MONEY friends & money

3 Tools that Help You Nudge Friends to Pay You Back

restaurant bill with credit cards and cash
Dan Dalton—Getty Images

Fronted a pal for a meal, a vacation or rent? These will help you collect what you're owed, and keep your relationship in tact.

Raise your hand if you’ve fronted money to a friend or relative only to realize that your “loan” ended up being a “gift,” money you never saw again.

We’ve all been there—and probably will be again. A survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling found that 82% of adults would loan money to a family member in financial need. Another 66% would lend to a friend.

In a perfect world, borrowers would quickly pay back their IOUs. But the onus is often on lenders to bring up repayment. After all, as at least one study has found, borrowers sometimes just forget and may even incorrectly assume that they’ve paid up.

To keep the peace, we avoid collecting and regretfully file the experience under: “friends and money, lessons learned.”

But it doesn’t have to always end so poorly for lenders. These three online tools serve as financial liaisons to help coordinate and move along person-to-person payments—so that friends can stay friends.

Booked a group trip on your credit card? Use Splitzee

Let’s say you’ve finished booking a group vacation for you and three friends who’ve all agreed to pay you back.

The upside is that by securing all reservations on your credit card, you earn quadruple the points. The downside is that you could be waiting for a while for your friends to pay you back—and rack up interest charges in the meantime.

Head to Splitzee and create a vacation “pool” ahead of the trip, and invite all three friends to participate. They can pay you back via the site using either a credit or debit card. You can then cash out by either having the site send you a check (which takes up to three business days) or make a direct transfer to your bank account (usually three to five business days).

To get your pals to act sooner rather than later, you might want to add a note of explanation: “I know our trip seems so far away still, but I need to pay off my card’s balance by the end of the month to avoid interest. So if you can make a payment by the 20th, I’d really appreciate it.”

If you want, you can allow everyone in the group to see who’s paid up and who hasn’t, which provides some added pressure.

If the total amount of money collected per pool is under $200 there’s no fee. After that, the site collects 5%. So, for example, if you collect a total of $500, the Splitzee sends you $475.

(If you use the collected money to buy a select product directly from one of the site’s retail partners, no fees apply—but that won’t help with your unpaid credit card balance)

Paid for your roommate’s share of the rent, Cheetos and HBO last month? Use Splitwise

As the first of the month nears, that’s a perfect time to remind your roommate that his portion of the rent and living expenses is due plus the $542 you spotted him last month.

Don’t leave this reminder via a Post-It note on the fridge. Mention it in person and say, “Hey, you know, I’ve been thinking it would be helpful for the both of us to begin tracking all of our shared expenses in one place.”

Say you found this interesting free site called Splitwise. There you can create a dashboard listing your joint expenses and invite your roommate to see exactly what he owes (and what you owe).

Splitwise lets users settle up their debts by recording a cash payment, sending money via PayPal or using Venmo. It also sends monthly reminders and alerts so you don’t have to keep chasing down your roommate.

Covered your friend’s steak and martini dinner last week? Use Square Cash

The next time the two of you go out on the town again, and the bill arrives, remind your friend that, “I think you owe me, right?”

Assuming the dinner bill’s roughly the same as last time say, “Are you okay to pay this time?” In the same breath, add, “If not, no worries…You can just pay me back online. It’s really easy.”

If she goes for the latter, introduce Square Cash, a mobile app that lets users transfer money using an email address and their debit card for free to anyone within a matter of seconds.

Farnoosh Torabi is a contributing editor at MONEY and the author of the book When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women. More of her columns and videos for MONEY.com:

TIME shooting

Connected to Both Sides, Relatives in Washington Shooting Seek Answers

Students and community members attend a vigil at the Grove Church, after a school shooting that occurred at Marysville-Pilchuck High School earlier in the day in Marysville, Wash., on Oct. 24, 2014 Matt Mills McKnight—EPA

Compounding the tragedy of the Marysville high school shooting in Washington State on Friday is the fact that many people in the small community are connected to both the attacker and the victims.

And the young relatives of the boy who opened fire at a Washington high school on Friday — killing one student and seriously injuring four before fatally shooting himself — said they just can’t figure out why the shooter decided to do what he did.

“It’s just confusing, a lot of questions aren’t answered, I just don’t know why,” Austen James, who said he’s related to the shooter.

