Up until very recently, I had never seen a full episode of one of the most famous television shows to ever exist. Friends was never on whilst I was growing up, but it never seemed to be a problem for me. However, upon realizing that I’d never seen the show, a dear colleague made me begin binging. After only a few months, I’m almost finished with the entire thing, and after seeing the impact it still has twenty years after the pilot episode, I can safely say that we’d all be living better if we modeled some of our life machinations on the states’ best ever sitcom.
Here are some important lessons we learned from Friends, and how we could improve our lives using these lessons.
[Important note: I haven’t seen the end of season nine or the entirety of season ten, so no spoilers, Internet!]
It’s ok to be the butt of jokes
Remember that time Ross believed that having “unagi” was the key to being a ninja master? The group could have told him otherwise, but they let him dig deeper into his own inevitable ridicule. That brought them all closer, and taught Ross not to chase random ladies screaming, “danger!” Being the butt of a joke shows how only true friends will let you show your true idiotic colors.
Never stop being ridiculous
Since that one episode, I’ve wanted to build a giant poking mechanism. Also, how awesome would it be to build a fort in your apartment out of boxes? Friends showed us that, even as grown-ass adults, it’s important to do ridiculous things to break up the monotony of data analysis and fashion consultancy.
Always stop digging
If Friends really gave us one solid piece of advice, it’s always stop talking when you’re digging yourself into a hole. It’s ok to do silly things in life, but stop chattering when you’re in the middle of a soap opera magazine interview or whilst trying to chat up a dude or lady who was very willing till you decided to blather further.
Be honest (unless a scheme is at hand)
This is the flipside of the first lesson; sometimes, if a friend is really getting themselves into a bad situation, it’s necessary to be honest and get everything on the table. Unless you can force two friends to try to seduce one another because you think one of those two is harboring a secret relationship and you really want to see which can bear being extremely uncomfortable the longest for the sake of an awesome scheme.
Gushy romance is ok
If every relationship were like Monica and Chandler’s, the world would be a happier, mushier place. Seriously, every proposal should make you want to bawl your manly eyes out, and every fight should be dealt with like these two deal with all their darker times. If you ever feel like you are being too romantic, stop being so supposedly chill and put up a bunch of candles, or get a bunch of flowers, or accidentally propose while she’s recovering from giving birth to your best friend’s baby. Romance may be silly, but it’s ridiculously fun and satisfying when executed properly.
Make the best out of bad situations
Maybe you forgot to take measurements of your couch, or you’re twice the age of your unpaid coworkers, or you really needed to pee and that’s what made you seem like a good actor. Not to worry, because instead of letting anything get you down, you’ve seen Friends enough to know that the best thing is to try and make lemonade out of saying the wrong name at your wedding. Optimism is important, and having a sense of humor is vital; being able to call yourself “The Divorcer” is better than letting said divorces destroy your feeble grasp on life.
It isn’t such a big deal
To date, very few shows have dealt with important subjects like Friends did. If you recall, the show started with a lesbian parenting situation, a mother’s suicide, and other so-called taboo subjects. Friends never made a big deal out of any of these things; they were just part of the characters’ lives, not points of political or cultural divide. The sitcom logic of making everything into smiley humor, and not super serious dramatic what-have-you, could be of much use to us in this day and age.
You are only as happy as your friends
When all’s said and done, you’re not alone in this world. Your friends will always be the most important part of your life, so cherish the shit out of the folks who get you through every failed audition, job loss, and weird situation in which you’re carrying your brother’s children. Sure, they’ll be jerks sometimes, but after all, aren’t the best people a little terrible from time to time?
And as an added bonus, remember to never leave important information open on your computer screen. Ross, you nervous fool, you.