• Keeping Friends

Feeling like a third wheel

May 20, 2014 | By | 21 Replies Continue Reading
A young woman introduces two friends and now feels like a third wheel.

QUESTION

Hi,

I hope you can help. I have a best (guy) friend that I have known for about 14 years (I am 16) and another friend (this one is a girl) that I have known for four years. They are both very important to me; I’m basically always with one of them. I introduced them to each other two summers ago.

Since then they have met two or three times, always with me, and they also text a lot. I’m starting to think I made a mistake introducing them to one another because they are now closer to each other then they are with me. I kind of feel like the third wheel in the situation and I do not know how to tell them or make them understand that I am happy they are talking but that when they talk about things I don’t know about, it makes me feel like the third wheel.

Signed, Amanda

ANSWER

Hi Amanda,

I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling left out by your two friends. I’ve heard from other girls and adults who have also felt jealous when they introduce two people who go on to develop their own relationship separate from the person who introduced them.

Next time you’re with both friends and you feel left out, you can tell them in a calm, non-accusatory manner, using “I” statements like, “I feel left out when you talk about a private joke between the two of you.”

I’d avoid trying to hold on too tightly to these friends or placing too many demands, because that would likely backfire and push your friends away.

Over the course of a long-term friendship, relationships often go through periods of more or less intensity. Other friends may be more prominent at times as well. Unfortunately, sometimes friends grow apart or they find more in common with one person than another. Friendship constantly changes as people grow and change.

I know this might not be what you wanted to hear, but you might also want to explore other social opportunities, not to leave these friends behind, but to avoid over-stressing the relationships you have.

Signed, *Amy Feld


*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

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Category: Dealing with threesomes and groups of friends

Comments (21)

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  1. Rosa says:

    I would say find new friends of your own, and there’s nothing to stop you still being friends with them. With the boy-girl situation it sounds like there may be attraction there, which can happen. The thing is, sometimes people can treat friendships like romantic relationships and feel jealous when they become close to someone else. Friendships are not romance! There is no need to feel
    jealous, and they often evolve and change, sometimes you will even need to let go forever. Even if you consider each other best friends, both you and they are ‘free to see other people’. If you remember this, it will likely help next time you encounter a similar situation.

  2. brittany says:

    hi there..my name is Brittany I have a friend I have no for about 10 years and a friend that I have known for about 2 years now. the other week my friend was staying over when somewhere out of the blue my long term friend showed up!
    ever since they have been hanging out and texting each other 24/7 and now I feel like I have nobody to rely on nobody to trust and now it is like, they are closer to each other than either of them were to me!
    I hate the feeling of being a third wheel because I am always invited and then I just somehow always end up in the background
    I have no idea what I should be doing about the situation can someone out there with the same problem give me advice to resolve the matter paining me so much I will forever be grateful

    brittany

  3. Rose says:

    I have a friend whose been friends with another girl for 3 years now, and she is there almost every day of his life, and I’ve only known him for just over a year now, I get along with her and we do a lot together, but I get the feeling she boasts to me about how much they’re together all the time and they have these great inside jokes and stories without me all the time. I know I’m solid friends with this guy but she just makes me feel like the dog at the end of the bed in the relationship, not even a third wheel, I’ve noticed it seriously damages my confidence and I feel like I can’t get close to either of them. When I’m around she has to show off in some way, subtle or big like singing when she claims to be very shy about it, I’m sick of it. I want to enjoy my friends without feeling like I’m in the middle of a competition of attention.

  4. F says:

    Hi
    I met my best friends four years ago and they were already really close when I joined. They always have seemed to be closer and it kind of annoys me. Can anyone give me any advice?

    I always feel like I need to compete to be friends with them just to keep them from blocking me out. What should I do?

    Thanks if you help me,
    F

    • m says:

      I feel the exact same way. I don’t normally comment on these things but your comment literally related to me so much so I felt the need too. I moved to a new school 3 years ago and over those 3 years have developed a close bond with my two best friends. I love them to bits but sometimes I feel so alone and left out because I know they are closer with each other than with me. They are the loveliest people you will ever me but I also cant help but feel really sad and jealous when they share inside jokes or make plans in front of me… sometimes I feel like im whining too much and that I should just be grateful for my friends so I mostly just choose to ignore this feeling however I feel it takes a toll on my confidence as im constantly comparing myself and then feeling like im not good enough… idk really im just hoping this is a phase and it’ll pass.

