Bringing in the Third Wheel

Bringing in the Third Wheel

| Kahdija Imari

Have you ever seen two people conversing and they just connect with one another so well that they’re hardly finishing words and sentences yet the conversation continues fluidly?


Maybe you’ve been one of the people in that conversation…
Sharing the vibe with your best friend…


Laughing ahead of time because you already know what the other is about to say.


Or maybe what they just said or did sparked a funny memory you both share and now you can’t stop laughing.
Well, now imagine you’re the third wheel…


You are sitting at the same table with these two chatter boxes, but they are carrying on a full conversation and haven’t even realized they left you behind.


When I say left behind I’m referring to small nuances such as inside jokes or references such as nicknames that the two are aware of, but you are not.


And as such, your understanding of the topics being discussed has dwindled to zero.


As in, you might as well be sitting at your own table gazing at them from across the room as you fashionably people watch.


There is much that can be learned about a person sitting in either seat during circumstances such as this.


But today, I’d like to talk about the burden of responsibility in communication.


First and foremost, communication is everyone’s responsibility.


Person 1, 2, and 3, are all in some way responsible for communicating clearly and effectively to their targeted audience.


Whether conscious or unconscious, I believe that each person decides and defines who their target audience is.


Referencing our 3rd wheel example, person 1 and 2 have decided their target audience is one another. Thus, tailoring their conversation for person 3 is not on their list of priorities.

The consequences of this decision can include:

  • person 3 feeling like they don’t fully understand the topic being discussed
  • person 3 feeling like the others don’t really want them there
  • person 3 feeling like the conversation would be much better if they weren’t present
  • person 3 feeling like they waisted their time by sitting to chat with the others
  • person 3 walking away with little knowledge of what was discussed
  • person 3 making their own assumptions to fill in the gaps of what was not said in complete thought or thoroughly explained

This is by no means an all inclusive list of the trickle down effects that can occur from the present audience being different from the target audience.


But these are very real things that can happen when a 3rd wheel is not brought into the conversation and made to feel like they are part of the group.


In which case, they would effectively no longer be a 3rd wheel, but a 3rd person in a group of 3 people.


So if you find you’re chatting it up with your bestie, but you’ve invited a new person to join you both, don’t forget they’re there.


They have feelings also.


And as the person who invited them and who knows both parties (even if you’ve only known the new person for 5 minutes), do your best to bring them into the conversation.


Define your quirky sayings..


Tell the short story of the inside joke that relates to the new joke you just made..Choose to consciously and actively bring the third person into the conversation.


After all, it is partly your responsibility.