I feel like we just got into 2013 but with all the decorations and featured items, Valentine’s Day’s around the corner.

To all of you that have gotten that invite out of pity, duty or whatever the case may be to join your friend and their boyfriend/girlfriend, don’t get stuck on third wheel syndrome!! Yes, sometimes we’re all friends, and yes, the couple can be considerate and not all over each other in public.

Here we’ve got some funny words you’ve got to know for this Valentine’s Day!

电灯泡 (diàn dēng pào): third wheel; unwanted party spoiling a couple’s date

In Chinese, this phrase literally means a light bulb; however, is used quite often as third wheel. Picture a dark room where a couple can have intimate conversations and be alone. Insert a light bulb and everything is suddenly too open, bright, public. Don’t be that light bulb.

Example A:
“lín zhì yǐng lín xīn rú ‘guó jù’ mì liáo zhōng hàn liáng chéng diàn dēng pào“
“林志颖林心如“国剧”密聊 钟汉良成电灯泡”
“Jimmy Lin and Ruby Lin’s secret chat at the ‘national opera’ makes Wallace Chung a third wheel“

Example B:
“zài tián mì qì fēn zhōng, xiù yán mā jué dìng bù dāng diàn dēng pào, yǐ shàng cè suǒ wéi jí kǒu lí kāi le zhēn xùn shì”
“In the sweet atmosphere, Mother Xiu decided not to be a third wheel anymore, excusing herself from the room by going to the bathroom”

When stuck on this syndrome, you’ll feel a bit awkward (尴尬 – gān gà).

No one ever really wants to feel out of place so why put yourself in that position? A few years back, it might have been the perfect situation to put your hands together & do the awkward turtle motion. (remember those?)

尴尬 (gān gà): awkward; embarrassing

Example A:
“wǒ zì jǐ zé gān gà de zuò zài shā fā shàng zhěng lǐ yī shān”
“I awkwardly sat on the sofa folding cloths”

Example B:
“huán wèi gōng rén wéi fǎ shàng lù gōng zuò, gān gà le shuí”
“Who feels awkward with the sanitation law breaking workers on the road”

Here’s your cure for this third wheel syndrome: refuse! I’ve used this line so many times to dodge being stuck between Romeo & Juliet’s night of romance, and my night of trying to escape it.
“I don’t want to be the third wheel.”
“Wǒ cái bù xiǎng dāng diàn dēng pào ne.”