While featured many romantic relationships over its 10 seasons, some weren't very significant and thus never had a huge impact on the show and the characters. In some cases, the relationship may not have been the most serious or the best choice for the characters involved, but if it didn't negatively affect anyone else, it was better than others. Because of this, the couples that did ended up lower on this list for that very reason. Then there were the relationships that were promptly ignored once a guest star disappeared from the show and the characters' lives.
To this day, fans are more than happy to debate the better choice for Rachel — Ross or Joey — even though it was obvious that the series had picked its lane and wasn't going to deviate from it from the beginning. In one case, it was one simple phrase ("") that hung over the characters' heads like the Sword of Damocles for the rest of the series and affected a couple's rank.
However, even among all the will they/won't they and temporary love interests who were only added for drama, there were a few stable relationships that proved themselves to be better than what was clearly determined to be the show's main couple.
With that said, here is Every Major Couple Officially Ranked.
Rachel and Paolo were the worst couple on the show simply because they were barely a couple. First, he was just an obstacle for Ross before Ross could confess how he felt to Rachel. Then, Paolo showed that he wasn't a good guy by making a move on Phoebe while he was with Rachel. Fortunately, the women put the blame where it belonged: on him.
When Rachel went back to him, it was only because Ross was with Julie and she was jealous. No one liked Paolo because no one ever really got to know him, even before he showed his true colors with Phoebe.
On the one hand, if Rachel and Barry had never been together, she might not have ever become friends with Monica again. It was because she ran out on their wedding and needed a friend in the city who wasn't there that she came back into Monica's life.
However, also never showed anything that explained why the two of them were together, other than the fact that Rachel wanted that kind of life before she changed for the better. The Mindy part of it makes it even worse. Barry and Mindy were together when Barry and Rachel were engaged. Then, Rachel was with Barry again knowing that he was engaged to Mindy.
Though Ross and Carol's relationship showed some of the worst sides of Ross, their relationship led to Ben. It was also the reason why Carol was even on the show at all, and she and Susan were two of the best recurring characters. The way Ross acted about them, however, was not a highlight of the series.
Even if Carol hadn't realized she was a lesbian, these two would not have lasted. She, like most of the women in his life, seemed too good for Ross. What was really awful was the way Ross treated Carol after, especially since it looked like she took care of Ben full-time in the later seasons. Ross appeared to forget that his son even existed.
Janine might have come across as the kind of girl Joey liked -- after all, it wasn't surprising that he chose her to be his roommate based on her looks and wanted to date her -- but they were never going to last,
The problem was that she didn't get along with his friends. She didn't like Monica and Chandler, and not only did they know it, but she expected Joey to not spend time with them around her. Joey and Janine's relationship was perhaps the shallowest out of all of the ones that lasted more than one episode.
Bonnie seemed like a perfectly wonderful woman. She was adventurous, she was fun, and she was pretty much exactly what a temporary love interest without any drama should be.
However, Ross' relationship with her never stood a chance. Once Rachel decided that she wanted to get back together with Ross, neither of them remembered that Bonnie existed. In fact, Ross technically cheated on Bonnie since he and Rachel kissed while he was with the other woman. There was nothing really wrong with Ross and Bonnie's relationship -- fans didn't actually get to see their relationship. Instead, the storyline was all about how Rachel felt about it.
Joey and Kathy's relationship had a mark against it before fans even saw them together. Viewers first met Kathy when Chandler approached her at Central Perk. However, he soon finds out that she is seeing his roommate.
Unfortunately, Joey and Kathy's relationship will always be remembered as the catalyst for the brief rift in Joey and Chandler's friendship. never really cared about showing why Joey and Kathy were together other than that they were both attractive people. Even though Joey and Kathy were casual, they were still together (though there was never really a reason why) when she and Chandler kissed.
Janice was a significant person in Chandler's life in the early seasons. He even wanted her to choose him over her husband. However, the other friends thought she was annoying; Joey even ran off when he saw her once. While she seemed to fit in with the others when she and Chandler were together, she never would have long term.
Then, once Chandler and Monica got together, he acted like he couldn't even stand Janice. There was too much back-and-forth when it came to their relationship and too many inconsistencies about his feelings for her for this couple to be ranked any higher.
