13 Relationships We Loved (& Hated) On Friends

Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
It's been quite a while since Friends came to an end — 10 years, in fact. That doesn't make me feel old, but seeing reruns of the '90s sitcom on Nick at Nite certainly does. Since when were the antics of Joey and Chandler equivalent to that of Darrin and Samantha? I digress.
Friends had a huge impact on me. It's the series that made me want to move to New York. It's where I learned the value of comedic timing and subtle nuances of great humor. And, it showed me what to expect from the world of dating. (Spoiler alert: It kinda sucks.)
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Though I absorbed the ups and downs of all the Friends relationships, it was Rachel's life, in particular, from which I gleaned the most knowledge. This is probably because she was the most seemingly normal one of the group. In comedy, we'd call her the straight man, the one who's always calling out the ill logic of her fellow characters, reminding them that they're ridiculous, functioning as the occasional voice of the audience. That's not to say Rachel was perfect — girlfriend did some weird, questionable stuff. Still, it's safe to argue that she was the character every girl wanted to be. Sure, you catch glimmers of yourself in Phoebe and Monica, but really you wanted to be the Rachel — especially if you got that iconic haircut.
Rachel's love life served as a sort of barometer for me. Through her (mostly dysfunctional) partnerships, I learned a lot about what's important in a relationship (small gestures of love à la the tiny T-shirt) and what's not (tiffs from your high school years). Ahead, the definitive ranking of Rachel's love life. May it never (totally) resemble your own.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Though bro culture may feel like a newly installed fixture of the early 21st century, Josh is proof positive that men have been doing keg stands and high-fiving unnecessarily for years. Rachel dated him just to make Ross jealous, which explains his brief appearance in the show. In fact, she wouldn't even make out with him if Ross wasn't around to see it. But, Josh was stealing from Rachel — and that's, well, a literal crime.
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Rachel's high school love Chip is the guy we never really meet until he's a full-blown (and totally lackluster) adult. Still, we know he nearly ditched Rachel on prom night. While that moment did afford a critical opportunity in the Ross/Rachel saga, it was also not cool, man. Plus, his name is Chip, and I have trouble taking him seriously for that reason alone.
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Let's get one thing straight: Barry and Rachel should have never been together. When they were engaged, Rachel had not yet experienced her waitress-'til-ya-make-it independence and was still obsessing over the superficial. Yes, Barry ended up marrying Rachel's best friend Mindy. But, Rachel also left Barry at the altar — and that's arguably way worse. Plus, he's less sexy than a gravy boat.
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Danny is primarily known as the Yeti. That's because he looked, — you guessed it — like a yeti. When Rachel first met him, she described him as a "crazy-eyed, hairy beast man." But, then he got a haircut, and she forgot all about how she "fogged his yeti ass." Then, he was just Danny.

This is another relationship that never should have happened. Do we need to mention the fake gala she pretended to be attending in order to play hard to get? The truth is, Danny didn't need to be dating anyone. Taking a bath with your sister when you're three? Cute. Taking them together when you're 30? Gross.
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Freud would have had a field day with this one. It was apparent to everyone (except Ross and Rachel), that Russ was only in her life as a Ross-placement. I suppose there's nothing truly wrong with Russ, except that he's like a Canal Street knockoff of the real thing.
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If Tinder were around in 1994, Paolo would have been its primary user. He was Rachel's first boyfriend after she broke things off with Barry. What was great about Paolo is that, despite the language barrier, he and Rachel were really on the same page — and that page was sex. Things came to an abrupt end when the Italian hunk made a move on Phoebe. Maybe a sexually charged guy like Paolo is better off not trying to be monogamous.
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Please note: I'm not currently accepting criticism of Die Hard and its subsequent installments. In fact, if Rachel were to date John McClane, that probably would have been the end of her singlehood. But, instead she got Paul, who feels all of the feelings. Other than his cry-baby issues, he was actually a really sweet boyfriend. His other credentials include being a stand-up guy, a love machine, and — also — BRUCE FREAKIN' WILLIS.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
This. Poor. Guy. Joshua was a good egg. It was actually Rachel who scared him off, by doing scary things like proposing to him, and answering her door in a wedding dress. Even the most commitment-friendly of men would have called it quits. But, there's a part of me that thinks Joshua knew the Knicks tickets were an offer for a date, yet he decided to take his nephew anyway. And, if he genuinely didn't realize that Rachel was making a romantic overture, that makes him the most oblivious person of all time. Also, I hope you're all pronouncing his name JOSHWA.
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Lucky for Mark, Ross is an insanely jealous guy. All he really had to do was sit and wait for Ross to ruin everything. Then, he simply stepped in when Rachel ended things. Mark was a nice guy, and would have been a great boyfriend. But, Rachel still loved Ross, and there's just no helping that.
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Even if we don't like to admit it, humans love it when someone calls them out on their shit. And, in addition to his smoldering good looks, that was a big reason why Rachel was attracted to Gavin. His heart-on-his-sleeve approach to romance was exactly what Rachel needed — you know, after all the games she played with the likes of Danny and JOSHWA. But, he recognized that she still had things to sort out with Ross, and so he took a step back.
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Tag is probably the sweetest guy Rachel's ever dated. He was kind, caring, and just a few years too young. It was the five-year difference between them that caused Rachel to end their relationship on her 30th birthday. I can't say I totally disagree with Rachel's decision — maturity is a huge factor in any romance. But, Tag was a real catch. SUCH HAIR!
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Rachel ultimately ended up with Ross, and that's probably the way it should have been. But, he's never been the perfect partner. He could be jealous, selfish, and unreasonable. He lied about the fact that they were still Vegas-married. What particularly irks me about Ross, though, is that he so often wanted her to ditch her career plans for the sake of their relationship. Even in the end, she gave up a life in Paris to stay in NYC with him. I do think their love was the strongest, and they likely went on to live a happy, settled life. But, he's not the all-star boyfriend of her romantic career. He also uses an alarming amount of hair product, a deal breaker I've included in my curation of date-able men.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
I know, you're throwing vegetables at me right now. That's fine. I will take your hurlings and use them to make a delicious sandwich for Joey, because he is the best. He was always there for Rachel. Joey likes everyone to think he's a womanizer, but he's actually quite squishy on the inside. When Rachel was pregnant, he offered to marry her. And, if they hadn't been such good friends, I really think their relationship would have blossomed into something beautiful. It kills me that Joey ends up alone at the end of the show, because it is an absolute crime that a man like him was walking around that city unattached. I would have scooped up that out-of-work actor in a heartbeat.
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