What ‘Friends’ Can Still Teach Us About Relationships

Thanks to everyone’s BFF Netflix, you’re probably in the midst of a Friends re-watch. Maybe you’ve pledged to watch from the very beginning to the final episode, or maybe you accidentally find yourself hitting rewind on your fave Joey and Chandler scene. While there are a few things that make the show painfully ’90s – from the questionable clothing to Phoebe’s random hairstyles – it still holds up today when it comes to the dating lives of the six friends. Here are 10 things that Friends can teach us about relationships, even though we’ve got iPhones and iPads and definitely can’t afford Monica and Rachel’s fancy apartment.

  1. Sometimes your girlfriends are the most important relationships in your life. It’s hard to think of a single girl on TV more boy mad than Rachel. But she always had Monica and Phoebe to make her feel better no matter what was going on in her romantic life. The best example: when she scared Joshua away in season 4 for suggesting marriage after only a few dates, she and Phoebe and Monica tried on wedding dresses. The silly moment made Rachel feel better (and her friends were there to cheer her up when she hilariously opened the apartment door while wearing said wedding dress and officially freaked Joshua out).
  2. Love isn’t enough. The Monica/Richard break-up at the end of season 2 was totally heartbreaking, especially because they were so into each other, despite the huge age difference. But they realized that despite their connection, Monica wanted kids and he didn’t, and they were forced to see that they were at different life stages. Don’t you hate when that happens? There are so many reasons that we break up with people that we are in love with, and that’s still relevant in 2015.
  3. Love is enough. On the flip side, the Monica/Chandler relationship was so charming to watch because they didn’t let little arguments or hiccups ruin what they had. The best moment: after a less than fun weekend getaway in season 5, Chandler assumes it’s over, and Monica laughs at the idea that they would let a small fight end their chance at true love.
  4. You need both sparks and sensitivity. In season 3, Phoebe can’t choose between two guys: one with an amazing body, one who is super sensitive. Then she learns that they each have both traits. It’s so easy, especially in the age of Tinder, to go for someone because they’re attractive, but without an emotional connection and stuff to talk about, it’s hard to sustain a real relationship.
  5. Your close guy friend is better off just that. Who thought Rachel and Joey should have ended up together? It’s probably hard to find a Friends fan who wasn’t impatiently waiting for Rachel and Ross to just get over it already and get back together. Rachel and Joey realized they should stay platonic rather than romantic. The desire to date your guy friend is a classic one, and just as timeless is realizing that you’re friends for a reason.
  6. Being single can be enjoyable. Does anyone remember Phoebe ever sitting around moping about not always having a boyfriend? She was a fun character who was unashamed of how quirky she was, and spent her time writing music (Smelly Cat deserved a Grammy, in my opinion) and helping her brother out by carrying triplets for him and his older wife. There’s a lot of freedom that comes with enjoying your life and developing hobbies instead of worrying about your single status.
  7. Marriage is not for everyone. By the end of the show’s ten season run, Joey was the only character to stay unmarried. Kind of like when every time you log onto Facebook there’s engagement announcement. But despite those shiny ring photos, we’re getting married later than the generations before us.
  8. It’s good for women to make the first move. In season 4, when Rachel meets Joshua while helping him pick out clothes at work, she fumbles over asking him on a date because she’s never asked anyone out before. Even though it was an awkward moment, more and more of us are asking guys out now, especially if we’re online dating. After all, you don’t want to spend days or weeks wasting time chatting with someone if you’re never going to actually meet in person.
  9. Guys have feelings, too. It would be hard to argue that Ross and Chandler aren’t the most sensitive characters on the show. Until Chandler ends up with Monica, he’s used to girls turning him down when he asks them out, and Ross spends a lot of time moping over Rachel. In today’s so-called hook-up culture, it’s easy to think that guys don’t have emotions or that they don’t worry about anything, but that’s definitely not the case for everyone. And Rachel and Ross are equally upset about their love gone wrong, although they deal with it in different ways (he convinces himself to marry Emily while saying Rachel’s name at the ceremony, she dates different guys to make him jealous).
  10. And finally, when you meet The One, it does get easier. There’s a certain kind of peace felt by Monica and Chandler when they couple up, even when they hide it from the rest of the group – the comfort level that occurs you’re finally ended up with the right person. And isn’t that what we’re all hoping for?
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.