I’ll be there for you…The 90s classic sitcom Friends first aired over twenty years ago, yet it’s still loved and binge-watched by people of all generations. The series’s success has been associated with how relatable it is when it comes to life in our twenties, which is why its popularity has had a deeper appeal to viewers around those ages. While it might seem that others around you are effortlessly leading their lives, you’re stuck waiting tables at local coffee shops. Friends portrays a period in our lives when we might be faced with uncertainties and struggles, but we can get through it with a little help and care from our friends. As a woman in her mid-twenties, I’ve had my share of struggles, but the lives of the characters in Friends and their everyday issues are just unrelatable to me in spite of my being in their same age range.
- I still live with my parents
While seeing that all of the characters in Friends live on their own or with a roommate in an apartment, I still live with my parents. I have no clue what it’s like to pay rent, to be wary of electric bills, to have a fridge filled with leftovers, and to try to have more than one room tidy. My “roommates” (more like housemates) are my parents and that isn’t a whole lot of fun. While I’m eternally grateful for all their love and support, they’re very strict. I still have a curfew before midnight! So, I definitely still feel like a baby girl under my parent’s roof, nothing similar to the independence and freedom that I see in the show.
- I’ve never actually dated
I’ve been in three relationships so far, but going through a dating phase and swiping left and right on Tinder is something I am a stranger to. In my three scenarios, I started by getting to know the guy and I quickly knew it was going to be a serious and long-term relationship, and that is exactly what happened. Maybe I’ve been somewhat “lucky” that the three guys I’ve approached were not in it with the mindset to fool around, very different to what the girls in Friends go through…
As we recall, Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe have their share of complaining about their dating life, and although they eventually find great guys and stick with them for long periods of time, they often experience struggles in the dating world. I have no idea what it feels to date so many men (like they do) and let alone hook up with someone, ‘cause I don’t do that. If I’m interested in a guy, it’s either because I can identify some future potential or I’m already developing romantic feelings. I know, but I do confess! And I’m not against hookups, it’s just not my thing.
- I’m financially stable
I’m not struggling financially, but maybe it’s because I don’t have financial commitments (outside of Netflix), such as rent, bills, credit cards, groceries, health insurance, and other expenses. I guess this might be the silver lining of living with my parents. I just pay for gas whenever I go out (which is the bare minimum of times), if I want to eat nice food on a whim, or if I just want to buy cool things. Yet, I’ve never been a shopaholic, and I’m a bit reserved when it comes to money. The characters in Friends, however, struggle between paying credit cards, rent, and just to make it through the week, but that’s just not my financial reality, for now.
- I have a chill job
My job is stress-free. As an MA student, I got accepted to a competitive program that pays me to work for the university, in which case I get a tuition waiver, which is just the cherry on top. However, I do need a plan B when I finish my MA, and that is a future stress factor, but for now I’m totally digging my job. In Friends, Monica loses her job at some point, and specifically Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe struggle with their wages as a waitress, actor, and massage therapist, respectively. At one moment in the show, they complain to their other friends about how they can’t afford fancy dinners or expensive entertainments because their wallets don’t meet those expectations.
- No drinks or parties for me
In Friends, you see how they throw parties for each other or celebrate holidays by inviting a bunch of people to the apartment as they all gather with drinks in their hands, laugh and party, and I’m here thinking: I don’t even know ten people, let alone party with them. I’ve always been more on the introverted side, so I prefer quiet gatherings with small groups of people. Parties irritate me, for some reason. Even though there can be drinks in my 4-5 people hangouts, I will not drink. I just don’t like how it tastes. In Friends we see some of the characters getting drunk, like when Monica (Monana) comes home from spending her wild night-out with the fake Monica and she’s all tipsy and incoherent (yeah, I don’t know what that feels like at all).
- Okay, I can relate to not having a plan
But okay, I must relate to something, right? And I do, with many things that happen in the show and I laugh along with them, but if there’s one relatable crisis that is discussed throughout the series is that feeling of being lost and not having plans for the future. I get that a lot. Sometimes it feels like everyone around you is living their dream lives, when you have no clue what to do once you finish your second degree or quit this transitory job. But one day I talked about this with my best friend and she told me: “What you’re going through is totally normal; those who have things already planned out are the weird exceptions.” And when I really thought about it, she was right. I received that little love and support from a friend when the rain started to pour and I couldn’t have related more to the show.
I’m not living a dreamy twenties life, nor do I feel my life is a complete ease, but the struggles and life scenarios that the characters in Friends experience don’t represent me as a 20-something-year-old. I still absolutely love the show and its simple but unique way to depict the struggles of early adulthood with such a familiarity and quirkiness that makes it one of the best sitcoms for past and future generations to come.