Buffy the Vampire Slayer broke the mold. Not just in terms of cult TV status, but in terms of the titular character herself. Buffy comes from a long line of Slayers. She is the Chosen One, meaning she and she alone is meant to protect the world against vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness. Well, Buffy Summers gives a big fat middle finger to tradition and ritual by involving her friends, the Scoobie Gang, in her never-ending fight against evil.
Buffy's rebellious approach to her calling paid off. She has lived longer than most Slayers, her two deaths notwithstanding, because she has aligned herself with invaluable comrades who have her back no matter what. Buffy loves her pals and over the course of seven seasons, has proven she'll do anything for them.
That being said, Buffy isn't perfect. Like any human, she has her flaws. She can be incredibly selfish. Her Slayer status can give her an inflated sense of superiority. She has a tendency to ditch her true-blue friends when she meets someone shiny and new. Yes, Buffy Summers is a both a multi-layered individual and friend.
10 Good friend - Chose sweet Willow over popular Cordelia
When Buffy arrives at Sunnydale High, she has it made in the shade. Queen Bee Cordelia Chase is drawn to Buffy like a moth to a cool girl flame. She invites Buffy to be one of the beautiful people, the popular kids. For Buffy this is a dream come true. All she wants is to leave her Slayer past behind and live a normal life, complete with cheerleading, boys, and trendy but tasty Frappucinos.
But all this comes at a price far too high for Buffy: the price of human decency. Within minutes, Cordelia mocks wallflower Willow's unfortunate outfit. Buffy realizes she'd much rather have a friendship rooted in kindness than sell her soul for a few golden years of popularity. That very day, she approaches Willow and asks to be her study-buddy. Buffy shows her true character, her valor as a friend, and one of TV's best female friendships ever is formed.
9 Wasn't - Treated her friends like garbage after she died
Coming back from death would be harrowing for anyone, especially a sixteen-year-old who carries the weight of the world on her slender shoulders. It's understandable Buffy would be traumatized. But you know what doesn't make sense, Buffy? Turning against all your friends, especially Xander, the person who brought you back to life.
After summer break, Buffy is strangely aloof to everyone. One night she shows up at the Bronze, dressed to kill...her friendships. She grabs Xander and pulls him in for an intimate dance in front of everyone. During this "sexy dance", Buffy taunts Xander, asking if he wishes she would thank him for saving her. Not only does she prey on Xander's romantic feelings for her, she also upsets Willow and Angel, witnesses to the dance, in the process. Her behavior is baffling.
8 Good friend - Acknowledged Xander as a gentleman
Xander's treatment of women, especially Buffy, has been beyond problematic. At the beginning of the series, Xander put Buffy on a pedestal, objectified her, and got rather salty when Buffy maturely told him she didn't return his feelings. But in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", Xander accidentally casts a love spell that makes Sunnydale's entire female population, including Buffy, fall head over heels in love with him. This results in Buffy surprising Xander in the library, wearing a sexy raincoat and nothing else. Xander turns her down.
Should Xander be commended for not taking advantage of Buffy in a vulnerable situation? No, that would be called being a decent human being. But what is truly character-revealing is that he wasn't even tempted. While he may have responded physically to the situation, mentally it was out of the question. Buffy isn't in her right mind, therefore no tryst can happen. When the spell is reversed and everyone is back to normal, Buffy makes a special point to acknowledge Xander's chivalrous behavior. It's a small moment, but it really speaks to the level of respect and love these two friends have for each other.
7 Wasn't - Sunk to Cordelia's level
Buffy and Cordelia have been rivals almost throughout their entire time together at Sunnydale High. Cordelia is seen as the mean one where Buffy is the noble defender of the underdog. But there were times when Buffy gave Cordelia a run for her money as the reigning "Queen of Mean". The best example is when they ran against each other for Homecoming Queen.
At this point they were sort-of friends. While they weren't exactly besties, they were both members of the Scoobie Gang. But when Cordy doesn't tell Buffy about yearbook photos, this unleashes Buffy's inner mean girl hell beast and she declares war for the Homecoming throne. There's no question that Cordelia started it, but Buffy got right down in the mud with her. Neither pulled any punches with the negative campaigning, hurling mean names and body-shaming insults at each other. They both got their just desserts as neither Buffy nor Cordelia won the crown. Hopefully they learned a lesson about friendship too.
