Life lessons from F.R.I.E.N.D.S (Part 1)

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Who doesn’t remember F.R.I.E.N.D.S? Some of us practically grew up watching them. That weekly half hour when it was broadcast was probably always filled with laughs. In fact it is ten years since the show ended and I still watch reruns with the same enthusiasm as I had watched them for the first time. But F.R.I.E.N.D.S wasn’t simply about a few laughs or pranks. It was just six people going about their lives. If you look carefully, you will find a number of important life lessons and life hacks hidden in each episode. F.R.I.E.N.D.S is like chapters taken out from each of our lives and portrayed on television. But it gives us a whole different perspective when we watch it from a television screen and see how all the people involved in a situation react. So let us ponder about some of the life lessons that F.R.I.E.N.D.S  has taught us.

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  1. Always share your feelings with your friends

It took 10 long years for Ross to finally tell Rachel that he loved her and another 10 years to tell her that he wanted to marry her and spend her life with her. It’s lucky that they had so many chances and didn’t drift apart in these years (what else do you expect from soap-opera leads anyway?). But not all of us can be that lucky in life. So next time you fall in love with someone, tell them how you feel even at the cost of being rejected. You will at least never look back and think that IF you had said what you feel would things have been different.

  1. First jobs are never dream jobs

We see this one too many times on F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Joey and his small part in an adult film, Rachel as waitress and Phoebe as… well, we can never be sure about her. Chandler stuck to his first job the longest (Data processing, was it?) and regretted it ten years down the line. The point of the matter is, everyone disliked where they started and it wasn’t what they imagined their work life to be. But in time, taking inspiration from their hatred towards their present job, they worked even harder to achieve a better job. We see Rachel sending out resumes and letter to potential employers and even after getting a menial assistant’s job in the fashion industry works her way up the corporate ladder.

  1. Don’t ditch your friends for girl/boyfriends

Joey gets a new female roommate who is a professional dancer and soon falls for her (not surprisingly!). But as it turns out she dislikes Chandler and Monica for several reasons and tries very hard to make Joey ditch them too. Here Joey takes a stand and chooses her. We should learn from the dedicated friendship that he shares with his friends. Ross on the other hand has a very hard time when he decides to follow his wife Emily’s wishes to from meeting Rachel. It nearly breaks up the whole group of friends.

  1. Hugs are the best medicine to a crappy day

You can’t miss this one. Chandler and Joey are always hugging on F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Occasionally Ross, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe do, but they eclipsed by the mega-huggers- Joey and Chandler. We now know that hugs can solve anything. Whether you had a crappy day at the office or you recently broke up with someone, hugs are the best cure. So if you ever feel under the weather, grab the nearest friend and hug them tight.

  1. It is important to be financially independent

In the first season we see how Rachel runs away from her would-be-husband, Barry, and comes to live with Monica. She explains to her Dad that she wants to be independent and quickly moves away from her father’s money to her own job. Then ten years after she is a high executive in the fashion industry and even gets a great offer to work in Paris, her dream city. Through all these transformations she realized how it was important to stand on your own two feet, financially, and not rely on a husband to give you that kind of security. Her job then becomes a part of her identity, something which Ross tries to steal from and her resists.

  1. You may fall in love with someone who is not right for you

I think this was a silent theme of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. The first major instant that we see of this philosophy is obviously Ross and his first wife, who turned out to be a lesbian. The next example is of Richard and Monica. They love each other deeply but are forced to separate because of their different expectation from life and relationships. Incidents like these keep happening throughout the show till each of them end up with someone who is right for them. What this essentially teaches us is that falling in love with the wring person and realising it is pretty jarring. It is also difficult to extricate yourself from this relationship but you need to do it to move on to someone who might turn out to be right for you. Of course you are comfortable being with the person right now and would hate breaking up and looking around but it is necessary. Take the help of your friends and you will sail through these times.

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