It’s been 15 years since “Sex & The City” went off air and fans are still looking to the show for advice. For six seasons audiences watched writer and shoe enthusiast Carrie Bradshaw navigate dating, friendship, and adulting. Below are 20 lessons Carrie Bradshaw managed to teach viewers. They range from relationship to just plain life lessons. She definitely wasn’t perfect but that’s what made her so relatable.
1. Always Maintain Your Friendships
To say the friendships on “Sex & The City” were a focal point would be an understatement. Through all the bad dates and bad breakups Carrie Bradshaw always had her friends with her. As an adult it can be hard to maintain friendships, but they’re so important. For every low her friends rallied around her to lift her back up. In fact if it wasn’t for the strong bond she had with her friends Big never would have chased Carrie Bradshaw to Paris. While they did fight every now and then their friendships proved women aren’t catty and competing with each other. Rather female friendships can be beautiful and complex.
2. Listen To Your Friends
If you’re maintaining your friendships that means you’re going to want to listen to your friends. Sometimes your friends are the people who are capable of giving you the best advice. If you’re going through a bad relationship you’re not seeing all of the ways it’s bad for you. Odds are your friends can. Carrie Bradshaw had her fair share of bad relationships and it was her friends that were there to remind her she can do better or she just needs to let go.
3. Let Go Of The Past
Speaking of letting go Carrie Bradshaw definitely proved the importance of letting go of the past. As great as Aiden was she probably should have left that relationship in the past. It’s easy to go back to the familiar but when it’s all said and done relationships end for a reason. Usually that reason never goes away.
4. Be Proud Of Your Life Choices
The series premiered at the turn of the century when women really started abandoning the rigid rules of the 20th century. That being said Carrie Bradshaw faced being shamed for being single or other life choices time and time again. Despite what others said she never apologized for her life choices. She wore her head up high no matter what.
5. Let Nobody Make You Feel Small
There’s a popular episode where Carrie Bradshaw has a pair of Manolo Blahniks stolen after being forced to take them off at a baby shower. Later the host not only refuses to pay for the shoes she doesn’t really care, shaming Carrie Bradshaw for owning such expensive shoes. To the host Carrie’s life isn’t as meaningful or important as hers because she isn’t married with children. Carrie refuses to allow herself to be made to feel small, instead she comes to term with the fact that she’s happy with her life and that’s all that matters.
6. Stop Obsessing Over Imperfections
When dating it can be easy to obsess over their faults. Or to seek out imperfections. In an episode Carrie ruins a relationship because of the possibility of something wrong. Instead of waiting to get to know someone she jumps the gun, fearing the worst.
7. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
Carrie Bradshaw definitely had a great attitude towards comparing herself to others. While many women her age were running to the altar she enjoyed her life as a single woman. She also was unbothered at the fact that she didn’t have a typical 9-5 job and was content with being a freelance writer.
8. Treat Yourself
One of Carrie Bradshaw’s greatest lines is that she likes to see her money where she can see it, in her closet. While it’s not smart idea to spend rent money on a new dress there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself time to time. Everyone deserves a little something for all the hard work they’ve been doing.
9. Know When To Sacrifice
While the relationship with Aiden didn’t last he did teach Carrie Bradshaw a few good lessons that transferred to the audience. Aiden forced Carrie to realize she sometimes needed to make sacrifices. She gave up smoking for him, if for a brief time, and went out of her comfort zone by going out of the city with him. These aren’t major sacrifices but little actions make a big difference.
10. Know When To Not Give In
Although it’s important to also know when not to give in. Aiden wanted to get married and Carrie Bradshaw simply didn’t. It did take her a while to come to terms with that but eventually she did. The breakup left her heartbroken and defeated for a bit, but giving in and marrying him would have been disastrous. Often times people try changing their core being for someone which isn’t fair to you or them.
11. Pay Attention To Your Instincts
After Aiden she found herself with the less than appealing Jack Berger. A struggling writer he ends up resenting Carrie for her success and ultimately leaves her. Early into the relationship there are plenty of signs her instincts pick up on that tell her to run. If she had paid attention to the red flags she could’ve avoided a post-it breakup.
12. Be Honest
Carrie isn’t without her fair share of relationship mistakes. One of the major reasons her and Big breakup the first time around is because she isn’t honest with him. Carrie acts like she’s indifferent to the relationship when really she’s falling in love. In the end she blindsides him with an ultimatum he wasn’t prepared to make.
13. Take Fashion Risks
Besides relationships Carrie Bradshaw is known for her outfits. Not every outfit is a winner but she still manages to pull off most of them. Wearing something a bit daring can be scary but if you never try something new you’ll never know what works. If you take away one thing from the show it’s to not be afraid to take fashion risks.
14. Pay Attention To Your Finances
“Sex & The City” is unrealistic in many regards, the biggest being the finances of the characters. That being said the show even tries to acknowledge how bad Carrie is with her money. After breaking up with Aiden she’s left to buy her apartment or move out. Unable to purchase it or even get a loan Charlotte steps in and saves the day. Even though things work out in the end this episode is a cautionary tale of what could happen if you don’t pay attention to your finances.
15. Date Around
One thing Carrie Bradshaw proves is that dating around can be fun and is ultimately important. No matter how many bad dates or breakups she always manages to find someone else. This isn’t about constantly being involved or that you need someone to complete you. Dating around just simply means having options and knowing it’s okay to go on a variety of dates. That way you’ll know what you do and don’t want in a relationship.
16. You Can’t Make Someone Want You
Even though Carrie does end up with Big showrunner Darren Star has said on numerous occasions she shouldn’t have ended up with him. One of the main storylines is that despite how hard Carrie tries she just can’t make Big love her and that’s something that happens all too often. It hurts and does suck when someone doesn’t want to be with you but you can’t make someone love you. If you have to beg someone to pick you odds are they aren’t the person you’re meant to be with.
17. It’s Okay To Make Mistakes
Carrie Bradshaw makes her fair share of mistakes. Which is fine because that’s the entire point of growing up and learning. Even though when the show begins she’s in her 30’s it’s proof that life lessons really never end. By the end of the show she made mistakes and dated mistakes, but all of those choices made her stronger.
18. Some Mistakes You Can’t Take Back
That being said some mistakes are ones you can’t take back. When Carrie sleeps with Big while he’s still with Natasha she helped destroy a marriage. She also imploded her own relationship with Aiden that despite reconnecting he never really got over it. The life lesson here is making mistakes is okay but be aware some won’t go away and can destroy relationships forever.
19. Never Settle
At the end of the series Carrie Bradshaw realizes what she wants and goes after it. She could have stayed with Aleksandr in France and lived out a glamorous life but that wasn’t what she wanted. It’s important to always pay attention to what truly will make you happy instead of what you think is expected.
20. Love Yourself
Overall the message of this show is self love. Both Carrie Bradshaw and her friends come to realize the most important part of being happy is being happy with yourself. That doesn’t mean a gigantic ego or being satisfied to the point of no growth. What it means is loving who you are at your core and being happy with the person you are.