Friends: 5 Relationships Fans Were Behind (& 5 They Rejected)

Friends is a lot like real life, which is why so many fans love this popular 1990s sitcom. It’s ten years of offering guidance, solace and direction for adults of all ages looking for career changes, how to overcoming relationship woes and navigating life itself. That said, one of the biggest takeaways among fans was the relationships we watched the six friends have or otherwise pursue over the course of the series; some were fan favorites, some not so much. Here are five relationships fans were behind, and five that they rejected.


Paolo was honestly just a distraction for Rachel. It was never serious, so we never took it seriously. Plus, we were rooting for Ross to beat out Paolo for Rachel’s heart and affections. We so badly wanted them to be together that we were simply annoyed with Paolo’s presence and felt sorry for Ross who suffered because of it. This relationship never had a chance, and honestly, it’s one that’s best left forgotten.


It was adorable the way Pete actively pursued Monica as she worked in a diner where she was forced to don fake boobs and a wig. The millionaire took Monica to Italy for pizza on their first date. That’s quite a start to a relationship and hard to top, but Pete finally manages to grasp the elusive Monica’s attention, as she was previously avoiding him due to lack of attraction. They were happy together and it seemed like they had a promising…until Pete decided that he’s got to become the “Ultimate Fighting Champion.” Turns out, Pete’s ambitious nature is also a fault: he doesn’t know when to stop, and he tends to let his visions get in the way of his relationships, which ultimately tears him and Monica apart.


Let’s face it: this relationship seemed to be solely for comedic purposes. Though the two were going strong and seemed to be truly in love with one another, it never seemed like it was meant to become anything more than casual dating. The two could never stay together for long, and Chandler wrestled with his feelings for Janice on more than one occasion. Joey certainly couldn’t stand her from minute one (another comedic point), and to be honest, there were times when we couldn’t stand her, either.


Surprisingly, fans seemed to be onboard with this mature relationship. Probably because the actor who played Richard was Magnum, P.I. star Tom Selleck. In any case, their relationship, although they had a significant age difference, was successful, happy and healthy. They respected and listened to one another, had a good time together and a good friendship in addition to a genuine romance. Monica struggles immensely following their break-up, which we certainly understood given how serious their relationship was. Yet, if she hadn’t broken up with Richard, she never would’ve found her true love in Chandler.


It’s like Rachel was trying to reclaim a lost youth, having some kind of crisis when she decided to pursue Tag. Tag was several years her junior and even more unprofessionally, he was her assistant at Ralph Lauren. She hired him purely based on looks, not qualifications, which was a bad choice to begin with. Their age difference, alongside their personality clashes, clearly stated that they were never meant to be and would never last. No one was really supportive of this relationship, and no one was truly sorry to see Tag go.


Phoebe dated some strange guys. Guys with puppets, stalkers, and awkward scientists all showed up on her dating radar before she met Mike , who turned out to be the love of her life, despite the fact that Joey set her up with Mike by randomly shouting his name in Central Perk. Sometimes random works, and for someone as unique as Phoebe, it was a suiting way to find “the one.” The two had their struggles (they briefly broke up because Mike didn’t want to get married), but working through them was worth it and for us fans, we were only too happy to see Phoebe get her happy ending on a snowy street in a picturesque winter wedding.


Sure, Emily  seems okay at first. She might have made a rude first impression, showing up soaking wet from the rain and irritable because of an unfortunate incident at the airport. Hey, she was having a bad day, so we cut her some slack. As time went on, we could see how happy Ross was with her, but when they rushed into marriage, we could see doomsday coming (and we were right, considering Ross said the wrong name at the altar). Emily’s controlling and possessive nature stemming from that incident made us detest her (even if we could somewhat understand her insecurities), so we were glad when she and Ross broke things off for good.


Monica and Chandler were perfect for one another. Though it began as a surprise hook-up in London, it transpired into a much more promising relationship. The two balanced each other out, from Chandler’s efforts to relax Monica’s uptight nature to Monica’s endeavors to rid Chandler of his issues with commitment. They found a way to be together and work together, which gave them great happiness. The fact that they were friends first certainly helped their relationship along, and fans were only too happy to see them tie the knot and live out their happily ever after.


Fans vehemently rejected this relationship so passionately because they couldn’t visualize Rachel being with anyone other than Ross. She and Ross were the couple, and they were always destined to end up together despite their rocky past. Joey and Rachel’s relationship took far too long to even get off the ground, and when it did, it was just plain awkward. In one episode as the two attempt to get intimate, they keep making mistake after mistake (seriously, the one time Joey can’t magically take off a bra?) and prove to one another that their relationship just isn’t meant to be⁠—something the rest of us knew all along. While it had its sweet moments, the relationship was sadly never meant to end up any other way than sour.


It’s no secret they had what was probably the messiest relationship on the show. Their on-again, off-again nature didn’t help much. It took forever for the two to discover and admit their feelings for one another, but when they did, kissing in Central Perk, the wait was worth it. Ross and Rachel went from “We were on a break!” to an ill-timed and drunken Las Vegas marriage to parenting and finally, a couple once more by the series’ end. Yeah, it’s still a headache to analyze their relationship. Yet fans never shied away from supporting Ross and Rachel getting back together. They were rewarded in the end, but it truly shows the dedication of the Friends fan base to hold onto hope to see Ross and Rachel in love again.