I’ll be there for you.
Okay, okay. I know there are hundreds of articles listing things in regards to Friends, BUT, have you ever thought the reason why is because it is so damn relatable? I will be completely honest and put it out there now that to this day, I still watch at least a few episodes daily. Mainly for background noise since I don’t need to actually watch it anymore to know what’s going on. I would wager that I am not alone – at least not alone in how much I’ve actually seen the show.
I was somewhat of a late bloomer to the Friends nation. I didn’t start really getting into it until it was almost over.
This is how I remember…
Once upon a time, when I was still living at home and had significantly less to do in the responsibility arena, I was supremely bored. I called my brother and asked him if I could watch Season 9 of his Friends DVD’s. He didn’t care; so I did. Back then, I thought Joey and Rachel together was the tits. This is, of course, because I knew absolutely nothing of the Ross/Rachel – “it’s always been you” hoopla. Anyway, when I went to a friend about how I thought Joey and Rachel made a cute couple, she practically disowned me (thanks for sticking with me through the hard times, San!). It was at that moment that she vowed to have me watch the show from beginning to end to have my “shipped couples” appropriately matched.
Since watching from the beginning, I can understand why she thought it was blasphemous for me to even consider Joey and Rachel together. They work great as friends, and that’s it. The one great love that I kept rooting for until the end was Ross and Rachel. And to be clear, I am team they-were-on-a-break.
In the years that have passed by, some of my fondest memories are of working at the movie theater and hanging out after hours talking with my coworkers (friends) about episodes and our favorite quotes from them. To this day, if I find someone who enjoys the show as much as I still do my instant reaction with an undeniable grin is: “Did we just become best friends?”
Now that I have my fictional facts/opinions straightened out, I wanted to talk about how even though it’s been over 12 years since the show ended, and 22 years since its birth, the show still remains timeless and relative to situations we face in life.
16. Reconnecting With People
From the show’s opener (The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate), it introduces one of the greatest reconnections between high school friends. As time goes by and we grow apart (it is inevitable), we lose contact with some of the people who were once a very integral part of our every day. For Ross, it’s a chance to finally go for the woman he’s always loved (how could I ever have thought Joey and Rachel? For shame). As seasons continue on, we see the reconnections had from various cast members (Phoebe with her birth mom, father, and brother, Chandler with his father, etc.). This is a reflection of life. At some point we will run into people from our past; be it social media, an outing, or through mutual friends. It’s good to catch up.
15. Love/Dating/Serious Relationships/Marriage
Janice and her “Oh. My. God.” anyone? Throughout the ten seasons it aired, we saw the Friends cast weather the storm with a lot of mistakes before finding “the one.” Well, other than Joey; however that’s not surprising given his character. Monica had Richard (I loved Richard, am I alone in this?); Ross had Julie then Emily then Rachel again; Phoebe had David every time he was back from Minsk, then Mike – which was my favorite wedding of the series (Paul Rudd is the best!). We as individuals may not always find the perfect person, but sometimes if we’re lucky and work hard enough at it, you can find that the right one was there all along (Thanks Monica and Chandler).
Ross’ heartbreak at finding out his wife, Carol, is a lesbian therefore definitively ending their marriage. Ross’ jealousy when Rachel finally started working at a place where she felt she was supposed to be; a place she loved and was good at (which I still think stems from his crushed soul via Carol). Was that not the absolute worst? To this day, it still hurts to watch them break up. Over the course of the show, they did tackle serious issues, but for some reason, that breakup held more emotion than I was ever prepared to handle. This definitely transfers over to real life. Having your heart broken sucks; it sucks huge. So if you’ve never had your heartbroken, count your blessings. It isn’t something I would wish upon my worst enemy. Jealousy is also something that is beyond anyone’s control. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how good you are to people, they will do what they will do because that’s just who they are. Remember friends, the first one is always the hardest. It does get better in time.
