How good was Friends? How good is watching Friends re-runs even now?!
Yep, this 90’s show was a big part of our youth. I even remember having ‘Friends with friends’ nights, where we’d devour the latest episode together and chat about whether we were more like Monica, Chandler, Joey, or Rachel? No one wanted to be Ross.
But Friends wasn’t just entertaining, it also helped us to navigate life. Here are nine life lessons it taught us.
1. Always say you’re sorry
Whether you just bit your mum’s head off for giving more well-meaning baby advice, or snapped unfairly at your partner, Friends taught us to never be too proud to apologise. Because our relationships are more important than any gripe we may have with the people in our lives.
Just think about when Monica releases her long-loved ‘baby name’ to Rachel because she loves her more than the name. Awww.
2. You don’t need to settle for a Barry
We’ve all had a Barry-type boyfriend, that guy we dated but thank gawd didn’t end up with. When Rachel runs out of her wedding to Barry, she starts a new and fun life in New York City, proving that none of us should settle.
But the settling thing goes beyond relationships. Rachel doesn’t settle for a job she doesn’t love (and isn’t particularly good at) but pursues her dream of a fashion career, eventually landing a job at Ralph Lauren.
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3. Just be you and celebrate it!
We are all different in this world and each of the characters in Friends didn’t try to hide their quirks or traits. In fact, they were celebrated.
Hell, Monica would openly admit that she loves cleaning. And Phoebe, well, Phoebe couldn’t help but BE ‘Phoebes’ and we loved her for it.
4. Don’t diss the Janice’s in your life
We all have someone in our circle who is a little bit annoying. But if Friends taught us anything with the character Janice (yes, Chandler’s ex with the shrill voice – Oh. My. God), it’s that all people are worthy of our friendship and can teach us something.
Just remember one of the last scenes with Janice when she has a heart to heart with Rachel about being a single mum after having a baby. You can’t help but like her.
5. Laughter is the best medicine
Even when they were having a really crap time (struggling actor Joey failing another audition or Monica nursing a broken heart), the friends on Friends would make each other laugh.
You may not put a turkey on your head like Monica, but you know laughter is the best way to make you and the people in your life feel better when they are down.
6. Don’t put up with sexual harassment
Thanks to the #metoo movement, everyone is a little more aware of what shouldn’t fly in the workplace. But before #metoo when Rachel thinks a potential employer is making sexually suggestive gestures (he wasn’t, she just had something on her lip!) to her in an interview she tells him outright that she’s not going sleep with him to get the job. Even Monica is told, “I like it dirty” while prepping a salad and Phoebe gets hit on during a massage – both refuse to put up with the behaviour.
The message? It never OK to be sexually harassed, especially when you are just trying to do your job.
7. You can do motherhood on your own
Life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan it and while some of us find ourselves single parents by circumstance, others are by choice. When Rachel finds out she’s pregnant, she decides she can and will be raising Emma on her own; although Ross promises to be a very hands-on dad, she makes it clear that she’s going to be doing it on her own and that marriage is not on the cards.
Of course, this is all easier if you have a nanny like high-earning Rachel seems to be able to afford!
8. It’s OK to fail
All of us and all of the characters in Friends have failed from time to time. As Monica says to her friends when she’s angry:
“Fine! Judge all you want, but married a lesbian, left a man at the altar, fell in love with a gay ice dancer, threw a girl’s wooden leg in a fire, lived in a box!”
Whether they lost their jobs, got divorced or just failed at turning around during a fake tan spray, our favourite Friends characters showed us that it’s OK and normal to have bumps in life’s road.
Run like no one is watching
All of us need a release and if running like a crazy person through a city park makes you unwind and feel free, then go for it!
Just follow Phoebe’s lead …