      • Haley says:

        I knew both of my friends that r dating now for 3 years now . When they hang out its very awkward for me . They always leave me out . And when I tell them straight out that I feel left out , they tell me that I never tried talking to them because when I do they never answer they ignore me . It’s heartbreaking because my friend Nic that’s dating my friend Deirdre they r pushing me out of the way and not talking to me . Me and Nic were so close until they started dating . Me and him haven’t texted in months i havent even called him when I needed help bc he was always by my side . It’s so hard . Bc I never know what to do anymore.

    • Ann says:

      Dear F,
      I would stop being friends with these two people. You shouldn’t have to compete at all. If they were real friends they’d understand. Just tell then how you feel. If that doesn’t work then they aren’t your real friends.

  5. Miya says:

    Well i have 2 friends treat me lijr it
    I have 2 close friends and they always talk about when they hung out and stuff it kinda annoys me and they brag how they are so close
    The other pisses me off.
    She talks about herself only
    She only raises her eyebrows or doesnt say anything or talks to someone else when i say something about myself
    She is annoying
    I cant deal with her
    She steals my friends away, wants to be in the middle all the time, and if im in the middle of chatting with her she leaves and talks to someone else, i hate this friend. I dont wanna try with her but she is my only partner in p.e class 🙁

  6. Xavior says:

    Hi my name is Xavior just like some of you i am also a third wheel ever since last year ive been one it all started last year my 2 friends got in an argument which lead to their departure as friends it remained like that for a month and 3 weeks then after all that time i had hope that they would make peace before the school year ended it happened they made peace i was happy but then after the weekend i was a third wheel it remained like that for about 6 months then they got in another argument over a girl but then again they made peace its like if ever since i left elementary school i lost so much friends and I’m not like my old self but i have to deal with the fact I’m a third wheel i mean my 2 friends up until now text each other are closer and feel better and cooler without me i know i don’t have a social media site , a kik ,snapchat etc. but I’m getting tired of this makes me feel like a very big loser and sometimes my 2 friends can be the biggest fakes and leave a homie out and they may even start clowning on me sometimes which really pisses me off both of them have really changed every things has the good thing is i can finally express my feelings on this website thats why sometimes i hate coming to school because i don’t want to deal with being the third wheel of 2 fake friends.

    • Ann says:

      OMG, Xavier, I have this same problem. Try to talk to these friends of yours. Hopefully they’ll understand. I talked to mine and they don’t give a crap. I’m constantly being ditched by them and they make me feel like a loser. When I’m around them I realize my true purpose to them:being a back up friend.

  7. Libby (not really but want it to be anonymous) says:

    Hi, so i am begining to feel like a third wheel, i have theese two friends (Lets say they are called Jade and Amber) we are all best friends but sometimes i feel left out because they come up with all theese things up (not about me) they are both girls but i met Jade when we first came into year 7 and then just after half term Amber moved to our school. Ever since they have been ‘besties’ and i don’t know what to do. Jade comes to my house at least once a week but i don’t know wether i should tell her how i am feeling. Today was the worst though because they were playing tennis (which Jade knows is my favourite sport) but they wouldn’t let me have a go so i went and sat on a swing not so far away and i heard them laughing. I had been at a lunchtime club the other day and they played tennis again but they said they prefered it when i wasn’t there but when i have Jade over she tells me i am her best friend and so do i but then at school its all about Amber. I like them both but i don’t know wether i am just annoying them by walking around by them or if they are deliberatly making me the third wheel. As well as this Jade and Amber sit next to each other in maths and always work together in other lessons. What should i do, should i tell them how i feel or just let things roll over? Please leave comments and tips on what i should do! P.S- should i show Jade this post or not

    Yours truly,
    ‘Libby’

  8. Maddy says:

    Hi my names Maddy and I am a third wheel, so here’s my story. okay so basically my story starts kind of in 5th grade, so I met this girl named A because I’m not going to say her real name and we were really good friends in 5th grade so 6th grade just came around and this other girl named AA is in a lot of my classes but when A is in our classes they just hang out together and just leave me out and we have this thing called Google Hangouts ( a video chat) and they video chat all the time like every single day after school and right nowci bet they’re video chatting. so they always trade boxes with me giving each other gifts and they always have inside jokes together and I don’t understand a bit of it. I never had to be a third wheel before this is the first time and it really hurts you’ll never ever ever want to be what I have been through. They even fought like a lot I don’t get it I’ve never fought with either of them and I’m still the third wheel please help me they have best friend bracelets, rings,necklaces,and anklets! I feel like I’m basically competing to have someone to hang out with all my other best friends are best friends with someone else like who is their best friend. so thats what I have to say ~maddy

    • Miya says:

      Me too my 2 close friends fight a lot sometimes (most of the time) its physical fighting. And i have to peice them back together cuz they are my bus friends so ;-;

  9. kristen says:

    …its okay its the same with me and my friend I feel left out also ….I told my friend she said “your not the third wheel your my bff”…I felt better!!…then ten min.later she was with the other gurl again…and today I was by myself at school at lunch and in math class because of the girl she hangs with…the girl name is rebecca my bff is iyana well..rebecca and I are friends to but Rebecca is stealing iyana away from me I feel like I’m far away from being the third wheel I feel like the fourth wheel!..I just wanna say its okay I feel the pain and I’m sorry for ur problems and can u give me edvice too?

  10. Mai says:

    Hi,look i have a best friend we were best friends since the 4th grade. Every thing was right until her neighbor which is a scl friend came in and she started hanging out with her more than i do and im getting this feeling that im a third wheel!what should i do please help me

  11. another third wheel says:

    its really annoying cos two of my friends seem to have so many secrets with each other and i get the feeling thet some of them are about me because as soon as i come everyone shuts up immediately and start making random attempts at small talk

  12. stency says:

    Hi my name is stency and I am 13 this questions may be another topic but I would like to k. If ure bff have 2 besty u and the other one but she meet her before me like about 2 year apart she was 5 and I was 6 but basically 7 because she didn’t want my bff to hang with me for some reason but we still hang but sometimes I feel like meika is her favorite but I don’t blame her and she trust her everything but not me I tell her everything but don’t tell me is that a sign of a true friend

  13. Kevin says:

    Hi,

    Please help! I’m gay and my boyfriend and best friend is like my brother, and they have known each other for quite some time. { I’m 14 } and we’ve all been best friends for 1 year. And I have this pain inside me, whenever I see them together when I’m around then, my heart just has this weird pain that I can’t get rid of. I told my boyfriend and he got mad at me for saying that i got jealous. I know we’re friends, but we’re all separated and different now, I just want to show them I’m sorry. We’re all guys, and best friends, and I don’t want to ruin their friendship but I regret ever introducing them. They talk more. Every time I’m around them, they make jokes that I don’t get. I feel left out. I feel unoticed. I want to show them that they can be friends and tell them I’m sorry for acting like a third wheel. I want to keep our friendships, but I want to keep the one I love close. I don’t know what to do, please help. I guess this isn’t understanding, let me rephrase everything. There is me { the gay one }, my boyfriend { the gay one } and my best friend { the bi one } my boyfriend and best friend get along well, and I sit there watch them get along. I feel left out. I don’t know what to do or say. I told my boyfriend and he got mad, I told my best friend and he didn’t understand, how can I tell them I’m sorry and make them understand easily.

    Signed,
    Kevin~

    • kristen says:

      Yeah I feel the pain I feel like the third wheel me and. My bff are going apart because of this girl Rebecca I had to be by myself today at school in math class

    • kristen says:

      …its okay its the same with me and my friend I feel left out also ….I told my friend she said “your not the third wheel your my bff”…I felt better!!…then ten min.later she was with the other gurl again…and today I was by myself at school at lunch and in math class because of the girl she hangs with…the girl name is rebecca my bff is iyana well..rebecca and I are friends to but Rebecca is stealing iyana away from me I feel like I’m far away from being the third wheel I feel like the fourth wheel!..I just wanna say its okay I feel the pain and I’m sorry for ur problems and can u give me edvice too?

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