22 Everyday Phrases You Didn’t Know Were From ‘Friends’

Friends has brought us so much. Laughs, The Rachel, a love of a good coffee in a shop with a sofa … and heaps and heaps of phrases that we can use in our everyday lives.

When you can recite every episode of Friends off by heart, it’s obvious that you’re going to end up quoting it in your everyday life. And to be fair, the show was so well-observed that we’ve found ourselves in similar situations on plenty of occasions. (Except when Ross covers his legs in a lotion-talc paste in his leather-trouser panic. That’s not happened to us. Yet.) Without further ado, here are 22 Friends phrases that have become part of our vocabulary:

1. “We were on a break!”

How to use it now: Ross was in the wrong, whatever the technicalities of the situation. But he did provide us with a very useful phrase to get us out of trouble (as long as you remember to announce that you are, indeed, on a break). Don’t limit this to just romances, either — caught browsing Facebook during work? Claim you were on a break and any self-respecting Friends fan won’t be mad for long.

2. “My diamond shoes are too tight.”

Friends usage: Chandler being annoyed by Ross’s dilemma of being caught between two women (“Two women love me. They’re both gorgeous and sexy. My wallet’s too small for my fifties, and my diamond shoes are too tight.”)

How to use it now: Chandler might have been mocking Ross, but we’ve moved into an age of self-deprecation. Use “my diamond shoes are too tight” when you realize halfway through a moan that it’s not exactly something that’s going to get you a lot of sympathy.

3. “UNAGI”

Friends usage: Ross’s insistence that “unagi” is a state of utter awareness in karate (sorry, KA-rah-TAY).

How to use it now: Obviously, unagi is a type of sushi — we’ve lost count of the number of sushi menus we’ve taken pictures of, sniggering. So you could just use it to order food. But for God’s sake, make sure you do the little finger-to-your-head move whenever you say it.

4. “Could I be any more … “

Friends usage: Everything Chandler says, ever.

How to use it now: This is an easy one to slip into conversation, but be warned: you will end up getting hooked on it. After all, the best time this pops up in Friends is actually courtesy of Joey mocking Chandler (“Could I be wearing any more clothes?”). So use with caution.

5. “How you doin’?”

How to use it now: We can all agree that pickup lines are a bit passé and probably best avoided. That said, “How you doin'” is likely your best bet, especially if delivered with your tongue firmly in your cheek. After all, if they don’t get the Friends reference, you don’t want to be dating them anyway.

6. “He’s her lobster.”

How to use it now: We all have that couple in our friend group — the one that should really just be together but keep breaking up and making up and just can’t quite get it together. But don’t lose faith; take comfort from Phoebe’s revelation that lobsters mate for life. They’ll figure it out eventually.

7. “This is brand new information!”

Friends usage: Phoebe and Joey trying to pretend they don’t know that Rachel is pregnant when Ross tells them.

How to use it now: Any time you know something you shouldn’t. (Actually, any time you’re told something you didn’t know, too. It’s really fun to say.)


How to use it now: Any time anything shocking happens ever. Obviously it’s best to shout it when someone from your past shows up; try squealing it in the face of that guy you went on one date with when you bump into him at the bus stop. Maybe it will work out better than burying your head in a magazine and trying to look nonchalant?

9. “Oh, here come the meat sweats.”

Friends usage: Joey after eating an entire turkey at Thanksgiving.

How to use it now: After your Christmas dinner. Or your Easter dinner. Or your Sunday dinner. (Or any meal, even vegetarian ones.)

10. “It’s a moot point.”

How to use it now: Just instead of “moot point,” to be honest. It’s far funnier, and if people around you start to question it, that just shows you’re not hanging around with the right people.

11. “PIVOT!”

How to use it now: This is easily one of the most iconic—and quotable—moments. There’s a reason the blooper makes everyone giggle so much, after all: because shrieking “pivot” at the top of your voice is just plain stupid. And funny. Moving house is boring and stressful, but get everyone yelling “pivot” as they lug boxes about and they’ll be having a whale of a time before you know it.

12. “They don’t know we know they know we know.”

How to use it now: Every friendship group has its secrets. Alright, you might not get as deep as Rachel and Phoebe did, but there will 100% guaranteed be a time when you can utter the glorious words “they don’t know we know,” and it will add that extra sheen to the glimmer of scandal. If you ever do get to “they don’t know we know they know we know,” that is a life achievement unlocked.

13. “I wish I could, but I don’t want to.”

How to use it now: Any time you want to turn down someone not-so-gently. This one’s all in the tone, so try to look sunny and you might even get away with it. Your boss telling you to get a sales report in by the end of the day? “I wish I could, but I don’t want to.” Your mom asking you to tidy your room? “I wish I could, but I don’t want to.” “Will you marry me?” “I wish I could, but… ” Actually, no, you probably shouldn’t use it then.


How to use it now: We’ve all been in the situation where we have to pretend we’re cool about something we are really not cool about so a self-aware sigh that you’re fine might garner some serious sympathy. (Also worth using: a passive-aggressive “I’m making FAJITAS” every now and then, especially because then you also get to eat fajitas.)

15. “Sup with the wack Playstation Sup?”

How to use it now: As pure mockery, of course. If your friend has suddenly started desperately trying to be down with the kids — you know, watching YouTubers, riding a scooter — mutter a snarky “sup with the wack PlayStation sup” and they’ll soon realize how ridiculous they’re being.

16. “You can’t say that, you don’t know.”

How to use it now: Any time you think you’re being unjustly attacked. The impact of this phrase is all in the emphasis on “don’t know,” so nail that and you’ll soon turn those jeers and horrified looks into understanding and tolerance. Employ this wisely: it can really get you out of sticky situations (literally if you have, indeed, been peed on).

17. “The Friend Zone”

How to use it now: It’s hard to believe now, but Friends actually really did popularize the concept of the “friend zone” (when Joey pronounced Ross “mayor of the zone”). We all know how to use “friend zone” these days, but if you’re the unlucky soul who’s found yourself in the zone, take heart from the fact that Ross and Rachel do, actually, end up together, rendering the whole idea a nonsense.


How to use it now: The concept of being “whipped” has fallen out of favor somewhat — y’know, it’s kind of sexist and that — but sometimes you really do just get frustrated about your friends being held hostage by their significant others. Chandler’s lame “whoopah” is the perfect phrase for that situation, because it adds a level of silliness to the whole thing, and if you get questioned it’s easy to pretend you were joking.

19. “Big dull dud … “

How to use it now: It’s pretty self-explanatory, but “big dull dud” is just such a satisfying phrase to say (especially if you’ve just been forced to spend time with one). Chandler’s short-lived dalliances with Joanna are actually a goldmine of phrases, from his disgust at her “mascara goop” to Rachel negotiating with him when he’s half-dressed and handcuffed to Joanna’s filing cabinet (“I can be very generous…or very stingy”).

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