When “Friends” first came on the air in 1994, I was immediately hooked. I recorded each week’s episode (on VHS, holler!), and my mom continued taping it for me every week when I went away to college four years later. (TV-watching was at a minimum while I was stressing myself out until graduating in 2002.)
I know I am certainly not the only person who loved this show… but for me, it wasn’t just that it was funny. I loved the relationships that the six friends had with each other. I loved that their lives were intertwined, for better or worse; they supported each other in all of their endeavors (Joey’s bad plays and Phoebe’s strange songwriting included); they argued and disagreed, but still loved each other at the end of the day. They had open-door policies at their apartments, celebrated Thanksgiving together as a family, and hung out together whenever possible.
I know it was just a television show, but as a teenager, it was what I imagined my twenties would be like.
I still catch episodes of “Friends” often, as it’s in syndication for eternity, and a while ago it finally hit me: I am now older than them. At least, older than they were throughout a good majority of the show. (I’m not the only one who had the same recent revelation). And relationships in my twenties did not, in the slightest, resemble those of the six friends.
Don’t get me wrong: I have some amazing friends. I spent 70% of my twenties in a stable, loving, wonderful relationship with someone who I now call my husband (and we never broke up like Ross and Rachel). We have couple-friends with whom we enjoy getting together from time to time. We have friends we’ve known forever, and some new friends who have come into our lives more recently…but we don’t have that one, single group of friends who we do everything with or see all the time, or any neighbors we can hang out with at the drop of a hat. Most of our friends don’t live close enough that we would ever just “stop by,” so our time between visits is usually much more spread out, and we have friends from all different areas of our lives who don’t all know each other. We are lucky to have great people in our lives, but it is so different from what my teenage “Friends”-loving self thought my social circle would look like.
Do you have a close-knit group of friends that you see all the time? Did you expect that relationships in your twenties would look more like the friendships of Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross?