5 Life Lessons From “13 Reasons Why”


We are so occupied with ourselves that we often behave in ways that affect others people’s lives in a negative way without even realising. In the television series ’13 Reasons Why’ Hannah Baker, the main character, records 13 tapes dedicated to different people telling them why they are part of the 13 reasons that led her to killing herself.

  1. Don’t be scared to go against your friends if they behave badly.

In ’13 Reasons Why’ we meet different characters that often behave in a certain way just to appear “cool” in front of their friends. One of them is Justin, a popular guy who took an intimate picture of Hannah Baker, and when his friends published it online, he just stood by and didn’t stop them. He didn’t say anything although he knew that this was going to hurt Hannah. Later on in the programme there is a similar situation with Marcus who insulted her publicly when she rejected him in front of his friends. Both knew that what they did or did not do was wrong but they were afraid to appear “uncool” in front of their friends and acted in a way that was very hurtful to Hannah.

Lesson: This is not just something that happens in the TV show, but in real life as well. We all want to be accepted by our group of friends, which can lead us to do things we know are wrong. Instead of doing what we know would be right, we stand by when others are being hurt, just so we don’t get hurt ourselves.

2. Don’t assume things, be sure about the facts before you take action

The second tape is about Jessica who was Hannah’s friend until her ex-boyfriend (Alex) rated Hannah as the “best ass“ and Jessica as the” worst ass”. Instead of being mad at Alex who created the list, Jessica focused her anger on Hannah and had a huge fight with her.

Lesson: In life it’s easier to assume things and believe in them rather than checking the facts and directly confronting people. We often make movies in our minds and believe them to be the truth instead of communicating and asking questions.

3. Accept yourself, don’t be scared of who you are

In the fifth tape, we meet the character of Courtney; she is gay but has not come out of the closet yet. When a photo of Hannah and Courtney kissing makes its way around the school, things get out of hand. Courtney spreads a rumour around the school that Hannah is gay and instigated the kiss just to hide her own secret.

Lesson: People will always judge you and you will never be accepted by everyone. So start by accepting yourself. If you don’t accept yourself how should anyone else. Being scared of other people’s opinions doesn’t bring us anything, we need to accept who we are, the happy and the sad.

4. What is good for you is not necessarily good for others

Hannah Baker’s old friend Jessica was raped, and her boyfriend Justin knew about it but in order not to hurt her he didn’t tell her. She had the right to know what happened to her and instead of hiding the reality, because he was afraid of her reaction, Justin should have told her and stood by her. In another episode Ryan (the editor of the school magazine) published a private poem written by Hannah. He thought that her poem was well written, and that in fact he was doing her a favour by publishing it.To Hannah however it was personal and intimate, and she felt ashamed and hurt to have her most private feelings and thoughts printed in a student paper, free for everyone to judge.

Lesson: We often think that we are protecting others by not telling them the truth, but this is not up to us to decide. We also think that if something is good for us it is also good for others. But this isn’t the case. People have different wants and needs, and we need to learn to respect that.

5. Accept your mistakes, apologise and move on

In the ninth tape, we meet the character of Sheri, a normally responsible girl who after a party crashed her car into a stop sign. Consequently, she got very scared of getting in trouble and drove away, leaving Hannah on the street. That night an accident happened at the same place where Sheri crushed into the sign and a school friend died. Sheri stopped talking to Hannah because she was ashamed and she never took responsibility for her mistake.

Lesson: Mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. We are human and we are not perfect. Just by acknowledging what we have done we make a big step forward. We need to own up to our wrong doings, no matter how big or small.

Through this tv series we get a deep insight into how humans behave subconsciously and underestimate the importance of communication, expressing their feelings, accepting things for how they are and making the best out of every situation.