Alright Dear Monday Fam we have some things to address… something even more complicated than toxic friends, backstabbing besties, or even b***chy cliques… three person friend groups! We’ve all been there and a lot of us ARE still there! Some of you say that it's manageable and can be a really special bond, while I know that others would recommend staying as far away from three person friendships as possible.
Genuine Trio Squads
If your three person bestie group has been tight for a while and each person is equally close with the other two, it’s expected that your friendship is healthy and that being inclusive isn’t a problem. I’m in a few three person friendships, each held together by an understanding that it’s also totally ok to hang out one-on-one. But not a lot of teen girls can handle seeing their good friends hanging out together without them… it’s painful for sure, especially when they have inside jokes without you or make little routines together. I find that there will always be two of you who are closer at any given time and this sometimes fluctuates. It's inevitable that you three won’t be hanging out all together every single time and you just have to be really secure in your friendship, with STRONG communication and transparency, for this trio squad to work.
POV: You’re the Third Wheel
Maybe it was all an even playing field for a while but now, all of a sudden, you are slowly being shoved out… or maybe you’ve just always felt like the outsider since the beginning? There are a few routes to take…
Option 1: Someone shared a great piece of advice - try to include yourself! If you assume that the other two will Facetime for hours or make plans without you, don’t let it just happen! Initiate plans and turn yourself into the center of the group. Also, make sure you have a super solid friendship with both girls separately and distribute your time between being with each girl individually and hanging out all three together. When you hang out one-on-one, look out to see if they are bad mouthing the other … this is all you need to know about what they’re saying when you’re not there: red flag!!!! Get out quick.
Option 2: I recently was talking to a friend of mine who sometimes acknowledged that she’s a third wheel, the quiet friend in her three person friendship. I wanted to feel bad for her but she wholeheartedly proclaimed that it’s always been like this and she truly doesn’t mind it. She knows that she might not always be the constant #1 in the friendship and that it rarely revolves around her, however she accepts her position as the reliable, introverted friend and that works for her. Wouldn’t work for me, not gonna lie, but maybe that works for you and then I would say - Great! I’m happy that you are honestly content with this.
Option 3: The most common experience - you can't fight that icky feeling of insecurity when they ALWAYS hang out without you, call each other ‘best friend’, choose a two person halloween costume without consulting you first, and make you feel like you're intruding. Someone on Instagram wrote, “It gets lonely being the third wheel because you feel like you’re not enough” (true that!). You’ve probably thought of leaving but don’t have the guts to do it or you came crawling back because you had nowhere else to go. I’m gonna be the one to tell you that for your own well being, let this ‘friendship’ go because it’s just not really a friendship for you. The sooner you move on and find people who actually want to dress up with you (at the least), the better!
I also want to quickly talk about confronting these girls. There's a difference between feeling left out and actually being teamed up against. Of course, I think you should stand up for yourself. Read these two posts which will help with dealing with toxic people in general! However, if you are choosing to speak to these girls in the hopes that they will feel awful for excluding you and will change their ways, you are sorely mistaken. Like I’ve said about boys too… if they wanted to be closer with you, they would. The only thing you can really do is gradually break away. Buttttt, I know the feeling where you’re pissed and hurt and you want the girls who excluded you to know that. If you’re gonna say anything… AND DO IT W CONFIDENCE (to their face, not over text, no crying snap stories) it’s ‘hey guys, in the most genuine way possible, I feel a bit distanced from this friendship and find myself being hurt most of the time. I love you both as people and wish only the best things for you guys but I think I need some space from this friendship. I hope you can understand and one day we can be closer again’. Be mature and be respectful - ALWAYS (no blocking unless necessary).
POV: One Of The Two Closer Friends
I want to speak on the other side here. I find that three person friendships CAN work but again, two girls will always be a bit closer with each other than with the third at some point. Different people will fill different voids in your life and maintain certain qualities that you might appreciate at various points in your life. Whether it be a similar maturity level or a shared experience, your friendships will go through several phases. My advice to anyone who is confronted by the third person is to genuinely be honest with her. I’ve had people confront me and tell me they feel left out and hurt when I’m in a phase where I’m closer with one of the two girls. In no way is it an easy conversation. If you can, really try and step into the shoes of the girl who is feeling excluded and do your best to explain the situation. What I pretty much had to say was 1) this has nothing to do with the amazing girl you are, 2) I’m in a phase where I really connected with ----’s (x personality trait), and 3) I love you SO much and I hope you know that just because I feel super connected to --- right now, doesn’t mean you are any less important to me. At the same time, don’t limit your awesome connection with one friend because you feel the need to always include the other. Of course, take the left out girl’s feelings into consideration but also maybe working on one relationship at a time is better for you at this moment in your life -- that's ok! Again be respectful and act mature!
Middleman When They’re Fighting
Stay neutral baby! Picking sides (although tempting) will lead to your downfall. Your two friends should be able to handle their own problems and if you feel the need to hash this out with them, make a plan in person where everyone is there and your opinion isn’t a secretive thing.
Friend stuff is difficult… we been knew. But, we’re all going through this together and remember that you are not alone.
We got this,