6 Good friend - Asked Giles to be her Watcher again
As people get older, it's natural that some friendships are outgrown. Buffy's first year of college finds her gradually drifting away from Giles, her father figure, as she learns to find her place in the world. However, sometimes a coming-of-age journey can lead us right back home. After the first Slayer haunts Buffy in her dreams, Buffy has all sorts of questions about what it truly means to be the Slayer. She wants Giles to help her answer them and to be her Watcher again.
Even though Buffy and Giles love each other like family, much of their emotional connection goes unspoken. Buffy verbally recognizing the value Giles adds to her life is truly touching and wholly shows her gratitude for their friendship.
5 Wasn't - Ditched Willow for Faith
Buffy and Faith didn't get along at first. Faith thought Buffy was an uptight goody-two-shoes and Buffy thought Faith was an obnoxious wannabe tough girl. However over time, Buffy became seduced by Faith's devil-may-care approach to slaying, and life itself. Sadly, part of that meant leaving the Scoobies in the dust, especially Willow. Buffy commits the BFF's unforgivable sin by ditching a study date with Willow to go "live large" with Faith.
But livin' large was more than Buffy bargained for when Faith accidentally kills Allan Finch, the Deputy Mayor. While Faith appears to show no remorse, Buffy is a nervous wreck. She realizes that she's in way over her head and goes to the one person she can trust more than anyone, Willow. Because killing civilians is so not "five by five".
4 Good friend - Forgave Willow for her magic bender
Season 6 sees Willow's magic addiction reach dangerous heights. Buffy and the Scoobies notice the warning signs and casually voice concernsm but this is uncharted waters. Is magic addiction even a thing? It turns out, yes. Willow gets absolutely out of control, driving while high on sketchy magic. Oh yeah, Buffy's little sis Dawn is in the car. Willow crashes, breaking Dawn's arm in the process.
Buffy is livid with her friend, but is able to recognize that Willow really has a problem. To forgive a friend for putting her sister in danger really speaks to Buffy's love for Willow. The episode ends with Buffy tucking a shaken Willow into bed and giving her a cup of tea. Willow vows to get clean and makes good on that promise—for awhile. Having a real friend like Buffy definitely helps.
3 Wasn't - Told the Scoobies she didn't need them
Spike totally put the "Yoko" to the Scoobies during the days of the Initiative. He expertly observed cracks in the gang and exploited them to the best of his ability. His handiwork paid off and instead of discussing strategies for defeating Adam, the Scoobies devolved into multiple rounds of petty bickering. Everyone is guilty of taking cheap shots, but Buffy is by far the worst. She tells her friends that she doesn't need them to fight Adam and they would only get in the way. Before leaving, she delivers the verbal knockout punch saying she now sees "why there's no ancient prophecy about a Chosen One and her friends."
Ouch. That's ice cold. And Buffy's dead wrong. The group ends up reconciling and together they cast an enjoining spell to combine all their strengths into Buffy's body so she could kill Adam good and proper. It's a good thing the Chosen One could count on her friends.
2 Good friend - Integrated Dawn into the Scoobie Gang
If the Dawn haters of the world—and there are oh-so many—would set aside their prejudice, they might find that Dawn isn't really as annoying as they might think and actually has some very sympathetic qualities. Sure, she was the Key and almost used as a human sacrifice but even worse, she's forever left out of Scooby business. As Buffy's sister, Dawn is always on the outside looking in. She's just close enough to see the magical friendship the Scoobies have but too far removed from feeling like a member herself.
Much of this stems from big sister Buffy wanting to protect her. This is completely fair, but when Buffy finally sees Dawn on the battlefield, she realizes that her little sister has some serious fighting moves and that maybe sheltering Dawn from every bad guy is worse than teaching Dawn to be a strong woman. Buffy says, "I don't want to protect you from the world. I want to show it to you." This is the moment when Buffy allows Dawn into the Scooby Gang and the two go from being just sisters to best friends.
1 Good friend - Empowered her friends to save the world
The show saved the biggest battle for last. Buffy and co. spent the entire final season preparing to fight the First Evil. This tested the group like nothing before and the Scoobies risked complete implosion before they were able to band together to kick some undead butt. Perhaps Buffy's most noteworthy stroke of genius was the idea of having mega-witch Willow cast a spell to give Slayer strength to all the Potentials. Willow is successful and this spell is instrumental in vanquishing the First and closing the Hellmouth.
What it all boiled down to is Buffy having faith in her friends, especially Willow. It may sound cheesy, but their friendship is what saved the world.