Courteney Cox/ Monica Geller | Image:
Courteney Cox/ Monica Geller | Image:

Even today, if a FRIENDS rerun is playing on television, I will plonk myself on the sofa and watch all of it and laugh with equal gusto as I did the first time. A lot of us grew up watching FRIENDS and identified ourselves with the different characters. As Courteney Cox, who played Monica Geller, celebrated her 50th birthday recently (15th June), let’s look at the life lessons her immortal character has taught us.

1. Follow your dreams. They will be rewarded.

Pursuing your dream can get tough. You might have to do something you don’t like. Monica knew from very early on that she wanted to be a chef and open her own restaurant some day. In the bargain, she wore costumes and skates and danced and waitressed at diners. But ultimately, she was the head chef at her own restaurant.

2. Know your body

Girl, if you’re going to do the deed, you should do it right. As a woman, it is really important to know your body. And Monica gives you an excellent lesson on the same.

3. You can lose all that weight if you decide to

We’ve all dealt with weight issues at some or the other point in our life. Even with Monica, she used to be “fat” but when it came to taking revenge from Chandler, she lost all that weight in a year. She showed us how it’s done.

4. Cooking can be a lot of fun

Some people love cooking and some people hate it and some just don’t care. Whatever your take on cooking, Monica makes it look like it’s totally worth it. Don’t you agree?

5. Being organised and clean is sexy

We all know how much Monica loves cleaning and organising. But she does it with so much passion, it’s almost sexy. You can tell from Chandler and Monica’s conversation.
Chandler: Really? You gonna be okay?
Monica: Yeah, I’ll be fine. Yeah, maybe, I’ll stay here and practice the art of seduction.
Chandler: You’re gonna put sweats on and clean, aren’t you?
Monica: It’s gonna be so hot!”

6. Have a winning spirit

So, Monica is extremely competitive and a little Naziish about winning. But just think about it this way. If you entered every competition and situation with a winning attitude, you might believe in yourself and who knows, even win? 🙂

7. Take responsibility and show leadership

Monica is also the mom of the group. She doesn’t shy away from leading the group and taking responsibility for tasks. Someone has to do it and leadership skills take you a long way.

8. Turn bad hair days into fun

Sometimes, certain weather may not suit your hair and it may decide to act up. But instead of complaining about it, why not embrace it and have fun with it? When Monica’s hair became thrice its size in Barbados (we all remember that), she went Caribbean and got it braided. Definitely worth a try.

9. It is okay to be momentarily unhappy if it will lead to long-term happiness

By her own admission, breaking up with Richard was one of the toughest things to do for Monica. She wasn’t thrilled to break up with Pete either. And she had long phases of being single. But she didn’t compromise on what she really wanted just to be with someone. We’re often faced with these dilemmas. And we can take a cue from Monica here. If it’ll make you happy in the bigger picture, do something slightly uncomfortable now. You will be relieved.

10. You’re never too old to learn something new

Monica is the first one to sign up for a class. She loves going to the head of the class too. But you have to love her spirit to learn something new. We often make excuses and get out of classes because we think we’re too old or it will be embarrassing. But that shouldn’t stop us. In fact, we’ll be able to cope better with those skills.

11. Express your love for the people you care about the most

When Monica found out Chandler was going to propose, she decided to surprise him by asking him instead. It was the most beautiful and heart-warming television proposal. I think it’s a great lesson to learn. We’re often worried about telling our loved ones how we feel because we’re not sure how they might react or something else stops us. But think about it, who doesn’t want to feel loved? Just go ahead and tell someone you care. It can’t be that bad.

12. Dance, regardless of who’s watching

Regardless of Monica’s size, she loved to dance. She wasn’t the best dancer but that didn’t stop her. I’m guilty of being shy when I have to dance in front of strangers. But dance is a beautiful form of expression and you should dance anyway because it usually makes everyone happy.

13. Embrace the good and bad in your lover

Nobody is perfect. Sometimes, we make excuses for the ones we love when they’re at fault. So when they’re right, we should take up for them too, no? Monica and Chandler had issues they worked their way through. And we could learn a lot from their friendship and relationship.

14. Look out for your family

Your family is there for you unconditionally. Sometimes, it may feel like family members are playing favourites, as was the case with Ross and Monica’s parents. But Monica didn’t let that affect her relationship with Ross. When he needed her, she was always there and looked out for him too.

15. Be an amazing ‘friend’

Don’t you just love Monica all the more now? She’s the best, right? I know!

Tell us about your favourite fictional character and we’ll share the life lessons they’ve taught us.