes the only way to have fun is to… have fun. (Deep Thoughts by Lisa)

    Maybe it’s me having been single enough times – I think it’s harder to be on the couple side and be a good first or second wheel. As a single person, you’re the only one in charge of what you do or say or how you act. As a couple, you have another person to “be responsible for” or include in the equation somehow. Any couples (former or current) who can weigh in on that?

  2. I agree with Lisa – it is challenging to strike the right balance as a couple hanging out with single friends. My girlfriends all like my husband, and we have fun as 3, but as a result, my girlfriends never make it clear whether they are intending to invite both of us or just me when they make plans with me. There have been times when I’ve “sensed” that a friend wanted a ladies-only outing, only to show up and have them ask where my husband is and why he couldn’t come. My husband and I have been together for over 7 years, so we’re definitely not one of those joined-at-the-hip couples that can’t do anything without the other, but it would be nice if my single friends could make their expectations more clear either way. As it is right now, I just guess randomly whether I should invite my husband to join us and sort of switch back and forth every other outing with one particular girlfriend between inviting him and not inviting him.


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