13. Arguments With Those You Love
Whether it is friends or family members, arguments are bound to happen. Some big; some small. Ross and Rachel’s “We were on a break!” was a running theme throughout the series because it was always a sore subject between the two. The whole cast at some point had an argument to some degree (Rachel and Monica on moving day; Joey and Chandler and the licking of the spoons fiasco). Sometimes the smallest problem can blow up into a whole dramatic monologue with supporting characters. We are human. This goes to show that although we love those who are in our lives, things will certainly not always be perfect. And you know what? That’s okay.
12. Having A Job
Was it just me, or did it seem like the only ones who were ever really enjoyed what they were doing from the very beginning was Ross and Monica (besides Monica’s brief stint of unemployment and Ross’ sabbatical)? I’m a teensy bit jealous of them in that regard. I didn’t always know what I wanted to do with my life; as such I have certainly not loved every place I have acquired gainful employment at. Joey’s struggling actor character for years seemed realistic enough, as did Phoebe’s odd jobs. They all struggled to a certain degree financially. In the end, the message is everyone needs a job to pay the bills. This will always be relevant.
11. Walking Away/Making Grown-Up Decisions
How sad were you when Phoebe didn’t hold back David from his dream of achieving “positronic distillation of subatomic particles” when she just met him? Even sadder was when Monica and Richard broke up because they were on different paths for their future. In life, hard decisions need to be made. If in any relationship you have with people, things don’t seem to be working out (even if you love each other dearly), walking away will be the hardest thing you will have to do – but you also know deep down it’s the right decision.
10. Friendships Are Tested
Chandler and Joey. The roommate relationship you always wished you could have. I always admired how well they got along, especially as friends. I have lived with friends before and it never came that easy. However, they did have to fight for their friendship several times. One most notable time was in Season 4, when Chandler falls instantly for a girl he sees in Central Perk (Kathy), only to find out that she was waiting for Joey. Chandler, with all of his insecurities, finally meets someone who he genuinely gets along with and Joey saw her first. He slips and kisses her. Behind Joey’s back. Of course this is unacceptable in any friendship. They had an argument (obviously); there was apologizing, and eventually forgiveness. Sometimes, your friends will f**k up and vice versa, but, if the bond is worth it, you will get past it and come out stronger for the challenge.
9. Joking At Each Other’s Expense
No one, and I mean no one, does this better than Chandler Bing. If I were to put a quotes list together, 85% of it would be Chandler ripping on his friends. They get onto him too; he’s just all around better at it. He himself says: “I’m not so good with the advice, can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?” My friends and I have tons of inside jokes that we bring up every now and then to make in fun of each other. No one gets offended; it’s humorous and a part of the closeness we share. Laughing is good for the soul so go out there and make memories at each other’s expense.
8. The Lengths You Will Go To For The People You Care About
Damn all of those jellyfish. I’m not saying there will ever come a time where you will have to help a friend out after a jellyfish sting, but… you might. I am notorious for going to bat for my friends. They are like my family and I will go to the lengths that I would for family when it comes to them. This also means the crazy stuff. The “I’ll be there for you when the rain starts to fall” is a motto of sorts. It’s a good feeling when you have people who can depend on you and you depend on them. My favorite ensemble cast shows time and time again how truly important they are to each other.
I know most people spend their holidays with their families, and that’s great. I do too, but sometimes, it’s a “friendsgiving” kind of year. Those years churn out some of the best memories. From back in Season 1 when the Underdog balloon gets loose across the city, they go to the rooftop to spot it, and get locked out of Monica’s apartment; a chain reaction of being stuck together happens. Everyone is upset at their failed plans, but somehow, even through a burnt dinner and missed ski plans, it builds the bond that becomes these six friends every year. I don’t know any one of my friends who hasn’t had a place to spend time with the people they love. Timeless.
