10 Years Since Friends

It’s been nearly 10 years since the series finale of Friends, and to this day, it is still one of my all-time favorite television shows. Just to note, the Friends series finale that aired in May 2004 garnered over 52 million viewers, making it the fourth most watched television series finale in the history of television as well as the most watched episode of television in the past 10 years. I am a true addict. And I will pass on the Friends hysteria to even the biggest Grumpus. Late last year, I found out my boyfriend had never seen a single episode of Friends, and we ended up finishing the series within a couple of months (and now I find him watching the reruns on TBS. Welcome to the club, my addicted friend). I am willing to bet money that I can quote almost – if not all – of the episodes, and you can find my aunt and I quoting the show in daily conversations. I not only have all of the seasons on DVD, but I’m also coming to find that I can actually relate to some of the ideas comically outlined in the show. The fashion trends and haircuts may have changed, but even in 1994, Friends was still hitting the mark on documenting the lives of twentysomethings. We have other shows that attempt to do this such as New Girl or How I Met Your Mother, but let’s face it, those shows are GARBAGE compared to Friends. Especially How I Met Your Mother, whose writers essentially just ripped off all of the content in Friends and tried to play it off through the charm and good looks of Neil Patrick Harris. If you don’t believe me, well then screw you. Okay, no I’m kidding. But seriously, if you really don’t believe that How I Met Your Mother attempts to mirror Friends, then check it.

And while at times, Friends was not always the most realistic show (most of us spend way more time in our offices than we do in our local coffeehouses), it still reflected elements of what a lot of us are going through in our twenties and even into our early thirties. From changing jobs to changing career fields (Chandler goes from being someone that performs “data reconfiguration and statistical factoring” to becoming a junior copywriter at an advertising agency) to the ups and downs of dating (Ross + Rachel 4ever) to financial struggles, we’ve all been there and we’ve all grown because of both our highs and lows. And one of the best things about this television comedy is that we got to see each character grow as well. Character and plot development. And a #24 ranking on the 2013 list of the Writers Guild of America’s 101 Best Written Television Series of All Time. Take note, HIMYM.

Now reaching my mid-twenties, here are a few of the great lessons that Friends has taught me:

1. Breaking up really is hard to do.

Even in the most toxic relationships, ending things always (at least for me) brings a lot of tears and heartache. I mean, let’s be real, we all have had a time where we got into a relationship that we should not have gotten into in the first place, but with feelings involved, and the physical benefits, it really is hard to say no. And it’s even harder when the L word comes into play. I’ve only ever been in love twice, so by no means am I an expert, but if you somehow didn’t collapse into tears watching The One with the Morning After, then you really should have gotten hugged by your parents more often.

I swear I must have been in denial that whole episode because after all Rachel, Ross is your lobster and what on Earth are you doing?! JUST FORGIVE HIM ALREADY! But I learned, after experiencing my first love in my early twenties, that certain things are not so easy to forgive. And nearly impossible to forget. Love, with the wrong person, does not have the power to fix everything. But with the right person, it most certainly does.

Ross and Rachel

2. Just because you can’t sing, doesn’t you mean you shouldn’t (at least try).

Phoebe, while absolutely hysterical (have you heard Lisa Kudrow’s laugh? It’s the kind that will make you laugh, and you don’t even have to know what’s funny), also proved that it’s more than okay to be yourself. And to embrace yourself. And be proud of your individuality and uniqueness and overarching weirdness. Whether she was thinking her mother had come back in cat form or showing that running can be fun, she owned everything she did. And in a way, I can relate to Pheebs quite a lot. I’m pretty freakin’ weird most of the time, and maybe the one thing I can get better at is letting it show. Because wouldn’t the world be a lesser place without Smelly Cat?

It's not your faaaauuulllttt.

It’s not your faaaauuulllttt.

3. New pickup lines and witty hand gestures.

I was already quite the charmer, but Joey helped me perfect my game.

I was already quite the charmer, but Joey helped me perfect my game.

Ross' Hand Gesture

4. How to deal with unemployment.

There have been brief spans of time in my life since graduating college where I found myself unemployed. I filled my days with working out, catching up on television shows, rewatching my old favorites (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink), getting coffee with old classmates, but really, my focus should have been elsewhere.

Work it, Pheebs.

Work it, Pheebs.

Forts aren't just for kids, ya know?

Forts aren’t just for kids, ya know?

5. It’s okay to fight with your friends.

On even my best of days, I have always hated confrontation. I enjoy debating with people, I don’t like arguing with them. But the magic of this show taught me that even the best of friends have their ups and downs. I went nearly a year without speaking to one of my best friends, and after a while, it became so ridiculous that I, more than anything, wanted to put our disagreement behind us. We rekindled our friendship last year and have been inseparable ever since. It’s like we never even missed a beat. Fighting is more than acceptable so long as it comes with some good old-fashioned forgiveness.

Friends Fight

6. Always be there to lend a helping hand.

From helping your friends move in or out of their apartment to teaching them how to properly stimulate a woman, being there for your friends is a must. Not only will they appreciate it, but so will you. Because we are all just givers and receivers. And the more we give and receive, the happier we will be.

The proper way to move a couch.

The proper way to move a couch.

7. Some friendships really will last forever.

Maybe the most important lesson that Friends taught me is that friendships are important. Super important. And it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. I don’t have, by some people’s count, a lot of friends. However, I do have my sister – my blood, the other part of my soul that I can rely on for anything. I do have my boyfriend – my partner, my teammate. I do have my family, all of which I am ridiculously close to. And I have three best friends. One who I have known since we were four years old, and the other two who I met during my freshman year in high school. These three girls may as well be my blood. Through thick and thin, they really are closer to me than some of my family. The friendships I have established – both inside and outside of my family – are the people I trust most. They are the keeper of my secrets. The ones that have my back, and the people that have decided to (thankfully) love me unconditionally. Just like I love them.

Friends Forever

Thanks for the laughs and the love, guys. Now can I get a damn reunion episode, for the love of God?!


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