Anyone who knows me knows that I am a walking Friends Encyclopedia.
I have seen all 10 seasons a countless number of times – my DVD’s actually skip at certain parts. On a good day, I can tell you what season an episode is from simply from the opening credit montage, or tell you what season an episode is in with only a brief synopsis. I know trivia that no one really needs to know: did you know they changed Monica’s apartment number from 5 to 20, due to the fact that her apartment had a balcony, and no apartments in New York at the time had balcony’s on the first floor? I did.
Yeah. I’m a Friends nerd.
After rewatching the series for the 8637th time (and laughing as if it’s the first time I’ve heard any of the jokes), I’ve compiled a list of what I think are some of the best life lessons I’ve learned from Friends.
FYI, it may or may not be on in the background as I type this. I’ll give you a hint: it is.
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE RIGHT, CHANCES ARE YOU HAVE TO DO IT YOURSELF
Remember that episode where Chandler decides to do something nice for Monica, so he cleans the entire apartment. Then Ross comes in and tells him he screwed up, and they try (as best as they can, from photos, nonetheless) to put the apartment back EXACTLY how it was before Monica comes home? Well, of course Monica immediately senses something is off, and ends up cleaning the entire apartment again herself anyway, despite Chandler’s best efforts. Monica’s theory is basically that she’s the only one who cleans to her standards, so she does it herself.
Back in highschool, there were very few people I could work on a project with, because a) they didn’t think the way that I did, and b) I wanted things done a certain way. Does that make me a control freak? Perhaps. Did I have the best assignments in the class because of it? Absolutely. Did it make me realize that there would be so many extra tasks I would end up taking on because I wanted them done a certain way? Not until just now.
You can’t trust just anyone to do something for you, and believe me, I get it. Even a simple chore like folding the laundy can be massacred if someone doesn’t do it right – and by ‘right’, I mean the way I want it done. It’s okay to want to do it all yourself. Just know you’re going to be taking on more than you can handle at times. But at least it’ll be perfect.
IT’S OKAY TO INDULGE A LITTLE BIT – HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT, TOO (JUST NOT FLOOR CAKE)
Ah, the cheesecake from Mama’s Little Bakery. Rachel and Chandler knew it was wrong to eat that cake; that delicious, creamy, melt in your mouth cheesecake (with the buttery, crumbly, graham cracker crust) that was actually supposed to be for Mrs. Braverman downstairs, but they did it anyway – TWICE! Even when it fell onto the floor, they got down on their elbows and knees and ate their cake.
Now, what’s so wrong about that? What good is cake if you’re not going to eat it? Yes, it was wrong to steal, I’m not condoning theft, but a little bit of “cake” once in a while isn’t going to hurt you. The little amount of happiness that can be provided by doing something that makes you happy is one of the best feelings in the world.
So do it. Pour yourself a nice glass of wine, take a bubble bath, relax a little with a good book and a nice, warm cup of tea. We need to create time to center back in with ourselves and be able to relax from the stresses of day to day life. If it feels good, do it. If it feels really good, do it again.
In the pilot episode, Rachel is down about her failed attempt at marriage with Barry, and to try to cheer her up Ross invites her to help him and the guys put together his new furniture. Joey then asks Phoebe if she wants to join them, and she replies with “I wish I could help, but I don’t want to.” Simple, blunt, right to the point. If there’s one thing we can learn from Phoebe, it’s honesty.
I know I’m guilty of it at times – saying “maybe” when I really mean “no thank you,” or “that sounds like fun, let me get back to you!” when I really mean “I’d rather stay home and watch Netflix all night.” In the long run, it’s easier to just tell it like it is and be honest. It might sting a little at first, but it’s better than sugar coating the truth. Obviously, pick and choose your battles – a little white lie can go a long way, depending on the situation. But this quirky blonde had the right idea: honesty is always the best policy.
TAKE MEASUREMENTS OF FURNITURE BEFORE BUYING IT
I cannot stress this enough. There is absolutely no worse feeling than buying something, only to have it be too small (or too big) to fit where you wanted it, and then having to rearrange everything else to accomodate that one item.
Ross, Rachel, and Chandler learned this the hard way, when Ross decided he didn’t need home delivery when he bought a new couch (and found out too late that his building didn’t have elevators), and they had to maneuver it up a very narrow (and winded) staircase. It resulted in a broken couch, Ross having to spend money on a new one, and a hilarious scene we all get to laugh at.
Having recently bought furniture myself, I believe I’ll learn this lesson in a backward manner: it came disassembled and I put it together myself, but moving it out is going to be interesting. Take the time to double check your numbers. It won’t hurt.
NO ONE REALLY KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE DOING – IT’S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES
This photo is pretty self explanitory, but, I’m going to explain it anyway, just incase there’s someone who is completely lost. Monica has invited Richard’s (her much older ex-boyfriend) son to Thanksgiving dinner, and Ross is cracking jokes about it. In retaliation, Monica mouths off a rapid fire list of flaws and situations that the others have been in previous to her Thanksgiving blunder.
These 6 are supposed to be in their mid to late 20’s at this point in the game (season 4), but as the series goes on, we learn that they still have no idea what they’re doing, and take everything one step at a time. After the cameras stopped rolling, I like to imagine that Ross and Rachel are probably on a break again (but don’t worry, they’ll get back together), Chandler and Monica live in the suburbs with their two kids, Phoebe and Mike probably own a massage parlour/piano bar combination, and Joey… well, we all know how his spin-off show turned out. Yikes.
Point of the story is that life is hard. Even TV show characters are written as not knowing what they’re doing, and that’s a relief. Sometimes you get dealt a really horrible deck of cards, and you just have to play them. There’s no instruction manual we can check the FAQ section of when times get tough. We can ask for advice; that’s always an option, but either way we choose what we do with the hand we’re dealt. Win, lose, fold.. it’ll all balance itself out in the grand scheme of things.
It’s okay if you don’t know what to do about a certain situation; chances are, there’s someone out there who’s in the same boat as you and also has no idea. Just keep paddling and enjoy the ride.
Well, there you have it. A few valuable lessons from the television show that is my life.
Could it BE anymore accurate?