Rocking As Fifth Wheel

Catherine shares her tips on elevating your social status to “superbly single” when you find yourself as fifth wheel.

There are some girls who hate being around couples; I do not. Despite being eternally single (or maybe because of it), I rather enjoy the company of friends who are in healthy relationships. Besides living vicariously through them and learning through observation of their relationships, I find it is another opportunity to shine socially. Who doesn’t love the superbly single girl?

I love my girlfriends who aren’t in relationships, but remember that girls in relationships can also be “superbly single.” In a room full of girls, it’s easy by default to start wondering aloud why you haven’t met anyone special yet. In a balanced group of guys and girls, the temptation goes away. You also have a chance to learn from your friends and the way they communicate with their significant others.

If you have dinner with a couple girlfriends and they bring their boyfriends, think of it as a way for you to underline your friends’ opinion of you with their significant others. Your girls can speak highly of you until their mouths are dry, but when an unbiased party enters the room and sees for themselves just why you rock then your social points go up. Don’t forget that many couples meet through friends, and a friend’s boyfriend is more likely to keep you in mind if you leave a positively unforgettable impression.

  • First of all, couples are generally not aware of their relationship status in the same way that the lone single girl can feel hypersensitive about her own. (Often they live vicariously through us.) Think positively about your freedom and flexibility; if it’s not a “problem” for you, it’s not a problem for anyone.


  • There are a few ways you can be comfortable and stand strong amidst couples. Go back to the rules of being superbly single: be interesting. Break down that stereotype of the multiple-cat-owning spinster. Read books, watch the news (or read TheSkimm), be knowledgeable about pop culture.


  • … However, you are the “fifth wheel” so refrain from being the one to steer conversations. Let them take the lead, and learn to adapt. Know what interests you, and have the ability to contribute your unique perspective to the conversation.


  • Make them laugh—but don’t make yourself the butt of single jokes; you risk drawing attention to an insecurity that may or may not exist.


  • If you aren’t as comfortable interacting in large groups, take the time to get to know someone you haven’t spent a lot of time with. It gives you a chance to get to know someone better and gives him a chance to know you. You’ll get extra points for taking the initiative to make the individual connection.


  • Be fun, but don’t overdo it. If you haven’t faced the fact yet, you are no longer in college. It’s not okay to be sloppy. It’s not okay to need someone taking care of you, holding you up… especially if it ends up being someone else’s boyfriend. Know your limits, and walk proudly in those heels at the end of the night.


  • Always leave on a high note. You are the odd-woman-out in this group so that makes you the most memorable by default. Seize the moment to make a good impression by letting your personality radiate. Don’t shy away from being who you are.


A single girl’s endgame is not necessarily to be in a relationship, but any girl will benefit from standing out in this unique social situation. Couples can be fun and, again, the opposite of a superbly single girl is not a girl in a relationship… so look at the bright side of being in a fifth-wheel situation: you are extending your social network and giving yourself (and everyone else involved) an occasion to see why you rock.

Weigh in: What have you learned as fifth wheel? What are your tips for rocking it?


xo Catherine

Catherine Abalos is founder and editor of The Single Diaries.

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