Read the rest of the story at NBC News

TIME Television

Friends Is Headed to Netflix

ANISTON SCHWIMMER
Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer appear in the baby birth episode of NBC's hit series "Friends," airing in a one-hour season finale on Thursday, May 16 at 8 p.m., EDT. The episode may well cement "Friends" status as the most popular show on television for the 2001-02 season. (AP Photo/NBC- Warner Bros. Television) Anonymous—ASSOCIATED PRESS

The iconic NBC comedy will be available for streaming on January 1

Continuing a seemingly ceaseless burst of Friends nostalgia that’s been going since the tenth anniversary of the sitcom’s finale, Netflix announced that the entire series’s run will be available for streaming beginning January 1, 2015.

It’s a major deal, given the popularity of the NBC sitcom to this day, not to mention the sheer volume of episodes involved. (Despite the fact that TBS always seems to be airing the same few episodes, there were 236 installments of the show.) Friends is widely available on syndicated television, but given the wide variations in tone season to season, the opportunity to choose whether to watch a low-drama episode where the gang hangs out or one from the height of the Rachel-Ross-Joey love triangle is a significant boon to Friends devotees.

Netflix’s original offerings have tended to prompt so-called binge viewing due to their sheer volume of incident. House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black both rely on cliff-hangers and twisty plots that compel viewers to watch the next episode. But given the excitement around Friends hitting the streaming service, it’s not hard to imagine the exact opposite sort of television being just as binge-able. Friends is at its best when little of consequence is happening, in the long stretches of episodes where they’re all bickering over apartments or cleaning philosophies. It’s extremely comfortable and comforting TV — the sort that will lend itself perfectly to hours of consecutive watching this winter.

Read next: The Best Halloween Movies Streaming Right Now

TIME psychology

The Single Most Important Thing to Do Today if You Want to Live a Long, Happy Life

Friends talking
Abel Mitja Varela—Getty Images

Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Might sound trite or corny, but go see a friend.

The research regarding what it takes to live a long life and what it takes to live a happy life overlap significantly. One of the things they share is spending time with friends.

Harvard happiness expert Dan Gilbert says that what brings us the most happiness is family and friends.

Having a better social life can be worth as much as an additional $131,232 a year in terms of life satisfaction.

By allowing unobserved individual fixed effects to be factored out from the life satisfaction equation, an increase in the level of social interaction with friends and relatives is estimated to be worth up to an extra £85,000 a year. In terms of statistical significance, this is strikingly large. The estimated figure is even larger than that of getting married (which is worth approximately £50,000). It can compensate for nearly two-third in the loss of the happiness from going through a separation (minus £139,000) or unemployment (minus £143,000). It is also roughly nine times larger than the average real household income per capita in the dataset, which is around £9,800 a year.

Most of what we do to relieve stress doesn’t actually work. Friends, however, do take the edge off.

Via The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It:

According to the American Psychological Association, the most effective stress-relief strategies are exercising or playing sports, praying or attending a religious service, reading, listening to music, spending time with friends or family, getting a massage, going outside for a walk, meditating or doing yoga, and spending time with a creative hobby. (The least effective strategies are gambling, shopping, smoking, drinking, eating, playing video games, surfing the Internet, and watching TV or movies for more than two hours.)

Can money buy happiness? Yes, but not how you might expect. Harvard’s Michael Norton explains that one of the most notable ways cash brings joy is by spending it on other people:

Connecting with and helping others is more important than obsessing over a rigorous exercise program.

What yes/no question can likely predict whether you will be alive and happy at age 80?

“Is there someone in your life whom you would feel comfortable phoning at four in the morning to tell your troubles to?”

Via Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being:

Is there someone in your life whom you would feel comfortable phoning at four in the morning to tell your troubles to? If your answer is yes, you will likely live longer than someone whose answer is no. For George Vaillant, the Harvard psychiatrist who discovered this fact, the master strength is the capacity to be loved. Conversely, as the social neuroscientist John Cacioppo has argued, loneliness is such a disabling condition that it compels the belief that the pursuit of relationships is a rock-bottom fundamental to human well-being.

The Longevity Project details a research project at Harvard that has followed 268 men for over 72 years, making it one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history.

What was the most important lesson the scientists learned?