Remember when Bruce Willis guest starred as Ross' girlfriend's father and Rachel eventually began dating his character, Paul? This wasn't a bad relationship, really, but its purpose had nothing to do with Rachel and Paul themselves. It was clearly done because of Ross and Rachel's history and so that things could be even worse and more awkward for Ross.
Rachel and Paul's relationship did lead to a few laughs, though, mainly because of her exasperation over his overly sentimental reactions. It was fun and carefree because all of the drama came from Paul's feelings about Ross dating his daughter.
Phoebe and Gary's relationship felt rushed. They met when she found his police badge and then used it to her advantage. Soon after they started dating, he wanted them to move in together. Phoebe wasn't so sure... until he basically interrogated her.
Their relationship ended when Phoebe discovered that his response to chirping birds in the morning was to take out his police weapon and fire at them. That wasn't something they could get past, and really, no one wanted to see them together after that. Still, Gary was a fun character before that, and not just with Phoebe. His scenes with Ross, Joey, and Chandler during the ride-along were entertaining, too. That was enough to want him to stick around.
Rachel and Tag were never going to last, but thankfully, they didn't stir up any drama either. She never should have hired him for his looks, nor should she have dated him once he was her assistant. However, in the grand scheme of things, their relationship was nowhere near the worst on the series.
They ended things when it was clear that they wanted different things; she wanted kids, while he was too young for that. Sure, he wanted to reconcile, but all it took was him finding out she was pregnant to shut that down. There could have easily been some drama after that, but fortunately, didn't go down that road.
Elizabeth was Ross' student, which was already a mark against them before they even got together. It was never going to be a relationship that lasted, but at least there wasn't much drama surrounding it. Sure, her father threatened to report them, but that never happened. If it had, they would've been a worse couple because that would have been a storyline that needed a lot of time to address.
Ross and Elizabeth's relationship also didn't affect any other character. They were sort of in a bubble, other than the few times Elizabeth crossed paths with the others.
Ross and Mona could've been a decent couple, if not for the timing of their relationship. They were together when Rachel was pregnant, and Ross treated Mona horribly because of that. He completely forgot about Mona when Rachel called, and while that was understandable, it was stupid that they played it for laughs.
Then, Ross didn't even tell Mona about Rachel's pregnancy and she had to find out from Rachel's father. They started off great, meeting at Monica and Chandler's wedding, but unfortunately, it all just went downhill from there.
Timing was definitely a problem for Rachel and Joshua's relationship. Because Ross was with Emily at the same time, Rachel tried to rush their relationship through the early stages. Rather than just enjoying her time with Joshua, especially since his marriage had just ended, she wanted to match Ross' progress with Emily when the other couple got engaged.
Because of that, they went from casually dating — during which Rachel met Joshua's parents, again, because of bad timing — to Rachel deciding that they should take a big step. Maybe if Ross and Emily had taken their relationship at a normal speed -- or if Rachel had acted like a rational adult -- Rachel and Joshua's relationship could've fallen apart like a normal couple's.
Ross and Emily were a great couple... until they got married. Then, Ross said Rachel's name at their wedding and suddenly, for some reason, Emily became the bad guy with unreasonable demands. However, before that, they were good together and she was a decent character. Immediately after the wedding, she became someone who deserved someone a lot better than Ross.
However, after that, she became the villain, even though Ross was the one who messed things up. Emily's only flaw was that she wasn't Rachel. Then, once Ross said the wrong name, there needed to be a reason for fans to not like her instead of him.
The best part about Joey and Charlie's relationship was that it only lasted as long as it needed to. Though Charlie met everyone through Ross, it was her relationship with Joey that made her part of the group. The series needed something that kept Rachel and Joey apart at that point in time, and this relationship was it. (Keeping Charlie and Ross apart was just a bonus.)
Joey and Charlie were complete opposites, but they weren't together long enough for that to become annoying. Eventually, they wisely realized that they had nothing in common and ended their relationship without any fanfare or drama.
Monica and Pete's relationship was a strange one. First, she couldn't see him as anything but a friend. Then, she realized that she did have feelings for him, and they were saying "I love you" almost immediately. After they broke up, that was it and it was like Pete had never existed.
