Chandler embodies the slight awkwardness in each and every one of us: the one who uses puns to get out of sticky situations, fart noises to ruin sentimental moments, and a weird sense of humor to mask our insecurities. Plus, would any of us really be able to come up with a better response than “Gum would be perfection?” if trapped in a bank vestibule with Jill Goodacre?
Monica is the part of us that knows that it is perfectly okay to like things a certain way and to slightly freak out if everything is not precisely to our pleasure… Even if this means having 11 categories of hand towels. Monica is the fat child within us, who now strives for perfection while traversing the world of getting over well-mustached exes, getting noticed by demanding parents, and getting fake nails out of catered quiches.
We may not all have published books on paleontology that get screwed upon by horny college kids in the cobwebbed-corners of the library, but we can all relate to the aggravation that comes with those who can’t differentiate between “your” and “you’re.” Ross is the inner geek in all of us: the history nerd, the book lover, and the one who knows the importance of “unagi.” He’s also that tiny part of us that isn’t above trying out a spray tan, teeth whitening, or leather pants to gain cool points. And, like Ross, we all like a good wedding.
Rachel has shown that it’s quite alright to be completely clueless and dependent and maybe even “a shoe” at one point in our lives. But we grow and we change and we might even date a too-young co-worker or too-old father of one of our ex’s current girlfriends at least once, just to give it a shot. Hell, we might even be willing to don a high school cheerleading outfit and play spin the bottle in our ultimate journey of maturation. But, in the end, Rachel is really just like us—a loveable friend but slight diva learning to make meatless trifles, navigating the tricky interview process and inadvertent boss kisses, and trying to find her lobster—but, of course, with better hair.
It’s hard to argue against the fact that the instincts of Joey are truly deep down inside each of us. Joey resembles our genuine subconscious, almost animalistic desires: to use a ratchet pickup line, to never pass up a good sandwich, to break all the rules and sleep with whomever you want and maybe not call them again, to date somebody totally wrong for you (with an IQ that may be triple yours), to not really want to share food on a date, to fall in love with your best friend, and to maybe even put on blue lipstick, speak Japanese, or model for an STD poster if need be.
Any ounce of creativity and craziness in us is indicative of our inner Regina Phalange. Phoebe is also the sacrificial one that shows that our pasts do not define us; from a hoodlum mugging comic book nerds on the street to the carrier of her brother’s triplets (and a vegetarian!), Phoebe matures into one of the show’s most generous characters, while also teaching us that dating two guys at once is harder than it seems, it’s always beneficial to have a go-to fake name, and it really wasn’t Smelly Cat’s fault.