There are a LOT of valuable lessons that you can learn from the characters on Friends, but my gal pal Rachel Green taught me everything there is to know about being a grown up. You might be asking yourself how the most stuck-up, spoiled, daddy’s girl of the bunch could know anything about real life, but trust me, Rach knows all. Okay, she doesn’t know everything, but she did have the harshest wake up call to becoming an adult (you know, when she didn’t marry Barry), so in Rachel I trust, and so should you.
Rachel learned the hard way that being a grown up is NOT easy. She is actually the unsung hero of the Friends squad, after picking herself up and actually making something out of herself beginning in season one. She came a long way throughout the series and basically became my life guru. Here’s what she taught me (and so many others) about being a grown up:
Finding a good roommate is hard to do. Rachel lives with pretty much every one of her friends and through her journey I learned what to do, and what not to do as a roommate. For example, don’t eat other people’s food (Joey doesn’t share food), leaving the straightener on is bad (hello, the Phoebe apartment fire) and leaving messages on the bathroom mirror is a nice gesture.
No matter how old you get, sometimes you still want your mommy and daddy. Throughout the show, Rachel turns to her parents, because she needs their help and that is totally fine. Calling your mom or dad for advice is normal, so why are we all so embarrassed that we do it? Granted having your mom quit her life and move in with you because you are scared of being a mom is a little excessive, but the fear of messing up is real. Parents get that, so use them for guidance.
Working your way up in life is hard work. Rachel had to help an 80-year-old woman try on a thong and she didn’t even buy it! If she can handle that, I can handle anything. Plus, that same personal shopper job lead her to Joshua, who was kind of a train wreck, but still.
You might have to settle for something you don’t like when it comes to finding a job. Okay, Central Perk wouldn’t be the worst place to work, but it’s still a coffee shop. Rachel had to swallow her pride and get any job she could to pay rent, which sadly comes with being a grown up.
Money doesn’t grow on trees and taxes suck. When Rachel realized that the FICA took money out of her first big girl paycheck it was like looking into a mirror. We all know that taxes exist, but when you actually see how much is taken out, you quickly wonder why on earth you work at all.
Doing your own laundry isn’t terrible. Okay, most of us have done our own laundry before, but Rachel reminded me that it is just another thing to add to your adult life list every week. Oh, and she proved my greatest suspicion correct: that laundry mats suck and the people are scary. LOL, just that one lady was scary, but she climbed into a laundry cart and somehow won, so everything was fine.
Sticking to a budget is no cake walk. Yes, you love hanging out with your friends and going out to dinner, but that is so not practical. When it was Ross’s birthday and the whole gang went to dinner, Rachel, Joey and Phoebe finally stood their ground and you should too. If you only ate a salad or had soup, why are you splitting the bill? It was an awkward moment for Rach for sure, but as a result, I now bring cash when going to dinner with a big group. It’s just smart living.
Beware of sexism. It didn’t matter how hard Rachel worked, somehow it always ended up being about sex or male dominance at work. Case and point, when Mark (ugh) decided to help her, one friend to another, get the Ralph Lauren job. He really was just trying to get something else from Rachel, which was not cool. Oh, and when she was at Ralph Lauren, one of the women assumed she was sleeping with Ralph, which was NOT the case.
Hair changes can do a lot for you. “The Rachel” was SO freaking famous, and what does that tell us? That switching up your ‘do isn’t always as scary as it seems. Plus, her style evolves, which is something we should all be more open to.
Dating a co-worker is NOT a good idea, even if he’s as hot as Tag. Okay, Tag was SO dreamy, but he was her employee, which was never a good idea. Even though their relationship wasn’t the worst one Rachel had, they did have an awkward encounter when Rachel wrote the sexy review that ended up on her boss’s desk.
Your friend dating your boss is also a bad idea. When Chandler began hooking up with Rachel’s boss Joanna, it was great, because she was way nicer, but that didn’t last forever. She quickly learned that her job could be put in jeopardy if they broke up, which they did and it was a mess. Sometimes you have to look out for number one. Sorry, Chan-Chan.
Saying goodbye is way harder than you’d think. When Rachel goes to leave for Paris, which was heartbreaking enough, the goodbyes pulled at my heartstrings. Even saying goodbye to Chandler, who can’t take anything seriously, was a tearjerker. Leaving people behind, no matter how exciting the next adventure is, is really freaking depressing.
Friends can be good and bad. When Rachel leaves Barry at the alter, her maid of honor goes on her honeymoon with him — AKA she’s a bad friend. But, when Rachel looks up her former BFF Monica, and makes the choice to try to rekindle their friendship, she finds good friends that last a lifetime. You never know which friends are forever, so looking an oldie up, isn’t the worst idea in the world.
Getting off the plane isn’t easy, but it could be the best decision of your life. Life and love is SO complicated, as proven by Rachel and Ross’ up-and-down romance, but the drama was worth it. She got off the plane, after having to make a huge fuss and, in return, she got her lobster. Basically, Rachel chose love over work, which in the end is what was right for her and what most of us are striving to have. When you do get the chance, get off that plane and go for love.
I love Rachel Green. I know she’s flawed and yes, she is sassy and mean at times, but she’s just like every other young adult out their, trying to find her way. Plus, it’s her attitude and hidden sweetness that help her succeed. That and her friends, duh.