5 Things That Happened When I Watched ‘Friends’ For the First Time As An Actual 20-Something

“I’ll be there for you…”

Everyone knows it; the iconic theme song to “Friends” spans generations and is most often followed by enthusiastic hand clapping.

Somehow, I made it through my entire young adult life, college, and half of my twenties before I actually ever watched “Friends.” Deep breaths. We’ll get through this.

I started watching with (almost) zero idea of what to expect. (Because I don’t live completely under a rock, I at least knew who the characters were.)

I’m now in the midst of Season 5 and have experienced more emotional roller coaster episodes than I was prepared for. To deal with this, here’s a list of the 10 things that happened when I started watching “Friends” as a 20-something.

1. The One Where…

Friends Couch Rachel Wedding

I’m obsessed. I want everything in my life to be titled, “The One Where…” For example: “The One Where Gillian Becomes Naturally Tan;” or “The One Where Gillian Becomes A Famous News Anchor.” I’d even settle for “The One Where Gillian Gets A Free Puppy.”

2. Rachel’s HAIR

Friends Rachel Brunette

If I knew anything about “Friends” coming into this, it was that everyone who watched this show in its heyday (did I actually just use that word?) was obsessed with Rachel’s hair. To be fair, I was not at all a fan of the poofy-disheveled look in the early seasons, but when we hit seasons 4&5 the brunette-straight-flippy look is giving me MAJOR hair goals.

3. Lots of Coffee and No Jobs

Friends Couch Coffee

I’m a fan of coffee. I like hanging out with friends. I enjoy occasional witty banter. But WHY are they never at work? We see them at work for like point-2 seconds and then its coffee, friends, more coffee, laughing, more friends, more laughing, coffee, friends, laughing, thorough-enjoyment-of-daily-20-something-activities. I think I’d be a much better 25-year-old if I could spend as much time in a coffee shop laughing with friends as they do.

4. Ross-Rachel Break Up Sob Fest

Ross Rachel Break Up Gif

I was unprepared for how legitimately sad I was when Ross and Rachel broke up the first-and-a-half time. I made it through the entire episode (after telling Netflix to stop judging me with its “Do you want to continue?” side-eye) and just sat on the couch as the tears started flowing. I’m not proud, I’m just honest. It really hit me. Some day, I’ll get over it.

5. Squad goals

Friends Couch GIF

We all had “our group” of friends in college; the inseparable ones who you could depend on for anything at any time of day or night. But then we graduated and followed our careers to separate cities, states and countries and now here we are, three years out and our friendship is reduced to a well-worded text and monthly phone call. Where is my 20-something squad?! Better question: Where do I find these people? At work? At the gym? In the neighborhood? Help a girl out here! 

Bonus: 

Most Underrated Character Award…

Goes to Joey. He is constantly keeping the peace, holding secrets for everyone and generally diffusing the tension with a well-timed and often self-deprecating joke. Bonus points for being a Boston native.

I’m (thankfully) only half-way through my pseudo-binge-watching of “Friends” (pseudo because, hi, I have a full time job and responsibilities and such, unlike said “Friends”) and I’m afraid I need to prepare myself for significantly more roller-coaster moments and serious life goals.

Gillian Smith

Gillian is a videographer by day and a writer by night. A native of Boston, MA, she is a loyal Red Sox fan, company member of DanceWorks Boston, and lover of baked goods. She does not eat ketchup.

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