On Tuesday, Now and Then turned 20 years old. 20, y'all! Given that this one was of my favorite movies growing up, this obviously made me feel old — really old. But, since I was already trotting down memory lane in an attempt to flee my clearly impending mortality, I decided to dwell for a moment on how much my friends and I adored the strong bond between the film's four female protagonists. Which got me thinking: Being a '90s kid made you a better friend, and the fictional friendships from TV and film we emulated are just one of the many, many reasons why.
What I'm trying to say here is that where the friendship department is concerned, '90s kids are all that and a bag of chips. How so, you ask? What the dillio, yo? Aside from our obviously impeccable fashion sense of yore (hello, hammer pants!) and our abiding love for Jonathan Taylor Thomas, kids who came of age in that golden decade picked up a few other things along the way — namely, life lessons that taught us invaluable friendship qualities. Like patience or, you know, being willing to barter your last digital ox for a cure to your bestie's imaginary cholera on the Oregon Trail. Priorities, people. Priorities.
So here you go, fellow '90s kids. Feel free to revel in the myriad ways you didn't even realize you were winning in the friendship department.
1. You Mastered the Art of Compromise
Your best friend will love Backstreet Boys 4 lyfe, while you could never say "Bye, Bye, Bye" to 'N Sync. Such was life as a '90s kids — with so many cool yet divisive bands, shows, styles and more, the odds were high you and your BFF might not fangirl over the same things. Thus, you are fully aware that agreeing to disagree is a necessary component of friendship.
2. Having a Dial-Up Social Life Was Actually a Good Thing
While technology puts the world at the fingertips of newer generations, growing up without texting, tweeting, posting and selfies had its advantages, too. Since we weren't in constant digital communication with our pals, the excitement when we finally saw them was legit. This has carried over — I live for girls' nights out when we can shelve our smartphones and just geek out about being together.
3. The Spice Girls Gave You Squad Goals
Disclaimer: I do not recommend telling your significant other "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends." But still, the Spice Girls reminded us to always put our friends first. Chicks before... uh, you know the rest.
4. Thanks to Fanny Packs, You're a Judgment Free Zone
A good friend is one who makes you feel confident, no matter what crazy outfit you're rocking or what kind of hair day you are having. Being a friend who doesn't pass judgment comes relatively easy to you, because heaven knows you don't want anyone to hold you accountable for the questionable choices you made back in the day. I mean, you wore crocheted cat sweaters with a side-pony and stirrup pants. Oh, wait... that was me.
5. Sharing Dunkaroos Made You Generous
If you're ever tasted a the cinnamon graham cracker, rainbow chip-studded glory that are Dunkaroos, you know just how difficult parting with one was. Still, you learned to share those heavenly cookie snacks with your friends, and you're a better person for it.
6. Onscreen BFFs Proved Good Friendships Have Flaws, Too
The Spice Girls weren't the only ones giving us squad goals — strong friendships onscreen showed us being a good friend doesn't mean you have to be perfect. In fact, it's the imperfections that make friendship dynamic and genuine. Think Boy Meets World's Cory and Shawn, Full House's DJ and Kimmy, Daria's Jane and Daria, the entire cast of Friends, Clarissa Explains It All's Clarissa and Sam and, yes, Now and Then's Sam, Roberta, Chrissy and Teeny. Need I go on?
7. Bonds Were Forged with Sacrifice
You finally got that coveted Arceus card that would elevate you to hero status in your Pokemon circle when you realize your best friend is still waiting on their first Ancient Mew. So you make a trade heavily skewed in your favor, because sometimes being a good friend means making sacrifices. See also: Selling off your last two healthy oxen in Oregon Trail in an attempt to save the fictional character with your best friend's name of death by cholera. (They died anyway, but it's the thought that counts.)
8. Sobbing Together? Totally Cool
There's a lot of heavy stuff going on in the world, and sometimes it can be overwhelming — a hallmark of a great friend is someone who will cry into your wine right along with you. '90s kids have tons of practice at this (sans wine, natch), since we had to sit together through tragedies like when (spoilers ahead!) Mufasa gets stampeded to death in The Lion King, when dreamy when Court perishes beneath a tractor's blades in The Man on the Moon, and when Thomas J. loses his life to bee stings in My Girl. I... I can't even.
9. Not Even Abject Horror Could Make You Quit Your Friends
We loved us some scary stuff in the '90s. Between Goosebumps books and Are Your Afraid of the Dark? (still not sure how the network got away with such a chilling children's show), we spent countless hours scaring the living bejeezus out of each other — yet, despite nearly peeing our pants in public more than we care to admit, all was well in the light of day. Forgiveness, people. Or, perhaps more likely, sheer embarrassment motivating us to silence. Either way, we are now adults with a particularly high tolerance from shenanigans from our friends.
10. You're Down to Do Nothing... or Anything
As a '90s kids, entertainment was limited. In fact, we often had to come up with it ourselves. My brother, cousin and I sometimes created elaborate paper airplanes and then competed to see who could get the most wedged in the blinds across the room. True story. Sad story, but true story. The moral of the story is '90s kids had to learn to be content without a bunch of bells and whistles, which makes us the kind of friends who are down to do whatever. And we derive an unusual amount of joy when that whatever involves a new adventure.