Monica Geller: 3w2 so/sx
Chandler: “You don’t have to be the best at everything!”
Monica: “Oh my God, you don’t know me at all!”
Monica is extremely competitive. She is driven to win, and loves competing against her friends in board games (The One with all the Poker, 1x18), foosball (The One with the Dozen Lasagnas, 1x12) and ping pong (The One in Barbados: Part 2, 9x24). She doesn’t see the point in playing a game unless there will be a winner and loser at the end – when Phoebe suggests playing ping pong without keeping score, Monica is confused, saying, “how do we know who wins?” (The One in Barbados: Part 2, 9x24). After being criticised by her parents for not being as good as Ross all through her childhood, Monica has a need to prove herself as not only competent, but exceptional. She measures her success obsessively through the series, using external means like the quality of her job or the state of her love life to check in on how she’s doing. When she feels insecure about her abilities, Monica’s first instinct is to prove her worth through comparisons with others, such as attending beginner’s cooking class to feel on top of her game after receiving a bad review for her restaurant (The One with the Cooking Class, 8x21). She aims to be “the best” in everything she does, and is defensive about her perceived failures, such as not being able to tell time until age thirteen (“it’s hard for some people!”) or forgetting the names of fourteen states in a game Chandler learnt at work (“it’s a stupid game and I wasn’t playing against other people, so technically I didn’t lose!”). Like many threes, Monica feels the need to be constantly productive, and feels edgy when she has nothing to do. She is inclined to create projects for herself to avoid idleness, such as making jam to distract herself from the pain of her breakup with Richard (The One with the Jam, 3x03), or helping Chandler to lose weight when she is unemployed and has nothing else to do (The One Where Ross Finds Out, 2x07). Monica is also fairly image conscious – when Phoebe turns up to play her guitar outside her uptown restaurant, she tries to dissuade Phoebe from playing, because she knows the music will make her restaurant look bad (The One with Rachel’s Dream, 9x09).
Monica’s drive for success is combined with a desire to serve others in her two wing. She is “always the hostess” (The One with Rachel’s Crush, 4x13), and puts tremendous effort into making people comfortable and happy, such as creating a guest room for Phoebe to stay in after there was a fire in her apartment (The One Where Ross Dates a Student, 6x18), or cooking separate Thanksgiving meals for her friends to ensure each could enjoy Thanksgiving as they wanted (The One with the Late Thanksgiving, 10x08). She wants to be recognised as exceptional through her hostess role, and is perturbed when her efforts are overshadowed, for instance when Phoebe’s cups are viewed more positively by guests than Monica’s finger food at a party they host for Rachel (The One Where Rachel Smokes, 5x18), or when the party in Joey and Chandler’s apartment is seen as more fun than Monica’s boggle tournament (The One with the Two Parties, 2x22). Monica frequently uses her hostess abilities (type two) as a measure for her own success (type three). For example, she competes against her efforts for a previous year’s Thanksgiving dinner as a way to gage how much she has improved as a chef (“I don’t get older, I just get better!”). Monica’s two wing gives her a strong desire for connection with others. She’s warm, friendly and approachable, and serves as the glue that holds her friendship group together. Like her hostess abilities, Monica invests deeply in her relationships with others and sees them as measures for her own success. She’s devastated when Phoebe moves out, believing this reflects badly on her ability to be a good roommate, and commonly laments about not having a boyfriend, worrying that her status as a single woman will make her undesirable. Monica desperately wants to be liked by others, and often disguises her need for positive regard under “selfless” acts of giving, such as making lollies for the apartment block (The One with all the Candy, 7x22). Like unhealthy twos, Monica can also be manipulative and controlling – she tricks Chandler into having sex with her after they have had a fight (The One with Rachel’s Sister, 6x13), and consciously limits the amount of input Phoebe has in planning Rachel’s birthday party so that she can meet her own standards for a successful event (The One Where Rachel Smokes, 5x18).
Monica’s social variant is most dominant. She is focused on attaining measures of success that are valued by the wider community, and likes to collect the tokens to prove it – she is closely attached to the Geller Cup, which signifies the winning of a football game in her family (The One with the Football, 3x09), and is excited about the possibility of getting an award for the “best bad massages” when Chandler insists that everyone would vote for her (The One with Joey’s Bag, 5x13). Monica is proud of her job at the up-market restaurant Javu, and is giddy with excitement when she buys a pair of designer boots that impress the sales assistant (The One with Monica’s Boots, 8x10). She frequently uses socially valued symbols to prove her own worth, such as using her engagement to Chandler as evidence of her romantic success, and her drastic weight loss as proof of her physical desirability. Monica’s dominant social variant is closely backed by a sexual one, which manifests in her focus on finding a husband and her desire to be wanted and valued. To a lesser extent, she also has a self-preservation variant, which is reflected in her ability to provide a steady income for herself through paid employment.
Note: I considered type one for Monica because of her bossiness and obsessive cleaning, but decided her will to succeed was stronger than her will to be right. Though Monica superficially displays many qualities that are associated with unhealthy ones, such as being highly strung and perfectionist, her perfectionism appears to be motivated by a fear of failure (type three) rather than a fear of being wrong (type one). She has lived in the shadow of Ross, her overachieving older brother, and Rachel, her attractive best friend, all her life, and aims to be exceptional in everything she does because she wants to get the recognition she feels she deserves. If Monica were a one, she would be less obsessed with the way she is regarded by other people and more focused on following her own principles.