7 Absurdly Awesome Life Lessons From “Clueless”

I’m not sure where the time went, but somehow, this week marks the 18th anniversary of the release of “Clueless.” What a world! Things grow up so fast. “Clueless” is old enough to vote, to buy cigarettes and fireworks in some states — you know, the best things about adulthood! After re-watching the movie for the zillionth time, I realized that there are some nuggets of wisdom buried beneath all the makeover montages and knee socks. Here are seven pretty solid life lessons gleaned from “Clueless.”

1. Nothing in this world is more important than a ride or die BFF. The most wonderful thing about “Clueless” is that the female friendships are pretty much rock solid. Sure, Cher and Dionne have their differences, but the best thing about their friendship is that they don’t front — when Cher’s being a pill, Dionne isn’t afraid to call her out. The strength of their friendship is such that a knock-down, drag-out fight won’t be their undoing. Keep these friends close to your heart, because they are your secret-keepers, your confidants and your most trusted ally. Once you find one of these, hold tight.

2. It’s nice to have a signature look. I feel like it’s key to have a look that sets you apart from the rest, a sense of style that’s your go-to for when you’re feeling blah, or whatever. Maybe it’s that season-less black dress that you wear once a week, your nameplate necklace, or a pair of shoes that make you look and feel larger than life. Or, if you’re Cher Horowitz, you’ll grab a mini-kilt and thigh-highs, and make it look classy, not crass.

3. Sometimes what you’re looking for is right in front of your face. We often spend a lot of time searching for answers, not noticing that they’re hanging out in plain sight, right in front of our faces. This theory handily applies to car keys, that shirt you laid out yesterday and can’t find right now, or, in some special cases, the stepbrother you thought was always kinda gross but is actually a young, pre-bloated Paul Rudd. Here’s what I say: stop looking so hard! The thing that you want might have been there all along.

4. Being the new kid is always hard, but it gets better. Here’s the thing, at some point, everyone experiences what it’s like to be the new kid. Unless you spend your entire life in the town you grew up in and never leave the house, being new somewhere is inevitable, be it at a job, a school, or a city. I think Tai handled being the new kid better than most. Under Cher’s wing, she grew into the little butterfly she was always meant to be. I’m not saying that to shake the mantle of newness you need to submit to a complete makeover, but if there’s a nice person willing to show you the ropes, go for it! Being the new kid is tough, but it doesn’t have to be horrible.

5. Do not ever be afraid to negotiate! One thing I love about “Clueless” is Cher’s willingness to negotiate with pretty much anyone — her teachers for better grades, her driving instructor so she can get a license, her dad over her strict curfew, whatever. Instead of taking things at face value, she knows that there’s usually a little wiggle room. Learning to negotiate is crucial for what I consider to be a successful adulthood, and will carry you far.

6. A tiny bit of meddling never hurt. Normally, I think it’s wise to stay out of other people’s business. But I believe, as does Cher, that it’s okay to veer from these rules when it comes to matchmaking. I definitely don’t advocate it in all cases, but blind dates have a sense of terror and excitement that is hard to replicate anywhere else. A trusted friend who knows you really well can often suggest someone for you that you wouldn’t even think of for yourself. Case in point: Ms. Geist and Mr. Hall, nebbish teachers looking for love, found each other via Cher and Di’s machinations. Learn from them and be open to new experiences!

7. Dating the grubby pothead skater isn’t always the worst decision. Cher turned her pert little nose up at Travis because he was a perpetually late, often-stoned skater boy with a penchant for Marvin the Martian and Egg McMuffins. I ask you this — what’s wrong with Travis?! He’s nice, he’s cute, he’s kind, and lacks the judge-y ickiness that colored most of Cher’s pre-revelation attitude. The lesson learned: don’t be superficial! People are people are people, whether they’re wearing an Armani suit or a garbage bag. Look past appearances, and see what’s inside. You could be missing out on something great.