It’s funny, I was laying in bed (really the couch) this morning (“this morning” defined by 2-5am when either someone woke up screaming, I had to pump, or some other fun activity) – feeling uninspired. I want to keep writing, but the mood really needs to move me in order to do so. I can’t just pick up a “pen” and start.
I thought about recent occurrences with one baby or another – none felt funny enough, or heart wrenching enough, that they’d be worthy of putting pen to paper.
I’d already touched on all things job/career/dream related. I’ve done the “amazing husband” post. I felt like I might just need to take a brief hiatus until inspiration struck.
And then it did.
I write a lot with humor, or babies, but if I get to the heart of it, I don’t really write about me. Sure, me as a mom, me as a wife who doesn’t clean enough. But not truly, deeply about me.
So this one, is, about me.
I’ve been lucky in life to meet incredible people. I have so many friends and acquaintances, that I lose track. Friends and family say I “collect people”. This is not intended to be a popularity contest. Quite the contrary in fact. The joys of having so many friends – is that you can always be in touch with someone about something.
But if I’m being really honest, it can be really lonely. It means, it’s hard to have the “best friend” people always talk about.
In my life I’ve been a part of many social circles, hell I’ve created most of them. And though, maybe I’m at the epicenter – it’s kind of like everything is floating around me.
I’m not blaming anyone really – I’m sure I’ve done it to myself. But throughout my life, I’ve constantly found myself in friendships with two other people, and am always the third wheel. We may all be close. But they are ALWAYS just a little closer. I inevitably find out after the fact, that plans were made, and I wasn’t included. Conversations were happening, and I wasn’t a part of them. And if really listening to myself, it makes my heart hurt. I’m a friendly person. I’m a social person. Believe I try to not let anyone feel left out. Go out of my way to include and connect people. If you’re reading this, you probably wouldn’t have imagined this about me. But I’m in a constant state of feeling left out.
I’m sure if I brought this up to friends they would offer up, oh we didn’t think you’d be free because…pregnant/102 babies/haven’t slept/assumed you couldn’t make it. But I wish people would let me make that decision. If that’s even the case. Maybe they simply don’t think (want?) to include me.
Or, and maybe I haven’t gotten to the heart of it – but maybe there’s something about me that isn’t best friend material.
I’m certain there are things I’ve done in life that have gotten me here. Instead of saying Yes to everything, I have been inclined to say No. I don’t always put myself out there, often times prefer the comfort of my own home to a party/bar/girl’s night out. So people around me get closer, and I, get sleep or TV (or at least used to, now I just get peed on – and not even in “that kind of way”).
And though all the above may be true, I also get sad when people choose everyone else (anyone else?) over me.
Granted I don’t want to be friends – or best friends with everyone – but those I’m close with, I wonder why they are closer with that one other person – and choose not to be, with me? The reality is, I might actually say no to the invite, but I’d like to be asked.
Maybe I don’t offer open conversation or invites to friends – though I think I do. At the end of the day, it just makes me think people like other people more than me. And that’s just a shitty feeling. I understand this is life – and of course this is going to happen. But it’s astounding how in my entire life I continue to find myself in this role as the odd (wo)man out.
I’m not unhappy. Hardly. I’m ecstatic about where I am in life. But this is a recurring theme that reared it’s head again this morning, and made me realize I’ve never fully processed it out loud. I’ve repressed it for sure. But ultimately – it returns.
So I guess this a post to just reinforce that everything you see isn’t the whole story. There is ALWAYS more. And just once in my life – outside of my marriage, of course – I wish someone (someone I would want too) would want me as their person, their second wheel, not an afterthought.
2 thoughts on “Always The Third Wheel”
This post has really resonated with me. I am the third wheel. Always have been, in every relationship other than my marriage. I have made countless introductions and connections but always end up in the same place you thoughtfully describe. I often wonder why that is, and what I can/should do to change that. A lot of is my fault, really. I am a very weird mix of (often extreme) inro- and extrovertedness and while I love being around people and doing things, I get overwhelmed quickly and crave time alone (which, as a parent, never happens…). So perhaps in some ways I make myself the third wheel… but by the time I realize this, it’s too late in some ways. Other friendships have gotten stronger and I feel like I am always playing catch up, even though I know I will never actually fully catch up. And, that is exhausting… And, it makes my heart hurt, too.
The reality is that between parenting an almost 4 year old who has never slept well and still goes to bed at almost 10 flippin PM, a now 16-month struggle with infertility and loss (and the huge time commitment that whole thing has been and will continue to be), a full time job (which I have been in way too long and I should really be planning my next move, but need to prioritize things outside of work for now…), trying to keep my marriage together through it all… I often have little energy to do much more than survive each day… So in some ways it’s ok for me to not have more to do or worry about missing… but then again I do wish there was someone who “forced” me to do more, or at least give me the opportunity to see what I am choosing to miss out on. I feel like I’ve settled into my role as the third wheel so well, that I often don’t know what others are up to, I just know they’re up to stuff.
It took me days to gather the courage to post this comment! It’s a weird thing to realize this about yourself and makes me feel so vulnerable to admit to so publically! Thank you for giving these feelings a place, so to say.
Thank you for sharing this with me. And for being so brave as to pull it out from – likely – deep within – and have the courage to say it “out loud”. I’m sorry you’re feeling like at this point you’re just trying to survive each day. If this is a recurring feeling, please let me know. I have some amazing resources to connect you to. Maybe these admissions are the first steps in getting to a place where not only can you survive each day, but find your self worth. Please let me know if there’s a way I can help.