Friends has been off the air for nearly ten years, but its lasting effect on our culture is undeniable. The reason isn’t exactly rocket science: the show was well-written, completely endearing, and in our faces for ten whole years. It was situational comedy in its purest form. And while a network TV series about six twenty-somethings living in New York isn’t ground-breaking stuff, we were totally in to it and continue to live in what can only be described as a post-Friends world. Let us count the ways:
1. You still exclaim, “Oh. My. GOD.” whenever something (anything) of note happens. This has become something of a staple for those of us wanting to convey astonishment.
2. You have had at least one fight with a significant other in which you’ve used the phrase, “WE WERE ON A BREAK.” Were you though? Were you really? Look… we know how this one works out. You will spend the next eight years pleading your case before everyone finally gets over it and you finally get back together, if nothing else for the sake of your love child.
3. There are several design elements in your apartment taken straight from Monica and Rachel’s (or Joey and Chandler’s.) Whether it be a purple statement wall, eclectic, mismatched dining room furniture, or a massive porcelain dog, Friends has left its mark on your apartment. Go ahead and put up that empty picture frame you know you only got because it reminded you of the one framing the M&R’s peep-hole. Just do it. You’ll feel better.
4. You secretly assign character names to your real-life friends based on specific personality traits, however vague they may be. You have a girlfriend who exclusively favors bright nail colors so she’s obviously a Phoebe. You justify a male friend’s chronic casual dating to Joeyism. Every girl you’ve ever met who is organized is so much Monica etc. etc.
5. You’ve spent your twenties romanticizing your living situation in hopes of forging a bond with your neighbors so great that two of you eventually get married and doors will, of course, remain unlocked for unplanned pop-ins. You may even lean toward apartment buildings where your front door opens up to someone else because maybe this time fate will be on your side. Maybe!!!
6. You hear, “TV Guide,” you think, “Miss Chanandler Bong.” Since nobody actually gets TV Guide anymore, this is always part of an old-timey reference.
7. You assign categories to your towels (at least mentally.) Your bleach-stained, mismatched, not-sure-where-you-even-got-that-one towels are obviously part of Everyday Use, where as the plush, ornate, Pottery Barn ones make up Fancy Guest.
8. You catch yourself wondering whatever happened to the triplets Pheobe birthed and was so emotional about, and then saw like once again ever. Seriously, what’s the deal? Remember how she wanted to keep one? Then years later there was one episode where Frank Jr. came to pick them up and it’s as if the writers were like, “You guys, we HAVE to deal with this, should we just do it now?” Bizarre.
9. Central Perk isn’t a real place and you’ve accepted that, but it doesn’t stop you from trying every local coffee shop in hopes it’ll become your regular hang with all your pals. If you happen to live in New York or Beijing, you might actually attempt patronizing the Central Perk recreations that have popped up, but I have to imagine you’ll only ever go once, as intense tourist traps are not the right atmosphere for getting in to the Friends-zone (see what I did there? You’re welcome.)
10. You refer to every, “will-they-wont-they” situation as “Ross-and-Racheling.” This can be annoying, because it implies that every couple of weirdos that just can’t get on the same page have a star crossed air about them akin to Ross and Rachel which, as we all know, is rarely the case. This should be reserved for lifers only. The ones who have been trying to make it happen since puberty and may still be trying for it well in to their ’40s.
11. You feel a pang of real sympathy every time one of the Friends embarks on another project that fails. This happens all too often, right? It’s like, maybe just accept that you made millions being the one character any of us wants you to be, and move to Colorado and be a pillar of local community theater? I don’t know what the answer is exactly, but I can’t watch another bad romantic comedy or exhausting sitcom in which my Friend is just being dragged along, trying desperately to catch on to something that works. It’s too pitiful.
12. Whenever someone introduces himself as, “Joshua,” you hear it in italics. JOSH-WA. The Tate Donovan storyline was one of the more memorable outside-dating ones because he brought out the real crazy in Rachel that we sort of knew was there all along.
13. You consider farm animals perfectly acceptable house pets. The chick and the duck were a really adorable addition to the gang, so why then, would a farm-variety pet not be an adorable addition to your gang? This is the logic we’re going to stick to.
14. You had a bit of an existential crisis when you realized Ross’ son, Ben, would be nineteen this year. NINETEEN!!!!! What. Is. Happening. Zack and Cody are full-on adults living in the world like it’s nothing. They can’t possibly grasp the weight of their mere status as adult humans on the world around them. It’s probably for the best. Nobody needs that pressure.
15. You still find it odd that Ross and Rachel named their daughter Emma, after all the drama with Emily just years prior. I had an ex boyfriend who cheated on me, then years later I saw on Facebook that the girl he cheated on me with gave her kid the same name as me, only spelled slightly differently and I was like, “What kind of madness is this?!!” It’s not totally unlike the whole Emma/Emily situation, which I also don’t fully understand.
16. You find it almost insulting that Monica and Rachel gave up their RENT CONTROLLED massive apartment in the Village just because everyone was moving. Yes, I know it’s just a set, and that the impact of the final scene was major because of the emptiness of the expansive apartment, but still! Downright insulting.
Haley Melikian is a writer and pop-culture enthusiast living a medium-paced life in Los Angeles. You can find her on Twitter @haleygolightly if you’re in to that sort of thing.