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“Friends Don’t Let Friends” is a phrasal template often used to discourage unwanted or inappropriate behaviors which is inspired by the 1980s anti-drunk driving slogan “Friends don’t let friends drink and drive.”
In 1983, the public service announcement (PSA) organization Ad Council launched a “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” campaign, which featured various PSA videos encouraging people to stop others from driving while under the influence of alcohol (shown below). On February 23rd, 1992, The New York Times published an article titled “Friends Don’t Let Friends Write Bad Poetry,” encouraging poets to exchange drafts with friends for proofreading.
On February 2nd, 2000, Salon published an article titled “Friends don’t let friends use AOL,” which mocked those still using AOL Internet service. On October 27th, 2004, Straight Dope Forums member Shirley Ujest submitted a post titled “Friends don’t let friends wear ponchos,” criticizing poncho-style outer garments. On November 4th, 2009, Newgrounds Forums member Gorzagh submitted an image macro with the caption “Friends don’t let friends use Internet Explorer” (shown below).
On April 5th, 2010, a Facebook page titled “Friends don’t let friends vote for Tony Abbott” was launched, which features content critical of Australian prime minister Tony Abbott. In the first four years, the page gathered over 165,000 likes. On October 15th, 2011, the RocketJump YouTube channel uploaded a video directed by Freddie Wong and Bradon Laatsch, in which a player accidentally destroys a helicopter due to an inverted control system, ending with the slide “Friends don’t let friends play inverted” (shown below). In the following three years, the video garnered upwards of 4.95 million views and 15,400 comments.
On July 22nd, 2012, Body Building Forums member Based Princess submitted a photo of a man at the gym with the caption “Friends don’t let friends skip leg day” (shown below) in a post titled “The worst case of chicken legs I have ever seen." In the following two years, the thread garnered 300 replies.
On October 11th, 2013, YouTuber MattVisual uploaded a video titled “Friends Dont Let Friends PuG,” which featured a parody PSA urging multiplayer game players to avoid attempting difficult video game tasks in random groups.
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