friends and “Friends”

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?


  1. Great post! When talking about subjects like this I always bring up this story: My SIL moved into town near us recently so on my birthday, she asked, “What are we going to do for your B-day? Are we going to go out with your friends?”

    I laughed and thought about it. “Um…I guess I can call my ONE friend Robin…” It never really occurred to me until just then that I really only had one, solid girlfriend that I consistently hang out with that lives nearby (she’s one of my BFs from college).

    To be honest, if I lived nearby to most of my college girlfriends I think we’d still be very close knit (much like Robin and I are now, since she and I both moved up to Nor Cal after college). But I haven’t made any really close “new” friends since college, mostly because I work at home, and mostly because I am lazy. Like you, we do the couples’ friends things here and there but for the most part my only real, solid friends are my girlfriends from college, and we’re all dispersed throughout the state and country.

    I do often wish I had a couple more (but not many more) close girlfriends and we all ran in a circle. I probably spend 1-2 days a week with my “one friend” and to be honest that’s about all the time I (and any working person, I suspect) have time for anyway, so it’s just fine :)

    But it is funny to think, like you’ve written, that I don’t really have a tight-knit group of friends now that I’m in my late 20s!

    …I think neighbors are key. Oh, how I wish we had neighbors we really connected with! Proximity would be so great!

  2. I still hang out with my friends from highschool. Of course we were 9 and now that has gone down to 6, but we still see eachother from time to time and go to birthdays, weddings, and big events.

    I also hang out with a couple I worked with (where I met my husband) we still hang out, play board game, talk money and babies. Obviously as time goes by relationship change.

    And we happen to be really great friends with are neighbours. (I agree, that is key) Like numbered exchanged, dinners…etc.

    But looking back at “friends” in 1994, it seemed to be so far away, and not even close to where I would be at, at that age. Funny. isn’t it.

  3. 1994. Wow. Great post, Brooke!
    Until we moved 1500 miles away from our friends, we did have a pretty tight group. In our new town, it has been a long (sort of friendless) year:( it is very hard to connect, especially having a toddler!
    I’m trying to just enjoy this season of my life, and praying for some new buddies soon! Besides, my amazing husband happens to be my bff so we’re good!

  4. What a wonderful post! This really resonates with me because Mike and I talk about it all of the time–how much we wish we had a group of friends that we could hang out with at the drop of a hat. We’re happy with our home in the suburbs, but sometimes we wonder how differently our lives would have been if we chose to live in the city with our friends.

  5. I’ve been meaning to comment on this post all weekend but I was on my phone and needed to wait to get to a computer.
    I have similar feelings to yours with ‘Friends’ and also ‘How I Met Your Mother’ – they all look like they are having the best time ever and I wish we could have some people like that. Thankfully we do have a bunch of people who live close enough, but not super close, that we see a few times a month. We also have the college friends (two sets) that we visit from time to time. But now with the weddings (finally) dying down it’s less and less that we will see these people. We do have one set of friends that live right down the street, 100% walkable – but they just had a baby so although they are still awesome and we see them often – we’re not in the same place in life anymore, maybe soon – but not just yet. So it’s nice to see that you (and others) are in the same boat as we are. I like the way Hannah put it “enjoy this season of my life” – I think I might have to try to remember that one.

  6. I loved Friends (in fact I recently finished watching all 10 seasons again – crazy how different they all looked when the show started in 1994!), and I always wanted a group like that. I’ve been blessed with some pretty amazing friends, but they’re all kind of sporadic groups – it’s not one group of 6 people where we all hang out. And that’s good and bad… though I still wish I had a coffee shop (or a bar like McClarens in HIMYM) that was my “local” hangout. We’re trying to make a nearby bar our local spot for B and me, but we’re too cheap to always go somewhere!

  7. I think with the internet, text messages and constant on-line communication- our network of friends have changed dramatically over the years.. I have a group a friends in my City- but my ‘Friends’ like friends- are still my college friends and we live all over the country.

  8. i know exactly what you are talking about, i loved that about the show too! my last year and half of college i lived with two of my best friends, a guy and a girl. and my now-husband lived with his brother in the apt a floor above us.. when we all came to this arrangement, i remember basically shrieking about how awesome it would be just like on “friends”! lol. it was pretty cool but it didn’t last long enough!

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