CM’s Guide to Cutting Out the Third Wheel

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By Karen Turner > Junior > English and Psychology > University of Maryland 

Everybody’s had to deal with that annoying friend, roommate, brother, sister, etc. that just won’t leave you and your boyfriend alone. But who wants someone hanging around when you’re with you guy? It’s like adding a third wheel onto a bicycle: it just doesn’t work. But how do you effectively get rid of this social leech?

Scenario One: You come back from a busy day of classes and are delighted that your guy is already hanging out at your place watching TV. You’re all ready to join him on the couch when your roommate, the perpetual third wheel, suddenly walks in to the room and takes your spot on the sofa. Not only is she hogging the best spot for snuggling access, but she ruined a chance for some rare one-on-one alone time with your boy.

Solution: While this scenario is certainly annoying, it’s not worth getting too worked up about. Keep in mind that she sees nothing wrong with the situation; in fact, she’ll likely throw around some comments trying to get you to leave, like “I thought you had class,” “I think we were about to take a nap,” or even “David, is your room empty right now?” Ignore the remarks and mark your territory by confidently sitting on the couch with them, regardless of how little room might be available. Squeeze. Sit on some laps if necessary. 

Scenario Two: You’re at dinner with your man on what would be a romantic date, but of course, your roommate is there, third wheeling as usual. You’re trying to enjoy both of their company, but she’s being especially snappy tonight. She keeps asking what you’re doing there and why you’re not out with your friends, if indeed you even have any friends, she adds. She even takes advantage of your guy’s gentlemanly kindness by letting him pay for her dinner. Normally you would be happy that he treats your friends so well, until he tells you that he doesn’t have enough cash to cover your meal too. At this point, your roommate has seriously ticked you off. 

Solution: Your third wheel has really crossed the line into inappropriate behavior at this point. She’s acting rude towards you, territorial towards your date, and keeps babbling some nonsense about “the worst date ever” and “being David’s girlfriend.” While it seems like this would be a good time to confront her about her third wheeling, it’s really best to ignore the remarks, and your roommate, completely. From this point on, address your man and your man only.

Scenario Three: You’ve been trying to get some cute photos of you and your guy up on Facebook, but every picture you try to take seems to include your roommate! She’s so desperate to be photographed that she’s crowding in to make sure she gets in the frame, often leaning on, hugging, sitting on his lap, even kissing your guy!

Solution: The best tactic to make sure you that you capture some couple photos roommate-free? Just remember that the photographic medium can be highly illusory. When your guy is in a non-moving position, such as seated on the couch or perhaps asleep in his bed, pose for a self-taken picture while slyly aiming the camera at your guy. This can be tricky, but trust me, practice makes perfect. Another method is to crop everybody else out of existing photos of you and your man. 

While getting rid of a third wheel like my roommate can be tricky, just remember to stay persistent, ignore any derisive comments, and keep your eye on the ball.

College Magazine Staff

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