In the theme song to Friends, the lyrics are:

So no one told you life was gonna be this way Your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's D.O.A

In this context what does D.O.A stand for?

For me anyways, I see two meanings:

Dead on Arrival: Which this link seems to agree with, but to me this suggests that you never had a relationship, your dating life was dead before it even started. I don't remember any Friend having a long period of time when they didn't date or gave up dating and declaring it dead.

Dead or Alive: I think this is more applicable, you have times where you're dating and times where you aren't. I think this sums up pretty much all of them. Ross and Rachael both stated that they haven't gone on dates in some time. Chandler offers to help Rachael in one episode and Ross mentioned once that he didn't have sex for a few months, Joey I think was always dating.

  • 8
    Overthinking it way too much there. – user25738 Dec 29 '17 at 16:07
  • Why was the question down voted twice? I didn't ask a question that was already answered, and I did my research, I just didn't like the answer that I found, so I asked for clarification. – user60500 Dec 29 '17 at 17:50
  • 2
    I didn't down vote it, but if I had my reason would be that the question just isn't very good. You're over analyzing a song lyric for a specific connection to the show. The general context of the lyric as it relates to the show, the relationship being dead on arrival, should be enough. – user25738 Dec 29 '17 at 19:16
  • 1
    I downvoted and voted to close as this has nothing to do with the TV series and therefore does not belong on this site – Tom Dec 29 '17 at 23:43
  • 1
    This is not a forum. I down voted because I thought this was a generally poor quality question. Your asking about context in a theme song, so your either way over thinking the context of the themesong in relation to the shows premise, or you should be posting on English learners SE, (if you, infact, do not know what DOA means) – Gnemlock Dec 30 '17 at 1:34

D.O.A. is a common abbreviation for Dead On Arrival. The lyrics were never meant to perfectly explain the premise of the show, they were meant to make the show relative to you (and by "relative to you" I meant something that the target audience could relate to). Don't forget, the theme song was written during the first season, and the entire premise of the show hadn't been hashed out yet.


It stands for Dead On Arrival, as you surmised.

The term could still be applied to the modern day dating scene, I think - the "relationship" doesn't really begin because they break up after one or two dates, hence the "journey" has begun, but died before it arrived (at a stable, long-term relationship.) There were many of those during the course of the show, but I also don't think the song lyrics necessarily need to be applied to the literal events within the show in order to be valid, either.

The song paints a picture of modern twenty-something life - having little money, living day-to-day, dating lots of people but not really settling down, and of course, cherishing the few people who are always there for you, though perhaps not in a romantic sense - your friends. That's what the show is about, even if you can't match up the words 1:1 with things that happened in the show.


The term "DOA" derives from the phrase "dead on arrival", which originated in the medical field to refer to someone who was already dead by the time they got to the hospital. This then expressed a sense of futility; if the patient is already dead before they get to you, then it doesn't how good of a doctor you are, you aren't going to save them. The term "DOA" has evolved into a term in its own right, and at this point it seems to be used separately from the original meaning of "dead on arrival", and just generally expresses a hopeless case. If your love life is "DOA", that means that it has passed the point where anything you can do can save it.