At some point in your life, you may find yourself sandwiched between a couple either as both of their pseudo-buddies or because your bestie shacked up.
Unless your name is Harry, Ron or Hermione, being the third wheel can be tricky. (And TBH, I never was clear on who was third wheeling in that friendship circle anyway.)
Before you get all "sucks to be me" about it, wait, because it doesn't HAVE to be terrible!
Here is how you can rock being the third wheel.
1. Get over yourself.
Look, it's happening. The three of you are a "thing." Due to social or outside circumstances, you're being forced into hanging out as a trio, like, all the time.
There are a few reasons you might have landed here in the first place. Maybe it's the kind of situation where your bestie is suddenly bringing her boyfriend everywhere, or your roommate is shacking up in your apartment.
Try making the best of the situation and get to know homeboy. The quicker everyone can normalize the three of you spending lots of time together, the better it will be for everyone.
Or maybe, two of your close friends just started dating — gasp! — and now it's on you to navigate the new normal.
Third wheeling is kind of like that thing where it's only real if you make it real. It COULD just be a group of friends hanging out and you HAPPEN to be the single person in that group. No need to invent awkwardness where it isn't necessary.
2. Try to be an equally loyal friend.
To soften your potentially uncomfortably sitch, try finding a fair balance of loyalty and trust with both of them.
Forging individual relationships with the couple will make your life so much easier, because sooner or later, they are going to ask you to weigh in on whats going on with them.
Better to have all the facts straight and an educated opinion on the matter.
3. Establish boundaries.
And by that, I mean establish YOUR OWN boundaries. AKA, don't let them ask you to keep secrets from the other person or have them put you in the middle of an argument that you have nothing to do with.
You're there as their friend, not the tie-breaker in an argument about who is right and who is wrong.
Also, what's your stance on PDA? If they can't keep their hands off each other in front of you, decide if it's you or they who should leave the room.
OR, are there "hands off" scenarios, like if you are all at the movies together and don't need Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb slobbering on one another while you're trying to figure out if Matt Damon lives or dies?
4. Remind them of their roles in YOUR life.
If they start to purposefully make you feel left out, figure out how you are going to want to address it with them.
They ARE a couple, but they don't need to make you feel like you're riding in the back seat every time you're out together. (Even if that's where you have to sit because of like... car seats and math and stuff.)
Plus, they are supposed to be as good of a friend to you as you are to them. Even if it seems like they are wrapped up in their own drama or worlds, try saying to them, "Hey guys, I know you have xy and z going on, but I need to talk about this right now."
Lucky you, you have double the ears to listen!
5. Leverage the situation to your benefit.
How can you best spin this into a positive? Maybe... you get all the benefits of going on a date (think booze, a reason to dress up, appetizers), plus the additional bonus of being able to split the tab three ways instead of two?
Also, you get to pick and choose which events and activities you feel like being a part of, whereas they are kind of stuck doing whatever their significant other wants to do.
Not to mention, it kind of sounds like you have TWO best friends instead of one.
And as an added bonus: You have the ideal couple to test-run new potential lovers for you, by going out on double dates or having them vet people in advance. Whoever the fourth wheel is, they gotta fit into this well-oiled machine.
Point is, think of being the third like being in an extra SPECIAL relationship. Double the giggles, double the laughter, double the drama (I guess)... but also double the fun.