10 Pieces Of Relationship Advice From Classic ’90s Teen Dramas

Joey and Dawson’s complicated soulmateship, Dylan/Brenda/Kelly’s painful love triangle, the way that Jordan Catalano leaned against any wall – these were the love stories I grew up on, and ’90s teen dramas were the shows that I binge watched (on DVD, even) before there was such a term. The shows of this golden era were full of heightened emotion, longing glances and some questionable outfits. If there was a problem related to love, these shows covered it. Here are 10 pieces of relationship advice from the classic 90s teen dramas that we all know and love. Plaid shirts optional.

  1. Your soulmate is not always The One. It took me an embarrassingly long time to be okay with Joey ending up with Pacey in the series finale of Dawson’s Creek. I was all about her and Dawson. That history, that pure friendship – it was so innocent and it had to mean they were meant to be together, right? Not so fast. So if you’re ever mourning The One That Got Away, think about the fact that Dawson and Joey didn’t end up together, either. That will either make you feel better or depress you, depending on where you fall on the whole issue.
  2. Finding yourself is just as important (if not more) than finding love. The title character of the slow-burn drama Felicity followed her high school crush, Ben, to college in New York – but the most significant plot line on this beloved series was her desire to find the right college major and, ultimately, to figure out what she was meant to do. Her decision to pursue her artistic dreams instead of the med school ambitions of her dad was pretty inspiring. You can take a cue from the wild-haired Felicity and go after what you want – you know that it will make you more attractive to guys, too.
  3. Boys really will ruin a friendship. Oh, Dylan McKay. Even now I still swoon just at the thought of Luke Perry’s classic Beverly Hills 90210 bad boy character. So it’s no wonder that BFFs Kelly and Brenda swooned over him, too – at the same time. This love triangle created huge amounts of drama and ultimately their friendship was never the same.
  4. Sleeping with a friend’s crush is never a good idea. You, of course, already know this, because you have a ton of strong women as friends and you appreciate them. But the artistic, quirky Rayanne didn’t realize this when she slept with Jordan Catalano on My So-Called Life. Angela was, of course, devastated. And you would be too because hey, Jared Leto’s character was pretty dreamy.
  5. Just because you’re attracted to someone doesn’t mean they can actually hold a conversation. I can’t believe I’m about to insult poor Jordan Catalano. But with some hindsight, you have to admit the truth: he was a pretty boy who couldn’t string more than a few words together. You’re most likely encountered the same dilemma now that we’re in the age of Tinder: a cute guy messages you and then you realize he doesn’t have anything to say.
  6. But sometimes people can surprise you. No one was more shocked than Angela when she ended up with Jordan in the MSCL series finale (still not over the fact that this gem of a show didn’t get more than one season). Which just proves that you never know what’s going to happen next in the game of love.
  7. You should always try dating outside of your comfort zone. On the WB series Popular, activist Lily and sports bro Josh were basically the definition of an odd couple, but that’s what made it work. Their relationship was cooler because of their differences. Even if you go on a bunch of dates with guys who aren’t your type and realize, well, they aren’t your type for a reason, at least you tried and now you know.
  8. The saying is true: you have to kiss a lot of frogs before your prince. Did any TV teenager date more guys than Neve Campbell’s Julia on Party of Five? Julia was pretty fearless when it came to love, for better or worse, and while it didn’t always put her in the safest of situations, she had a ton of helpful relationship experience.
  9. If you have a One That Got Away, don’t let it happen again. The major love story on POF was Charlie and Kirsten’s on-and-off again relationship. It took them a while but they eventually realized what every viewer knew: that they were totally meant to be together. If you have someone like that in your life, what are you waiting for?
  10. You will never attract a guy by being a damsel in distress. The coolest girl on 90s TV? Definitely Buffy Summers. She was strong, tough and could fight off any vampire in any midnight cemetery. She was basically the opposite of weak, and she was a guy magnet. Take a cue from Buffy – while you probably won’t be putting a stake in any vampires, you can at least be as confident as possible.
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor from Toronto, Canada. In addition to writing about dating and relationships for Bolde, she also writes about movies, TV, and video games for ScreenRant and GameRant. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. You can find her on Twitter @ayatsintziras and on Instagram @aya.tsintziras.