All the wisdom I learned from Phoebe Buffay

Phoebe Buffay is one of my favorite characters on TV. Other Friends fans might think of themselves as a Rachel or a Monica or even a Ross Gellar, but for me, Phoebe is the most fun, interesting character. She’s wonderfully weird, opinionated, silly, and fiercely loyal to her friends.  I love that she can be so naïve and innocent, but also capable of being a total badass. She’s also, believe it or not, pretty wise.

A positive attitude really does make the difference

Out of all the Friends, Phoebe undoubtedly had the darkest past: her family was poor, her father abandoned them when she was young, her mother died she was thirteen, and her stepfather was sent to prison. By the age of fifteen, she was living on the streets. But she never let her past keep her down. In fact, Phoebe was the most cheerful and optimistic of the group. While she learned a few things as Street Phoebe, her rough upbringing also taught her to be kind, compassionate, and to appreciate the little things in life. Her determination to see the brighter side of things led her to have the happy life she wanted.

Don’t worry about what other people think

One of the things I admire most about Phoebe is that she’s so confident and comfortable in her own skin. She knows who she is and she isn’t going to change based on what other people might think of her. In the episode “The One Where Phoebe Runs,” Rachel is too embarrassed to go running with Phoebe because her running style is a mix between “Kermit the frog and the Six Million Dollar Man.” But Phoebe makes it perfectly clear that she’s going to keep running the way she does because it’s the only way it’s fun, and she doesn’t plan on changing that just because she gets a few odd looks.

Boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, but friends are for life

Phoebe makes this perfectly clear when Joey cancels his plans with her for a date. Phoebe is, among other things, very loyal to her friends. She’s there through thick and thin, and knows that no matter what romantic arrangements they go through, she’ll always be their friend.

It’s great to have beliefs and principles – but it’s also okay to slip up

Phoebe has many principles: she’s a vegetarian, she doesn’t wear fur, she’s against large corporations…I would say that Phoebe is the moral center of the group. But she does slip up occasionally; like when she begins eating meat during her pregnancy due to cravings, or when she starts wearing a fur coat she inherited because she look so good– and then stops when she believes a squirrel is judging her. It’s a reminder that we all sometimes have trouble sticking to our principles, and that’s okay. Nobody’s perfect. We all do the best we can.

Making time for fun is important

Whether she’s running happily through Central Park, making wind-up toys race, going one mile on a hippity-hop, or just singing while playing her guitar, Phoebe knows how to have a good time. She understands that sometimes we need to stop taking life so seriously and just have some fun.

Never underestimate the importance of a kind gesture

Phoebe is one of the kindest members of the group, and she’s never too busy to help someone. She’s always there for her friends: helping Ross scare off his coworkers from taking his sandwich, teaching Joey how to speak French, helping Chandler prepare for a job interview, just to name a few examples. But she’s not only kind to the people she knows, but to strangers as well. Who can forget when she helped Malcom, Ursula’s stalker, get over his stalking habits? Or when she rushed to help Earl–a man she met over the phone while trying to sell toner–when she learned that he wanted to commit suicide? Phoebe Buffay is definitely not one to turn her back on people.

Yep, Phoebe Buffay may be goofy and sweet, but also? She’s kind of a role model. We’re going to go live every day the Phoebe Buffay way.

Hoda Agharazi is a full-time daydreamer, part-time writer, aspiring actress and wannabe photographer. She enjoys watching reruns of her favourite TV shows, and hopes to one day write and star in her own TV sitcom. She might also have a slight obsession with Robert Downey Jr. You can follow her on Twitter at @HodaAgharazi

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[Image courtesy NBC]

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