Their relationship didn't hurt anyone else and didn't even have much of an effect on the series as a whole. Monica was with him... and then she wasn't. The others enjoyed having him around, mainly to talk about his money. In short, Pete was good for Monica in between her relationships with Richard and Chandler.
Ross and Charlie seemed to be the perfect academic couple on . If you pretend Ross and Rachel weren't obviously the endgame, it wouldn't have been crazy to imagine the series keeping him with Charlie in the final season. The show didn't need to do much with them as a couple to make them work. They had similar interests and she was someone with whom he could talk to about things no one else cared about.
In a perfect world, maybe her ex wouldn't have had to come back so Ross could be single again. Sure, you could argue that they were too similar, but of all of Ross' love interests in the later seasons, Charlie was likely his best match.
There might have been several problems with Chandler and Kathy's relationship, all of which were related to being with someone else while in a relationship. First, they kissed when she was with Joey. Then, when they were together, he accused her of being with someone else and... then she was.
However, what made their relationship worth watching and no worse than those above it on this list is that fans saw them get to know each other. While she was with Joey, fans got to see her and Chandler shared scenes and bonded over common interests.
Ross and Julie reconnected while he was away on a dig at the same time that Rachel learned of Ross' feelings for her. Rachel went to meet him at the airport... only to see them together. At that point, Julie was simply a roadblock in Ross and Rachel getting together for the first time.
However, if you take Rachel out of the equation, Ross and Julie were a good couple. They shared similar interests, but they weren't too similar. Julie also got along well with the others, including Ross' sister. (However, Monica did feel like she had to lie to Rachel about their friendship.)
Sure, it was a bit weird that Richard was Monica's father's friend. However, the age difference wasn't as much of a problem as it was presented to be in the beginning. Richard was a good guy. He obviously cared about Monica -- enough that even after they'd broken up for good reasons, he offered to change what he wanted to be with her.
It was also the first time fans saw Monica in a relationship that could have lasted. However, the best part was that Richard didn't interfere with Monica and Chandler's relationship later on. While he put himself forward as an option for her, he stepped aside when he saw how serious Chandler was about Monica.
The potential in Rachel and Joey's relationship was so much greater than what actually transpired on-screen. Over the course of the show, Joey proved to be better for Rachel than Ross multiple times. Namely, he actually cared about her as a friend and treated her with respect.
had to go there with Rachel and Joey at some point after all of the build-up of the two of them having feelings for one another. While the relationship may not have been handled in the right way, it was obviously because the show had already decided that the series would end with Ross and Rachel.
Phoebe and David were good together. If she had never met Mike, it's possible that they could have been happy together. If Mike had never decided that he wanted her back, David would have been a really good choice for Phoebe's romantic endgame.
Every time David reappeared in Phoebe's life, she was drawn to him, even when she was with Mike. The series needed to give them the chance to get some closure, and they did, by briefly getting back together. He was a significant person in her life. Though he may not have been the most exciting guy, he was good to and for her.
Ross and Rachel may have had their (many, many) problems, but from the beginning, it was clear that they'd end up together. Though specific moments over the years soured their relationship, they still had a history. did a pretty good job of reminding the audience of their past and showing them become jealous of each other's romantic interests over the years.
They stayed in each other's lives and chose each other despite some hiccups in the road. Despite the issues inherent in Rachel choosing Ross over a really good job, everyone remembers the moment she got off the plane.
If Joey hadn't forgotten to find someone for his and Phoebe's double date, she and Mike might have never met. They were one of the most mature couples on the show. When they realized they wanted different things (marriage) and neither was willing to budge, they broke up. Though they came back together briefly, they knew they had to let the other go because their wants for the future hadn't changed.
Fortunately, they found their way back to each other and married in the final season. Mike fit in as seamlessly as an outsider could in the group of friends because he wasn't always there. However, when he was, it worked -- though perhaps not with Ross.
Monica and Chandler's relationship was easily the best part of . The series did a wonderful job of showing how much they both cared about each other, first as friends, and then as lovers.
It wasn't weird for them when they first kissed. Instead, it felt like the natural progression of their relationship. Even though they weren't intended to be a couple in the beginning, it was clear that they always got along and were supportive of one another. Then, once they were together, they were a stable, drama-free couple. They weren't perfect, and they had their disagreements, but what never changed was their love for each other.