22 Life Lessons We Learned From Watching 'Friends'

Samantha Sutton | Dec 7, 2018 TV
22 Life Lessons We Learned From Watching 'Friends'

Friends TV show
Friend (TV Show)/Facebook

Friends fans, rejoice! It looks like the much-loved '90s show isn't going anywhere, thanks, in part, to a kinda-crazy Netflix deal. And, if ya ask us, that's really, really good news -- especially considering we still can't stop watching it. We'll press play on this bingeable show while we're cleaning, working out at the gym, or simply unwinding before bed, because aside from every episode being quick and packed with jokes, the story lines feel so ... familiar. Even after all these years (yes, it's hard to believe that the show first aired in 1994, and ended in 2004), we're still relating to this fun group of guys and gals, and taking the many lessons they taught us to heart.

Despite being lighthearted and downright silly at times, the '90s sitcom had a whole lot of wisdom to share -- between us trying to figure out Chandler's official job title, enjoying all those Central Perk hangs, and, of course, viewing Ross and Rachel's relationship saga. One of the major lessons was even right in its theme song: Good friends will be there for us, no matter what -- and after a while, become the family we choose. (OK, so those aren't exactly the lyrics, but pretty much sum them up). Plus, when we really reflect on this series? There are so many more great nuggets to be had that are impossible to forget, such as the risk one takes when opting to wear leather pants, and what not to say while moving a couch up the stars.

We're listing the 22 invaluable things Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey continue to teach us to this day.

  • Good Friends Will Always Be There for Us


    They say it in the theme song, and prove it time and time again, but perhaps the best proof is given in the pilot. Monica, who hasn't seen Rachel in years, invites her to stay (and ultimately live) with her after Rachel leaves her fiancé at the altar (that's a true pal) -- proving good friends will always be there for us, no matter what.

  • Hard Times (Eventually) Turn Into Funny Stories


    For example, Ross's multiple divorces became a running joke, even though they weren't funny at the time (he really didn't want that third one). That's pretty much how goes is in real life, too: The craziest times eventually end up making best stories.

  • Don’t Be Afraid of Change


    If Rachel can leave her fiancé and get a job after lifetime of being spoiled, we can do anything! And, it's worth mentioning Chandler and Monica move out of the apartment in the finale. Yes, it was the end of an era (both for the characters and viewers), but the right thing to do. 

  • Ask for What We Want


    Like when Monica decided to propose to Chandler. Go, girl!

  • Don’t Plan Too Much


    Some of the best parts of the show were things no one saw coming --  Ross saying Rachel's name at his wedding! There's also Monica and Chandler's relationship, and Rachel's pregnancy! The list of surprises go on, and while the characters likely didn't expect any of them, it all worked out in the end.

  • Find a Go-To Place


    It just seems really nice that the whole crew can gather around their table at Central Perk, hang out, and chat. We all need a place like that (after a while, they even had a reserved sign on the table, which is cool, too).

  • Let the Heart Lead


    ... not just with relationships, but careers, too!

    Joey never gave up on his dream to become an actor, and Phoebe often sang to whoever would listen -- which is kind of inspiring when we think about it.

  • Don’t Worry About What People Think


    Phoebe always had the strangest stories to share (she even thought her mom was reincarnated as a cat once), and we can't forget the time she sang along with bagpipes. No matter what, she let her freak flag fly throughout the show, and that's the kind of person we aim to be!

  • Being Honest Is Easier Than Lying


    Yes, we understand why Monica and Chandler would want to keep their relationship a secret, but seriously, all those lies and cover-ups got a little stressful after a while. They should've just been honest from the start!

  • Read Things Thoroughly


    Maybe folks shouldn't say they read a whole letter when they didn't read a whole letter (Ross). There could be important stuff in there!

  • It's OK to Be Silly


    Phoebe wasn't the only one who embraced her inner child. Everyone in this group had jokes to tell, some dressed up in costumes (like Ross as a Holiday Armadillo), and even Monica put a turkey on her head. 

  • Embrace People’s Quirks


    Monica was passionate about cleaning. Chandler was sarcastic. Phoebe was spiritual. The best thing about Friends is that despite everyone being so different. They accepted the others for who they were.

  • Leather Pants Can Be Sweaty


    Bonus lesson: Don't try to put them on with the help of baby powder and don't get them wet. They'll shrink!

  • Couches Aren’t Easy to Move


    And when getting them up the stairs, pivot, pivot, pivot!

  • Don’t Make Big Decisions After Drinking


    Like when Rachel called Ross to talk about closure (even though they weren't even together yet), or when that same couple got married in Vegas a few seasons later.

  • If It’s Not Right, Don’t Force It


    Janice and Chandler. Ross and Emily. Even the previously mentioned couch. We learned this lesson multiple times over -- especially when Rachel and Joey got together. Even the writers knew that one was weird! If it something doesn't feel right or continues to disappoint, it might just be time to just let it go (and return the couch).

  • We Need to Own Our Mistakes


    Rachel and Monica always ended up apologizing to each other after big fights, which was really sweet. Ross, on the other hand, could've taken a tip from them. He was way too hung up on the whole "we were on a break" thing.

    Let's just admit when we're wrong, say sorry, and move on!

  • Timing Is Everything


    Phoebe and David! They could've been perfect together if he hadn't gone to Minsk. But, alas, the timing was never right with him -- and it was with Mike.

  • The Past Doesn’t Define Us


    Ross was a "nerd" in high school, while Monica struggled with her weight. (Let's not even started with Phoebe's tragic past.) They all went on to achieve their own version of success, proving change is possible.

  • Crappy Jobs Could Be a Stepping Stone


    Rachel waitressed before getting into fashion, and even Monica spent time working (and dancing) at a retro diner before getting her next gig as a chef. The road to that dream job often takes time.

  • No One’s Family Is 'Normal'


    Phoebe was a surrogate for her brother, while Chandler had a strained relationship with his dad -- who preferred dressing and performing as a woman. While not everyone has had these experiences, it proves that there's no such thing as "normal" when it comes to family. We all have our things and what works for us.

  • The '90s Had Some Great Looks


    A bonus lesson? This was one well-dressed and well-groomed group! Jennifer Aniston's haircut even inspired a full-on trend called "The Rachel," and there are plenty of outfits from the show that would still work today.


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