The Ross And Rachel Complex: Why Not To Abandon Your Goals For Love

by Vincent Eenhuis

At this point in history, I think it's safe to assume everyone and their mothers — hell, I watched it with my mother — experienced the show, "Friends."

Looking back, it's easy to see our own lives in every episode.

Everyone knows a sarcastic Chandler, who knows he's about to take things just one joke too far — and then does it anyway.

Everyone knows an uptight Monica, who makes her bed every morning and goes out of her way to clean something whether she made the mess or not (which is amazing at parties, don't get me wrong).

What group doesn't have a Phoebe? The outgoing hipster friend who couldn't give fewer sh*ts as to what any judgmental eyes think.

And, everyone needs a Joey in their lives.

If you don't have a friend who's always willing to go out of his way to do what makes him happy, you should try to find yourself one.

And, then, there's the Ross and Rachel of the group. They're almost never fun to deal with, and they create unnecessary drama within the group.

The Ross is in love with the Rachel, and always goes out of his way to be nice and compliment her even if she clearly isn't having any of it.

That Ross you know kind of makes you sad, but upset at the same time.

It's heartbreaking and annoying to watch the hints that he needs to stop fly right over his head, time and time again, but you just can't set your heart aside and lay down the truth.

But, why does the Ross act this way? You'd think any person in his right mind would have put down the flowers a long time ago and moved on to someone else. And he does. There's always a Julie and there's always an Emily.

But, for some reason, to the Ross you know, there will never be another Rachel.

Don't get me wrong; this isn't to say I've never suffered at the hands of my own personal Rachel because believe me, I have.

It's just that today, I recognize you can't expect things to just work out in the favor of the love life you think will happen.

In the end, of course, Ross and Rachel do end up together. And, herein lies the fatally misleading flaw; here is where the mindset of a Ross is created.

The Ross you know believes that no matter what happens, at his series finale, he will have Rachel and that everything will work out schwimmingly. (Get it?)

I believe this creates a number of problems for people who buy into the idea of fated love like Ross and Rachel's.

Right here, though, I'll urge everyone reading this to realize you all have a little bit of Ross inside of you.

Most of us got our ideas about relationships from the shows we watched.

Sure, there are exceptions, but there's no way you ran to your parents every single time something in your personal life seemed to deviate from how you wanted things to go.

Whether you realized it or not, those six people, who complained about everything in their really bitchin' New York apartments, have had a pretty big impact on how we think relationships should go.

When you were young and someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what did you say?

Did you say you wanted to be an artist or a dancer? Did you say that you wanted to be a football player or an actor? Did any of you say you wanted to be married?

I mean, I know a few girls who have been dreaming up their weddings since they were old enough to understand the concept.

But, that number seems disproportionate to the number of people who ignore the things they say they want to achieve as soon as the opportunity for love comes knocking.

If you wanted to be a great tennis player more than anything in the world, why are you spending your free time trying to find a girlfriend instead of hitting the court?

It's because you know the court will always be there, but Rachel?

Rachel could be getting down with a Paolo, and there's nothing you can do about it if you aren't there for her every beck and call.

Ross and Rachel taught us that if you don't throw everything to the curb and chase the person down to the airport (or his or her wedding in London), you'll never have a shot at true love again, and that's some terribly misguided advice that happened to make for great television.

The tennis court might always be there, but every day that you skip practicing, the further away you are from achieving your goals.

And trust me — you can't get those days back. You can't pick the racket back up 20 years down the line and expect to throw down with people who have been playing since they were children.

On the other hand, I have seen people fall in love in their later years.

That's the beauty of falling in love, it can happen whenever, wherever and to whomever happens to be in the right place at the right time. But, you shouldn't worry about being that person.

You should be trying to live your life for yourself, and spend every day doing what makes you a happier, healthier and better person.

Try telling me the Ross you know — who's always chasing a relationship — is the happiest person in your group. There's no way he's even close to being happy.

We all know that Joey is the happiest person in the group. He chases his acting career like Ross chases his heart.

Ross ends up so torn up about his love life that he was put on sabbatical from work for his emotional outrages. Does that seem healthy? Does anyone actually want to be a Ross?

I'm sure that some of you know a guy or gal who seems to have everything together. He has the job that he wants, in the city he wants to live in and does what he wants on the weekends.

But, because he goes home to an empty bed at night, he feels like he's doing something wrong with his life.

He feels like the crucial piece that ties all of those amazing things together into perfection happens to be love, and I'm here to say that just isn't so.

Take all of that time and energy that you've spent on trying to get into a relationship, all the broken-heart anger and the oh-so-empty sadness inside of you.

Take everything you thought you needed to invest into seeking out and finding the one person you think will make you happy, and put all of it into doing the thing that actually makes you happy.

There's always time to bump into someone at a coffee shop and there's always time to have a great conversation at a party. But, there won't always be time to chase your dreams.

Don't put your goals on the back-burner to find love. Investing in others when you have nothing to give creates an emotional debt that you'll never have the currency to pay back.

But, investing in yourself means making a profit you can share with anyone and everyone in your life.

Don't end up hating yourself for being alone; love yourself for being great at something. Love yourself for trying.

If you can't love yourself, I promise no one else will ever have the patience to love you either.