As far as the leading ladies of television go, Carrie Bradshaw is one of the most criticized in the history of the industry. The love and dating columnist from Manhattan makes a lot of mistakes during the six seasons and two movies she stars in and is known for disappointing her friends, her lovers, and herself in the process.
One of the biggest problems fans have with Carrie is that she never seems to really learn from her mistakes. While Samantha Jones, Miranda Hobbes, and Charlotte York all experience significant character growth and learn to see the world differently over the course of the series, Carrie more or less stays the same person (with a few changes). And fans can all agree that she’s pretty flawed.
That said, there are things that Carrie does get right. She may not change too much, but she has the right idea about a lot of things from the beginning of her story. What she lacks in self-awareness, discipline, and consideration for others, she makes up for in kindness (most of the time), confidence, and persistence.
Here are the top things that Carrie did wrong in her life on the small (and big) screen, plus the top things that she pulls off perfectly.
26 Wrong: Refusing To Believe Big Is Emotionally Unavailable
For the majority of the series, Mr. Big is emotionally unavailable. He’s charming and charismatic and obviously cares about Carrie to some extent, but he’s just not prepared to provide that emotional attachment that she craves.
And for an expert on dating, it takes Carrie a heck of a long time to realize it.
Miranda’s right when she tells Carrie that she keeps going back to him and expecting something different when all she’s going to get is the same. In the end, Big is ready to be what Carrie needs, but is that true to his character? Probably not.
25 Right: Her Stance On Friendships
One of the things Carrie gets right is her view on friendships, or particularly her friendship with Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte. We can all admit that she doesn’t always act like a good friend, but she understands the theory behind friendship—that you have to put in lots of work if you want them to last.
“Friendships don’t magically last 40 years,” she writes. “You have to invest in them. It’s like your savings: You don’t expect to wake up one day when you’re old and find a big bucket of money waiting there.” Too true!
24 Wrong: Losing It At Charlotte For Not Lending Her Money
One of the most notorious times Carrie acts like a sub-par friend is when she gets upset with Charlotte for not lending her money to buy back her apartment from Aidan.
Carrie literally expects Charlotte to offer her the money, gets angry when she doesn’t, and then gets stuck to her because she’s still wearing her diamond ring.
Where do we even start? Charlotte is right: it’s not up to her to look after her friend’s finances, especially when her friend chooses to spend $40,000 on shoes.
23 Right: Her Feelings On Self-Love
SATC is all about the pursuit of love, but Carrie rightly points out that self-love is just as important (if not more important) than romantic love. “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself,” she narrates. “And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”
She totally hits the nail on the head right here! It’s clichéd, but you should love yourself before you find someone else to love, not the other way around.
22 Wrong: Believing Therapy Is For ‘People Who Can’t Solve Their Own Problems’
Carrie says some things during the series that are just incorrect. Remember when she said that therapy is for “people who can’t solve their own problems”? Granted, she met a pretty interesting type of guy in the waiting room of her therapist’s office.
But still, therapy isn’t for people who can’t solve their own problems.
It’s for people emotionally intelligent enough to recognize that they need some support (and the people who don’t need any support would be few and far between). So there, Carrie!
21 Right: The Way She Embraces Imperfection
Annoying as she may be sometimes, Carrie has the right idea about embracing her own imperfections. Sometimes she gives into insecurity, like the time she tries to go all out just to impress Natasha, but most of the time, she accepts that she’s not perfect and doesn’t allow that fact to make her feel bad about herself.
“I will never be the woman with the perfect hair who can wear white and not spill on it.” Same same, girl!
20 Wrong: Sending Aidan To Take Care Of Miranda When She Throws Out Her Neck
Is it just us, or is it completely crossing the line to send your boyfriend to help your friend when she rings and asks for your help because she’s hurt her neck?
We know that Carrie is busy when Miranda calls and it probably makes more sense for Aidan to go because he’s bigger and stronger, but she should at least check with her friend if it’s okay next time.
We mean, Miranda’s on the bathroom floor in a towel. Understandably, she doesn’t want her friend’s man walking in on that.
19 Right: The Way She Lets Go Of The Past
Carrie is no stranger to making mistakes. Through her careless and sometimes selfish actions, she manages to hurt the people she loves as well as herself. But what she is good at is responding to her mistakes.
