'PLL' Is The Ultimate Friendship Survival Guide

If there's anything I've learnt from Pretty Little Liars over the years, it's that you need to keep your squad tight in order to survive. And sure, not all of us are spending our evenings with our BFFs swerving death threat texts or stealing planes in order to save our buddies' lives (but I totally would, besties. I haven't been taking those flying lessons for nothing. I'm so ready to save our butts), but the ladies (and gents!) of Pretty Little Liars know a lot about friendship that, hell, we don't need to be plagued by infinite nightmare scenarios to understand.

In fact, PLL is quite the spectacular handbook of how to lean on your best friends through even the most difficult of problems that life can throw at you. Those problems might not be a mysterious, murderous assailant who watches your every move and blackmails you in order to save the people you love, sure — but there's still bills, jobs, lack of jobs and a whole host of other miserable everyday occurrences which can feel just as hellish.

(Well, OK, maybe not quite as hellish.)

So, here, get your smartphone at the ready and let's look at friendship basics 101: Pretty Little Liars-style.

Have An SOS System

The girls of PLL know that there is no emergency too big or too small to warrant an urgent SOS text message. In a dicey death threatening situation? Just broken up with your bae? Accidentally killed someone? Or maybe you just need some cake? An SOS system is just common sense. It's great for when parties get boring, you get stuck in a bad date, or when the world just feels like it's collapsing in on you. For all emergences, pick a code a word and group send that cry for help. True buddies will come running in a heartbeat.

Celebrate The Strengths Of Your Pals And Become An Unstoppable Force

As individuals, we all have our unique powers. In PLL, Spencer is the brains, Aria is the creative, Emily is the athlete, and Hanna is the sass. Sure, they have their flaws too, but good friends don't dwell on failings — good friends celebrate exactly what it is about each other that makes them exceptional forces of nature. And, when you combine those powers as a group? Well, ladies, you become an almighty power troupe, capable of taking on all the varied enemies that life can throw at you. Now, go forth and take over the world.

Unite Against Mutual Enemies

Enemies can be anyone around you, and in life, a mutual enemy amongst friends can be anyone from dudes catcalling you in the street to simply hating your job and wanting to do better. The fact is, it's easier to make enemies than is to make lifelong friends, and sometimes, pals can do stuff that makes you feel betrayed — but open yourself up to forgiveness just like the Liars did with Mona, and realize that you're better as a unit than you are with another enemy. Mona did a lot of bad things (remember when she hit Hanna with a car? That's a lot of forgiveness) but the Liars realised, quite sensibly, that they were stronger with her than without her.

Well, at least most of the time anyway.

Support Your Friends' Choice Of Lovers, No Matter What

The Liars squad aren't known for their great taste in lovers. In fact, let's just be honest here and admit that at least 90 percent of their choices in the big old love department have been inappropriate as hell. If they aren't hooking up with their teachers (Aria), then they're going after their sister's fiancée (Spencer) — and if that fails, then there's still plenty of creepy older men around to make goo-goo eyes at. But hey, no judgment. The heart wants what the heart wants. Sure, we've all had times when we've not agreed with our friend's choices of Tinder matches, but it's absolutely not a friend's place to step in and criticize. If it's wrong, then they'll work it out for themselves. And hey, even Ezria seem to have made something work along the way, despite those sketchy beginnings.

Accept Them No Matter What

Perhaps one of my favorite things about the Liars is how absolutely cool they were with Emily coming out as a lesbian. And, why wouldn't they be? It's 2015, and that kind of nonsense is stone age. Coming out, however old you are, can be one of the most difficult things in the world for someone who identifies as LGBTQ — so throw your buddy a coming out party and reassure them that it doesn't change a single thing about how much you love them.

Trapped In A Dungeon For A Week? Make A Pact To Never Speak Of It Again

OK, so I mean, that totally happened. Hopefully you and your pals will never be faced with such a nightmarish trial of your willpower — but there will be unspeakably terrible evenings that you may never want to speak of again (and possibly involving tequila and a karaoke bar). Make a pact, and stick with it. What happens in the dungeon stays in dungeon. Let's hope nobody ever reminds Hanna that she once said that she'd be willing to lick a ice cube made of pee in order to survive.

And Last, But Not Least, Keep Secrets


So, to summarize, friendship is super simple: Be awesome to each other and stay tight, just like the Liars, and you'll have friends for life. Even through murderous stalkers, blackmail and all the most insane twists that life could possibly throw at you.

Want more PLL? Check out Bustle's PLL podcast, Taking This One To The Grave.

Images: ABC Family (9)