It’s hard to believe that HBO’s “Girls” is about to close out its second-to-last season. In the four years since the show debuted, I’ve watched Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna explore different careers, loves, and friendship as they try to figure out their lives as twenty-somethings. I’ll be honest—I have a love-hate relationship with this damn show. Every character, especially Hannah, is self-absorbed and oblivious to the problems/concerns/interests around her—and yet, I continue to tune in every week to see what very millennial-specific existential crisis the girls will be dealing with this time.
Sometimes, I’m concerned that the reason why I won’t fully and whole-heartedly embrace the girls of “Girls” is because they’re an uncomfortable caricature of my own struggles as a twenty-something trying to figure out her life (this navel-gazing perspective probably confirms it), but that being said, there have been a lot of life truths that I’ve gleaned from the show, especially in its current Season 5. The girls are slightly older, definitely none the wiser and still trying to figure it out … but then again, aren’t we all?
Here, 10 life lessons to take away from the girls of “Girls” this season.
1. Everything can be going fabulously and you can still feel confused AF.
In Season 5, most of the girls are in mature, fulfilling places in their lives—but that doesn’t mean that they know what they want. Shosh, for example, is living in Tokyo, a city tailor-made for her quirky style and fast talking. But even though she has a new love interest and chooses to stay in Tokyo, where she’s probably the happiest she’s ever been, she can’t help but have a breakdown in a ramen shop. Why? Because she misses home and doesn’t actually know what she wants for herself. Been there—well, not in Tokyo.
2. Be open to seemingly impossible situations.
It might seem cliché, but Jessa and Adam’s storyline proves that being open to situations that you never thought would happen can actually be fortuitous. Although Jessa resists initially because #GirlCode, her blossoming relationship with Adam is probably the most stable thing we’ve seen Jessa invest in thoroughout the whole series.
3. “Everyone is an asshole when they’re 22-years-old.”
Marnie, as a sage 25-year-old, says this to Charlie when they meet again, nearly three years after their breakup. As naive as it may sound, it’s true: We’re not held to the mistakes we made when we were young, nor are we required to justify the changes that have made us the people we are now. Case in point? Charlie’s new tough-guy persona with a Brooklyn accent—he doesn’t give justification or reason to Marnie for the change and she’s nicer to him than she ever was when they were dating.
4. Be honest, even if it hurts.
Marnie knows that her marriage to Desi isn’t working and is straight-up about her desire for a divorce. This is probably the most mature thing that homegirl has ever done, and it signals some real steps towards adulthood. An example of where honesty could have definitely improved a situation (or, what not do as demonstrated by the girls of “Girls”)? When Jessa takes out her frustration from not sleeping with Adam by being passive-aggressively mean to Hannah at Rice to Riches—not a good look, and it only gets stickier when Hannah finds out on her own.
5. Clear your phone—always.
A pragmatic life lesson that we’ve learned courtesy of Fran: Always clear your phone of any materials related to exes and/or nudes. Trust us on this—it never ends well when a current significant other finds your ex-girlfriend’s nudes on your phone.
6. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone.
This one is for our girl Shosh. She moved to Japan, immersed herself completely in the culture and language, and fell so in love with her new home that she was willing to say goodbye to her life and her boyfriend in NYC.
7. Keep your personal and your professional lives separate.
As demonstrated by Hannah and Fran taking out their lovers’ spat on her student’s poetry assignment, things get messy when you bring your personal life into your work life. This is also demonstrated when Hannah is called into the principal’s office for talking about her relationship with Fran with her students. Keep it classy, and know where the boundaries are when it comes to work and personal life.
8. Know that “nice” is not enough.
Fran’s “nice guy” status is a recurring theme in season 5. Hannah’s friends and her parents consistently reinforce that Fran is “nice” and that Hannah is “lucky” to have him—but that doesn’t mean that he’s the one for Hannah. This is paralleled by Hannah’s parents’ relationship, as her mother debates leaving her father who recently came out as gay, but ultimately decides to stay with him because he’s “nice” and they care about each other. Hannah realizes that “nice” isn’t necessarily enough to fulfill her in a relationship.
9. Don’t be afraid to confront someone about your concerns.
Transparency is always a good idea: When Elijah discovers that Dill is seeing multiple other people while acting like they are in a serious relationship, he doesn’t hesitate to ask him about the liaisons and doesn’t back down when Dill is flippant about his concerns. Hot tip: If your boyfriend is cheeky about his infidelity, it is totally within your rights to steal all the Kiehl’s from his bathroom.
10. Know that your friends are always there for you, even if they are all “mean and poor.”
This season has shown a serious return to the devoted friendships we witnessed in the first season of “Girls.” Yes, the girls are still incredibly self-absorbed, but we’ve started to see reassuring new inklings of humanity and compassion for each other. From Marnie finding her old spot in Hannah’s bed after announcing her intention to divorce Desi to Shoshanna’s Skype consultations from Japan, the girls are realizing that they need each other now more than ever.