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Did FRIENDS Phoebe Redefine What it Means to Settle?

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Most people have seen or at least heard of the show Friends. It was a 90s classic, and it's made a comeback, becoming one of the stable comedy shows that people love to watch. In the show, Phoebe is a character who's highly loved. She's nice, weird, and has a tragic past that just makes you want to give her a hug. Because she's so loved, some people were a little upset with her relationship choices near the end of the show. It's claimed that Phoebe decided to settle in the relationship that she ended up in, but is settling really a bad thing?

The reason people believe that Phoebe settled is because her love interest is rather… bland. Mike's character was pretty much just created to give Phoebe a decent love interest, and Paul Rudd himself (the one who plays Mike) said he felt like the character wasn't there to do much. Her love life throughout the whole show was back and forth between being bland and complicated, so Mike was thrown in to give her the same happy ending that all of her friends were getting.

Since he didn't have much established to make him a loved character, this is one of the reasons why people don't believe that he was necessarily "the one" for Phoebe. His personality didn't seem to match up with the fun, loving one that Phoebe had. He wasn't a terrible character by any means, but he just didn't feel like the perfect soulmate that Phoebe was supposed to have. Even if he wasn't Mr. Perfect, he was exactly what Phoebe needed in her life.

Phoebe had a fear of abandonment because of her past with her family. She was used to being left behind, and once she had a love who everyone thought she might end up with, he moved and ultimately left her behind too. Mike was the opposite of this. He was there for Phoebe, being a stable part of her life. This is just the thing that somebody with abandonment issues needs. They eventually broke up because Mike said that he wasn't thinking about marriage with her and she wanted marriage to be their option for the future. However, Mike came back later and proposed to Phoebe, changing his mind about the future.

Phoebe declined the actual proposal since she didn't really want to be married then- just wanted to know that it was an option- and the two got back together. The fact that he was the one who came back to Phoebe and ended up saying that he wanted the future she was envisioning shows how he was a good choice for her. Even if he wasn't necessarily the perfect boyfriend, he proved to be the stability that Phoebe needed in her life and for her future. If he can give her what she needs in her life, then what's the point of waiting around in case she might get a better option that isn't guaranteed?

Sometimes love isn't about who you want more, but about who can give you more. Phoebe was head over heels for her love interest David, but they broke up because he moved. When her and Mike are broken up after he said that he didn't want to get married in the future, David comes back, and Phoebe thinks that she might be able to be happy after all. However, despite loving David and having fun with him, she can't help but miss the idea of what she could've had with Mike.

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She ends up rejecting David, proving that the deepest reflection of your values may be different than what you originally thought. Even though she loved David and originally wanted to be with him, he couldn't give her the future that she wanted. This shows how just because you love someone and think that they're the perfect person for you doesn't mean that you should be with them.

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Why Does Settling Have to Be a Bad Thing?

We often think of settling as a negative thing because everything gives us the idea that our perfect person is always out there. We get told that if we just keep waiting, there will be this person who comes along to sweep us off our feet. You've heard the term "the grass is greener on the other side." For the majority of people, reality proves otherwise. Love doesn't have to be about finding your soulmate: love is a commitment to being with the same person through all of the hardships you go through.

If everyone follows this idea of waiting for this perfect person to come along, then most aren't going to end up with someone. Sometimes you have to settle for someone who can give you the future that you want, even if you don't believe that they're your soulmate. Settling isn't about accepting less, but about knowing when to cash in because your winnings are good. Phoebe helped redefine the negative definition of settling because although Mike may not have been her soulmate, he provided the stability and future that she needed in her life.

While Mike may not have been the quirky guy that everyone thought Phoebe should end up with, her settling for him gives her the future that she wants with someone who she loves. Since Phoebe grew up with a highly dysfunctional family, Mike can help provide her with the family that she always wanted instead of giving her the beautiful love story that everyone wanted her to have.

In our culture, we need to destroy the mindset that settling is a bad thing and instead look to relationships designed like Phoebe's. Waiting for your soulmate won't always lead you to a happy ending. Instead, sometimes you have to realize that what you have now can lead to the future that you've always wanted. Always gambling to win a bigger prize doesn't always get you that bigger prize- sometimes it makes you lose all of the money you had in the first place.

© 2022 Liz Fe

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