While we all love Phoebe and Monica, there is something special about Rachel that we really connect to. This may be because of how much she changed throughout the course of the show. Watching her grow up into a strong, independent woman is like watching your own struggles as you navigate through life. When we first meet Rachel, she’s a 20-something who just ran away from her own wedding. She crashes with Monica, still uses his father’s credit cards and isn’t qualified for any jobs. She is all of us.
Whether it’s in terms of her career, love life or just straight up adulting, we watch Rachel struggle and fail time and time again. After each failure, Rachel dusts herself off and tries again. We finally see her become a high-powered independent woman, but that’s only after years and years of grinding. Of course, this brilliant character arc isn’t the only reason why she’s totally our spirit animal. There’s also her love of clothing, because doesn’t every girl just die over clothes? Oh, and her whole relationship with Ross. If you’re in your 20s, there is a high likelihood that you have a complicated on-again off-again relationship with someone. Don’t we all have that one ex?
Let’s just be honest. Rachel was the realest, whether she was eating cheesecake off the floor or pretending to smoke so she would fit in at work. Below are 16 times that Rachel Green was your spirit animal, for better or for worse.
16 When She Doesn’t Want To Be A Shoe
In the very first episode, she expresses a feeling that we all may feel at some point in our lives. Yeah, we might not be soaking wet, wearing a wedding dress and at a crossroads in life, but we still totally see ourselves in her at this moment.
Rachel runs away from an easy life of being the dentist’s wife. She would have likely lived in a nice house in a nice neighborhood and raised nice children. She would have had a nice life. Instead, she ran because she didn’t want to live the nice life laid out so perfectly in front of her. She wanted to live, experience and grow. This is a feeling that we can all have at some point in our lives. While we won’t usually run away from a wedding, we may feel that we don’t want to order the same coffee or sit inside and binge-watch a TV show for yet another night in a row. We need to be free, as free as Rachel Green in that wedding dress!
The fact that Rachel uses a fashion metaphor to get across her disdain for that life is just the cherry on top.
15 When She Has A Crush On Joshua
Rachel trying to date Joshua is all of us having a crush. When she first meets him, she’s blindsided. Suddenly her awful day is turned around, which seriously happens. We’ve all had that day where you were late to work, spilled your coffee and forgot to send an email, only to be rescued by a charming stranger at happy hour. Let's all mentally cheers to charming strangers everywhere.
Of course, the moment Rachel really becomes our spirit animal is when she embarrasses herself over and over again while trying to win Joshua’s affections. She can’t figure out how to ask him out on a date. She wears her high school cheerleading uniform. She takes her bra off in front of him. She convinces everyone to play spin the bottle. She’s even in lingerie in front of his parents. Everything that she does in an attempt to woo Joshua backfires and we couldn’t relate more. Flirting is pretty much the worst thing in the world and Rachel Green knows that more than anyone.
14 When She Has To Wear The Worst Bridesmaid Dress
When Rachel was a bridesmaid in Barry and Mindy’s wedding, she was all of us as a bridesmaid. Being forced to wear a ridiculous dress and socialize at yet another wedding is certainly how some of us would sum up the whole bridesmaid experience. That’s exactly how it was for Rachel, ridiculous dress and all. The dress is so hideous, but she rocks it because she must. This is the basic job of a bridesmaid – wear the dress and don’t complain about it.
Rachel also fears going because she’ll have to talk to many people who she doesn’t necessarily want to talk to. We all experience this problem at a friend's wedding, especially if it's a friend from high school getting married. Those weddings can feel like straight up high school reunions and we all know how awkward those can be. You’re wanting to show everyone just how far you’ve come, but somehow you keep feeling like a dork. Look on the bright side, at least you probably won't tuck your dress into your underwear like Rachel.
13 When She Freaks Out Over Motherhood
Whether you are actually a mother or not, you can probably relate to Rachel’s pre-motherhood freak out. She thought she had everything down and suddenly, she feels completely unprepared for the next phase in her life. This can happen before motherhood but it can also happen before a promotion, new job or graduation.
Whenever you are taking a big leap in life, you’ll probably end up having a little freak out session. Diving head first into something completely new to you is exciting but also terrifying. It’s completely natural to have anxiety, like Rachel did at her baby shower. If you, like Rachel, just want your mom to come live with you through the hard times, you’re not alone. Wouldn't it be great if all our moms could move in throughout transition periods. Ah, we sure do miss the comfort of our moms. Oh, just me?
