Being the third wheel

I’m sure we’ve all felt this way at some point in our lives.

You know what I mean. When you’re out in town with a group of friends, and everyone ignores you. Everyone talks over you. Everyone walks ahead of you. You know what I mean.

Why do people feel the need to be so self-absorbed? Why do people just straight up ignore you if it’s convenient for them to do so? Why do people ditch you in favour of others, despite saying that you’re one of their best friends?

At the end of my final year of secondary school, I found myself with very few friends. A lot of unnecessary drama happened in the space of a few short months, and our group became divided as a result of that. Two of our friends started dating each other, and basically left very soon after. Two of my other friends became very close. My former best friend of fourteen years got very upset over this, and almost immediately tried to steal the spotlight, ruining a relationship between one of said friends and her boyfriend in the process. My former best friend left the school as soon as she figured out that her attention-seeking behaviour was pointless, as it wasn’t getting her anywhere.

For that entire time, I was essentially shoved to the side. I wasn’t important. I wasn’t wanted by anyone – I wasn’t anyone’s best friend – so I was ignored. When our final year of school ended, there were only three of us left. My two friends, who had been the target of my former best friend’s jealousy – and me.

I thought things would get better after that.

But they didn’t.

They really, really didn’t.

During that summer, when I was spending more time with my two friends, I began to understand my former best friend’s frustration.

They appeared to be in their own little world. As if they were both inside a bubble, cutting themselves off from everyone around them, and only focussing on each other, and nobody else. They both had so many inside jokes with each other, so that every time I met up with them, it was almost as if they were speaking in a language that I wasn’t completely fluent in. I could grasp at bits and pieces of their conversation, but the majority of it just sounded like unintelligable babble.

They weren’t quiet. They weren’t subtle. They would laugh louder than I thought humanly possible, at stupid things that really weren’t even that funny. They would laugh so loudly that it could be heard across the entire park. People stared. They embarrassed themselves. They embarrassed me. Yet they decided it would be a wonderful idea to continue to do this. Every. Single. Time.

Speaking of conversation – it was almost impossible to have any kind of intelligent conversation with them. Anything I said would get ignored. Sometimes one of the two friends would actually say the exact same thing as me a few seconds later, and the other would act like it was the best thing they had ever heard. Completely ignoring the fact that I was the one who had originally said it.

It sickened me to the core.

Attempting to arrange anything was also almost impossible. It appeared that they wouldn’t respond to anyone but each other. The same went for contacting them online. My messages went ignored for days on end. But when the other friend posted something on the Facebook group chat, their message would get a response within minutes.

I distinctly remember going to see a movie with them one time, and one friend covering the other’s eyes every time something that would upset them came onto the screen – yet they didn’t care about me. They knew that churches make me feel extremely uncomfortable, as they bring back extremely bad memories; so much that I sometimes pass out just seeing one – and that goes for seeing one in a film or television show, as well as in real life. Even photographs can be enough sometimes. One of my friends had seen the movie already. She knew that there was a really long scene with a church in it. She didn’t care. She didn’t tell me about it at all. All she cared about was her best friend. She was so determined to go to see this movie, just because it was some stupid inside joke with her and her best friend. I wasn’t even an afterthought. I wasn’t thought about at all. I was just there. Merely existing in that moment.

I passed out during that scene.

I hope the joke was worth it.

 

 

I recently met up with them again. They haven’t changed. Yet they still go around telling everyone that we’re a “trio”.

I’m sorry, but we’re really not.

A trio wouldn’t cut out one of the friends in said trio. A trio wouldn’t talk over and ignore one of the friends in said trio. A trio wouldn’t deliberately show one of the friends in said trio something upsetting to them, just so they could amuse the “more important” friend.

I’m going to say this now, because I feel like it really hasn’t been said enough – cutting someone out so you can be with your best friend isn’t cute. It isn’t “friendship goals”. It’s rude. It’s degrading. It’s potentially dangerous. It can have serious effects on that person’s mental health. I know it’s had serious effects on mine.

Every time I meet up with my friends, I feel like I just want to get up and walk away. To just leave. I feel like I’ve made a mistake by agreeing to meet up with them, because I feel more alone when I’m with them than I ever do when I’m by myself. I feel like they just wouldn’t care if I left. If I wasn’t there. If I didn’t exist. The conversation and annoying laughter would continue like normal. Hell, I’m not a part of the conversation anyway, so why should I stay around? I already know that they go out together without me. And then proceed to rub it in my face when I’m actually with them. Rubbing the fact that they’re best friends with each other, and I’m not part of their duo, in my face. Constantly rubbing so much salt in the wound, that the wound will never heal.

Being cut out by two close friends, who then continue to insist that you are one of their best friends, is a very depressing feeling. It encourages you to isolate yourself. To feel reluctant to pursue other friendships, because you’re afraid that the same thing is going to happen with other people.

And then the people who caused all of this continue to skip off into the sunset, arms linked with their best friend, whilst leaving you stranded, alone in the dark, in the rain.

And yes – it will make you stronger. It will make you less reliant on others. It will make you more independent.

But at what cost?

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