10 Life Lessons Fans Learned From Stranger Things

With Stranger Things season 4 enticing fans to watch over 1 billion hours combined, it is clear that audiences have really connected with the show. Indeed, fans have thoroughly enjoyed watching their favorite characters grow up in Hawkins while battling Vecna’s forces of evil in the Upside Down.

However, fans’ connection with the show is more than just enjoying four seasons of action-packed adventure. Through the friendships, the adventure, the comedy, and the heartbreak that Stranger Things depicts, there are messages and lessons that fans can and have drawn on in their own lives.


Family Can Be Found In The Most Unlikely Of Places

Love, friendship and family are core themes in Stranger Things – characters can be seen consistently fighting for friends and family and strengthening their relationships with their loved ones. The whole show starts out with El being alone in the world, having nowhere to go and no one to help her.

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However, by the end of the most recent season, she has a father, a mother figure, two brothers, and a supportive group of friends. The show reiterates the importance of ride-or-die relationships, both in El but also in the wider circle.

Concentrate On The Good (It Can Provide Protection From The Bad)

At the beginning of season 4 of Stranger Things, Max is in a dark place. She is mourning Billy’s death and feels responsible and guilty for his passing. She has separated herself from her core friendship group and is overall having a really difficult time.

However, as the season goes on, she reunites with her friends and they bring her some joy, which has been so sorely missing from her life. When facing Vecna, remembering good things in her life stops her from being as vulnerable to Vecna’s influence and provides a kind of protection from his wrath.

Never Be Underestimated

The whole show sets up for characters to be underestimated: a group of children trying to save their town and its residents from evil supernatural forces. On the face of it, it seems that they stand no chance and yet they repeatedly prove everyone wrong.

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Erica is a fantastic example of a character who refuses to be underestimated. As the younger sister of one of the gang’s core members, she is constantly patronized. However, she repeatedly offers insights that no one else has thought of, using her high intelligence to help the shared cause.

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

So many characters in Stranger Things are not as they first appear. Steve isn’t the popular, arrogant bully that he first appears to be, El is the most powerful character in season 1 despite being one of the youngest and smallest, and Hopper’s first impression as a deadbeat cop isn’t accurate.

However, this is also true of characters who appear to be good. Vecna first appears to be an ally of El’s in Hawkins Lab but it transpires that he is actually the root of all evil in Hawkins.

Never Stop Fighting To Protect Loved Ones

Stranger Things characters are forever trying to protect the people they love and never give up on them. However, the character who lives by this philosophy above all others is Joyce.

When Will goes missing in season 1, Joyce refuses to give up on finding him, despite a (fake) body being pulled from the river. Everyone (wrongly) thinks she has lost her mind. Similarly, when Joyce receives a cryptic message inside a Russian doll, she immediately travels to Russia with Murray in search for Hopper, refusing to let a drugging, kidnapping, and plane crash deter her from finding him.

Value Authenticity

So many characters in Stranger Things consider themselves to be misfits, they feel like they don’t quite fit in or have really different experiences from their peers. However, Stranger Things demonstrates that these characters are better off being their authentic selves than trying to fit in with everyone else.

For example, Robin is accepted by her true friends as her odd and quirky self – she is truly authentic and that is what her friends love about her. Similarly, both Steve and Lucas try and fit in with the popular group at school at different points in the show, but realize they are valued by the people who really matter for being who they truly are.

People Are Capable Of Change

In season 1 of Stranger Things, Steve is obnoxious, vain, and, overall, a highly unlikeable character. He behaves atrociously to Nancy, gets in a fight with Jonathan, and shows very little humility; he is a bully.

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Very few shows depict such dramatic character development as Steve in Stranger Things. Following life and death experiences, he becomes introspective and commits to self-growth. He develops a formative friendship with Dustin and becomes kind, thoughtful, and grounded. He regularly and heroically puts himself in harm’s way in order to protect his loved ones, becoming an absolute fan favorite.

Heroes Come In All Shapes And Sizes

Stranger Things is certainly not short of heroic characters. All the main characters are heroic at times and put themselves in harm’s way to protect their loved ones. However, there is not one single type of hero in Stranger Things.

For example, heavy metal lover and D&D fanatic Eddie sacrifices himself to give his new friends the best possible chance of saving Hawkins and defeating Vecna, popular ‘bad boy’ Billy sacrifices himself trying to defeat the Mindflayer and ordinary Bob sacrifices himself to save Joyce and her children. While these characters are all very different from one another, they are all heroes.

Never Give Up

Themes of continuing to fight and refusing to give up can be found throughout the entirety of the show; the residents of Hawkins diligently and consistently fight, tirelessly striving for good. While it seems that whatever they do the evil in the Upside Down just returns with more force, they never give up.

More than any other character, Hopper refuses to admit defeat. In a high security Russian prison, Hopper continues to fight to get back to the ones he loves, even when faced with a demodog. This heart-warming sentiment of keeping going no matter what can certainly be applied outside of Stranger Things.

Friends Don’t Lie

The most well-known quote from the entire show is certainly the life lesson that fans are most likely to remember. When El first meets Lucas, Dustin and Mike in the woods and they take her back to Mike’s house, Mike explains to El that they are honest with their friends in a way that they cannot be with anyone else.

Of course, El internalizes this and reiterates this sentiment back to Lucas when she apologizes for being deceptive. This is one of the most memorable and heart-warming quotes and scenes in the entire show, and fans aren’t likely to forget this sentiment any time soon.

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