Why Friends Will Always Be There For You - Lightboxgoodman
Holy Holiday Armadillo, the Friends reunion is almost upon us. The cast is back, the stage-set is back and the trailer, which dropped last week, showed that, even 17 years after its final episode, there is still so much emotion wrapped up in this show.
In many ways, it’s easy to forget that Friends actually ended back in 2004. Thanks to endless reruns and its Netflix second act, it has remained embedded in our cultural framework, playing on a never-ending loop in the background of our mind. Endlessly quotable, searingly familiar. Friends is more phenomena than sitcom.
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For me, “Friends” was more than just a funny sitcom. In my difficult time in life, Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe felt like familiar faces. I could switch on any episode and immediately feel a little less alone.
It’s impossible not to smile while watching Phoebe croon her way through “Smelly Cat” or Ross plod around awkwardly as the Holiday Armadillo.
Few TV shows have been as impactful for so many people as Friends. The show ran from 1994 to 2004, but it remains hugely popular among young generations to this day.
In fact, in 2018, Friends became the most popular show on Netflix in the United Kingdom. That same year in the United States, 19 percent of adults aged 18 to 34 claimed to have watched every single episode of the show.
As this year’s Friends Reunion illustrated, my experience is not unusual. Over the years, countless people have turned to the show during periods of low mental health.
For countless fans all over the world, Friends has become a vital pillar of support during difficult periods.
As therapist and assistant professor at Albizu University - Jessica Popham explains, becoming invested in TV characters and relationships can help us build our social skills when we feel prone to isolating ourselves.
“You could ask yourself, ‘What would I do in that situation?’ and, perhaps, build enough confidence to seek out more friendships and interactions with real people,” Popham suggests.
At the end of the day, if a TV show is helping you feel less alone and more like yourself, it’s probably a good sign.
“If you like watching a specific TV show and it helps you to feel better and doesn’t impair your quality of life, I think you should keep watching it,” says Popham.
Above all, Friends reminds us what it feels like to have a tight-knit community who will be there, no matter what. If you’re feeling low or you just need a reason to smile, Friends will be there for you, each and every time.
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