12 When Ross Dates Julie
We have all been Rachel while Ross is dating Julie and it's the worst. You're totally in love with a guy and said guy is dating another girl. It's the horror of all horrors. You live every day in misery, all while you secretly pray they will break up. Even if the girl is just as sweet as Julie was on Friends, you won’t be able to bring yourself to like her. She’s dating the dude you’re in love with for cryin' out loud! She's your sworn enemy at this point. Sure, you may be harboring feelings that neither the Julie nor the Ross know about, but that doesn't change your disdain towards the Julie. It also certainly doesn't mean you want to watch your Ross be with a Julie.
When Rachel says, “Isn't that just kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic,” before gulping down some wine, she has all of our hearts. We’ve all had to keep romantic feelings hush hush at one point or another and it totally feels like this.
11 When She Gets Her First Paycheck
Girl, we know. We know more than you’ll ever know, Rachel. After busting her butt at Central Perk, Rachel finally gets her first paycheck and it’s rather underwhelming. She’s faced with the hard reality of just how tiny a paycheck can feel.
When you had your first job at an ice cream store or pharmacy, you experienced this on a low-scale. Taxes were no joke and your 16-year-old self was probably fairly upset. However, most people don’t have many responsibilities at 16, so it wasn't as big a deal as it felt when looking at that tiny paycheck number.
Little did we know, that paycheck shock never goes away. Taking your first entry level job will leave you with the same disappointment, especially if you are plagued by student loan payments. Even accepting a promotion with a specific salary can leave you wondering why your paycheck is so low. No matter how much more money we’re making in life, we’ll always be Rachel Green opening that first paycheck.
10 When She Eats The Cheesecake
It might not be cheesecake, but there is something that all of us would eat off the floor. Hell, we might even eat it off the floor of our dirty apartment hallway like Rachel. Okay, we probably wouldn’t eat it off a public floor like that, but we still give her props for doing so. A woman who is willing to get on her hands and knees for cheesecake has our hearts.
After dropping what is described as the best cheesecake ever, Rachel and Chandler grab forks and eat it off the floor. We can’t help but love someone who embraces food in this way. If Rachel Green and Chrissy Teigen were hanging out, they would probably recreate this scene and then all of our favorite spirit animals would be in one perfect place with cheesecake. Ah, we can only dream.
9 When She Plays Football
There is so much yes about Rachel in this scene. First of all, the look. This is 100% how a girl who never played football dresses to play football. The backwards hat and layered tee shirts say ‘I know what I’m doing’ even though she totally doesn’t. And the pigtails! Obviously she’s wearing pigtails because every girl should wear pigtails whenever the opportunity strikes, which isn’t all that often.
Rachel is also picked last, which is a total blow to the ego considering that Ross, her boyfriend, and Monica, her best friend, are the team captains. Rachel’s whiny, “Monica!” as she watches herself be passed over is all of us. We may not be good at football, but we don’t want to be picked last, damn it! Even if we can kind of understand why we're being picked last, it's still annoying.
8 When She Deals With Ross Getting Married
Ah, an ex-boyfriend getting married. This is an odd part of growing up that people don’t talk about all that much.
We know that we’re supposed to grow up, go to college, get married, buy a house, have children and die. That’s the basic life plan, with a few vacations thrown in there to keep it spicy. For some reason, no one mentions how awkward and confusing it is to watch an ex get married, which is another milestone most of us experience.
Rachel Green lives through this little talked about experience and for that, we love her. Watching Ross be so happy, content and fulfilled with someone else is painful to say the very least. She’s torn between wanting to congratulate him and wanting to stop the wedding. The latter obviously wins, as her arrival causes Ross to say her name at the alter. It’s just weird to watch exes move on and Rachel Green knows that.
7 When She Deals With Monica Getting Married
Perhaps even more difficult than letting go of an ex is letting go of a bestie. No, you won’t be losing your bestie forever, but things will never be the same after she goes over to the dark side of marriage – or, at least, it feels that way. Suddenly, she’s married and you’re still single. You might feel lonely, jealous, angry. Yeah, you’re excited for your bestie, but it’s natural to have some personal feelings about your own relationship status because of the engagement.
On Monica and Chandler’s engagement night, Rachel almost sleeps with Ross and that is perfect. It’s totally want happens. A bestie's engagement can make us rethink our past relationships and exes. Monica, of course, claims that Rachel stole her thunder but Rachel’s just feeling some feelings and we get it.
