25 Nearest and Dearest 5/25
Monica, Rachel, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe and Ross (F.R.I.E.N.D.S.)
It is literally in the title — F.R.I.E.N.D.S. You’d know what the series is about even if you haven’t seen all 236 episodes. (And look, while I’m sure these people exist, I’ve personally never met someone who hasn’t watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S.) Point being, of course Phoebe, Monica, Rachel, Chandler, Joey, and Ross would make this list. Of course, I’d do wish to do everything in my power to condense 10 seasons worth of TV into one post. But here is the reality, it’s impossible. Although I’m sure there’s a person out there who could manage to choose their favorite moments, I’m not one of those people. I tried. Seriously I did. That said, while I can’t sit here and write about all my favorite moments (tears), I can tell you why I’ll always love this group.
Strangely, the episode most vividly engraved in my memory is the final one. And I’m sure this is shocking to those who know how much I adore Monica and Chandler. Don’t worry, their wedding is a close second. The first time I watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S live was actually during the final episode — as a 12-year-old with no real experience of the world, I felt something unexpected on the 6th of May in the year 2004. No, I’m not friends with a lot of the people I knew in Middle School. No, I wasn’t thinking of them. But what I knew in that moment that there’d come in a time in my life where things would change as drastically as they did in that final episode. And what I also learned, perhaps the greatest lesson of all, was that changes would be easy with good friends by my side. There was a beautiful sense of hope in “The Last One”. A promise that solidified the fact that true friendships will never change — no matter the circumstances. It’s never easy to get used to a routine only to have it change, but life is all about the moments that drastically alter our lives. And in that moment, their lives would be changed forever. They were each moving on to something new — something that’d require more of their free time. It’s a bit heartbreaking that things can’t stay the same forever, but we’re equipped to evolve. When the time comes where children will gravitate our attentions more than the things we were able to do before, it will be okay, for there’s great beauty in these kind of the changes. And even if it isn’t children, sometimes life forces us to be somewhere else, but knowing we’ve got a home with certain people is a gift all on its own.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S did an exemplary job of exhibiting how the best of friends are — at their craziest, messiest, and most real selves. And growing up, I was certain of one thing, when I find the friends I can be completely myself with, I’ve achieved one of life’s greatest goals. The best of friends fight for each other and forgive each other. Chandler, Monica, Rachel, Joey, Phoebe, and Ross have seen each other at their ugliest, but they’ve never let that alter the love they have for one another. The best of friends call each other out on their ____, and the reality is, if our family and friends didn’t point out our flaws, we’d be walking around with egos larger than the moon. We are our best selves when we’re with the people we love — the people it’s easy to be both vulnerable and completely ridiculous with. And when it comes to the group in F.R.I.E.N.D.S, they’ve shaped each other into the best versions of themselves — ultimately showcasing that belief in someone is an incredibly powerful thing. They’ve let one another be exactly who they are. They’ve even mocked each other — because let’s be realistic here, we’re all a little ridiculous and we only show those sides to those closest to us.
When it comes to this group, they’re all so ridiculously different from one another, sometimes it’s amazing that they’re even friends. But perhaps that’s why the series is so phenomenal. Perhaps that’s why it’s so hopeful. We don’t need to have 7,504 similarities with our best friends — unless maybe you’re Joey and Chandler. As different as they were, their similarities were endless — who else would be willing to co-parent a chick and a goose?! No one; that’s who. And even with all of Phoebe’s unique quirks the group didn’t always understand, she was always a part of their team. If Monica hadn’t forgiven Rachel, she wouldn’t be the very best version of herself that she is today. She wouldn’t have her dream job. A little faith goes a long way and at the end of the day, this group always believed in one another. Whether it was something as serious as a career move or something as ridiculous as how many Oreos can Joey stuff into his mouth, they never lost faith in one another. And that’s probably why I’ve adored them so dearly all these years. They’ve illuminated the reality behind the closest friends — when we know people will love us no matter what, we’re more open with them. Because our walls are down we’re susceptible to making mistakes. We reveal parts of ourselves only our families have seen, and while some people may run away, the true friends stick behind us while rooting for the person they know we can be. And no matter what happens, they know they’ve always got a home with us. Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross have literally all lived together at one point switching roommates left and right, but that’s always been so incredible for us viewers. It’s showcased the fact that because the love between them is so authentic, no one would ever be left behind or alone.
The one thing we all learn as we grow older is that life isn’t as we expected. For instance, by 25 I expected to have my dream job. And although I’m grateful for where I’m at in my life, it’s this show that continuously reminds me of the fact that we are not lacking when we’ve got love on our side. They’ve each faced their own crisis in life, but at the end of the day, they’ve come home to each other. At the end of the day they’ve stood strong because someone was there to remind them of the fact that everything’s going to be okay. It doesn’t matter what happens between the group because at the end of the day they’d all have each other. It’s clear that no matter where life leads them, home can be found in each other’s presence and the memories that were created — even if they don’t live a foot away from each other. Apartments come and go, jobs come and go, good cheesecake comes and go, but friends are forever. Sometimes all we need is coffee with our best friends to make a crappy day a little better. Just as this group always had someone to vent to, we need to aspire to be the people who can be there for others. We need to aspire to always be there for our best friends believing with everything in us that they’d do the same if the roles were reversed.