While she can’t help feeling guilty about them in the beginning, she understands that she has to eventually move on and not dwell on them: “Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.”
18 Wrong: Thinking Her Disaster Wedding Is Worse Than Miranda’s Marriage Breakdown
In the first SATC movie, Carrie and Big’s fairy-tale wedding does not go as planned. It doesn’t go at all, actually, until many months later.
We get that it would be painful to be left at the altar by the man you love, but it’s obvious that Carrie thinks her jilting is the worst thing to happen to mankind.
She doesn’t even care about the fact that Miranda’s marriage is breaking down, giving her a few words of consolidation over breakfast, while her friends stop their lives to take her to Mexico because her wedding doesn’t go ahead.
17 Right: The Way She Can Be There For Her Friends In Hard Times
Sometimes Carrie Bradshaw forgets to consider her friends because she gets so wrapped up in her very own life. But there are also times when she proves to be an amazing friend to Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte.
Off the top of our heads, getting out of bed on a snowy New Year’s Eve to go and hang out with Miranda because she’s lonely is a pretty admirable thing to do. So is going along with Samantha to all of her doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions.
16 Wrong: Dominating All The Conversations With Her Own Problems
Carrie is the focus of the four friends, so maybe we can blame the writers for this one.
But throughout the entire series, Carrie’s problems dominate the brunch table.
It’s not like the other ladies don’t have problems. Samantha deals with sickness and face peels gone wrong. Miranda deals with an unplanned pregnancy. Charlotte’s perfect marriage isn’t so perfect. All the women have their hearts hurt, but Carrie’s problems get the most attention. When Miranda even tries to talk about her issues with Robert, Carrie shushes her up. Rude!
15 Right: How She Refuses To Give Up On Love
Taking place over six seasons, Carrie Bradshaw’s journey toward finding 'the one' is certainly full of ups and downs. Some downright traumatizing things happen to her in that time, and she dates her share of men that would probably make the rest of us give up on all men, everywhere. But she never gives up on love.
She sticks it out, right to the very end: “I’m someone who is looking or love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.”
14 Wrong: Ruining Natasha’s Lunch
One of the biggest mistakes Carrie makes is getting involved with Big in the third season of the show. After all the pain she causes, what worries her the most is not that she’s hurt other people, but that other people could resent her for her choices.
To try and rid herself of her guilt, she ambushes Big’s ex Natasha at lunch to apologize.
And Natasha’s response couldn’t have been more perfect, telling Carrie that on top of spoiling her marriage, she also spoiled her lunch.
13 Right: Being Proud Of Her Success
Although it seems that Carrie Bradshaw spends most of her time attending fabulous parties, taking part in exclusive events and brunching with the girls, she does work very hard. She’s always thinking about her column, and also manages to release a couple of books that turn out to be quite successful.
When she dates Berger, he feels insecure next to her because his own writing work isn’t going as well, but she doesn’t let him make her feel bad. She earned her success, and she has a right to feel proud of it.
12 Wrong: Not Pretending To Be Happy In The Country With Aidan
During Carrie and Aidan take two, Aidan takes Carrie to his house in the country in Suffern, New York. And even though the country isn’t her favorite thing, she couldn’t be any less gracious about it.
This is the man who forgave her for hurting him and he wants to share his country house that he loves with her.
But she tells him off for being friends with a squirrel and tantrums to the point of kicking his oven. Suffern is less than an hour from Manhattan. Relax.
11 Right: Her View On Being Persistent
If there is one thing that Carrie Bradshaw is good at, it’s being persistent. She sticks with her work until she’s successful, and she sticks with chasing Big even though he proves, time and time again, that he doesn’t want the same things that she wants, until the very last episode. And Carrie is right here: being persistent does pay off.
“Life gives you lots of chances to screw up, which means you have just as many chances to get it right,” she says.
10 Wrong: Inviting Big To Aidan’s House
Speaking of Aidan’s country house, which she told him she didn't like, Carrie has the audacity to invite Big up because he needs someone to talk to after breaking up with his movie star fling.
Seriously, imagine if this situation were reversed. Imagine if it took place in real life!
