If there was ever a show in which characters were forced to deal with the craziest life events, Pretty Little Liars is it. Whether it involves being locked in a dungeon for a week, your BFFs coming back from the dead, or getting stalked for years via every mode of communication, it's pretty much guaranteed to have happened to Aria, Hanna, Spencer and Emily. They've been through a lot, yo! Which is probably why there is so much we can learn from the show and the zillion quotes which have been immortalised as gifs so the wisdom of PLL can live on forever. And there's so much wisdom to be had.
For a show set in high school, life is far from chill and easy for the Liars, and, just as one threat is foiled, another springs out of nowhere. This mixture of the very real threat of death and major dating problems (Should you really date your teacher, for instance? Or your sister's fiancé? No and no!) is what makes PLL the go-to advice show. Chances are, any problem you have, there's a Pretty Little Liars quote which can help you solve it. Like a modern day Agony Aunt, but with murder, and creeps at every turn! Here's what I've learnt so far.
1. Wear Underwear At All Times
Let's kick off with some important advice! A smart rule, for so many reasons. Learn this lesson immediately.
2. We All Come With Baggage
Perfection is a thing of fiction. Everyone has baggage. Sure, some people's baggage is more extensive, but it's good to remember that everyone has a past. You're not the only person who's made mistakes.
3. Some Relationships Aren't Forever
I love Aria's Mom, Ella, and her advice is always on point. Some people come into our lives for a short time, and that's OK. It doesn't make them any less important, or mean that the impact they've had won't be lasting.
4. Life Isn't Always Fair
Sometimes things happen that we don't expect. Not everything works in our favor. Life often seems unfair, upsetting, awful, like a mess, basically! But that's just life. You've got to roll with the punches.
5. Online Messages Are Total Romance
One of the things I love about technology is all the ways in which we can interact with our loved ones, crushes, future dates, and besties. PLL totally understands how great this is too, and teaches us that online messages aren't any less romantic than love letters!
6. Break-Ups Are Hard & Sad Songs Are Universal
Like Adele's "Hello" has proven, music speaks to people, especially in their most difficult moments. Aria and Hanna understand that sometimes the best thing you can do for a broken heart is to put a song on that speaks to how you feel. And bed. Bed is important too.
7. People Die
More people die in PLL than in real life, but the show is absolutely an advert for seizing the day, because who knows how long it'll be before "A" finishes you off?
8. Give Yourself A Chance To Breathe
Sometimes, we're so focussed on a problematic situation that we forget to look after ourselves like we should. PLL has great advice for this — "take a step back, and give yourself a chance to breathe." It's perfectly OK to put something on hold, be it a relationship, friendship, or career move, to give your brain a moment to process the changes and relax.
9. Apologize, Even When You Don't Want To
Obviously, there are moments when apologizing might not be the best recourse, but knowing when you've crossed a line or upset someone without meaning to is important. It takes a grown-up to say sorry.
10. Fear Can Be A Good Thing
We're taught that feeling scared is bad. But, sometimes, fear is what spurs us on to action, and that can be a good thing. Overcoming our fears can help us achieve big.
11. Being Different Is Good
Celebrating your differences, and the things that make you unique, is so important. It's easy to be shy when you feel like you don't fit in, but your differences are what make you stand out. Live them proud!
12. Going Solo
Sometimes, it's better to be on your own than with someone who doesn't get you. Being strong and independent is super awesome, as is not having to rely on anyone.
13. Friends Are Brilliant
Even though going it alone is totally the right thing sometimes, having friends you can rely on to always be there for you is awesome too.
14. Napping Isn't Living
I personally love naps. I see nothing wrong with naps! But I think what Aria means is that we should get out there as much as possible. If you spend your life sleeping, you'll miss everything.
When PLL returns in 2016, with a time jump, I'm sure there will be plenty more life lessons to add to this list. Bring on the New Year!
Images: ABC Family; Giphy