Friends: A definitive ranking of the six main characters based on likability
It's almost impossible to have grown up past the last couple of decades without coming across at least a few episodes of Friends. It's harder to find someone who hasn't seen all of it at least once than to find someone who has. Such is the legacy of the show.
The New York City-based sitcom focuses on the lives of six attractive friends in their mid-20s as they navigate through love, work, and life while laughing it all away. The stories of Chandler, Monica, Joey, Phoebe, Rachel, and Ross are so dearly loved that fan demands led to a Friends: Reunion special on HBO Max.
The love for the show bottles down to the relatability with the characters. And while each character's story has seen transformations from relatively muted to quite radical, not every character arc is on par with the rest.
A definitive ranking of the six main characters from Friends based on their likability
Well, the no. 1 character needs no introduction. He's hopeless. He's awkward. He's desperate for love. He's perfect. Yes! Chanandler Bing tops the list. Well, he could have settled for less, but fans couldn't.
The king of dry and dark one-liners, he's the most relatable character on Friends, and he is also basically everyone's spirit animal. His quick-witted, cheeky quips are probably responsible for forging an entire generation of sharp, sarcastic lads. There's something about this emotionally-stunted man-child that speaks to the repressed messy child in everyone.
His perfection doesn't make him a fan-favourite; all of his imperfections do. From having a third nipple, failing hard at romance to being stuck at a dead-end job, he's the one everyone roots for to turn it all around.
Since falling in love with Monica, he grew into a man with a job he loves, a father of two, a homeowner, and he even drove away Janice, starring as the centre of the most colorful storylines on the show. And the fans loved every second of it!
Could he BE any more awesome!
The sweetest, dumbest and the most charming out of all six friends, Joey might not be a part of the great romantic pairings on the show, but he sure was the heart of the show. TV's perfect womanizer, second only to the legendary Barney Stinson, Joey's pickup line still works.
Another one of his defining phrases was "Joey doesn't share food," clearly showing his infinite love for food, and the fans love him equally for all his quirks, stupidity, and #BFF goals with Chandler long before hashtags were even a thing.
Perhaps owing to Joey's easy-going nature, he was often relegated to secondary plots. And as bad as Joey was at acting, his real talent lies in being a caring, empathetic friend.
Whether it's helping some random woman with her delivery, helping Monica win over her kitchen staff, or rushing a pregnant Rachel to the ER, Joey won over everyone's hearts.
This might be an unpopular opinion grading Monica above Rachel and Phoebe. Still, in all fairness to the other two, she's the reliable, trustworthy motherly best friend everyone needs in their life.
Monica has never been a laugh-out-loud funny character. Although she's funny at times, mostly while ranting out at people but with a life based on strict rules and a possible OCD, fun doesn't sound like her thing.
Although her excessive competitiveness and cleanliness were at times amusing, she does not employ Rachel's bubbly personality, nor does she own Phoebe's estrange humour and random exible traits. But no matter what haters say, she's the glue holding this group together.
Ross's her brother, Rachel's her childhood friend, Chandler her best friend turned husband, Phoebe her old roommate, and Joey, well, Joey's like her baby son. She was the one who let Rachel into her apartment, and that's when their lives changed forever.
Everyone has a little bit of Monica in them: a drive of obsession, passion, and a will to outdo everyone else. From the story of Mondler and her romance with Richard to all those thanksgivings and flashbacks, she had been the writer's favorite, and it's hard to imagine Friends without Monica.
The opinion on Phoebe is quite divided: some fans hate her, but those who love her, love everything about her. Firmly set on her principles, she's a straight shooter, and rather than getting stuck in her own world, she takes a stand and is one of those rare TV characters who have all the colors of emotions.
Her other-worldly persona and musical talents deserve their own spin-off show. While everything Phoebe created was not pleasing to others, she liked it anyway, teaching fans to be an unapologetic version of themselves. And even though her childhood might not have been dreamy, she's everyone's dream girl.
The writers never really explored Phoebe as the main protagonist, letting her stories play second fiddle. But the show did explore her bitchy nature towards Ross and Chandler and a strong affliction towards Joey, downgrading her likability.
Fans can agree that she had her ups and downs, from the odd principles and spur of the moment persona to being mean and playing too dumb at times. But surely she'd be missed if she wasn't there.
From very early on, it was clear that Rachel was the show's main character, but that does not entail her being the fan-favourite character.
The writers did a fantastic job depicting her growth as a person over the ten years. Her character arc was one of the most organically developed as she grew from a spoilt princess to a career-oriented woman to a single mother. Still, her self-obsession, at times bitchiness and toxic romanticism, pushes her far down this list.
Rachel's on-again-off-again relationship with Ross has always been the primary pairing on Friends, and as much as fans think they are the end goal, all it takes is to grow up and realize that it was uncomfortable, toxic, and mostly cringy. Rachel even got romantically involved with Joey, hurting Ross deeply. And there's no point here comparing relationships, but look at Chandler and Monica's if searching for a real one.
Rachel wasn't even that funny when compared to others. Although her jokes matured as the seasons went on and the spoiled, snooty Rachel started to vanish, for someone whose growth as a character is the starting point - and endpoint - of the whole series, Rachel Karen Green isn't all that likable.
Someone has to come last, and Ross gets the vote for the worst Friend. He definitely had his moments, especially in the earlier phase of Friends' epic run.
There are YouTube videos dedicated to proving Ross as a psychopath, and all it takes is to remove the laughing track, and Rachel's better half turns into a serial killer. Although Ross was regularly funny, the funniest bits came during the earlier seasons, and the writers just made him crazier for the laughs during the show's second half.
Ross had a lot of good qualities too, but the bad ones just overpowered. And even though Schwimmer did a fabulous job by bringing it out in his own unique way, Ross was way too annoying to be enjoyed.
Being the other half of Friends' primary romantic pair (Ross of Ross and Rachel), he ends up playing the lead in more episodes than deserved. And as much as it hurts to say this, he is the worst character, primarily due to the lack of creativity from the writers. Had they stayed on track with the original version of Ross, the three boys would've been top 3 on this list.
NOTE: This article reflects the writer's personal views