Would you be okay with your significant other bringing their ex (particularly given Carrie and Big’s history) to your house because they were feeling sad and lonely? Not a chance!
9 Right: Not Letting The Bad Times Get Her Down
Another thing Carrie is good at is bouncing back from the hard times. She goes through a fair amount of pain, some of it self-inflicted and some of it forced upon her. But she doesn’t let it stop her from living life (except briefly after being jilted by Big when she doesn’t leave the darkness of the hotel bedroom for three days).
When Berger breaks up with her on a post-it—which we can’t get into without getting furious—she decides to go out and have fun with her friends that night instead of sitting at home moping. And rightly so!
8 Wrong: Throwing A Tantrum When Oliver Talks To Other People
Tantrum-throwing seems to be another one of Carrie’s specialties. Sometimes they’re more warranted than others, but one time when it’s not okay at all is when she gets angry at Oliver for talking to someone else and not paying enough attention to her.
This might be the pinnacle of Carrie’s bratty, selfish, and immature behavior.
That, and the time she throws the McDonald’s at Big’s wall because he tells her he’s going to Paris for work and doesn’t plan his life around her... just like he said he wouldn’t.
7 Wrong: Nagging At Big For Being A Normal Human
Carrie eventually gets the man of her dreams, but from the way she treats him, you wouldn’t think she spent over a decade pining over him.
After they’re married in the second movie, she constantly nags at him for being a normal human being. You know, wanting to relax on the couch after work, fall asleep watching television, and ordering takeout instead of going to fancy gala dinners on a work night. To top it off, she also rendezvous with Aidan while away in the Middle East.
6 Wrong: Demanding To Meet Big’s Mother At Church
There seems to be a real problem with Carrie’s ability to listen to other people’s wants and needs. For instance, Big doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not.
He’s clear with her from the beginning about the kind of relationship he wants, and he very clearly tells her that going to church with his mother is something they do alone.
So what does she do? She shows up at his church and demands to be introduced to his mother.
5 Wrong: Ditching Her Friends For Guys
Carrie is all about how friendship is the most important thing and her friends are her real soulmates, instead of the different men she meets. And yet, she’s still very quick to totally ditch them in order to hang out with her lovers.
There’s that time she doesn’t go to brunch because it’s “cold out” and she would prefer to stay in cozied up with a guy, even though all her friends braved the cold and made the effort (particularly Miranda coming from Brooklyn).
4 Wrong: Making Charlotte’s Wedding About Her
Of all the days that Carrie could tell Aidan about Big, does she have to do it the day one of her best friends gets married.
We all have things going on in our lives, but it’s an unwritten rule that when it’s someone’s wedding day, all the attention is on them.
For the day, that’s just the way it is. Carrie isn’t great about letting her friends have the spotlight, but choosing to tell Aidan just as they’re getting ready to leave for the wedding is so selfish. Charlotte and Trey would have paid for Aidan’s dinner and everything.
3 Wrong: Barging In On Petrovsky While He's Working
This particular boyfriend isn’t perfect and is generally one of Carrie’s less popular love interests. He’s cold to her friends and super arrogant, but he is a talented and dedicated artist. Knowing how serious he is about his work, Carrie still decides to take all her friends there when he’s working, specifically after he tells her that he’s too busy to meet them tonight.
After that, she’s worried about “his icy treatment” of the girls, but maybe he should worry that she can’t respect boundaries.
2 Wrong: Not Being More Patient With Aidan When He Doesn’t Want To Be Physical With Her
There are a lot of things wrong with the way that Carrie treats Aidan. Without getting into all of it, one of the worst things she does is act impatient and entitled with him when he doesn’t want to be physical with her when they first start dating.
This is another situation where, if the roles were reversed, it would be totally unacceptable.
At one point, Carrie even slams the door in his face because he doesn’t want to sleep over. Can you imagine if he did that to her?!
1 Right: All The Fashion
Carrie isn’t perfect and she has a lot to answer for, but one thing she does get right time and time again is the fashion. It’s why she’s still a fashion icon more than twenty years after first appearing on our screens. There are some outfits she wears that are less appealing, but overall, her relationship with fashion just might be our favorite of all.
She knows how to experiment and compliment her body, and she can get away with wearing things that the rest of us couldn’t even hope to.