15 major 'Friends' couples, ranked from worst to best

15 major 'Friends' couples, ranked from worst to best
·16 min read
friends relationship ranking 2
Fans are divided on whether they shipped Ross and Rachel or Rachel and Joey. NBC

Elizabeth and Ross never should've dated in the first place.

ross and elizabeth on friends
Alexandra Holden and David Schwimmer on "Friends." NBC

While working as a professor, Ross dated one of his students, Elizabeth, for a short time.

Time of Split: "The One With the Proposal, Part 1"

Cause of Split: Ross broke up with Elizabeth because he was annoyed by her immaturity.

Compatibility Ranking: 0/10

Ross and Elizabeth were incompatible from the start and never should've gone out for as long as they did.

Student-teacher relationships weren't allowed at his school, and several faculty members reminded him about that to no avail. Even after Elizabeth's dad, Paul, got involved and threatened to tell the school, they continued to date in secret.

The number of fake breakups they used to hide their relationship made it even more frustrating, especially since they didn't really seem to have much in common in the first place.

Their real breakup was also disappointing because Ross ultimately didn't even recognize how inappropriate their relationship was.

Rachel and Tag were cute, but they were never built to last.

rachel and tag on friends
Jennifer Aniston and Eddie Cahill on "Friends." NBC

Despite warnings from her friends and her company's dating policy, Rachel dated her assistant, Tag, while the two were working at Ralph Lauren.

Time of Split: "The One Where They All Turn Thirty"

Cause of Split: Rachel dumped Tag on her 30th birthday because she thought he was too young for a serious relationship.

Compatibility Ranking: 1/10

Rachel and Tag weren't as terrible of a couple as Ross and Elizabeth, but they were still doomed from the start, and their relationship was problematic given their respective jobs.

The situation was worsened by the fact that Tag wasn't even qualified for the position in the first place. Rachel only hired him as her assistant because she found him attractive.

But somehow the Ralph Lauren rules against dating a superior weren't what led to their split. Like Ross and Elizabeth, Rachel and Tag's age gap tore them apart.

By the time Tag returned, hoping to win Rachel back, she was pregnant with Ross' child, so he quickly changed his mind.

They probably shouldn't have dated under their initial circumstances, and outside of attraction, they didn't have much in common.

Emily and Ross didn't get off to a great start - or end.

emily and ross friends
Helen Baxendale and David Schwimmer on "Friends." NBC

Rachel inadvertently set Ross and Emily up when her boss asked her to take his niece, Emily, out for the night while she was visiting from London.

Time of Split: "The One With the Yeti"

Cause of Split: After Ross said Rachel's name during their wedding, Emily ignored him for weeks before presenting him with an ultimatum: They'd stay married if Ross never saw Rachel again.

Ultimately, Ross chose his friends over Emily.

Compatibility Ranking: 1/10

It's never a great sign when a relationship begins with cheating and/or lies, and Ross and Emily kicked things off with both.

Emily was still dating a man in London when she started seeing Ross, which she kept from him until she was safely back across the pond.

Despite that, the two got engaged after six weeks because they were frustrated by their long-distance relationship. Without thinking about it much, Ross was ready to quit his job and move to a new country.

Even after their disastrous wedding, Ross was willing to give up his friendship with Rachel for Emily, but he eventually (thankfully) realized they were never really going to work.

The complete lack of trust and frequent manipulation made it clear that Ross and Emily weren't good for each other. But they were legally allowed to date, which puts them above the previous two couples.

Chandler and Kathy should've worked, but jealousy tore them apart.

chandler and kathy on friends
Matthew Perry and Paget Brewster on "Friends." NBC

Kathy was introduced as Joey's girlfriend, but then Chandler kissed her and they ended up dating instead.

Time of Split: "The One With Rachel's Crush"

Cause of Split: Chandler couldn't get over his jealousy of Kathy's costar, Nic, which led to a couple of big arguments. After their final blowup, Kathy ended up going and having sex with Nic, solidifying her breakup with Chandler.

Compatibility Ranking: 2/10

Chandler and Kathy got off to a rough start due to Kathy's history with Joey.

When they finally kissed after plenty of flirting, it caused a huge rift in Joey and Chandler's friendship — to the point where Joey almost moved out.

There aren't many relationships worth losing your best friend over, but Chandler and Kathy still tried to make things work.

They had initial chemistry and seemed like a good couple if you ignored the Joey situation. But their witty banter couldn't make up for the tension their relationship caused.

Ultimately, they weren't compatible enough for a serious relationship.

Ross and Rachel may be fan favorites, but they weren't actually that compatible.

ross and rachel on friends
David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston on "Friends." NBC

Ross and Rachel are considered the main couple as their will-they, won't-they relationship spanned across all 10 seasons.

Time of Splits: "The One With the List," "The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break," "The One With the Jellyfish," "The One With Joey's Porsche"

Cause of Splits: Rachel first broke up with Ross after one day because she found the pros and cons list he made when he was deciding whether to date her or Julie.

After they reconciled from that, Ross became insanely jealous of Rachel's coworker, so she suggested they take a break, which inspired Ross to sleep with another woman. His one-night stand led to their next breakup.

