The Unexpected Ways ‘Friends’ Contributed to Society

Graham Host

You’ve almost certainly heard of at least one unintended creation of the six stooges that blessed us with their presence for ten long years, but maybe you didn’t know it. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that Friends influenced, not just the sit-com landscape, but the social landscape.

Safe Sex

Aww, baby Emma. The ever-present reminder that condoms aren’t the magical preventative that everyone thinks they are. As was quite amazingly handled by the on/off partnership of Ross and Rachel, even with protection in play, accidents can happen and consequences lie just around the corner. New father Ross reads the packet several times to clarify that they do really state condoms aren’t always effective.

Just something to bear in mind for any future endeavors.

Computer Bragging

Watching Chandler brag about his laptop specifications in the modern-day is nothing short of horrifying. Watching it on my tablet, easily five times better than his shiny new toy, only made it that much worse. Now everybody is intent on getting the latest hardware for their playtime and posting the results on social media.
God, what I would give for 4K, 60FPS, 1080P.

‘Invisible’ Camo Patterns

If you’ve been on social media for any part of the year, you have almost certainly seen a picture of a game controller or shirt or basically anything you can paint in shades of camo-green with the poster unable to locate said object. Turns out, the master of mockery Chandler cracked this eggshell just before bumping into his former classmate, as portrayed by Julia Roberts.

Invisible Camo

Sex Without Strings

As Chandler found out the hard way, it’s not only men that enjoy a casual fling. Much as Emma drew attention to the possibility that condoms can fail, Friends pointed out that not everyone is looking for a deep and meaningful relationship. Joey proved this relentlessly and even had the unfortunate task of showing that doing so can have unfortunate results when he accidentally finds a woman whose room-mate he has slept with. That and the representative from the adoption agency.


Only let your close friends set you up on dates. Random co-workers: not so much. In this episode we have unfortunate proof that a favor from a colleague can sometimes have unintended consequences as backfire Chandler is almost set-up with a gay colleague. During the last few minutes of the story, his would-be date saves the pair any awkwardness by confirming that he realized Chandler wasn’t gay — he and other homosexuals have a “kind of radar,” he says.

From what I hear, most the tech-savvy generation has their own now.

Friends With Benefits

So, after one “drunk enough but not too drunk” night of intense… for the young readers, I’m going to let those who can figure it out do so, Chandler and Monica wake up slightly the worse for wear and promising to keep what happens in London in London. At least, until they begin making excuses and eventually realize how good they are together. But for a brief while, they manage to keep balance between friends and more than friends without everyone finding out.

From what almost happened with them, I can offer the following words of advice: do not try this at home.

The Friend Zone

Okay, before we go any further you have to realize that not everybody who friend zones isn’t instantly the source of all evil. Nor is anybody who wants to try and get from friend to relationship. Messy details aside, this particular bundle of fun can be traced all the way back to the the first season of Friends when Ross almost makes a move on Rachel. Joey points out that not only is Ross slowly digging further into the friend zone, but if he blindly continues his pursuit of Rachel from his current position, he would end up in ‘priesthood’.

Thanks Tribianni. I’m hated by many people thanks to you. Well, three. But that’s more than enough.

Bro Code

No, not moms! Sisters, sure. A hot aunt, maybe. But NEVER moms!” Wise words Master Tribianni, wise words. Starting off with a bunch of vague terms, this was later brought further into the public eye by the modern version of Friends, How I Met Your Mother and the ever suited businessman Barney.
Such articles include, ‘Moms are off the table’ and ‘Never dump a bro for a chick. Unless they’re hot.’

Gamer Girls

Okay, skipping over all the discrimination that games were only for nerds and social outcasts before becoming ‘cool’, Monica is probably the first of her breed. During The One With The Dozen Lasagnas, Monica finds herself becoming embroiled in foosball with herself and Ross pitted against Joey and Chandler. Not only is she so competitive that she challenges them to a one-handed match at 2:30AM but she also leads the much later Thanksgiving American Football game.

I’m not sure if it gave rise to casual-hardcore banter on the field but who can forget ‘Cheater cheater, compulsive eater’?

After ten years of plot-twists and laughs, there are few things I miss more than the endless laughter those six complete and utter lunatics brought into my life. Even with HIMYM, there wasn’t the zany insanity that Phoebe brought to the group and it could all have just been summed up as, “Your mother sang at Uncle Barney’s and Aunt Robin’s wedding. Turns out, I once Ross-ed her old room-mate into lesbianism and borrowed her umbrella for a while.” Even with every other sit-com out there, from HIMYM to The Big Bang Theory, nothing has ever made me smile or cringe as much as any of the six hard-working group of friends that revolutionized the world in ways that nobody saw coming. I recently laid my hands on the entire boxset and set myself the task of sitting down and watching as much of their antics as I can.

Graham Host is a member of the Fan Contributor program. In his spare time, he enjoys the works of Terry Pratchett, DC Comics and a wide assortment of video games. Under no circumstances should he be fed after midnight.
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