Are you ready to shift gears from Christmas shopping to New Year's Eve bar hopping? Because ready or not, Dec. 31 is coming and you have to have some kind of plan: Stay in and watch Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve or go out and party it up as the year changes. I've done both and they each have their advantages (and disadvantages), so let's take a look at the stages of going out on New Year's Eve, as illustrated by Friends GIFs. As one of the most definitive sitcoms of the 90s and early 2000s, Friends knew how do to the end-of-year holiday in all the right ways.
The sitcom, which debuted in 1994, has many New Year's Eve-themed episodes, including one where Phoebe falls in love with scientist David (Hank Azaria) and where Ross and Monica perform their infamous childhood dance "routine" as background dancers on Dick Clark's special. In most of the show's New Year's Eve episodes, it seems like roommates Rachel and Monica are the go-to hosts for the party, which is filled with other friends, food, and hi-jinks for our favorite group of six buddies.
If you've got plans to go out on the town on New Year's Eve, here's a heads-up to all the hi-jinks you might get up to — illustrated with Friends GIFs.
1. You've Got A Plan
Of course you do — down to where you'll all meet each other, what you're going to do, and how you're going to get home. Get ready to throw that all out the window by the end of the night.
2. Getting Dressed
Depending on where you're going, you'll want to look your best — you wouldn't want to ring in the new year looking meh — but you also need to take into account the weather. In my experience, New Year's Eve is cold, but the venue could be warm, so layers are key.
3. You Get To the Party/Club & It's So Crowded
You can't find your friends and your cell service is zilch. Your friends say they're by the bar, but there are so many bars in this club. And why do you have so many wristbands? Why is New Year's so complex?
4. You Finally Find Your Friends
You're no longer lost and alone in a sea of strangers. It's party time!
5. DANCE PARTY!
The most fun portion of the night: Dancing, drinking, and general revelry.
6. But Who Are You Going To Kiss At Midnight?
Your group of friends is a mixture of couples, married folks, and singletons. If you're attached, good for you — you know who you're going to kiss! As for the singles, well, there are some decisions to be made. Do you kiss your single friend? Will it make things weird? Or maybe you two just hug? But New Year's Hugs are so lame. Or maybe you could go over to that hottie who has been eyeing you.
7. So Many Emotions
As midnight approaches, you've got a lot of feelings going on inside: Do you want to hookup with that hottie to ring in the new year? Are you hungry? Do you want to ring in the next year with a plate of food in your face? How about another drink? What does that news report about New Year's Eve crowds mean for me?
8. How Are You Going To Get Home?
And then it hits you: Eventually, the party's going to end and you're going to have to endure so much traffic and crowds just to get home. If you live in a city like New York, good luck getting on a subway train or getting a cab or Uber. It'll be an adventure. And if you're in a more car-centric city like Los Angeles, be very careful on the roads.
Happy New Year! No matter who you kissed and who you were with, you're sure that this is going to be your year.
10. Where Did Everyone Go?
And then everyone's gone. Even though there were concrete plans for the after party, your entire group of friends just dissipated. One couple retreated to make out in a corner. A few people said they'll meet you at a diner. And your heels just broke, so you need to go to a 24/7 tourist shop to buy flip flips (true story).
11. Getting Home & Sleeping Off The Hangover
Against all odds and anxiety, you do figure out a way home, whether it takes waiting on cab lines, paying megaprices for an Uber, taking buses and trains, or sitting through lots of traffic. By the time it's all over, the sun is about to rise and you collapse into bed, starting the new year off right — sleeping late. It's OK, you earned it.
Images: NBC; Giphy (11)