the one where “Friends” totally screwed up my ideas about “real life”…

You may not know this, Reader, but “Friends” is my all-time favorite television show. Like, ever. I finally made an effort to personally own all ten seasons on DVD; and for the last six months or so since I started to accumulate them, I play them over and over and over again. I don’t actually sit and watch them every time, but I just like having the noise. And I always, always laugh at Chandler’s jokes. Could I be any more addicted?

I wasn’t allowed to watch “Friends” growing up; the first time I actually ever watched more than an episode or two was in college. I found out a girl living on my floor in the dorms had the entire series, so I started borrowing them from her, a season or two at a time. Reader, I was so engrossed that I made it through ten seasons in a mere three weeks. I even skipped some pretty important statistics classes to sit and laugh at the characters I came to love.

Even though I was a little aware of the fact that technology was changing life around me rapidly and that there were things about “Friends” that were becoming – or in some cases, already – outdated, there were plenty of things I observed on the show that I hoped and expected to experience once I became a “real adult.” 

Well. Having been a said “real adult” for several years now, I can tell you that I have been sorely disappointed in some ways. My life has totally not turned out like the lives of the “Friends” party.

Here are ten things I thought life would be like or that I would have once I became a “real grown up”:

1. I would record a cute, corny answering machine message.

There are a few times when we hear the outgoing messages throughout the years of all the “Friends” gang – when Rachel moves in with Phoebe and they alternate every other word (before Phoebe changes it because Rachel gets all the “good words”) or when Ross moves in temporarily with Chandler and Joey and makes a message to the tune of that “We Will Rock You” song. I’ll never do this. No one has a home phone anymore or a physical answering machine, for that matter. I’ll never get to share this fun with a roommate, should I ever have another one. Everyone has their own cell phone now, and messages are not shared. Bummer.

2. I would become best friends with the neighbors who, coincidentally, are the same age as me.

I have literally never been friends with my neighbors, ever, except for the four years I spent living in college dorms. This is also the only time that my neighbors have been my age. I suppose this is just a total coincidence, but I haven’t had this happen yet.

3. I would constantly be going out on dates and guys would become more confident about asking for phone numbers and dates as they get older. I would almost always have a boyfriend.

Lies. All lies. I could literally count on one hand the number of times I’ve been asked out for a legitimate date; I might need both hands to include my time in college, but that’s about it. Maybe I give off a don’t-bother-to-ask-me-because-I’m-not-interested vibe, but that’s totally not my intent. Maybe I have what the kids are calling “resting bitch face” and I’m totally unaware. Whatever. I’m happy doing my own thing.

And for the record, Tinder has not made dating any better or the “relationship pool” easier to navigate.

4. My shared apartments with roommates would be spacious and comfortable.

Again, this is just false. Apartments, in general, are not meant to be large living spaces and there’s no way that anyone would have a living room like Monica and Rachel’s in the real world. Especially in a place like Manhattan. #asifdude

5. I would have a great body, long-term, without having to work out and I can eat whatever I want.

Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe never talk about exercise (with the exception of Monica helping Chandler lose a few pounds in season 2), and yet they are literally the same size all through the course of the show. For ten years. This is just not possible. And so not fair.

6. I would have a favorite “spot” in my neighborhood and I would meet with my favorite friends pretty much every day. We would know the staff by first name.

I suppose this is possible, but it’s never happened for me. I haven’t lived anywhere long enough or been in close enough proximity to a great “spot” to make this happen. Perhaps this should be a future goal.

7. I would subscribe to TV Guide and numerous other magazines. I would know what’s going to be on TV and read all kinds of interesting articles.

Whatever. Do they even print that publication anymore? No one reads TV Guide. Too bad. And I technically could subscribe to print magazines like People or In Style (like I once did), but I don’t live in the Americas right now and that’s not an option. eMags it is…

8. Being unemployed is no big deal when you’re looking for the perfect job.

With my student loans, I can’t afford to ever be without a job… Well, not very comfortably, anyway. Monica got fired and didn’t work for quite a while. Rachel was still living off her parents when she first came to the city. Chandler quit his job and somehow Monica and he were able to survive on her single income in New York. Over the ten years, Joey rarely had a job that would pay enough to cover the bills and somehow, Chandler paid for everything for both of them. Huh?…

9. I will be the giver and receiver of many mix tapes filed with favorite and meaningful songs.

In this digital age, that’s just a big, fat NO. I never even got a mix CD when those became appropriate replacements for tapes. Do people ever give each other mix playlists? Does this sort of thing even still exist?… Probably not, but if it does, will I ever get one?

10. My best friends will always be within reach and will be there for every important event in my life.

I’ve spent so much time moving around and making new friends that, while I still keep in touch with my very best friends from college, there have been very few moments where my friends were there to see me through the big things. Good or bad, it was hard to not have my closest friends right next to me sometimes. Luckily, they were always just a phone call away, but it still wasn’t the same.

So there you have it, ten things that I expected life to be like from watching “Friends” that didn’t come to be. I’m a little sad, but I think I’m doing okay.


What about you, Reader? Did you have any “life expectations” that didn’t pan out when you “grew up”? Share them in the comments below!


  1. Dan Antion says:

    I am much older than you. Old enough to remember pointing out the unreal conditions while watching the show (which I totally enjoyed). Having lived in New York in the late 70s and knowing the cost of those apartments (and everything else) then, I knew that their situation was impossible. Then again, real life doesn’t make good television unless it’s somehow off the beaten path.

    At 60, I do have a favorite place to hang out. Unfortunately, it’s a bar, so I can’t hang there very often. I am blessed in that I have a great little family and my best friend of over 30 years is nearby and almost always available.

    This was a great bit of reflection and I love the title play.

    • Thanks for the compliment, Dan! Yes, realistic life situations (well, more realistic, I should say), would make for less exciting TV. I will always love this TV show; I can’t imagine getting sick of it, yet somehow I think it’s possible that it may happen at some point, based on how I’ve been “listening” to them. Haha!

      As always, thanks for reading. :)

    • It’s so weird to think of the show having “reruns”! It makes me think of when I was little; I liked watching old TV shows on “Nick at Nite” like “I Love Lucy” or “I Dream of Jeannie”… It’s hard to believe that “Friends” has moved into this category! I still love it so much. :)

  2. tinyexpats says:

    Friends is my favourite show as well!! :) I agree, it would’ve been fun living like they did, but.. oh well, have to get on with the real life without all those endless friends parties and effortless living.. :)

    • “Friends” literally never gets old for me! I can listen to them for months, apparently, and still find the same things funny. I find myself laughing before the characters even say their lines because I know what’s coming… Perhaps this is a bit sad, that I know it so well.

      I do wish life was a bit simpler, like it was for them. But you’re right: we all have to get on with real life!

      Thanks for reading and commenting on our shared love of “Friends”! :)

    • tinyexpats says:

      Thanks for the post- Friends’re awesome :) When I moved in with my husband to be and discovered that he has all the seasons, I knew it was a match made in Heaven :))

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