6. Supporting Each Other; Even If You Don’t Agree
Raise your hand if you thought Emily was the worst. I surely did. I get her distrust, I really do. Yes Ross saying the wrong name at the altar is f**ked up, but she still bothered me. Selling his things because they have “Rachel cooties”? Wanting to keep an eye on him all of the time? Come on. If Emily knew she wouldn’t be able to move past it, she should have never continued with her vows. However, all of his friends kept their mouth shut throughout this whole ordeal because Ross was happy and they wanted to remain supportive. They didn’t agree, but they still had his back. That is a real life situation and will always remain one. As a friend, I am not here to judge or agree, but I am here to support. There have been countless times I didn’t agree with what was going on in my friends’ lives, but support is support no matter how you feel about it on a personal level.
5. Pregnancy Complications
Monica and Chandler’s struggle to have a child was heartbreaking and real. All she ever wanted since the show began was to be married and have children. Her not being able to have that broke her in a way. It happens to good people all of the time. I cannot imagine how hard that must be for a couple to go through. I’ve known people in my life that this is a very real heartbreak for. I would say having a “glass half full” outlook in these dark times is totally worth it. There are plenty of children who need good homes and good families to raise them. If this happens to be your only option, embrace it because that child could change you in ways you didn’t know you needed.
4. Going After Your Dreams
Slow clap to Chandler Bing for quitting his job at a high point in his career because he wanted to do something that mattered to him. Sure, not everyone can just quit their job, but that doesn’t mean you stop dreaming. Joey never did. He for sure had the hardest time establishing his career because of its instability. He never gave up on those dreams, though. He knew he would make it one day, and he did. There are tons of articles out there telling you to never stop dreaming, to follow your heart, to live happy. You know what? I agree wholeheartedly. Dreaming of having something that you are so passionate about you can’t believe it’s really your life? I can’t imagine that ever being a bad thing. Stay happy. Stay Positive. Stay hopeful. Stay a dreamer.
The most depressing move was “The Last One” for obvious reasons. There was also the wonderful time in Season 4 when Monica and Rachel waged their apartment against Joey and Chandler because each group swore they knew the other better (Ms. Chanandler Bong?). And of course when Ross got his new couch and tried to move it upstairs: “Pivot! PIVOT!” (Are you laughing? I’m laughing). Ross moved in with the guys, Chandler move in with Monica, Rachel in with Phoebe, etc. Moving blows. Call it what it is. Boxes are heavy, the weather is unpredictable, and no one actually wants to help despite their enthusiasm (liars!). The last time I moved I hired people because so much “no” to all of that. Whether it’s down the street or across the country, moving is on my top list of things I hate like putting gas in my car and grocery shopping.
2. Central Perk
The coffee shop of dreams! How realistic was it that besides one episode, they always had a spot for all six of them to sit at in a consistently busy coffee shop? Not very, but I’ll be damned if I don’t want a Central Perk of my very own. As long as Starbucks stays in existence, coffee shop hang outs will always be a thing. Although with the shift in technological advances, it may differ in terms of atmosphere; coffee shops will live strong for a fun hangout.
1. Friends Are The Family You Choose
Season 1, Episode 8 (The One Where Nana Dies Twice) ends with the six friends reminiscing about Ross and Monica’s grandmother who just passed; looking at old photos, they come across one of their grandmother with some friends, and on the back it reads, “me and the gang at Java Joe’s.” Through every breakup, every fight, every new year, every new relationship, every new job, every marriage, every divorce, every secret, every fight… Ross, Monica, Rachel, Joey, Chandler, and Phoebe always came back to each other. They depended on each other. No matter the situation, the six of these friends stuck by each other. They were a family; a funny and dysfunctional one at times, but still, a family. They chose to be around each other, they chose to surround themselves with people most important to them. My friends are my family, too. Somehow, when you find people that become a part of your life and lift you up in the wake of your deepest sorrows, they become more than just friends. For me, Friends will always be a show that gives me faith in humanity. Thanks for the lessons, guys.