Out of the original cast of Grey’s Anatomy, it was Richard Webber who had already had a life’s worth of experiences among the cast. Being the chief of surgery had meant he had started out in a position of authority, and all the subsequent times he’s had since have led him to become one of the most mature characters on the show.
Due to this maturity, we’ve had a number of words of wisdom that Richard has laid out on the characters, and by extension the audience. Now that Grey’s Anatomy is in its sixteenth season, let’s celebrate the things Richard has taught us by checking out his best quotes.
10 "Can Anyone Name The Common Causes Of Post-Op Fever?
The delivery of this line is very underrated, so we’re going to be bringing it some much-needed attention. In this scene, we were shown all of Richard’s characterization when he was exasperated by Alex Karev’s laziness.
While one would’ve thought Richard to be a completely easy-going chief, it was here where it was made clear that he had no time to spare for slackers. Rather than just put Karev on the spot, Richard asked everyone around him the same question that only Meredith answered. This was enough to showcase how Richard could easily spot the most competent person in the room.
9 "I'm Not Retiring...I Need A Vacation From All Of You."
After a prolonged time where he was ill since his incident in the Season 9 finale, Richard was finally well enough to go home. It was in this moment we saw just how much everyone loved him as the whole staff of doctors came out to wish him well before he left.
Richard then had a well-meant quote to lessen the rather heartwarming mood by claiming it wasn’t such a big deal and that he was only leaving because he wanted to get away from everyone else. Basically, it was a total dad joke from the person considered as the patriarch of the hospital.
8 "Man to man, you're just going to have to deal with it. You don't want a piece of this. Not today."
Even though he stopped hurting the women in his life, there was always trepidation where Richard was concerned, with Jackson taking exception that Richard was now seeing the former’s mother.
His attempt to intimidate Richard didn’t work out as well as he thought, though, as it turned out the generally nice Richard had the capacity to play dirty when being talked down. This resulted in Jackson being intimidated instead, as Richard claimed there was nothing Jackson could do that could scare him off.
7 "It's good to be scared. It means you've got something to lose."
If you were a guy who’s had pretty much all the woman he’s loved walk out on him in various ways, then you’d have said something similar as Richard did here. While he’s been known to keep his cool even after losing patients, he’s always been shown as being especially careful in the matters of the heart.
The biggest lesson he’s learned after being involved with women like Ellis and Adele is that there’s always a cause for concern. As long as he still has that fear, it also means he hasn’t lost just yet.
6 "With a little coffee and a little sunlight, your troubles will get smaller and the world will keep standing."
With age comes experience, and the best advice anyone can give you is to separate yourself from the pressures of life even when you think it’s better to obsess over them. Richard, being the one with the most headaches compared to the rest of the characters, had had enough problems to know enough about avoiding them.
This is where this advice makes sense too, as you can picture Richard learning from his many mistakes that cooping himself in one place wasn’t helping the slightest, and that some space and sunlight could do wonders to gain perspective.
5 "This is your arena. How well you play, that's up to you."
Richard apparently delivered this line (as part of a much larger speech) to every intern that entered the hospital, to the point that former interns who had become seniors in the field had it memorized by heart.
We’ve seen how much struggle the doctors have had to stay in the game, with many leaving due to mounting pressure or just not being good enough. Also, considering that there are hardly a few characters left from the initial seasons, it means that Richard was right comparing being a surgeon to fighting in the arena.
4 "You know that love doesn't conquer all. It conquers some stuff, the other stuff kicks the living crap out of you."
If you’ve learned one thing from Grey’s Anatomy, it's that no kind of love lasts, not even that which one might consider as true love. No matter what, something bad is bound to happen, and this was evident when long-standing couples like Meredith and Derek also faced big problems.
Richard’s love life was more of a mess than most, and while on paper he and Adele were married for many years, they were plagued by problems, such as Richard being unfaithful and Adele’s Alzheimer’s tearing them apart. Once the initial happy times are done, the love part of a relationship doesn’t seem that strong at all.
3 "I Know I'm The Villain Of Your Story. But I'm Not A Bad Man."
Sure he was a jerk at one point, (but who isn't?) but all the bad decisions Richard made in his life came back to bite him when he was kicked out by his wife and was living in a trailer. By this point, he had resigned to thinking that he was beyond help and would always mess things up. However, some soul searching made him realize he had it in him to own up to his mistakes.
After getting Adele to take him back, Richard came across Meredith, who still harbored resentment toward him for causing her parents to break up. It was here Richard finally owned up. While he acknowledged he was the bad guy in Meredith’s life, it didn’t make him a bad guy in general. This was him speaking to his greatest regret with the intention to make things right.
2 "Screw The DNR!"
Being a professional and having personal attachment don’t go hand in hand, and it was proven when Richard went against protocol to save a dying Izzie. Although she had signed a form that demanded she not be resuscitated, Richard didn’t care for that when she wasn’t responsive.
Her life hinged on Richard acting upon Alex’s requests to save Izzie, and it was the best decision he ended up making as it resulted in Izzie being brought back. Plus, the powerful delivery of this line totally made it badass.
1 "If I Did My Job Well, It's Not Because People Listened To Me. It's Because They Believed In Me."
Rallying the troops is the only way a leader can win a battle, no matter how competent he may be. This was what Richard took away from his time as the chief, and he imparted this wisdom to Miranda Bailey when she was having doubts when it was her time.
While the quote itself is great, what made this scene so awesome was seeing Richard able to remove Miranda’s hesitation and insecurities by calmly easing her into the mindset of being the chief. Those who hadn’t appreciated how difficult Richard had had it back then definitely would’ve understood here how much the job had meant to him, and how much he wanted Miranda to succeed.