Your best friend just got back from her honeymoon and you can't wait to hear all about it, but she still hasn't replied to your text. Now weeks have gone by, and all you've gotten was a quick response. You think to yourself: "Did I drink too much at the wedding?" "Was my present lame?" "Did I say something wrong?" No, chances are nothing you have done or are doing right now is wrong. You've just entered a different phase in your relationship: the spare tire.
The difference between the third wheel and the spare tire is that the third wheel usually happens at the beginning of the relationship. You, as the friend, become the third wheel when your best friend and her significant other first start dating, sliding you into second place. This can make you feel left out. However, the difference now is that you've grown to like your friend's significant other and you feel as if you all have become family, but now you have also become the spare tire. Being a spare tire, you are always there but may not always be needed for every part of their journey. Which can sometimes leave you, the friend, feeling less important.
Having patience can be so infuriating (I think I lost mine somewhere during this pandemic), but if you love your friend, understand she may need some time to get her life organized.
How do you know if you're the spare tire? In order to know, you can ask yourself these types of questions: Am I texting too often and not getting a response? Am I intruding into their lives physically or emotionally without being asked? Does my friend only call me or contact me when it's convenient for her? Realizing that you are the spare tire can be emotionally confusing. Friendships should always be a two-way street. Both of you should be equally invested into the benefits of being a true, encouraging, and loving friend. The best way to have a healthy friendship (and any relationship) for that matter is to communicate. If you feel something has happened in the friendship, address the subject. If this "best friend" is only contacting you when she has nothing going on and the friendship seems one-sided, then you may want to re-evaluate the friendship altogether. Don't waste your time on people that don't invest into the relationship.
Do not act like middle schoolers. If this friendship is important to you, handle it like ladies, not like cats fighting on the street.
Sometimes we may not know specifically what might be wrong in the friendship. She just got married. We're feeling ignored. Maybe a little butt hurt that she won't go to happy hour. Whatever the case may be, it's all in the approach. If you want to have a successful conversation with your friend, remember to not accuse her or blame her for anything. You don't know what she may be going through. If you have never been married before, it can be a very stressful time. Think about an emotional event in your life. How did it make you feel? Were there chaotic feelings? Was there a lot of pressure? She probably is coming down from a high of all sorts of emotions and entering a new routine. Change on anyone can be disruptive and can take time to get used to. Having patience can be so infuriating (I think I lost mine somewhere during this pandemic), but if you love your friend, understand she may need some time to get her life organized.
The best way to have a healthy friendship (and any relationship) for that matter is to communicate. If you feel something has happened in the friendship, address the subject.
Remember that needy guy who wouldn't leave you alone the first week of college? The one you probably complained to this best friend about? You don't want to turn into the needy guy, do you? Look, I get it. As strong, independent women, we don't like to admit that we have weaknesses unless we absolutely have to or that we are insecure about things. But it can be healthy and feel really good. If you're feeling insecure about your friendship with your best friend, it'd be better to address some of the concerns now than to become that weird stalker from Tinder who won't stop texting and asking to hang out. Chances are your best friend is going to be really glad that you brought this to their attention, reassure you that nothing is wrong with the friendship, and explain to you what might be personally going on in her own life. Who knows, maybe she's depressed. Maybe there's family stuff going on. And if there is something between the two of you, talk it out like adults. Do not act like middle schoolers. If this friendship is important to you, handle it like ladies, not like cats fighting on the street.
So, if it's a Friday and you're thinking of calling up your best friend to go out for drinks like old times but she hasn't texted you back since the last time you reached out, maybe send her a "thinking of you" text instead of a "spare tire" type text. You're still there, you still care, and you're not going anywhere, but maybe tonight it's about you meeting someone new. Maybe it's time for you to start dating and find a working wheel of your own.
WRITTEN BYLauren Peacock