…the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.

And, sorry: Facebook isn’t enough. John Cacioppo, author of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, explains that technology is best if you use it to arrange face-to-face contact:

In one experiment, Cacioppo looked for a connection between the loneliness of subjects and the relative frequency of their interactions via Facebook, chat rooms, online games, dating sites, and face-to-face contact. The results were unequivocal. “The greater the proportion of face-to-face interactions, the less lonely you are,” he says. “The greater the proportion of online interactions, the lonelier you are.” Surely, I suggest to Cacioppo, this means that Facebook and the like inevitably make people lonelier. He disagrees. Facebook is merely a tool, he says, and like any tool, its effectiveness will depend on its user. “If you use Facebook to increase face-to-face contact,” he says, “it increases social capital.” So if social media let you organize a game of football among your friends, that’s healthy. If you turn to social media instead of playing football, however, that’s unhealthy.

And choose wisely. Spending time with fake friends — or “frenemies” — is worse than spending time with real enemies:

“Friends that we feel ambivalently about raise our blood pressure more — cause more anxiety and stress — than people we actively dislike.

Want to strengthen your friendships? Go here.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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MONEY

Hey Millennials, Watch What You Say About that New Job, Promotion or Raise

Trophy shelf
DGP&C—Getty Images

Your friends may not be as happy for your good news as you'd think.

You earn a raise or a promotion, and the first person you want to share the good news with is your significant other or a close friend. It’s instinctive.

But these days, it’s best to proceed with caution—especially if you’re a Millennial. If your bestie isn’t doing so well at work, news of your big promotion or bonus could strain the relationship.

“Work trajectories are incredibly unpredictable for all generations working today, but particularly for Millennials in the early years of their careers,” says Lindsey Pollak, author of the new book Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders. “With young professionals leaving jobs more quickly and the barrier to entrepreneurship quite low thanks to the Internet, it is likely that Millennial friends or significant others will have widely disparate levels of career or financial success.”

Friendships can be tested when there are income differences at play. When one friend has a lot of money to spend on fancy dinners, shopping trips and lavish vacations while other friends are struggling to pay the rent, says Pollak, it can lead to disagreements over how to spend time together or, at the least, a bit of discomfort.

So how should you break the news of a promotion, salary increase, or job change to a close friend who’s struggling financially or career-wise?

First, take a moment to empathize, Pollak says: “Ask yourself what you would want your friend to say if the roles were reversed,” she says.

Then, try to give the news a more sensitive spin. Concentrate on sharing it in a humble way, says Pollak. And as a general rule, leave out specific numbers, like the size of your salary increase. In other words:

“I’m really excited—I just found out I got a promotion to the associate role I’ve been wanting!”

or

“It looks like I’ll be getting a nice bonus at the end of the year. Can I take you out for drinks to celebrate?”

rather than

“I am getting a huge raise—like $35,000 more than I make now! Can you believe it?!”

Depending on the friend and how close you are, you may decide that it’s best to stay mum. “It’s really a personal choice depending on your relationship and how public the news is,” says Pollak.

But keep in mind that not sharing can be just as hurtful, in some cases. “No friend wants to feel that you excluded him or her from your career news because he or she isn’t as successful,” says Pollak.

Finally, what if your significant other is the one who’s struggling?

“Characterize your success in terms of ‘we’ — especially if you are in a long-term committed relationship,” says Pollak. “And use your promotion as an opportunity to thank your partner for being supportive and helping to make your success possible.”

If that doesn’t do the trick, she says, “then you might want to look at bigger issues in your relationship.”

Farnoosh Torabi is a contributing editor at Money and author of When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women. She blogs at Farnoosh.TV.

TIME Television

The One With the Bad Review

The Cast Of Friends 1999 2000 Season From L R: David Schwimmer Jennifer Aniston Courteney Cox Ar
The Cast Of "Friends" from the 1999-2000 Season. From L-R: David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow And Matt Leblanc. Getty Images

TIME's critic gave 'Friends' a big thumbs down in its first season. Here's why he's standing by that review

“Life on Seinfeld may be laid back, but its characters always seem to have someplace to go. In Friends the crowd is always around to share their latest personal woes or offer a shoulder to cry on. But who would want advice from these dysfunctional morons, with their obsessive pop-culture references?” — Richard Zoglin’s review of the first season of Friends, which premiered 20 years ago on Sept. 22, 1994

Little did I know when I poked fun at Friends back in 1995 that I was dumping on what would become a TV classic.

