I’ve been trying to figure out who my favorite Friends character is for years. After watching the series from the beginning for the billionth time, I think I’ve finally chosen: Monica. I love Monica because I feel like she had to overcome so much:
— She was always teased for being fat when she was younger. She got back at the world by eating less, working out, and looking hot.
— She was best friends with the prom queen, but it never made her feel inferior. Even though Rachel was always considered the beautiful one, and she got all the guys, all of the attention, and she was well-liked by her peers, Monica never had a foul bone in her body toward her. She was always happy for Rachel in spite of not having any of those things for herself.
— She wasn’t the favorite child. Monica had to live in the shadow of her brother, Ross, for her entire life, but she came out of it being an amazing chef, finding love and holding onto it (one marriage versus Ross’s three), and just being happy about the things that she had. Even when her parents lost hope in her getting married (I mean, they took the money they were saving for her wedding and bought a beach house!), she didn’t let that stop her from being happy.
Monica is just such an awesome person because she’s the misfit that everyone can relate to. She wasn’t cool in high school, but in adulthood, she overcame all of the things that were supposed to hold her back. She gets genuinely excited about life, embraces all of her quirks, and loves unconditionally. She has so many lessons for millennials who are making that awkward transition into adulthood.
1 | The real world sucks, but it’s also pretty amazing.
From the pilot episode, Monica is already teaching us how being an adult works. When Rachel is cut off by her family because she ran out on her wedding, she cuts up her dad’s credit cards, and Monica says “Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna love it.” That pretty much sums up life as an adult. It’s a wonderful misadventure.
2 | Don’t let anyone pick on you.
Monica has her quirks, and she’ll be the first to admit it. She likes her furniture arranged a certain way. She has 11 different categories for towels. You can’t eat in bed. Coasters must be used. The phone pen must remain next to the phone. She embraces all of these things about herself, and you should embrace your quirks too. She’s not usually one to put someone down, but when someone judges her pretty harshly, she’s quick witted and will turn the situation around in a second.
One of my favorite instances of this happening was when she invited her ex-boyfriend, Richard’s, son over for Thanksgiving dinner, and her friends were giving her a hard time about it. Instead of caving and giving in to their judgement, she pull a few insults out of her pocket: “Fine! Judge all you want, but married a lesbian, left a man at the alter, fell in love with a gay ice dancer, threw a girl’s wooden leg in a fire, and live in a box!”
3 | Don’t let anyone interrupt you when you’re talking.
Monica is always quick to let people know that when she’s talking, no one better interrupt. She is a great commander of any room she walks in, and she does not, will not, let anyone steal her thunder. So when you have something important to say, don’t let anyone else steal your limelight. If you’re anything like Monica, you spent most of your childhood doing that. Don’t let that habit sneak into your adult life.
4 | Keep your friends’ secrets (until they start to reveal yours).
People say that secrets don’t make friends, but Monica obviously knows that secrets are the basis of friendship. Monica was a great secret-keeper, because even though she was loud (like, really loud), she wasn’t a blabbermouth. That is, until you made her into one. During season six, Monica wasn’t sure she was ready to tell her parents she and Chandler were dating because she knew her parents didn’t like him. When she found out that it was all Ross’s fault, the secrets start flying from the mouths of both Ross and Monica. We found out Ross stole his dad’s Playboys and Monica broke a porch swing. So many other fun secrets were revealed, which just goes to show that you should save the ammunition for a time when it will have the biggest impact.
5 | Apologize even when you don’t think you’re wrong.
One of my favorite things about Monica is that she was always the bigger person (in more ways than one at some points in her life). Even when she didn’t believe she was at fault for a fight, she hated the feeling of being angry with the people she loved. More often than not, she was willing to put her pride aside and apologize rather than waste all of that extra energy being mad.
6 | Think before you act.
Monica was usually a pretty reasonable and thoughtful character. She was chockful of great advice no matter who was asking for it, even sometimes when the advice wasn’t being asked of her at all. Even when she wasn’t sure the other person could handle the truth or the advice she had to give, she was still so honest. One instance that comes to mind was when Rachel wanted to tell Ross she loved him after he had just married Emily. When she told Monica this, Monica asked her, “Do you have any idea how painful it is to tell someone you love them and not have them say it back?” She was a voice of reason, and while she did have her spontaneous moments (cough cough Chandler), she also liked to spend time to think things through.
7 | Sometimes, you have to put your pride aside.
I couldn’t write a post about Monica without bringing up the jellyfish incident. Even with two of her best friends in tow, she knew what she had to do. When she couldn’t make it happen, she enlisted the help of her friends. Even though the thought of someone peeing on her was absolutely disgusting (especially for a clean freak like Monica), she had to put her pride aside to stop the pain from hurting so much.
8 | It’s not about whether you win or lose, but winning is better.
Like Monica, I have a pretty competitive spirit. Monica always liked to play it cool like she wasn’t crazy competitive, but as soon as the cards were dealt or the ball was snatched, the gloves were off, and she went insane. Even though the lesson says that it’s not about winning or losing, Monica made winning look so fun.
9 | It’s okay to be a dork.
As poised as Monica is, she’s still just a fun girl and loves to grab hold of life’s little joys and hang on to them. I think the best example of this was when she and Ross were invited to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and she and Ross broke out “the routine” from their childhood.
Do you watch Friends? Who’s your favorite character?
IMAGE: Albert Domasin