The likely lead character of Friends, Rachel Green’s transformation from spoiled runaway bride to successful fashion icon and mother is one of the show’s most compelling arcs. Throughout the 10 seasons, the character loves, learns, falls, picks herself up, and never stops trying.
Rachel’s advice is often a mixed bag. She’s intuitive and sensitive, which means she’s especially good when it comes to romance. However, she’s also manipulative and selfish at times. She never acts out of malice, though, but rather immaturity, which makes her character all the more relatable. Practically all her friends seek her advice at one point or another, and she’s always there to help. Whether she gives the right advice, though, is another story.
10 Worst: When She Said More Than She Should Have
As Monica tries on wedding dresses, Rachel and Phoebe provide emotional support. Champagne glass in hand, it’s clear that Rachel has had one too many. After an uncomfortable interaction with Morgan, a girl who approached Monica to compliment her on how great she looks in her dress, Rachel stops a woman walking by carrying a wedding dress.
“Now that you know what you want, you should go to Kleinman’s and you can get it half off. This place is so overpriced,” Rachel proudly says. “I own this store,” the woman replies, unamused. Rachel tries to save face but fails, and all she can do is finish her champagne. Talk about saying the wrong thing to the wrong person.
9 Best: When She Reminded Everyone What Money Is For
One of Rachel’s most memorable lines in the series comes in the episode “The One With The Thumb.” After Phoebe inexplicably gets $500 extra dollars in her account, she complains about how she’ll have to go to the bank and deal with it. “If I kept it, it would be like stealing,” she claims. “Yeah, but if you spend it, it would be like shopping!” Rachel suggests, and it’s hard to argue with her logic.
The fact that Phoebe keeps receiving money during the episode, according to her philosphy, means that she’s meant to have it, yet she keeps refusing it. Had she followed Rachel’s advice, she would’ve saved herself a lot of trouble. One should always take advantage of the opportunities that come one’s way.
8 Worst: When Her Fashion Sense Was Too Out-There
Ross has a date, so he asks his friends for fashion advice. Phoebe’s going shopping with Rachel the following day and says he should come along. In the store, Ross discovers all the clothes are too extravagant for his taste. Rachel, however, is having the time of her life and picks out a ton of clothes for him.
“Just wear what I suggest and she’s gonna go nuts for you,” she claims. Because of a mix-up with the bags, Ross takes one of Rachel’s and he goes to his date wearing her zany pink shirt. Ross is oblivious, though, and doesn’t realize it’s a woman’s sweater until his date shows up wearing the exact same one. The fact that Ross could actually believe that Rachel would pick that sweater for him is clear proof that her fashion sense is often too avant-garde for her conservative friends.
7 Best: When She Changed Ross’ Mind About Calling Emily
Rachel and Monica want margaritas, but they don’t have the ingredients, so Rachel goes to Ross’ apartment searching for them. While there, she hears a message that Ross’ ex-wife, Emily, leaves on his machine, telling him she misses him. Rachel accidentally erases it, so she waits for Ross to convey the message.
He arrives with a brand new perspective on life after a car backfiring leads him to believe somebody shot at him. He wants to seize life’s opportunities and thinks he should call Emily back. “Maybe,” Rachel says, “this is not about seizing stuff. Maybe, this is about escaping stuff.” Her successful use of reverse psychology proves just how perceptive she really is, and it’s a great example of how people sometimes need a little help to understand what they really want.
6 Worst: When She Convinced Bonnie To Shave Her Head Again
One of the most egregious examples of Rachel’s selfish behavior comes in season three. Ross is in a relationship with Phoebe’s friend Bonnie, a sexually liberated girl with a very direct approach. Jealous and perhaps even intimidated, Rachel advises Bonnie to shave her head again, after the latter complains of the amount of sand she has in her now long mane.
It’s true that Bonnie felt happy with her bald head, and it’s also true that Ross was a jerk for breaking up with her just because she shaved it. However, Rachel’s actions are not only extremely selfish, they also bring a lot of pain to Bonnie, and eventually herself, as her reconciliation with Ross is short-lived.
5 Best: When She Knew Exactly How To Handle Joey
Rachel receives Joey’s sister, Dina, in her office, believing the girl wants advice on how to make it in the fashion industry. Instead, Dina is pregnant and wants Rachel’s help to break the news to Joey. Although taken by surprise, Rachel still agrees to help, and even goes with Dina to help her deliver the big announcement.
When Dina expresses fear about telling Joey, Rachel reassures her everything will be okay. “And if he gets a little upset, that’s what the meatball sub is for.” Rachel’s advice here is brilliant because it’s a reminder that there’s nothing wrong with getting a little extra help, especially when it comes to delivering tough news. It can make things easier for everyone involved.
4 Worst: When She Almost Got Ross To Stop Being Her Friend
After Ross says Rachel’s name at the altar, Emily obviously feels like she can’t trust him anymore. To prove his commitment to the relationship, she asks him to do several things, including stop seeing Rachel. Undecided, Ross struggles, but it’s ultimately Rachel herself who convinces him to accept this, without knowing what Emily asked of him.
“Just fix whatever she wants fixed,” she tells Ross, trying to be supportive. Rachel has a point in that Ross should make an effort to work on his relationship. However, some of Emily’s requests are very unreasonable, and it soon becomes clear she wants not to work on her trust issues with Ross, but actually to punish him for his mistake.
3 Best: When She Told Phoebe To Be True To Herself
Rachel has a gift certificate for a free massage, but Phoebe chastises her and tells her not to go to one of those corporate places. Phoebe destroys the certificate, but Rachel tapes it back together and uses it. It turns out that Phoebe is actually working in the spa and is assigned to massage Rachel.
When the two finally confront each other, Phoebe laments about working there, but explains that she does it for the many benefits. Still, Rachel encourages her to stay faithful to her principles. “Be true to what you believe in,” she tells her blonde friend. One of the best pieces of advice she ever gave, it’s something everyone should bear in mind. One can’t succeed in life while pretending to be someone else. Each person is unique and should be proud of it.
2 Worst: When She Tried To Sabotage Ross’ First Time With Julie
Julie is a genuinely nice girl who just happened to walk into a very complicated situation. She is not only a caring and patient girlfriend to Ross, she’s equally good to his friends. When Ross asks Rachel for sex advice, and because Rachel has a huge crush on him, she suggests he should put off the sex for as long as possible, saying that girls actually like that.
“I would wait and wait, then I’d wait some more.” The advice ultimately backfires, because Ross still goes for it, despite Rachel’s many attempts to prevent it. Still, the fact she was willing to hurt not only Ross, but Julie too, makes this one of Rachel’s most self-centered moments.
1 Best: When She Encouraged Amy To Find True Love
Rachel’s middle sister, Amy, is very hard to love. She’s rude, annoying, materialistic, vain and extremely selfish. The second time she visits, she reveals she’s engaged to an old guy with a huge apartment. Rachel tells her she shouldn’t marry for money, and instead keep looking for the right one. “Amy, you deserve true love,” Rachel says, convincing Amy to end her engagement.
Rachel, ever the romantic, wants the best for her sister. Her advice, however, goes much further than this. Every single person is deserving of love, even if it’s sometimes hard to remember. Everyone is worthy and should get the love story they want, even someone like Amy.
NEXT: Friends: Phoebe’s 5 Best Pieces Of Advice (& Her 5 Worst)
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