The next time they got back together, Rachel called it off after one day because they started arguing over whether Ross cheated on her during their "break."

Finally, after they accidentally, drunkenly got married in Vegas, Ross pushed for them to stay together simply because he didn't want a third divorce. But they ended up getting an annulment.

Compatibility Ranking: 2/10

Ross and Rachel's long history set up some sweet moments. But once they were together, their relationship was full of ugly arguments.

They were attracted to each other and even seemed to be in love at times, but they never learned how to trust each other or set proper boundaries.

Eventually, the same fight tore them apart multiple times because they (and fans of the show) couldn't agree on the rules of "a break."

Then during a "bonus night" together after their annulment, they conceived their daughter, Emma, which further complicated the boundaries of their relationship.

On the series finale, they only got back together once Ross realized how much he'd miss Rachel if she moved to Paris for her dream job, so he stopped her from following her dream.

After their second breakup, they should've recognized their romantic incompatibility instead of continuing to get back together without addressing the problems that tore them apart.

Gary and Phoebe moved too quickly for a relationship that was only based on attraction.

phoebe and gary on friends
Michael Rapaport and Lisa Kudrow on "Friends." NBC

Gary and Phoebe met after Phoebe found his police badge and tried to use it to get people to follow her own set of rules — including Gary, who she didn't realize was the actual cop.

Time of Split: "The One With the Ball"

Cause of Split: Phoebe called things off with Gary the day after they moved in together because he shot a bird with his gun.

Compatibility Ranking: 3/10

This relationship didn't get off to the most ethical start because Gary tracked Phoebe using his police databases.

The two were certainly attracted to each other, but it seemed odd that Phoebe would date a police officer after her negative experiences with law enforcement when she was living on the streets as a teen.

They also moved in together too quickly, which seemed like another out-of-character decision for Phoebe, who was initially against the idea.

These two weren't compatible beyond physical attraction and were never on the same page for social issues or major relationship steps. But at least they didn't cheat on each other or pointlessly try to get back together.

Richard and Monica had great chemistry but different goals.

monica and richard on friends
Tom Selleck and Courteney Cox on "Friends." NBC

Richard was a family friend of the Gellers before he hired Monica to cater a party, and subsequently kicked off a romantic relationship with her.

Time of Split: "The One With Barry and Mindy's Wedding"

Cause of Split: Monica tearfully broke up with Richard because she wanted kids, but he already had children and even grandchildren and wasn't interested in starting that step over.

Compatibility Ranking: 4/10

Monica and Richard had great chemistry, but their prior relationship as family friends and differing life goals kept them from working as a couple.

It's hard to overlook the fact that Richard spent literal decades knowing Monica as his friend's daughter before entering a romantic and sexual relationship with her.

But the biggest reason why they weren't more compatible is that they didn't want the same things in life.

No matter how much they loved each other, it wouldn't have been fair of either person to ask the other to completely give up their vision of the future, which they thankfully realized.

Chandler and Janice never simultaneously liked each other long enough to make things work.

chandler and janice on friends
Matthew Perry and Maggie Wheeler on "Friends." NBC

Janice and Chandler met and start dating before the start of the series.

Time of Splits: "The One With the East German Laundry Detergent," "The One With the Monkey," "The One With the Candy Hearts," "The One With the Giant Poking Device," "The One With All the Rugby"

Cause of Split: Chandler broke up with Janice a few times over the course of the series, usually because she irritated him. But one time it was because Janice got back together with her ex-husband.

Their final breakup came when Chandler pretended he was moving to Yemen and hopped on a plane to avoid her.

Compatibility Ranking: 4/10

From the moment she was introduced, it was clear that Janice and Chandler were never going to work long-term.

He found her annoying and avoided her constantly. It was really only on season three that he seemed to love and enjoy being around her.

When they were both interested in each other, this relationship actually worked pretty well. They had chemistry and seemed to want similar things.

But Janice and Chandler weren't simultaneously into each other long enough to be a stable couple.

Joey and Rachel could never really get out of the friend zone.

joey and rachel on friends
Matt LeBlanc and Jennifer Aniston on "Friends." NBC

After years of being close friends, Rachel moved in with Joey while she was pregnant with Ross' child, and they accidentally developed crushes on each other.

Time of Split: "The One With Ross' Tan"

Cause of Split: Rachel and Joey both came to the conclusion that they were better off as friends after they realized they couldn't be intimate with each other.

Compatibility Ranking: 5/10

Although some fans, and reportedly even the actors themselves, didn't like the pairing, I think Rachel and Joey were much more compatible and less frustrating to watch than Ross and Rachel.

They had similar senses of humor, respected each other's jobs and goals, lived together well, and clearly cared for each other.

They also didn't argue often, and when they did, they never went to the hurtful lengths that Rachel and Ross did.

But not being able to consummate their relationship was an understandable deal-breaker that made them realize they weren't romantically compatible.

David and Phoebe never got their timing right.

david and phoebe
Hank Azaria and Lisa Kudrow on "Friends." NBC

David and Phoebe first met when he interrupted her music set at Central Perk, but he saved it by saying he was only telling his friend how beautiful he thought she was.

