11 Major Relationship Lessons that ‘Friends Taught Us

It’s difficult to deny the impact “Friends” had in the 1990s and continues to have today through syndication and streaming. From the hit ’90s sitcom, here’s some relationship advice to remember.

When it comes to relationships with those close to you, it’s better to be vulnerable than react out of fear and insecurity.

The portrayal of Ross’ relationship with his ex-wife Carol and her new wife Susan in “Friends” has received both praise and criticism. When Carol’s parents refuse to attend her wedding to Susan, Ross chooses to walk her down the aisle. Still, he makes numerous jokes about Carol and Susan’s sexuality throughout the rest of the series.

“It’s possible that Ross agreed to co-parent with Carol and Susan while still holding homophobic and [sexist] beliefs and thus acting in a homophobic and sexist manner,” Kolawole said. “It’s harder to be judgmental when exposing ourselves,” she continued.

Winning a debate should not take precedence over the health of your relationship.

The relationship between Ross and Rachel is at the heart of “Friends,” and season three’s “Ross and Rachel take a break in this episode” establishes one of the show’s most famous callback lines — “We were on a break.” “Friends” fans, like the on-screen couple, frequently disagree about what it means to be “on a break” and whether it was acceptable for Ross to sleep with someone else during that “break.”

Ross and Rachel were so preoccupied with determining which of their definitions of “on a break” was correct that they missed an opportunity to mend their relationship. “They could have worked together to save and restore their relationship, potentially even [making] it stronger,” Kolawole told Insider if they had been willing to give up whose definition was correct and engaged in the more vulnerable and thus more courageous way.

Focus on the more profound emotional message being communicated during an argument rather than the actual content of the disagreement.

Ross and Rachel spend most of their arguments arguing about what’s being communicated on the surface rather than the emotional messages or more profound meanings. We do this, and she says, because focusing on surface-level arguments requires less vulnerability than engaging in difficult conversations about our emotional needs.

It’s critical to discuss your expectations for monogamy and fidelity in any relationship.

Ross and Rachel could have avoided the pain of being “on a break” if they had discussed their expectations regarding fidelity. before being vulnerable and willing to give up being right. “Partners in intimate relationships must talk about their desires, beliefs, and values around monogamy, interpretations of fidelity, and what constitutes betrayal explicitly and continuously,” Kolawole said.

Examine whether you and your partner are prepared to handle the challenges that a significant age gap can bring before entering into a relationship with someone much older or younger than you.

Someone much younger or older. When Monica began dating Richard, a man 21 years her senior. She faced numerous issues and complications due to their age difference. If the two had first had an open and honest discussion about the potential pitfalls of dating.

It’s critical to assess each person’s ability to navigate the complexities of a significant age gap before starting a relationship. Finally, Kolawole advises that Monica aspired to be a mother in situations like these, and Richard believed he’d already completed that chapter of his life. He was resulting in their breakup.

It’s not always bad to date someone you first became friends with.

Chandler and Monica, arguably the series’ most successful pairing, began as friends. They had a solid underlying relationship before their initial romantic attraction and eventual marriage, which allowed them to understand each other better.

You can probably develop a sexual bond with someone you’ve only known as friends — it just might take some time.

Despite Monica and Chandler’s success in their transition from friends to a married couple. Joey and Rachel were unable to connect sexually due to their feelings of being too close friends. However, perhaps they should not have given up so quickly. It might just take a while. Although, Kolawole does not believe that sexual chemistry can be created. She believes that once a physical attraction exists.

It’s critical to engage in open communication with your significant other and make an effort to protect your relationship. When dealing with issues with in-laws and family members who don’t accept your partner.

Throughout “Friends,” in-laws or other family members get in the way of a relationship’s progress on several occasions. Monica’s parents despise Chandler because they believe he got Ross high in college. Rachel’s father and Ross have a long-standing feud, and Mike’s parents are horrified by Phoebe’s free spirit. However, maintaining open, honest communication with your partner and those closest to you is the best way to navigate family issues.

Significant differences in a relationship can often be overcome. But it takes time and effort.

Some couples on “Friends” ended their relationship due to their inability to overcome significant differences. But this wasn’t always the case despite having very different perspectives on their future. Phoebe and Mike are excellent examples of a couple who can find a happy medium. “When couples commit to showing up for each other, seeing each other. And being there for each other, they can accept each other. “Change their perceptions of the problem and increase emotional tolerance/flexibility for difficult situations,” she said. “Most importantly, when it comes to problem-solving, they can think outside the box.”

Ultimatums aren’t helpful in relationships; instead, talking about boundaries is often preferable.

Ross and Emily are examples of a “Friends” couple who could not compromise. Emily gives Ross an ultimatum after saying Rachel’s name instead of Emily’s at their wedding. She promises Ross that she will come to America. And share their marriage a chance if he agrees not to see Rachel again. Knowing each other’s boundaries without threatening or challenging each other’s autonomy is better to handle situations. “Be more assertive and, more importantly, emotionally vulnerable in letting your partner know what you need,” Kolawole advised.

If you set clear expectations, you can be friends with an ex.

Throughout “Friends,” a recurring question is whether Ross and Rachel could ever be just friends after such a passionate romantic relationship. However, according to Kolawole, you can be friends with an ex. If you’ve given yourself enough time to let go of your attachment to them and allow your emotions to settle.

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