The Thoughtful, Hilarious Lena Dunham Quotes That Make Her So Lovable
Girls writer and actress Lena Dunham may not be the voice of her generation, but she's certainly used hers to inspire fans (and crack them up) over the past few years. Along with all the wit and wisdom she brings to her hit TV show, Lena also shared her thoughts and musings in her buzzed-about book, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned," which touches on everything from sex to success. Lena turns 29 on Wednesday, so to celebrate her birthday, keep reading to see some of her best quotes, then check out her cutest moments with Jack Antonoff.
On What She's Learned
"Don't put yourself in situations you'd like to run away from. But when you run, run back to yourself."
— Lena wrote about running away, both physically and emotionally, in her book, Not That Kind of Girl.
On Her Grandmother's Influence
"It just made me feel like, 'No. Can't stop. Won't stop. I'll sleep when I'm dead.' . . . I guess it made me wish for a big, productive, preserved life."
— In February 2013, Lena told Rolling Stone how losing her grandmother affected her outlook on life.
On Dealing With Neuroses
"I have a lot of anxiety and I have a lot of neuroses, but I really try not to inflict it on the people around me. I really try to make it my own issue."
— Lena told Marc Maron in March 2014 that she tries to keep some issues to herself.
On the Ups and Downs of Success
"No matter what happens with your level of success, you still have to deal with all the baggage that is yourself."
— Lena told Vogue in February 2014 that success doesn't solve everything.
On Rules to Live By
"Limit your drug intake, be nice to the people around you, don't be self-destructive, follow your intuition, hold on to and be good to the people in your life who make you feel good."
— In March 2014, Lena told Marc Maron a few guiding principles she's learned from his WTF Podcast.
On the Value of Oversharing
"Too much information has always been my least favorite phrase because what exactly constitutes too much information? It seems like it has a lot to do with who is giving you the information, and I feel as though there's some sense that society trivializes female experiences. And so when you share them, they aren't considered as vital as their male counterparts' [experiences] and that's something that I've always roundly rejected."
— Lena told NPR in September 2014 that she doesn't believe in "TMI."
"We both followed our hearts and had no choice but to hurt each other deeply."
— Lena opened up about relationships in her book, Not That Kind of Girl.
On Friendship as True Love
"I think about my best friendship — which the Marnie-Hannah friendship in Girls is based on — as like a great romance of my young life."
— Lena told Interview magazine in April 2012 that friendship can look a lot like love.
On Spreading the Love
"I want everyone to know how much I love them."
— Lena told Interview magazine in February 2013 that she believes in saying "I love you."
"That lostness and that questioning — I wish I could say that it completely went away when you were getting to do the thing you wanted to do, but unfortunately, that's not the truth."
— In March 2012, Lena told New York Magazine that fame doesn't get rid of insecurities.
On Feeling Beautiful
"I feel prettier with a naked face and ChapStick. But a good haircut makes a huge difference."
— In April 2014, Lena told Glamour what makes her feel beautiful.
On Expressing All Kinds of Emotions
"I might be a lunatic. But I just want to see that lunacy expressed in a way that feels genuine and interesting."
— In February 2013, Lena told Rolling Stone that "crazy" can be good.
On the Grass Always Being Greener
"When I was in college, I spent all my time with people who made video art and/or were reading and writing poetry, and there was part of me that was secretly bored and felt like an impostor. And now when I'm talking to people whose entire reason for existing is comedy, you know, there's a part of me that feels all philosophical and morose."
— Lena admitted to Slate in June 2012 that she isn't ever completely satisfied.
On Being Young
"I'm always afraid that I'm being unprofessional, yet I continue to sign all my emails 'xoxo.'"
— In June 2012, Lena explained to the New York Times what it's like to run a show at 20-something.
On Living With Her Parents Early in Her Career
"I am a working woman out in the world, but I still live with my parents half the time. I've been taking this long, stuttering period of moving out. . . . I feel like I'm constantly asking them to please stay out of my work life, but also to please bring me soup. It's this weird moment where you just don't have a sense of what age-appropriate behavior is because there is no age-appropriate behavior."
— Lena spoke to NPR in 2012 about her relationship with her parents.
On Her Exes
"It's happened to me more than once, and my mom says it must be genetic because she has a couple of them in her past, too. Our hope is that what it means is that we are a comfortable resting place for a guy who is figuring things out. Our fear is that we turn men gay."
— Lena told NPR in May 2012 what it's like to find out your exes are now gay.
On Your 20s
"Positive, healthy, loving relationships in your 20s . . . I don't know if anyone would disagree with it: I think they're the exception, not the norm. People are either playing house really aggressively because they're scared of what an uncertain time it is, or they're avoiding commitment altogether."
— Lena told GQ in April 2012 that she thinks stable relationships don't often form when you're under 30.
On Pushing Boundaries
"I seriously consider television to be the people's medium. Like the idea of seeing your parents naked or having somebody go down on you and worrying about whether you smell, or worrying about whether your body is weird or what goes across the face of a person who's supposed to be experiencing pleasure but isn't — those are things I'd love to normalize on TV."
— In June 2012, Lena told the New York Times what drives some of her racier scenes.
On Female Friendship
"A lot of the female relationships I see on TV or in movies are in some way free of the kind of jealousy and anxiety and posturing that has been such a huge part of my female friendships, which I hope lessens a little bit with age."
— In 2012 Lena told Interview magazine how she felt about the complexities of friendships.
"In my own personal limited sexual experience, I've found that there are guys doing things where you go there's no way that that is your own personal instinct. You learned that from somewhere and it wasn't, you know, a birds and bees conversation with your mom, and it also wasn't taught to you by a high school girl you met in Michigan."
— Lean told NPR in May 2012 that she sometimes suspects guys are trying to re-create porn.
On Avoiding Jealousy
"All the time you spend being jealous of other people is time you're not spending focusing on your own vision for yourself and pushing forward. Make a fatty to-do list and just hit that sh*t hard."
— Lena talked about envy in her September 2014 advice series.