Time of Split: "The One With the Monkey"

Cause of Split: After a wonderful first date, Phoebe convinced David to take his incredible research opportunity in Minsk instead of staying in New York to be with her.

Compatibility Ranking: 6/10

Phoebe and David were initially smitten with each other, and David even tried to turn down his dream job after their cute first date. But it wasn't meant to be.

After another quick one-day visit to New York, David didn't return again until he tried to interrupt Mike's proposal to Phoebe by issuing his own. But she picked Mike.

From their two cute dates, Phoebe and David seemed to have the potential to be a great, compatible couple, but their timing was never right to attempt a serious relationship.

Ross and Julie were a sweet couple, but they ended up merely being a Ross and Rachel placeholder.

ross and julie on friends
David Schwimmer and Lauren Tom on "Friends." NBC

Julie originally met Ross in graduate school, and they reconnected after working on the same archaeological dig.

Time of Split: "The One With the List"

Cause of Split: Ross dumped Julie when he found out he had a chance with Rachel.

Compatibility Ranking: 6/10

Ross and Julie had a sweet start and clearly shared similar interests. They also seemed to be on the same page about what they wanted out of a relationship.

They did move a bit quickly though, especially when they talked about getting a cat together soon after they started dating.

But the biggest factor that brought down their compatibility score is the fact that Ross was pretty instantly ready to break up with her for Rachel.

Jack and Judy Geller's relationship stood the test of time.

jack and judy geller on friends
Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles on "Friends." NBC

Monica and Ross' parents, Jack and Judy Geller, remained married throughout the series.

Time of Split: N/A

Cause of Split: N/A

Compatibility Ranking: 7/10

Jack and Judy appeared consistently throughout the series and were rarely shown without the other.

We don't know much about their relationship before the start of the show, but throughout the series, the couple genuinely cared about each other and their family.

Judy took Jack's bad jokes and occasional awkward comments in stride, and the two were still romantic with each other and sexually active — as their children unfortunately discovered.

Not enough is known about their relationship to give them a higher score, but what we did see of the Gellers showed a healthy and loving relationship spanning 30 years.

Mike and Phoebe were pretty much a perfect match.

mike phoebe friends
Paul Rudd and Lisa Kudrow on "Friends." NBC

When Joey forgot to set Phoebe up with a guy for the double date they planned, he found Mike at Central Perk and brought him.

Time of (Temporary) Split: "The One With the Boob Job"

Cause of (Temporary) Split: Phoebe briefly broke up with Mike when she found out he wasn't interested in getting married again after his previous divorce.

Compatibility Ranking: 8/10

Mike was a pretty perfect match for Phoebe.

They were both musicians who prioritized their passion and happiness over high-paying careers. Plus, they made each other laugh and were attracted to each other.

They ran into a bit of conflict when Phoebe met Mike's rich parents and discovered they didn't approve of her. But Mike assured her he didn't care about their opinion.

This situation was never fully resolved, which opened up the possibility of future problems.

But they were in it for the long haul after Mike flew to Barbados to propose to Phoebe

He seemed like a great partner for her, but failing to fully address past issues kept them from having a perfect compatibility rating.

Monica and Chandler were the surprise couple who ended up being pretty perfect for each other.

monica and chandler
Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry on "Friends." NBC

After years of being friends, Chandler and Monica started dating after sleeping together at Ross and Emily's wedding.

Time of Split: N/A

Cause of Split: N/A

Compatibility Ranking: 9/10

Before they dated, Monica and Chandler already had some cute moments that hinted at a future relationship, like when they decided to be each other's "backup plan" if they were both unmarried at 40.

Their attempt at a one-night stand at Ross' wedding turned into a lengthy fling and ultimately a serious, loving relationship.

It was paced well, and they only took big steps, like moving in together and getting engaged, after discussing them.

Miscommunication brought conflict when Monica thought Chandler would never want to marry her — which almost made Monica run back to Richard — but that was swiftly resolved and they had a successful marriage.

By the series finale, the two were still together, and they even adopted twins, fulfilling Monica's goal of having children.

Carol and Susan took any issue that arose in stride and were ultimately the most compatible couple.

carol and susan on friends
Jane Sibbett and Jessica Hecht on "Friends." NBC

Carol, Ross' first wife, left him for Susan after she came out as a lesbian.

Time of Split: N/A

Cause of Split: N/A

Compatibility Ranking: 10/10

Carol and Susan had one of the longest-lasting relationships on the series, even if they didn't appear on screen that often on the later seasons.

From the very start, they didn't let anyone get in the way of their relationship and were unabashedly in love.

They lived and co-raised Carol and Ross' son, Ben, without conflict and seemed to still be in their "honeymoon phase" every time they graced the screen.

The only on-screen tension between Carol and Susan was early in their relationship when Carol wanted Susan and Ross to get along better.

But Susan was eventually able to have a friendly relationship with Ross despite how rude he was to her when she and Carol first got together.

Given that the couple's issues were resolved maturely and their relationship lasted for the entire length of the show, Carol and Susan stand out as the most stable and compatible couple.

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