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Eleven and Max's blooming friendship in Stranger Things Season 3 (Image via Netflix)

3 best Stranger Things relationships (& 3 that were underwhelming)

It's Stranger Things week, and to celebrate the upcoming season, it's time to look at the best relationships that came out of the series, as well as the lousiest.

Set in the 1980s, the show revolves around a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one strange girl with superpowers. The series was created by the Duffer Brothers and has had three seasons since 2016.


Let's refresh some memories with some strange and not-so-strange relationships in Stranger Things.

Stranger Things relationships: Finest


The relationships in Stranger Things over three seasons and almost six years now feel like home. Be it the back and forth between Eleven and Hopper or the cute moments between Jonathan and Nancy, these relationships aren't always romantic but are undoubtedly full of love.


1) Eleven and Jim Hopper

The most beautiful relationship in the entire series has to be shared between Jim and Eleven. It was a slow burn connection that filled a huge gap in both lives, a daughter for Jim and a father figure for Eleven.


Fans of Stranger Things are aware of Jim's tragic backstory, having lost his young daughter to cancer and seeing his marriage fall apart as a result. He needed a happy ending, and he got one with Eleven.

In Season 2, Jim took Eleven in and kept her safe. Over time, the two grew close, and the former's protectiveness towards Eleven became even more evident.

Their surrogate father/daughter relationship was nothing but adorable, and justice was served when Jim officially adopted Eleven at the end of the season. As the new season dawns upon the world, viewers cannot wait to see more of Jim and Eleven as an official father-daughter duo.

2) Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper


One of the most intriguing and highly-anticipated relationships in Stranger Things, Joyce and Hopper's dynamic is loved worldwide. The two have known each other since high school, and their uncanny similarities make their relationship even more endearing.

In Season 1, Hopper played a significant role in saving Will from the Mind Flayer. The multiple rescue missions throughout the series have strengthened Hopper and Joyce's relationship, bringing them even closer as friends.

The entire fanbase will indeed be looking forward to seeing some sparks between the two in the upcoming season.

3) Nancy Wheeler and Jonathan Byers


Love at first sight is what happened when Stranger Things fans saw Jonathan and Nancy together for the first time. The two captured fans' hearts from their first awkward interactions, becoming one of the most iconic and adorable dynamics of the entire show.

Throughout the series, Jonathan and Nancy have bonded over their tumultuous adventures in the Upside Down. The chemistry, adorable awkwardness, and longing gazes shared between the two became a fan favorite, and their romance eventually blossomed in Season 2.

The cherry on top for this on-screen couple was that they established a romantic relationship off-screen, touching the hearts of viewers everywhere.

Stranger Things relationships: Most disappointing


While Stranger Things saw several beautiful relationships and friendships, it also gave viewers some unnecessary content. Some relationships felt forced, while others were awkward and toxic, something the series does not stand for.

1) Steve Harrington and Nancy Wheeler


It is well known that Steve Harrington wasn't always a fan-favorite babysitter loved by everyone. He was the high school jock everyone hated.

But that is what makes his evolution perfect and interesting. He went from being that stereotypical hot-headed jock at the beginning of Stranger Things to becoming a father figure to the kids, especially Dustin.

In Season 1, Steve barely had any screen time or much of an arc outside of his relationship with Nancy. Their dynamic was nothing but toxic, dysfunctional, and incompatible, which is why their romance ended early in Season 2.

But their breakup did play a big part in Steve's evolution, turning him into one of the most heroic characters on the show.

2) Eleven and Mike Wheeler


Mike and Eleven, the most important characters in Stranger Things, have shared a romantic relationship almost since the beginning of the show. Their relationship was an integral aspect of many storylines, but that did not mean it had to be romantic to be important.

The friendship between Eleven and Mike in Season 1 was endearing, but the show went beyond that and gave viewers a non-required romance between the two twelve-year-olds, sometimes with uncomfortable screen time.

This proves that not every relationship needs to have a romance to be significant, and sometimes friendships play the part.

3) Lucas Sinclair and Max Mayfield


Stranger Things is all about breaking stereotypes, original storylines, crazy plot twists, and exceeding the audience's expectations. That doesn't mean the person involved needs to share a romantic relationship with someone or the other from among the main characters.

Max Mayfield, a badass character for a kid, lost her entire originality after her introduction in Season 2 of with her collection of overused tropes that fell out of place. Max and Lucas' relationship was full of cliches, especially when it came down to creating a rift between Lucas and Dustin's friendship.

The drama felt unnecessary, just like the love triangle and the relationship itself.


Honorary mentions in the best category include Dustin and Steve's borderline father-son relationship that the internet will never get tired of. This also includes Eleven and Max's blossoming friendship because, at the end of the day, girls support girls.

Stream Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 on Netflix from May 27.


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Edited by
Ravi Iyer
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