From Buffy The Vampire Slayer to Dawson's Creek: the best life advice from 90s TV shows

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Amy Lewis
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Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Saved By The Bell, Dawson's Creek, Sister Sister, My So-Called Life: TV in the 90s was packed with teens dishing out advice on everything from love and life to dealing with heartache.

They may have had questionable fashion sense, but they sure knew a thing or two when it came to the school of life. 

How to handle an embarrassing situation, for example (Joey Potter), self confidence (Will 'Fresh Prince' Smith)  and the importance of sharing a kind word with those close to you (Angela Chase).

But it wasn't just the teens who were wise to life.

Friends, Sex And The City and Will & Grace were all sitcoms littered with good advice. Like the importance of solid friendships (Carrie Bradshaw), how to live the single life (Samantha Jones)  and of course, the particulars of Lobster Love (Phoebe Buffay).

From Doogie Howser to Boy Meets World, come delve into the very best life advice from 90s TV...

  • On being single

    “Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.”

    - Sex And The City

  • On break-ups

    “Better to have been dumped by the best-looking girl than never to have been dumped at all”

    - Saved By The Bell

  • On being kind to yourself

    “Maybe it’s just about taking a deep breath and forgiving yourself for yesterday’s mistakes”

    - Dawson's Creek

  • On Lobster Love

    “It's a known fact that lobsters fall in love and mate for life. You know what, you can actually see old lobster couples walkin' around their tank, ya know, holding claws like...”

    - Friends

  • On business

    “If you learn that it was a mistake for a company to be cold, calculating, and cutthroat, if you learned that it's better to be happy, healthful, and humane, why, then you've learned the best business lesson of all! You all get an A!”

    - Saved By The Bell

  • On feeling inadequate

    "You know how sometimes the last sentence you said, like, echoes in your brain? And it just keeps sounding stupider? And you have to say something else just to make it stop?" 

    - My So-Called Life

  • On sensible spending

    “I've spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live? I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes!”

    - Sex And The City

  • On confidence-boosting mantras

    “Mirror mirror on the wall, I'm not too short I'm not too tall, but damn if I don't got it all” 

    - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

  • On dealing with disappointment

    “All I wanted to do was wallow, and then somebody reminded me that the world is full of possibilities”

    - Dawson's Creek

  • On the real world

    “Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You're gonna love it!”

     - Friends

  • Sex and the City

  • On what love really is

    “All I understood was that she was the girl I sat up every night thinking about, and when I'm with her I feel happy to be alive. Like I can do anything. Even talk to you like this. So that's, that's what I feel is love, Mom... When I'm better because she's here...”

    - Boy Meets World

  • On beauty

    “Girls, outer beauty is meaningless. It's inner beauty that counts. You show me someone obsessed with their looks, and I'll show you a deeply disturbed person.”

    - Sister, Sister

  • On the importance of friendship

    “They say nothing lasts forever; dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style”

    - Sex And The City

  • On seizing the day

    “Seize the moment, ‘cause tomorrow you might be dead”

    - Buffy The Vampire Slayer

  • On picking your battles

    “Never turn on your stylist, Joey, never!”

    - Dawson's Creek

  • On parent-child relations

    “Will, there's something you should know: Sometimes... parents just don't understand”

    - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

  • On kind words

    “Sometimes someone says something really small and it just fits into this empty place in your heart”

     - My So-Called Life

  • On passion

    “Passion is the source of our finest moments; the joy of love, the clarity of hatred, and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d truly know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow”

    - Buffy The Vampire Slayer

  • On fashion

    "Thirty-seven percent of all people are motivated by the drive to buy clothes (especially leggings)"

    - Clarissa Explains It All

  • On motherhood

    “I have two degrees, a genius I.Q. and six years of medical training. But today I was aced out by a colleague with better qualifications - seventeen years of being a mother”

    - Doogie Howser, M.D.

  • On progress

    “What's amazing is when you can feel your life going somewhere. Like, your life just figured out how to get good. Like, that second”

    - My So-Called Life

  • On bravery

    “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live”

    - Buffy The Vampire Slayer

  • On cheating the system

    "Why do we feel guilty when we get away with stuff? Why don't we feel like dancing?"

    - Clarissa Explains It All

  • On growing up

    “And when you're not a little boy anymore, when the world has taught you how to be a man... Then you'll still make mistakes. But your family, and all those good friends you've made along the way, will help you. And even though you'll think the world has gone out of it's way to teach you all the tough lessons, you'll realize that it's the same world that's given you your family and those friends, you you'll come to believe that no matter what happens, somehow the world will protect you, too”

    - Boy Meets World

  • On understanding women

    “You can't understand and respect women because you're not in touch with your feminine side”

    - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

  • On investing

    “I like my money where I can see it - hanging in my closet.”

    - Sex And The City 

  • On handling embarrassing situations

    “Social conventions dictate that when something embarrassing happens we all tacitly agree to never speak of them again. It’s what keeps us going as a society. That and alcohol”

    - Dawson's Creek

  • On love

    “Love is not just flowers and poems. It's compromise and forgiveness. You don't need to be a genius to know that love is impossible to understand”

    - Doogie Howser, M.D.

  • On meeting your icons

    “That's why I should never meet a legend. It's always disappointing, like the time I met Big Bird at the Ice Capades. Not so big.”

    - Will & Grace

  • On giving

    “Getting is good. Giving is better. Once you understand that, it's always Christmas”

    - Doogie Howser, M.D.

  • On showing affection

    “When you like someone proximity is a good thing, regardless of how they feel about you”

    - Dawson's Creek

  • On parents

    “When we're little we want to be just like them. When we're teenagers we want nothing to do with them. When we're adults we end up just like them”

    - Doogie Howser, M.D.

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Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis is a freelance writer and editor, a lover of strong tea, equally strong eyebrows, a collector of facial oils and a cat meme enthusiast. She covers everything from beauty and fashion to feminism and travel.