TV & Movies

Lorelai Gilmore's Best Relationship Advice On Gilmore Girls

On everything from getting back with your ex to embarrassing yourself in front of a crush.

Rory and Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls.
Gilmore Girls

She is the mother I never had, she is the sister everybody would want. She is the friend that everybody deserves. I don’t know a better person. I am paraphrasing Oprah, but I am talking, of course, about Lorelai Gilmore. Over the course of Gilmore Girls, Lauren Graham’s Lorelai is a treasure trove of quotable relationship advice. She coaches her daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) through love triangles, gets Sookie and Jackson together, and puts herself out there while dating as a single mom time and time again. Thankfully for the rest of us, Lorelai’s wisdom is just as applicable to our lives now as it was 20 years ago when the show first aired. Below, Lorelai’s most helpful tips and tricks for navigating love.

On first crushes

Embarrassing yourself in front of your first crush is a rite of passage. Though Lane’s infamous marching band misstep (in which she lovingly strokes her crush’s long hair, to his horror) is a particularly cringeworthy moment, Lorelai is there to comfort and reassure her:

"Everybody screws up, Lane. That's what happens. It's what you do with the screw-ups, it's how you handle the experience — that's what you should judge yourself by."

On how to handle a breakup

In the wake of Rory and Dean’s first breakup, Lorelai pries Rory’s to-do-list out of her hands and insists that she start wallowing ASAP.

“Get back in your pajamas, go to bed, eat nothing but gallons of ice cream and tons of pizza, don’t take a shower or shave your legs or put on any makeup at all. Sit in the dark and watch a really sad movie and have a good cry and wallow, really wallow.”

(She recommends watching Love Story or An Affair to Remember, so get to wallowing!)

On making the first move

When Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) and Jackson (Jackson Douglas) start crushing on each other in the kitchen of the Independence Inn, Lorelai swoops in to give Sookie some critical advice:

"You can spend a lot of time sitting around and waiting for him to realize it's his turn [to ask you out], or you can run with the wolves and make it your turn again. You just want to let this opportunity pass? Call him."

On cheating

Lorelai catching Rory and Dean post-coital is one of the most difficult moments in the whole show. That’s in part because Dean is married, but also because rarely — if ever — do we see Lorelai so disappointed in Rory. While Rory is adamant that she's glad she lost her virginity to someone sweet who loves her, Lorelai sets her straight:

"He's not your Dean, he's Lindsey's Dean. You are the other woman. It's not over until he is out of the house with the ring off... Rory, you can't be one of those girls who blames the wife for forcing the husband to cheat — and he was cheating, and you were cheating with him! There is no other way to spin that, kid."

On bad boys

Lorelai is a pretty hands off mom, until Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) arrives in town and sets his sights on Rory. Then she has this to say:

"I’ve known guys like Jess. He seems cool because he’s got this dangerous vibe and this problem with authority and he’s seen a lot of Sylvester Stallone movies. But guys like this get into trouble which, if you hang out with them, gets you into trouble, and I don’t want you to get into trouble."

On getting back together with your ex

Whether we’re talking about Luke, Rory’s English teacher Max Medina, or Rory’s hot dad Christopher, Lorelai has never shied away from a messy reunion. It might not always work out, but take a page out of Lorelai’s book and make your feelings known and figure the rest out later. Case in point: when she shows up at Max Medina's doorstep after months of insisting things were over between them and bares her soul...

"I'm not over you, and I don't know how long it will be before I am. And who am I to be teaching her about healing and moving on and breakups anyhow? I may as well be teaching her how to eat fire or swallow a sword or put her legs behind her head. The point is that I'm an idiot and I'm a hypocrite and I really miss you."

On commitment

After Rory can’t reciprocate Dean’s heartfelt “I love you,” Lorelai sees she may have passed her fear of commitment down to her daughter. While she knows it's not easy to share one's feelings with someone, she impresses upon Rory that she make the effort to be vulnerable:

"It's scary to be in love, that much I know, but it's also wonderful and special, and if you can't say it or fully express it, then you're never gonna be able to experience it, and I want you to experience everything that's great because you're so great.... I'm not saying you say 'I love you' at the drop of a hat. It has to be right and real and it has to take a lot of thought. But someday with someone it will be right. I want you to be ready for that moment when it happens."