Six friends in their late 20s giggle as they sit in an oddly–named cafe, “Central Perk." Chandler Bing, rocking his slightly uncoordinated outfit, talks about his day. Apparently, something sucky happened at work with his coworker, and he made a complete fool out of himself while attempting to flirt with some girl. He then goes on and makes a series of hilarious jokes about his bad day. The group can’t stop laughing, and neither can the audience.
Throughout the show, the six iconic characters go through countless “oops” moments together, whether it’s getting cut off from parents or saying the wrong girl’s name at the altar. The gang stays together through it all. Perhaps not surprisingly (after all, it's a comedy show), jokes are an integral part of their friendship.
No one exemplifies this better than—you guessed it—Chandler Bing. A charming goofball, he always looks for an opportunity to be funny. The main subject of his jokes is usually Chandler himself. He jokes about his inability to find love and commit (“I’m hopeless, and awkward, and desperate for love!”), his dissatisfaction with his job, and his uncontrollable desire to make jokes at inappropriate moments. He does all of this in the most adorable way possible, with his signature smirk and silly laugh. He takes many "L"s in life, turns them into jokes, and finds joy in sharing them with friends.
And here’s the thing. We should all be more like Chandler Bing.
I’m not saying we should be more self–critical or whiney. We get enough of that already. I'm saying that we should better embrace our failures, which are an inevitable part of everyone’s college experience.
Let’s be more like Chandler and own our failures. Let’s learn to be more comfortable with talking about them candidly. Humor can be a great starting point to having these healthy conversations. Opening up about our failures gives others the courage to speak about their own experiences. It creates a less cutthroat environment where it’s okay to not be perfect.
“Failed” your first midterm of the year? Horrible blackout and the worst hangover in your 9 a.m. the morning after? Let’s laugh about our “L”s, and eventually, at ourselves.
The Unofficial Official Penn Squirrel Catching Club, Penn’s meme page on Facebook, is a prime example of what it means to be Chandler–like. Tagging each other on different memes, we laugh about how ridiculously difficult life at Penn can be. The memes offer the comic relief we desperately need. And we all know if there were a 2017 adaptation of Friends, Chandler would be the king of memes.
In the end, Chandler gets out of the friend zone. He's in the healthiest relationship in the show. He ends up switching to a job he is actually passionate about. He overcomes his fears of commitment. While he retains his goofy self, he matures immensely as a character. This is a result of the resiliency he developed by accepting his failures and opening up about them through endless jokes and sarcasm.
Channel your inner Chandler today: chill out, laugh a lot, and open up a bit. Remind each other that it’s totally okay if “it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month... or even your year.”