6 When She Has Her First Day In Fashion
No matter what your career field, you’ll probably have an idealized version of it in your head. You’ll imagine that it’s exciting and fabulous, only to find out that it’s really not – at least, not in the beginning. Entry levels jobs are the grunt work and not glamorous in the least. These jobs aren’t the reason you wanted to go into this line of work. Those jobs come much later, after putting up with all the grunt work.
Your first day at your new, big girl job can feel completely underwhelming. You may be getting coffee, answering the phone and delivering mail. Rachel’s reaction to her boss telling her how he likes his coffee is all of us. Rachel, though, shields this disappointment and continues to work her way up the ladder, which can be a great lesson for us all, as we're pouring soy milk in our boss' coffee.
5 When She Drunk Dials Ross
While she’s totally head over heels for Ross, Rachel goes on a date. This should be a lesson to us all: don't go on dates if you're secretly in love with someone else. It won't end well. Not ending well is exactly how one could describe this date. Rachel gets wasted and tells her date about her whole relationship with Ross. After the date tells her that she needs closure, she agrees. She precedes to borrow another diner’s phone to drunk dial Ross. She leaves a voicemail telling him that this is her getting closure.
The voicemail Rachel leaves for Ross is a '90s version of that drunken text you sent your ex last Saturday at 2:14 am. It seems like a good idea in the moment, but it’s not. Her reaction the next morning is all of us… if only we could unsend those pesky drunken text messages.
4 Actually, Everything Ross
Her whole relationship with Ross speaks to everyone. They are the duo that can’t get it right. If you’re single and in your 20s, there is probably a Ross in your life. Sure, you might have not been on a break. There may not have been an epic prom video. You also may not accidentally get married in Vegas or anything like that, but there is most likely a guy you keep going back to. The relationship will seem unfinished, which is why you keep going back to each other.
Whether it’s Rachel being hurt by Ross’ infidelity, Rachel having to watch him move on with Emily, or Rachel and Ross’ trysts throughout the series, there is something in these that you can relate to. He might not be your lobster, but most girls deal with a Ross in their lives.
3 When She Gets Ready
“The One Where No One’s Ready” is every girl getting ready for an event ever. Rachel has her hair and makeup done and looks gorgeous. She tells Ross that she’ll be ready as soon as she figures out what she’s wearing. Ross doesn’t realize what this means in girl world and thinks she'll be ready shortly. To men, figuring out what to wear usually just means putting clothes on their body. Pants and a shirt - boom, done! To women, it requires thinking about every outfit possibility and even trying a few on, before finally deciding what to wear.
When Rachel vetoes an outfit because it makes her calves look big, Ross doesn’t get it but we sure as hell do. You know we've all been there before an important event. And for some reason we always seem to leave it to the last minute to make our final outfit decision.
2 When She Quits Central Perk
We might not all be brave enough to quit the job that pays for the roof over our heads and the clothes on our backs, but Rachel Green was. Rachel just up and quits her serving job at Central Perk, the coffee shop she worked at for two years so she can pursue her passion in life: clothes.
Because she was so bad (sorry Rachel, but it’s true), Gunther decides to retrain her. This sparks a fire in her. Why is she going to retrain for a job she hates? She should be pursuing something that she loves, that she’s passionate about. We might not all have a scene like this in our lives, but don’t we all want to? Quitting in such a dramatic fashion, which is not necessarily responsible, would make you feel like the queen of your own life. And, let us just be clear, you are totally the queen of your own life.
1 When She Turns 30
This is all of us. Your 30th birthday seems like a huge milestone. By this point, most of our parents owned houses, were married and had given birth to us. The likelihood of you checking off all three of these by your 30th birthday is slim. We live in a different world now, where student loans and the cost of real estate have sky rocketed. Oddly, though, none of us feel content with not achieving these things in a timely manner. We’re still conditioned to want everything by 25, 30, or 40.
This pressure to be successful and have it all can come from social media. We see all of our friends having babies and houses and husbands while we’re rewatching Friends on Netflix for the 100th time. Whether it’s social media making us feel inadequate or our social conditioning, our 30th birthday just seems like a big reminder that we’re supposed to be further along in life. Rachel isn’t afraid to let everyone know she’s having these feelings and for that, we commend her. Don’t hide your 30s anxiety. Let it out, girl.