11 Stranger Things Quotes to Turn Your Life Upside Down
Stranger Things is best known for its monsters, mysteries and memorable characters. But it also has its share of helpful quotes.
Stranger Things became a cultural phenomenon virtually from the moment the sci-fi horror series premiered on Netflix in 2016. Since then, its grip on audiences has only grown stronger, with each season introducing more lovable characters, spine-chilling monsters, and memorable Stranger Things quotes.
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Some, like “Friends don’t lie,” have become memes — even merchandise. But others go a little deeper, providing words to live by, beyond the city limits of Hawkins, Indiana. Here are 11 of the best.
Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.
Being the chief of police in a small town like fictional Hawkins, Indiana, was pretty uneventful, at least until everything there turned upside down. Before that, Jim Hopper had a relatively care-free job, which, unfortunately, allowed him to indulge his vices (and we don’t mean caffeine).
Hopper used the quote in the series premiere to keep his secretary, Flo, from bothering him when he arrived at work. Ulterior motives aside, however, there’s something to be said for this philosophy. It’s a reminder to take a breather — with or without coffee — to think about the workday ahead, or nothing at all. We all need that moment to collect our thoughts, unbothered by pressing matters.
You shouldn’t like things because people tell you you’re supposed to.
Steve Harrington may get the funny lines, but Jonathan Byers is Stranger Things‘ low-key keeper of wisdom. Smart, kind and protective of his younger brother Will, Jonathan provides some solid advice throughout the series, including this quote, from Season 1, Episode 2.
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In this instance, Jonathan talks about his brother’s futile attempts to connect with their father by pretending to enjoy baseball. However, the underlying, and more universal lesson is not change who you are simply to please someone else.
I don’t care if anyone believes me.
Played by Winona Ryder, Joyce Byers is a relative rarity in the sci-fi horror genre: an adult who is convinced things are not what they seem. (That’s typically the role of the kids.) When virtually everyone else believed her son, Will Byers, is dead in Stranger Things Season 1, Joyce remained steadfast. She insisted her son Will’s body wasn’t his (she was right), and even strung Christmas lights in her home to communicate with him.
This Stranger Things quote emphasizes that, sometimes, you have to stand firm in a heartfelt belief, even when everyone else thinks you’re wrong.
You just try things on. Until you find something that feels like you.
Maxine “Max” Mayfield arrived in Hawkins, Indiana, in Stranger Things Season 2 as the mysterious, and initially distrustful, “new girl.” However, she soon became a member of the Party, and a mentor to Eleven, at least on the subjects of boys and fashion.
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Eleven is overwhelmed by her first shopping trip to the Starcourt Mall, in Season 3, which leads Max to offer invaluable guidance that reaches beyond 1980s clothing. Finding something that “feels like you” can be applied to everything from music to a field of study to a career choice. Sometimes you have to try things on first.
People don’t spend their lives trying to look at what’s behind the curtain.
Full quote: “People don’t spend their lives trying to look at what’s behind the curtain. They like the curtain. It provides them stability, comfort and definition.” – Murray Bauman
It’s an understatement to describe Murray Bauman as “eccentric.” However, the investigative journalist turned conspiracy theorist is an important source of inspiration in seasons 2-4 of the Netflix series. And he’s no slouch when it comes to memorable Stranger Things quotes.
Look past the paranoia in Murray’s comment, and you’ll find a reminder that people tend to find contentment in the familiar. But little is accomplished when we remain in that safe place, unwilling to pull back that curtain.
Nothing is gonna go back to the way that it was. But it’ll get better.
Full quote: “Nothing is gonna go back to the way that it was. Not really. But it’ll get better. In time.” – Jim Hopper
Jim Hopper knows more about loss than perhaps anybody in Stranger Things. Years before the events of Season 1, he lost his daughter to cancer, which led him to return to Hawkins, Indiana, and retreat into the bottle.
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Therefore, there’s weight to the words he gave Joyce Byers in Season 2 as she attempted to grapple with the trauma experienced by her son, Will. Hopper didn’t sugarcoat what lay ahead for the Byers family, though. Instead, he painted a realistic portrait of living with grief.
Friends don’t lie.
One of the earliest lessons learned by Eleven in Season 1, “Friends don’t lie” became a refrain throughout Stranger Things. It even made an appearance in the Season 4 premiere, underscoring that Eleven (also known as Jane Ives and Jane Hopper) still lives by those three words.
It’s simplistic, sure. However, it was perfect for the socially deprived girl introduced as the series began. The Stranger Things quote also serves as a good touchstone for navigating relationships — even for those of us who weren’t raised in a laboratory.
This is not yours to fix alone. You’re not alone.
Full quote: “This is not yours to fix alone. You act like you’re all alone out there in the world, but you’re not. You’re not alone.” – Joyce Byers
When Joyce Byers discovers in Stranger Things Season 1 that Jonathan placed himself and Nancy Wheeler in danger while trying to save Will, she goes ballistic. But while yelling at her eldest son, she imparts wisdom that everyone should take to heart: No matter how bad, and hopeless, the situation may seem, we’re not in this alone.
I asked if you wanted to be my friend. It was the best thing I’ve ever done.
Full quote: “Do you remember the first day that we met? It was… it was the first day of kindergarten. I knew nobody. I had no friends… and I just felt so alone and so scared but I saw you on the swings and you were alone too. You were just swinging by yourself and I just walked up to you and I asked… I asked if you wanted to be my friend. And you said yes. You said yes. It was the best thing I’ve ever done.” – Mike Wheeler
The friendship between Mike Wheeler and Will Byers forms the foundation of Stranger Things, more so than any mystery or monster from the Upside Down. Even when their relationship becomes strained, because of Will’s trauma or Mike’s relationship with Eleven, the bond remains.
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That’s perhaps never more apparent than in Season 2, Episode 8, when Joyce, Jonathan and Mike try to free Will from the grip of the Mind Flayer, by recalling memories. Mike chooses the day they met. It’s an emotional moment that emphasizes not only the importance of friendship, but also of the seemingly random decisions we make.
Do you wanna be normal? Do you wanna be just like everyone else?
Full quote: “Do you wanna be normal? Do you wanna be just like everyone else? Being a freak is the best, all right? I’m a freak.” – Jonathan Byers
Jonathan Byers may not be the ideal older sibling, but he’s the kind many people wished they had. Fiercely protective of his younger brother, Jonathan extends that devotion to the role of sounding board. When Will bristled at how he was treated differently after his return from the Upside Down — “It just makes me feel like more of a freak.” — Jonathan insisted that he’s not a freak. When Will protested, Jonathan conceded that he is a freak. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
It’s reverse psychology, of course. But it’s also acknowledgement that it’s boring to be just like everyone else.
When life hurts you, because it will, remember the hurt.
Full quote: “Make mistakes, learn from them and when life hurts you, because it will, remember the hurt. The hurt is good. It means you’re out of that cave.” – Jim Hopper
Be suspicious of anyone who doesn’t get a little choked up over Chief Hopper’s letter to his adopted daughter, Eleven, in Stranger Things Season 3. Intended to be a heart-to-heart speech fueled by concerns about Eleven’s budding relationship with Mike Wheeler, it instead serves as a heartbreaking farewell following Hopper’s apparent death.
The letter addresses Hopper’s fears about the changing nature of his relationship with Eleven as she grows older. But then he pivots to acceptance, and offers this advice, which can be embraced by everyone, no matter their age (or psychokinetic ability).