Selection rules for nonlinear three-wave interactions are derived on the basis of the symmetry of the background medium and the waves themselves. The process described bypasses the formal derivation of the coupling coefficient itself. The primary concern is with the effect of the polarization of the waves on the selection rules. Although consideration is limited to three-wave interactions, the method is easily generalized to more waves. Results are derived for these examples: three waves with parallel propagation vectors in an unmagnetized medium, and three waves propagating parallel, and then perpendicular, to a static magnetic field.