But I was a dissenter then, and I’m still a dissenter. The show never rose above its artificial, formulaic roots — characters assembled straight from the sitcom-writer’s handbook, jokes delivered with mechanical predictability at the network-mandated rate of three per page. It became a little easier to watch over the years, thanks to sheer familiarity and as the actors and writers dove more deeply into the characters. And I admit the show looks better in retrospect: compared with The Big Bang Theory (or Two Broke Girls), Friends almost qualifies as cinema-verite.

Read that 1995 review, free of charge, here in TIME’s archives: Friends and Layabouts

TIME Television

20 Years Later: Which Friends Cast Members Came Out on Top?

See where the cast members ended up after 20 years

Monday marks the 20-year anniversary of Friends — and just as we judge our old friends on Facebook to see how they’ve fared, we’ve done the same for the show’s cast. Here how the cast members ranked after the show ended:

TIME Television

Central Perk From Friends Is Now a Real Place, and Gunther Is There

Erik Matey/Warner Bros Entertainment

For the 20th anniversary of Friends, the iconic coffee shop is launching as a pop-up in lower Manhattan

Starbucks. Blue Bottle. Dunkin Donuts. New York City is filled with places to get coffee. Yesterday, though, we went to Central Perk.

Yep — a pop-up shop immortalizing the dream of the ’90s has opened to mark the 20th anniversary of Friends. The once-fictional coffee shop that was the hangout of choice for the cast of Friends has become a reality — for a limited time, anyway. In a collaboration between Warner Bros and Eight O’Clock Coffee, Central Perk will open its doors to the public on Wednesday, September 17 and stay open until October 18, giving fans plenty of time to grow out their Rachels and find their most ’90s outfit.

Erik Matey/Warner Bros Entertainment

Fans may be able to find some inspiration at Central Perk itself thanks to the display of the show’s costumes in all their ’90s glory, including Monica’s (Courteney Cox) V-neck peasant shirt and calf-length skirt train wreck, Rachel’s (Jennifer Aniston) belted grey schoolgirl skirt and black boot ensemble and Joey Tribbiani’s (Matt LeBlanc) henley-flannel shirt combo. (A box of Smelly Cat cat litter is not a recommended accessory.)

Erik Matey/Warner Bros Entertainment

The pop-up shop is fittingly filled with Friends memorabilia, including signed scripts and cast photos capturing behind-the-scenes moments from the set and candid shots of Chandler, Joey, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe and Ross goofing off.

More exciting for the die-hard Friends fan is the display case filled with ephemera, like the VHS copy of Buffay the Vampire Layer.

Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Ross and Rachel were nowhere to be found, so we were able to snag the big orange couch — it was once Central Perk’s hottest real estate! — and talk to Gunther. While the surly waiter had no interest in taking our order (typical), actor James Michael Tyler — who played Gunther on the show — was happy to stretch out on the couch. “As a character, I was never able to sit on the couch,” he says. “Gunther only sat on it once!”

Erik Matey/Warner Bros Entertainment

“In real life, I’m not grumpy,” says Tyler. “But Gunther pretty much epitomized the early ’90s barista.” Can Tyler see Gunther working in a coffee shop now? “It would be interesting to see Gunther with a full beard and a fedora working at a coffee shop right now,” says Tyler. “But he either franchised Central Perk or went back to soap opera acting.”

Erik Matey/Warner Bros Entertainment

Tyler, who has moved on from acting to writing, says he was able to put Gunther to rest thanks to the show’s writers. “The final episode — where Gunther had closure and was able to tell Rachel that he was in love with her and had been for ten years — was great,” says Tyler. “No one ever picked up the clues that Gunther was obsessed with her! The writers had a lot of story lines to write in that last episode and to have the courtesy to include closure for Gunther instead of leaving him open-ended was great. 20 years later, if he was still obsessed with Rachel, that would be sad.”

To make your Gunther-Rachel fanfic come to life (and to get a cup of limited-edition Central Perk Roast), Central Perk at 199 Lafayette Street (at the corner of Broome Street) in New York City is open from Wednesday, September 18 through Saturday, October 18.

