wikiHow to Be the Only Single One in the Group

Three Parts:Making it BearableFinding DistractionsManaging the Situation

It's never easy to be the odd one out when it comes to hanging out with couples, or with friends who are all in relationships. Situations like this are almost always exclusively awkward for you as you feel either ignored by a couple or berated by questions about your own love life. Being comfortable when you're the third wheel or the only single one in the group will be about planning, distracting yourself, and keeping the right attitude.

Part 1
Making it Bearable

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    Go easy on the conversation. The worst feeling as a third wheel is never knowing how or when to be a part of a conversation between two romantic partners. Sometimes it’ll feel like you’re stuck on somebody’s else date, and maybe you are. So don’t be afraid not to participate when it doesn’t feel right.[1]
    • Naturally, always speak when spoken to. Don’t be purposefully un-talkative or it might come off as rude.
    • Chime in every once and awhile, especially in conversations the topics of which don’t involve their relationship. If they start talking about future plans, or reminiscing together, feel free to opt out.
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    Don’t make it awkward. While it may certainly be an awkward situation for you, nothing will compound the awkwardness worse than acting awkwardly in response. Not butting into conversations that seem personal to the relationship is important here; being comfortable with your single-dom is crucial here as well.
    • Don’t point it out. You may feel compelled to make light of your situation by addressing it outright: “Feels weird being the only one here without a girlfriend;” “Always awkward being the third wheel, right?” Don’t make it seem any more than a conversation between friends.
    • Let them go on in conversation. Sometimes being around others in a relationship will mean hearing about those relationships, possibly for a long time. Accept the situation and let them talk. It’s better than shifting the impetus of the conversation to yourself.
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    Keep a friendly contact. When the couple you’re with is droning on to one another, or friends in relationships are chatting endlessly about fun couples activities, it’ll help to have a friend to text during the boredom. Use them to blow off steam about the awkwardness or poor conversation.
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    Never take sides. If you’re stuck with a couple who has begun a disagreement, things can get uncomfortable fast. Many times couples will want you to weigh in on their squabble; don’t. You’ll only alienate one or the other of the people you’re with. Be upfront about your neutrality.
    • "Hey, let's not do this now. Try to keep it civil, we're out to have fun!"
    • "I'm not going to be roped into your argument; why don't we try having a good time since we're out together?
    • Fortunately this is a situation where it’s alright to speak a little more plainly, or to voice your awkward position. Hopefully they’ll understand the spot they’re putting you in and back off.
      • "You know it's not nice to put me on the spot like this. You guys can argue, but I'm not going to be a part of it."
    • Be sure to keep up this neutrality after the fact. Even if there’s one or the other you agree with, don’t reveal this later on. It’ll make you come off as dishonest.

Part 2
Finding Distractions

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    Use your friends as wingmen. Couples can be a big help when you're out and looking for someone to introduce yourself to. Any awkward discussion of your personal life can be avoided by turning the conversation on them by asking their opinion on someone. Unsurprisingly, many couples or friends in relationships will delight in your asking them for dating advice.[2]
    • Finding someone else to chat with also means escaping your situation for a bit. This itself isn’t a bad opener for introducing yourself: “Do you mind if I sit here? I have to get away from this couple I’m with.”
    • If it’s something you can control in advance, demand they bring another single friend as a set-up. People in relationships often jump to play matchmaker, and it will at least give you a single person to speak to.
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    Look to your phone. Beyond just having a friend to text every once and awhile, go for all the other distraction your phone can provide. If the couple you’re with is reasonable, they won’t mind you entertaining yourself while they talk amongst themselves. Be sure not to be completely absent, however; only go for the phone when it’s a conversation you clearly don’t have to be a part of.[3]
    • If you’re not with a couple, but instead are stuck as the only single one in a group of friends, it unfortunately won’t do to use your phone to avoid the awkward parts of that situation. In that case your only distraction will be to change the subject.
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    Invite someone new. If you’re lucky, you might have a fellow single friend who’s open to an invitation. Before you invite someone new to stop being the odd one out, check with your friends already together. Hopefully it’s a mutual acquaintance of everyone’s; plenty of people won’t appreciate a stranger joining in unexpected.[4]
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    Have other conversation in mind. As mentioned previously, changing the subject may be the only certain way to avoid the awkward conversation topics which normally befall the single in the group. Feel free when doing this to be a little obvious; anyone especially perceptive with you should take the hint and join in.
    • Discuss your surroundings. If you're in a bar or restaurant, talk about your food or drinks. Talk about the atmosphere, the decor; talk about the music they're playing.
    • Talk about the near future. Vacations planned and events taking place are good fodder for conversation. Take an interest in what your friends have got going on in their lives.
    • Try to expand on any one topic. If you end up talking about the decor of the bar, talk about how you might change it. If you talk about the music in the bar, stretch that to talking about music you like.
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    Change your scenery. Unless you're locked into something like a dinner or a particular event, suggest a change of location to shake things up. Having the group move and do something new helps to move any attention away from you. Even the discussion of "what to do now" can work as distraction enough when desperate.
    • What you suggest will depend on where you are. If you're at a bar, look around for a dartboard, pool table, or air hockey. Games are a great distraction from conversation.
    • If pressed for ideas, just suggest walking the town. It'll give you and your group a chance to see what else there is to do.

Part 3
Managing the Situation

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    If you’re a third wheel, know why. When you’re stuck out with a couple, there are a number of reasons this might be happening. Knowing just why you’ve found yourself in this situation will be key to navigating it. It will determine your social rules of engagement: how to act, what to say, or (perhaps most importantly) when to leave.[5]
    • It might be out of sympathy, or heavy-handed thoughtfulness. Your friend(s) in a relationship might feel like they’ve neglected you, so they’ve offered an invitation to what would normally be their couples activity. Unfortunately in this instance there’s some pressure on you to be grateful.
    • You may have been enlisted as a distraction. Maybe the relationship involved isn’t going smoothly or the two involved want to spend time together, but not only together. Here you’ll do a courtesy to your friend(s) by being engaged.
    • It could just be an accident. You’re out with a friend and their significant other just happens to be around the corner. The friend doesn’t want to end your night but doesn’t want to snub their partner. Though it might not be any fun for you, there’s nothing wrong with bowing out in this scenario.
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    Be in control if you’re the only single one. If you’re in a situation where you’re not stuck between in a couple, but are spending time with friends in relationships, things might feel awkward for you. Fortunately it’s only talk of significant others or prodding into your love life which should make you feel uncomfortable. Steer clear of these by directing the conversation away from sensitive areas.
    • Turn the tables and inquire into their love lives. If you’re stuck out with friends in relationships who feel like offering unsolicited advice, get them talking about their own relationships. If you’re with a number of people who aren’t single, they may just turn to each other for conversation leaving you comfortably out.
    • When among close friends, feel free to give an honest “I don’t feel like talking about this/that.” Anyone who presses will have to suffer coming across as rude.
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    Be a part of the planning. Sometimes the setting of a get-together can make your position as the only single one much worse. Dinners or nights out at a bar are constricting, and limit you to only conversation as the source of entertainment. Insist on being in on the planning, and don’t fear being honest about why.[6]
    • Suggest something active. This might be as plain as moving the group from the bar to the dart board. Or going to a bowling alley or pool hall. Look for anything that’ll allow you interaction without conversation.
    • Try something among a crowd, like a concert. If they insist on a mutual outing, something like a movie or a band’s show would be useful because it doesn’t allow for much interaction. That way you avoid the conversational troubles that come with being the only single one.

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Categories: Single Life