Life Advice



Ask Amy: Friendship for three leads to awkward triangle

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I became friends with a co-worker, “Marilee,” two years ago. We developed a great friendship. I recently invited another girl, “Trina,” into our friend group. Trina does not work with us, but we have other common interests.

Recently, though, Marilee and Trina seem to have bonded and are gradually excluding me from things -- tubing, brunches, beach trips, etc.

I am feeling left out and hurt by this. The only time they do want to hang out with me now is to take part in my photography hobby, which involves using my expensive equipment. I feel like they are taking advantage and don't actually want to hang out with me. I don't know what I did wrong.

They're not trying to hide it from me, either, as I see -- almost daily -- posts on social media of them together.

At the risk of alienating myself more, I have not confronted them.

Are they trying to be hurtful or are they genuinely oblivious to how their actions could be perceived?


Left Out in Lancaster, PA

Dear Left Out: “The rule of three” refers to the symmetry inherent in a trio. This surfaces in art, music, design – and even comedy (listen to a classic “rim shot” – it’s a three!). The triangle conveys a sort of pleasing and complex balance – and this balance seems to work -- except for when it comes to human relationships. That’s when an equilateral triangle becomes an isosceles, often with one person isolated at the farthest point.

This challenging “odd man out” human dynamic happens at every stage of life -- from childhood to old age.

I very much doubt that you have done anything wrong. You should accept that these two women seem to have formed an exclusionary friendship.


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