Ah, "Friends," the iconic show that is perfect for binge-watching. I'm not sure how many times I've watched it, but I'm definitely not stopping anytime soon. Honestly, you know a show is really good when you can watch it over 20 years later and still enjoy it immensely.
Sure, the fashion at times can get a little distracting. And to be frank, it was a show supporting "free the nipple" way before recent years, but neither of these facts stops you from enjoying the content. It's the kind of show that you could put on in the background or sit focused on for hours on end. And, the more times you watch it, the more jokes and references you get. A show that keeps on giving.
But, it's not really necessary to promote this show, at least not for its general sense of enjoyment. What I want to showcase are the universal and influential life lessons you can learn just from watching "Friends." So, read on and learn about 10 epiphanies possible while (re)watching.
1. No matter what you do, you will always resemble one member of the "Friends"
Each of the friends has their own quirks, some that you can't stand, but others that are admirable. You might even have your favorite "friend," but even so, you know as you watch certain episodes, who you really are in this group. The desperation with which Monica said "rules control the fun," to the others gave me flashbacks to all of my family game nights. Hint: I'm Monica.
2. When finding a job, don't let yourself turn into Chandler
It's a running joke throughout the series that no one knows what Chandler does for a living. The audience is only really told right before he quits anyway. But something that really stands out is his own realization that people are actually supposed to like their jobs, not just tolerate them. Or in his case, hate it so much that he regularly calls in sick.
3. You and your friend's SO don't have to be best friends, but they do have to fit into the group comfortably
There are characters that come and go in the series, dating this friend or that one, but if you watch long enough to get to Pheobe and Mike's relationship, you'll see what I'm talking about. Sure, he doesn't just appear and is automatically an intricate part of the group, but he makes an effort to get to know Pheobe's friends. A super awkward conversation between Mike and Ross about beer vs. lager comes to mind.
4. Defining the relationship, and potential breaks in them, is vital
Miscommunication, or lack of communication at all, are common in the show, and to be fair, it's not real life. But, there are countless amounts of times when you just want to yell at the screen to get a character to sit down and decide what their relationship is, and where it's going. Sure, that's not an easy conversation. Maybe even super awkward. But, at the end of it, you'll know where you're at, so you can move forward. You don't want to deal with years of yelling "we were on a break!"
5. The friendzone isn't always final
Ross and Rachel. Chandler and Monica. Not to mention the random and odd pairing of Joey and Rachel, a period I personally am not so fond of. Friendship can definitely turn into something more, as long as both people are in the same place. So, if you want to hold out hope, this is the show for you.
6. Life isn't all about getting married
Of course, there is mention of marriage and long relationships engrained into this show, but it also highlights the many opportunities available for young adults. I mean, the first episode has Rachel introduced after running away from her own wedding. Then there are the divorces and the support for co-parenting between unmarried parents. But, all of these things happen to and around the characters, they are not what defines them. The show's not about 6 adults whose only focus is getting hitched. So, if you're at that age too, or any point in life really, marriage isn't the only option for happiness.
7. Life also isn't all about your career
On the other hand, while the show heavily promotes hard work and earning a living, the careers of the friends are not the main point of the show. It isn't even until later seasons that the show gets a little more meta about the friends missing work to hang out together, mostly at Central Perk. Your career helps you grow as a person, but that doesn't mean it should be your only priority. Think about your life as a show. Would you want the main backdrop to be at the office? (Yeah, that's a really generic location, but you get what I mean) Just something to think about.
8. You don't have to act or think the same as someone to be their friend
If it isn't obvious by the first episode, the friends in the group are not exactly cut from the same cloth. Can you get more diverse (in the career context) than a group containing a paleontologist, a chef, an actor, a masseuse, and a waitress turns fashion exec? Probably not. But the differences between friends can actually bring them closer together as you learn new perspectives and share in new experiences. Yeah, there is always some common ground, because there needs to be some kind of foundation, but it is exciting to hear about someone's life that can be so different from your own.
9. Love and friendships take time and determination
One of my favorite parts in the show is when Monica tells Chandler that she doesn't believe in soulmates (although she calls him hers in her wedding vows…just a something I noticed) Instead, she says that they are two people who love each other and work hard to commit to their relationship every day. That kind of devotion, and the fact that it took them years to figure out they should be together, helps encourage the possibility of love and friendships in your own life. It just goes to show that putting in the effort, time, and attention makes a difference and helps keep relationships strong. This show is always good for a pep talk.
10. Life is all about finding people who will say, "I'll be there for you," loud and proud
It can be fun to joke around with each other, and sure, there will be times when you don't love the idea of going to this or that event, but at the end of the day, your friends will always be there for you. It is this kind of friendship that it the goal of the show and should be a goal in your life. No matter what happens, losing a job, a break-up, several embarrassing things that span over 10 seasons… Having someone who you can rely on truly and completely when you really need it is the dream.