Of others obviously, not mine. I don’t have any – all my friends do though. I was having dinner last night with a good friend from college and her boyfriend when I realized something. Most of my nights out with friends consists of a friend, the friend’s significant other and me. Her, him and me makes three.
Two nights ago, I had dinner with my childhood friend and her new boyfriend (our dinners almost always includes a boyfriend and the boyfriend is always hers). A few weeks ago, my best friend celebrated her birthday with her boyfriend and me. In February, I went out with a close friend of mine from high school and his girlfriend.
Basically, I get invited to a lot of dates. Either that or I invite myself to meet the significant others.
And you know what? I love it. Not kidding. I feel like it’s a super power of mine – to feel naturally comfortable sitting alone on one side of the table across two people who, I like to think, are in love with each other, while not making either of them feel that they have to treat me like I’m a lost puppy or a super spy watchdog.
Over the years, I’ve found that being in the presence of two people who are connected to each other is wonderfully fascinating. There’s always a story there. I like watching how they treat each other, how they talk to each other or how they act around each other. I know my being there changes things a bit but that’s the whole point. I get to understand my relationship with my friends more when I understand how their relationships are with their partners.
There’s something about being able to witness real relationships – old, new, short and true – even if I’m not actually a part of it, that captivates me. I see two people and so much more. I’ve seen the awkwardness of a friend who’s trying to get me to like her date without making it seem like she’s trying too hard. I’ve seen the anxiety in the eyes of a friend’s new boyfriend who’s internally figuring out whether I approve of him or not. I’ve seen affection, companionship, friendship, lust and infatuation. Sometimes, I see love, and if I’m lucky, I can even feel it.
I’ve been told once, quite publicly too, that I am the ultimate third wheel. It’s true, I realize that now. But I don’t see it as something to be embarrassed about, nor do I see it as a constant, blaring reminder of me not being in a relationship. I like being single and being with people who are in a relationship. Truth be told, I actually enjoy being part of these dates more than being with a big group.
Take note, I’m talking to you, guy who labeled me as the third wheel, I used the phrase being part of instead of tagging along, because I may be a third wheel but I’m the wheel in the front. Unlike you, I don’t need a boyfriend to spend time with my best friend and his girlfriend. I don’t force my friend to invite another single friend before I agree to meet with her and her boyfriend. And unlike you, I know how to have fun in all my singleness with people in all their ‘couple-ness’ and, you know what, they also have fun with me.
I may be a third wheel but, damnit, I third wheel like a boss. That, my single and most probably insecure friend, is how I roll.