TIME relationships

Why It’s So Hard to Make New Friends

girl-sitting-alone-exlcuded
Getty Images

This article originally appeared on Refinery 29.

So, you’re an adult now (even if you don’t always feel like one). Maybe you eat popcorn and fro-yo for dinner on the regular, but you’ve also learned — we hope — how to keep both your plant and pet alive and kicking. If you’re lucky, you might have an actual love life, as well as a decent job, maybe even in a city you like.

But, despite all that good stuff, if you’re like lots of 20- and 30-somethings today, there might be one area of life that feels a bit lacking: your platonic friendships. At 37, I’ve noticed a trend: As more and more of my friends — both guys and girls — have gotten married and had kids, I, in turn, have started feeling more and more alone. I’ve often found myself wracking my brain to find people to hang out with on weekends. It’s been even tougher since I moved back to my hometown last winter, to be closer to my mom. I hadn’t lived here since I was 18, so it truly felt like starting from scratch.

Rachel, 36, a writer and also single, can commiserate. Naturally shy and still adjusting after a move of her own, Rachel doesn’t just have a hard time reaching out to form new friendships; she also feels “less likely to make an effort to connect with women who seem to be in different [life] places than me.” Understandably, she has started gravitating toward younger friends because she finds it somewhat difficult to relate to most locals (South Carolina folks) her age, who tend to be married with kids.As Rachel and I can both tell you, gone are the days when scoring a new BFF was as simple as walking up to that cool misfit in your math class and demanding to be his or her buddy. Oh, how times have changed. Until now, explains Andrea Bonior, PhD, author of The Friendship Fix, “we spent our lives being around people our age. In school [and] in college, [we had] natural proximity to an immense amount of people to choose to befriend.” As grown-ups, though, we’re so busy muddling through the daily grind of managing our lives — landing jobs, booking as many vacations as possible, navigating in and out of relationships, fitting in exercise, moving to new cities. It may feel easiest to keep in touch primarily through texting, Facebook, and Instagram instead of actually catching up face-to-face.

(MORE: How Not to Be a Toxic Friend)

See People in Person

But, if you’re mainly relying on virtual avenues to sustain your friendships, you could be doing yourself a disservice. “We may feel like we know a lot of people [online],” Dr. Bonior says. “[But,]… typing ‘LOL’ under someone’s Facebook status [is not] connection. You feel too busy to go out and see friends, but you have time to spend three hours a night looking at people’s Facebook vacation photos?”

No one’s suggesting you jump up and close shop on your social accounts right this second. But, if you’re feeling lonely in your real life, you might want to try using those avenues solely for what they are: networking hubs to help you keep track of old school rivals and camp friends. Random Facebook acquaintances won’t be there to hold your hand through a family meltdown or when you’re laid off from a job you love.

Skimping on in-person social time can also be detrimental to both your soul andyour body. Experts claim that up to one-fifth of Americans currently define themselves as “lonely” (and, according to AARP, that number rises to about 35% for people over age 45). Approximately 20% of adults lament having only one buddy to talk to, and depressingly, another 25% say they have no one at all.

That kind of isolation can cause lasting damage. Dr. Bonior notes that “having good, quality friendships improves your longevity [and] your mood, puts you less at risk for depression, helps you get over trauma, and helps your blood pressure.” The problem is that most of us don’t adequately prioritize our friendships; heading out to meet a pal at happy hour can start to feel more like a luxury than a necessity. Instead, Dr. Bonior urges that we treat our friendships as a healthy part of our routine, “like going to the gym.”

Using Tech as an Asset

But, what if you’re one of those people who honestly feel they have no one to hit happy hour with? We daresay it’s time to get out there and find yourself more friends. We know the idea might sound overwhelming (you couldn’t pay me to approach a stranger in Starbucks, whether male, female, or monkey), but isn’t your health enough of an incentive to nudge you beyond your comfort zone?

Janis Kupferer had to do just that after moving to Denver a few years back. While scoping out men on a dating site, she decided to check out some of her straight-female “competition.” Kupferer realized that some of the site’s female members seemed, well, cool — like the kind of people she’d want to be friends with. Inspired, Janis decided to launch a new social networking site, SocialJane, which is devoted to helping women meet like-minded buddies. The site looks like your average dating site, with boxes to add a profile headline, photos, your favorite activities, and more. “[It has] all the same features and benefits that [can make] looking for love online a success (ease, convenience, and community)…but for platonic friendships,” she explains.

