18 Times 'Friends' Knew The Struggle Was Real

If you started watching Friends as a kid, there were probably a lot of things you just didn't get. Beyond the saucier jokes that flew right over your head, there must have been some themes that you just didn't pick up on. Maybe you didn't understand what a big deal it was for Rachel's dad to cut her off, or fully comprehend what the gang's long bouts of unemployment/underemployment meant for their lives. Long story short, re-watching Friends in your twenties (something a lot of people are doing, thanks to Netflix) can be a pretty surprising experience. Who knew this ridiculously attractive friend group could be so gosh-darn relatable?

They've all weathered super long stretches between jobs (Monica was unemployed for what felt like whole seasons at a time), most of them had their share of financial woes, and they all dated some pretty darn questionable people — I mean it's all right there in the lyrics to the theme song. "Your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's D-O-AAAA!" The truth is, when you're hitting that quarter-life stride, chances are you don't know what you're doing, and Friends captured that beautifully — especially in these moments.

1. When Rachel Dated Paolo

Most of us have dated a Paolo at some point in our lives... and lived to regret it.

2. When Chandler Dated Janice (Each Time)

If your twenties are marked by some flings you'd rather forget, they're likely also marked with some similar long-term on-again, off-again relationships.

3. That Time Rachel Was 98 Percent Happy For Monica

I'm just going to come right out and admit it: When you're 23 and a frequenter of the struggle bus, it's tough to be 100 percent happy for your friends' triumphs, whether in their professional or personal lives. I know I'm petty, but come on — we all have that one friend we blocked on social media because of their success-bragging, right?


4. Every Time Monica Was Desperate For Approval

Judy's disapproval of Monica was on a pretty legendary scale (especially when it came to all of the heavy Ross favoritism), but I think we can all relate to having a mother that constantly wants us to have a better job and a better boyfriend (my mom gets this weird spark in her eye every time she starts talking about dating websites, and she's been known to ask out handsome young men on my behalf).

5. Whenever Chandler Had Self-Esteem Issues

A lot of Chandler's appeal comes from his crippling fear and self-loathing, which is all too relatable.

6. When They Didn't Feel Like Grown-Ups Either

Joey wasn't the only Friend to refuse to act like a full-blown adult, and it was reassuring to see I wasn't the only one doubting my grown-up status.

7. All Of Those Horrible Breakups

Except now instead of Joni Mitchell, we listen to Taylor Swift.

8. When They Were Unemployed

Um, YEP.

9. And When They Worked Ridiculous Jobs

We've all worked that one really, really humiliating job, right? (Mine was as a waitress at a home for seniors — there were no tips, and nonagenarians cussed me out on what felt like a daily basis.)

10. Whenever Chandler Felt Like A Third Wheel

All the Friends served their time as the third wheel of the group, but it was Chandler who occupied the spot for the longest (or at least, the most vocally).

11. Every Single Time Ross Was Depressed

We get it now, Ross. We get it.

12. That Time Joey Lost His Health Insurance

Is anything scarier than figuring out insurance and dealing with medical issues without your parents' help? I actually just joined the Screen Actors Guild, and qualifying for actors' insurance is pretty difficult to attain, so I really feel ya, Joey.

13. When They Were Bitter

I don't know about you, but when I meet my friends at the local coffee shop, we usually spend hours complaining about this tough quarter-life crisis period.

14. Whenever They Worried About Their Age

I know, I know, no one likes to hear millenials complain about their ages... but I can't be the only one's who's freaking out about the fact that I graduated college TWO YEARS ago, right?

15. When The Ladies Rented Wedding Dresses

It may be cliche, but seriously, there's nothing harder than being chronically single around engaged folks. If drinking beers with your girlfriends in rented wedding gowns is the antidote to that little sinking feeling you get in your heart every time another one of your former classmates sends you a save-the-date, then sign me up!

16. All Those Years Rachel Spent Working A Minimum-Wage Job

The gang may have poked fun at Rachel for her years as a waitress, but Friends was also careful to point out how admirably she worked her way up to the top — she eventually landed her dream job without all of her father's credit cards.

17. When Joey Lied On His Resume

Yeah, I can speak Japanese — I mean, I took three semesters of it in college, and it's not like you forget that stuff! Oh, and I'm pretty much a pro on Adobe Illustrator, because I made my friend a birthday card on there once when I was 15.

18. All Those Times They JUST DIDN'T KNOW

Look: It's easy to complain about the angst and ennui that marks many of our twenties. Even if you don't know what you're going to do with your life, and every day feels like sailing through a storm in uncharted waters, Friends shows that it's OK, because it happens to everyone.

All you can do is find some really good friends to help you get through it.

Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (9); princesconsuela (8), parangarico/Tumblr