I was recently asked what F.R.I.E.N.D.S means to me. I think it’s pretty obvious from how I write the name of the show—my brother thinks I am neurotically anal, or anally neurotic (whichever, whatever), because I refuse to write it without the dots, or lower case, or upper-lower, even in the text message language where words are constantly losing either vowels or consonants (Monica would understand though).
It helped me survive the excruciating times in my 20s—for years, I religiously started from season 1, episode 1, ended at season 10, episode 18 (overall episode # 236), and then started from season 1 episode 1, ended at season 10, episode 18, and then again started from… (and then, there was that phase when I played a spin-the-wheel of sorts—opening the F.R.I.E.N.D.S folder on the laptop (those were the days of yore, or pre-Netflix, if you will), closing my eyes and clicking on a random episode).
The only thing I considered worthwhile during my brief Facebook membership as a 23-year-old was being in the top 10 worldwide in the F.R.I.E.N.D.S quiz the platform had.
I cried for Ross and Rachel every one of the 585 times (random number because I didn’t keep a count of the number of times I watched each episode) when the “break” turned to “break-up”, and when she “got off the plane”. I dreamed of getting a “Mondler” proposal. I related hard to Phoebe when she said it was her turn to have the normal stuff (her wedding was the best, by the way). And my struggle to change from an overthinker to a Joey continues.
The six have been my circle; my family; my security blanket; my friends, philosophers, and guides. They have taught me to let go, to an extent (how did they manage to stay joined at the hip considering the pranks they pulled on one another and the things they said about each other behind the other person’s back?!). They have been the magic word between me and my forever-friend-former-roommate (it didn’t matter if she was sad or I was, if she was mad or I was, or if we were mad at each other—She: “How about maggi and an episode?” Me: “I love you too!”); barring the fact that the girls lived in a “freakin’ steal” of a gigantic purple apartment, our lives have felt parallel.
They have helped me through break-ups and f*** boys and job loss and existential crises. They have brought comfort on days when nothing has gone or felt right. They have transformed my ugly crying to smirks, smiles, grins, and laughs. They have just… held me together.
Could they be any better?
PS: I didn't use a thesaurus, just wrote from my full-sized aortic pump.