So, does it work? I tested it for myself: I joined the site, created a profile, and messaged some women who seemed to share my interests. It’s been a few weeks and, as of now, none of the women have written back to me (sadface). I do realize that a lack of response is par for the course on dating sites, but I guess I was hoping for a change of pace in the friendship zone. Still, it’s a cool idea, and one of a handful of similar sites that are springing up, promising to help with the ever-difficult friend search.

(MORE: An Ode to the Best Kind of Friends)

Make an Effort to Engage

When it comes to real-life strategies for meeting people, though, Dr. Bonior says you needn’t look much farther than your corner cafe, record shop, yoga studio, or coworking space: “Frequenting the same places over time [is a good approach]… You’ll [eventually] feel like member of a community.”

You can also try volunteering, attending spiritual services (meditation clubs, support groups, or 12-Step groups work, too), joining clubs based on your interests (check out Meetup.com — there’s a meetup for EVERYTHING), taking classes, traveling alone, wine- and beer-tasting, joining adult athletic leagues (bocce! kickball! roller derby!), professional and special-interest conferences (gaming, writing, you get the picture), getting a new job…the list is long. Dr. Bonior also recommends joining “listservs for your apartment building, [commenting] on a blog you like…lots of people meet some of their best friends on the Internet” — provided you vow to take those budding buddies off your laptop and into the real world.

As for me, I’ve been in my new home base of DC for eight months and I’m still trying to pin down more solid friendships. I made one local writer-friend via Twitter, but the tactic that’s worked best for me has been asking friends in other cities if they happen to know any cool people in my re-adopted hometown — i.e., getting set up on blind, but pre-vetted, friend-dates.

The takeaway? Some folks are natural introverts who may be content hanging out alone, or with just one close friend or two. If that’s you, that’s great; you keep doing you. But, if you’re unhappy with your present social-support structure — as lots of people are — it’s up to you to push yourself to do things differently. As Dr. Kupferer notes, you’ve “got to stick your neck out.” Think of it as the first day of kindergarten all over again, and strike up a conversation with a stranger — over coffee, perhaps, instead of crayons.

(MORE: 6 Relationship Talks Made Less Awkward)

TIME Television

Friends Celebrates 20 Years With A Central Perk Pop Up Shop

Friends
Pictured: (l-r) Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller-Bing, David Schwimmer as Dr. Ross Geller in Friends. NBC/Getty Images

Even Gunther will be on hand for the event

No one told us life was going to be this way! One day you’re watching your new favorite TV show about a group of affable twentysomethings who live, love and host some memorable meals in some seriously valuable real estate in Manhattan, and the next thing you know, 20 years have passed.

Friends is about to celebrate the 20th anniversary of when Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler or Joey joined the primetime line-up — and to help mark the occasion, a replica of the friends’ favorite hangout, Central Perk, will pop up in Manhattan.

From September 17 to October 18, fans can pay homage to Friends while hanging around the Central Perk coffee bar (located at 199 Lafayette Street in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood), perhaps while sipping on a special Central Perk Roast from Eight O’Clock Coffee, who is sponsoring the shop in collaboration with Warner Bros.

To document fans’ trips down memory lane, Central Perk will be chock-full of selfie opportunities, including the actual orange couch from the show and the iconic Central Perk storefront. While there’s little chance that Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler or Joey will be hanging around (or working) at the shop, actor James Michael Taylor, who played grouchy waiter Gunther on the series will be on hand — not to serve, but to sip coffee alongside fans.

No trip to Central Perk would be complete without suffering through a set of Phoebe’s songs, so the shop will feature acts who are hopefully better than Phoebe, but will still sing at least one round of her sole hit, “Smelly Cat”:

This isn’t the first time there has been a Central Perk pop-up — back in 2009, there the coffee shop popped up in London to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Friends— but this is the only one in the States. So fans should either book a ticket to NYC now, or just drink coffee in the living room and watch Friends re-runs.

MORE: Zach Galifianakis to Star As a Clown in New FX Comedy Baskets

MORE: Netflix Comedy from Friends Creator to Star Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin

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