Friends is littered with relationships, some for a singular episode, and some that are on and off throughout. Here are the most major, ranked.
There was so much that went into Friends to help make it one of the most beloved, rewatched, and undeniably successful shows of all time, from the writing to the performances and characters to the slew of iconography. But one of the most crucial aspects of the show and its success is the portrayal of the navigation of the life of a twenty-something person surrounding everything from friendships to family lives to find a career calling to, of course, romance.
The series is littered with relationships, some for a singular episode, some that last for half the show, and some that are on and off throughout, all of which come with mixed results of success.
Joey/Chandler & Kathy
The Kathy saga led to what was undoubtedly the rockiest stretch of time between two of the main friends, except for Ross and Rachel, and at the end of the day, every fan can agree that Kathy is the worst.
She was one of the few girlfriends of Joey who lasted multiple episodes, but it also had perhaps the worst end when she kissed Chandler and became his girlfriend. Of course, the saga does not end with the two together, as Kathy ends up cheating on our beloved Chandler with another guy, one of her coworkers, Nick, with his rockhard abs.
Joey & Rachel
Sticking with Joey, one of the most controversial decisions ever made by the Friends crew was to pair together Rachel and Joey romantically, a duo whose friendship had been blossoming since Rachel’s move in with Joey.
It started with Joey liking Rachel and not having the feelings be mutual, then kind of vice versa, before they got together and ended after realizing their romantic compatibility was non-existent. In terms of a break-up, it was by far the most successful on this list, but as a romantic endeavor, it was one of the worst.
Chandler & Janice
Despite Ross and Rachel being the most iconic on-off relationship to come out of Friends, as well as the most longstanding, it was not the only one, with Janice and Chandler spending the early part of the show in and out of a romance with one another.
They were together a few times but never lasted that long. The most successful of their ventures came in season three, which ended with Janice cheating on Chandler and leaving him for her ex-husband. They got together once more after that, with Chandler pretending to move to Yemen just to get away from her. Chandler pretty much hated her, and overall none of their romantic time together was successful.
Ross & Emily
Ross has the highest number of serious relationships that do not work out in Friends, with three failed marriages, an on/off saga, and a few other girlfriends that lasted multiple episodes such as Mona and Charlie.
His short relationship turned even shorter marriage with Emily Waltham was one of the worst, starting with the two completely in love and deteriorating due to Ross’ relationship with Rachel. It ended on an extremely sour note, and almost cost Ross his friendship with Rachel, and while the pre-wedding stuff was successful, its ending was almost hard to watch.
Phoebe & David
For Phoebe, David, the scientist guy, was the one that got away, with the two falling head over heels with one another early and the show, and Phoebe even saying in later episodes that they would likely have stayed together.
However, they did not. David left for Minsk for work, and the two broke it off. The relationship was full of fun and love while it lasted, however, it did not last long and was made even worse by the fact David remained enamored by Phoebe, but Phoebe had eventually moved on.
Ross & Julie
Going back to Ross’ romantic life, Julie was the first serious relationship of his after the divorce with Carol (with that relationship and the Rachel/Barry couple not included as the romantic side of them majorly took place before the show) and proved to be one of his best girlfriends.
The two clicked with one another as Ross was getting over Rachel. Of course, Ross never let Rachel fully go, and left Julie for her. What made this more successful than other relationships, though, was the fact that their break-up was not too hard on either of them, and it led to Julie finding Russ.
Monica & Richard
Like David was for Phoebe, Richard was the one that got away for Monica, whose lack of success romantically is the butt of a slew of jokes from the gang throughout the show.
The two’s main relationship seen them both madly in love but hindered by their unfortunate age difference which left them wanting different things. It left them both heartbroken, but was also mutual, the right thing to do, with zero bad blood between them, just love.
Rachel & Ross
One of the most iconic relationships in pop culture history, Ross and Rachel are a long and, at times, very messed up saga. Had they not ended up together in the final episode, they may well have been bottom of this list.
The two had multiple almost moments where they nearly got together, multiple moments where they nearly got back together, and a long relationship that ended awfully with Ross cheating on Rachel. The “we were on a break” debate pretty much sums up how messed up these two were. But, with Emma and a declaration of this being it by Rachel, the two end the show together, despite all evidence pointing towards another eventual heartbreak. Alas, fans may never know.
Phoebe & Mike
Mike and Phoebe are the most underrated relationship of the show, having two stints together, and with the two ending up together, married, with kids likely to be on the way.
The first time out the two did not end too well with Mike revealing he never wanted to get married again. But, when he eventually got over that the two were together, and stayed together, getting married and never falling out of love with each other even when they were not together.
Monica & Chandler
Of course, as great as Mike and Phoebe were together, no couple in Friends lives up to Monica and Chandler. Even if they are more famous in the pop culture zeitgeist, Rachel and Ross do not hold a candle to these two.
The only time the two looked like they might breakup was a proposal plan gone wrong which ended with an engagement. The two were best friends turned friends with benefits turned power couple who were so obviously made for each other, getting married, having children, and getting their own house. It was a dream romance that people who want that type of love and relationship in life should aspire to be.