It's been quite a while since Friends came to an end — 10 years, in fact. That doesn't make me feel old, but seeing reruns of the '90s sitcom on Nick at Nite certainly does. Since when were the antics of Joey and Chandler equivalent to that of Darrin and Samantha? I digress.
Friends had a huge impact on me. It's the series that made me want to move to New York. It's where I learned the value of comedic timing and subtle nuances of great humor. And, it showed me what to expect from the world of dating. (Spoiler alert: It kinda sucks.)
Though I absorbed the ups and downs of all the Friends relationships, it was Rachel's life, in particular, from which I gleaned the most knowledge. This is probably because she was the most seemingly normal one of the group. In comedy, we'd call her the straight man, the one who's always calling out the ill logic of her fellow characters, reminding them that they're ridiculous, functioning as the occasional voice of the audience. That's not to say Rachel was perfect — girlfriend did some weird, questionable stuff. Still, it's safe to argue that she was the character every girl wanted to be. Sure, you catch glimmers of yourself in Phoebe and Monica, but really you wanted to be the Rachel — especially if you got that iconic haircut.
Rachel's love life served as a sort of barometer for me. Through her (mostly dysfunctional) partnerships, I learned a lot about what's important in a relationship (small gestures of love à la the tiny T-shirt) and what's not (tiffs from your high school years). Ahead, the definitive ranking of Rachel's love life. May it never (totally) resemble your own.