Life Lessons I've Learned From "Friends"

As I sit here watching “Friends,” I am contemplating the life lessons I’ve learned from this show, having watched it 11 times—I know, I’m a little obsessed. 

The older I get, the more I realize that “Friends” has taught us so many life lessons. Here is what I have learned from each of the six friends. 













  1. 1. Phoebe (P as in Phoebe, H as in Hoebe, O as in Oebe, E as in Ebe, B as in Bebe and E as in ‘Ello there, mate)

    Due to her traumatic childhood, Phoebe developed a child-like naïveté, which made her see the world as a better place. We saw this in "The One Where Old Yeller Dies," in which she can’t accept the sad ending of the movie. Her child-like behavior also made her live life carefree without giving two cents what others thought. This was seen in "The One Where Phoebe Runs," where she ran like a kid when Rachel took her jogging. Phoebe also had some solid principles she lived by—with a few catches. We all know she was vegetarian, but she ate meat while she was pregnant. She is against big corporations, but she worked for one briefly. 

    Lessons Learned:

    1. Enjoy life like nobody’s watching

    2. Have your own principles but allow yourself a few slip-ups   

  2. 2. Chandler Bing (Ms. Chanandler Bong, The Chan-Chan man or Boss Man Bing)

    Chandler is my favorite “Friends” character. His humor was a way for him to handle uncomfortable situations, but this also made him hands down the funniest character on the show. Because of his lightheartedness, most of his friends never saw him as the hard-worker he was. He never talked about his job (no one knew what it was either, a “transponster” maybe?), but he did get all the way to a vice-president position for his company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before deciding on a career change. 

    Lessons Learned:

    1. Humor makes things easier 

    2. Work hard but be humble about it  

  3. 3. Rachel Greene (Big Green Poker Machine) 

    Rachel appeared in the pilot episode, entering the coffee house in a soaked wedding dress. This was the beginning of her adventure in which she could finally be independent. At the beginning of the series, Rachel was seen as spoiled, self-centered and selfish, but over time her personality evolved. She worked in the coffee house as a waitress for a couple of years before deciding to follow her dream and pursue a career in the fashion industry. She struggled her way up in the industry, starting as an assistant in a fashion company where she mainly poured coffee, again. She did get a real chance at a job in the fashion industry at Bloomingdales before starting her dream job at Ralph Lauren. 

    Lessons Learned:

    1. Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams 

  4. 4. Ross Geller (The Rossatron, Dr. Monkey or Ross the Divorcer) 

    So much could be said about Dr. Ross Geller. For me, he is a sweet and loving character with a kind heart. I see him as the most mature character of all six. After all, when the series started, he had just finalized his divorce after being with Carol for seven years, and he had already received his Ph.D. Even though he is sometimes seen as arrogant, Ross always tried to be there for his friends. His kindness is seen when he gives Phoebe a bike after hearing she never had one as a kid and then teaches her how to ride it after learning she doesn’t know how. When Rachel broke a rib, even though they had just broken up, he helped her get ready for her party, and eventually, when the pain got stronger, he took her to the hospital.

    Lessons Learned: 

    1. No matter what, be kind to people (unless they eat your sandwich)  

  5. 5. Monica Geller (Little Harmonica)

    Monica is best known for her mania for cleanliness. Monica can also be very competitive, bossy and somewhat controlling. These traits, however, don’t stand in the way of her being a kind and caring friend. Her motivation, combined with her competitiveness, made her want to be the best at everything she does. She always wanted to be the leader (come on, team Monica), she always wanted to be on the winning side, and never settled for just good enough.

    Lessons Learned:

    1. Be confident, motivated and competitive—be the best version of yourself 

  6. 6. Joey Tribbiani (The Best Bud or V.D. Boy)

    Joey is a kind-hearted, charismatic and well-meaning character, really lovable and often regarded as one of the favorites to the wide fan base of the series. It’s really hard not to like him. Joey has shown that, for him, friendship is a sacred thing. He always looked for ways to express the love he had for his friends. I am sure you remember the bracelet he gave to Chandler as a sign of their friendship. Even if it wasn’t well-received, he meant well—we all know that. Even when he fell in love with Rachel, he said he’d never act on it because his friendship with Ross was so much more important. He thought Ross hated him and wanted to leave the country and go to Vermont (Oh, Joey). He even asked Monica how to convert dollars into "Vermont money."

    Lessons Learned: 

    1. Friendship is sacred 

We also learned that sometimes we have to pivot. We learned that it is important to have "UNAGI." We learned not to look down while lying. We learned never to get on a plane if it doesn’t have a phalange, but above all, we all learned that good friends are always going to be there for us. Everything else is a “moo” point.