It’s still surprising to think the final episode of Friends was 15 years ago. That finale left viewers in suspense as they waited with bated breath to see whether Ross and Rachel would join the likes of Chandler and Monica and Phoebe and Mike in coupling up and settling down. Fortunately, most people got their wish with the duo finally deciding to give their relationship another go.
However, while Friends ended on the note many wanted, that’s not to say that everybody chose the right partner. Here’s the couples who should have stayed together for longer—and those who were right to go their separate ways.
10 Should Have Stayed: Joey and Rachel
While Ross was always destined to be Rachel’s love of her life due to their long history together, as the series progressed, it looked increasingly as if Joey was going to end up with Jennifer Aniston’s character, instead. The duo becomes room-mates throughout the middle of the show’s run and even give dating a chance, but ultimately decide to call things off.
Joey and Rachel are arguably the two dumbest characters from the core six—and the most attractive. They would have been an ideal fit but, given we got Rachel and Ross instead, we can’t complain too much. As for Joey, and we like to think of him still enjoying his bachelor lifestyle to this day.
9 Should Have Stayed: Ross and Mona
While Ross and Rachel suit, the former could also have enjoyed a good relationship with someone else. In series eight, he begins to date a woman named Mona, played by Bonnie Sommerville, who he had met at Chandler and Monica’s wedding. They seem to have plenty in common but, unfortunately, are forced to call things off.
Ross being the father of Rachel’s baby complicates his relationship with Mona, with David Schwimmer’s character often forgetting and overlooking her as he puts his ex-girlfriend first. It’s a shame, though, given how well they suited and the fact they had many mutual interests.
8 Right To Split: Ross and Emily
Yet while Ross and Mona should and could have given their relationship longer to work out, it’s a good thing that he didn’t end up having the best of marriages with Emily. The character, played by Helen Baxendale, was a feisty and fiery individual right from the moment she makes her first appearance back in series four.
Ross, obviously, was wrong to say Rachel’s name at his wedding to her. Yet, Emily turns too controlling afterwards, firstly refusing to move to New York City, then attempting to stop the palaeontologist from seeing his friend. No relationship like that can work and it’s a good thing they ended up getting a divorce.
7 Should Have Stayed: Chandler and Kathy
Prior to sleeping with Monica in London and ultimately settling down with her, Chandler Bing was unlucky in love. He appeared to genuinely struggle when it came to the opposite sex, with the irritating Janice often his only point of call when it comes to love. However, in season four, he meets Kathy—only for Joey to end up dating her, instead.
That genuinely hurt Chandler and it’s easy to see why. They’re both similarly intelligent, having plenty of things in common and both like to stay up late and watch TV. Had it not been for Kathy cheating (and perhaps her history with Joey) then it’s feasible they could have stayed together for many years.
6 Right To Split: Chandler and Janice
We weren’t being mean when we called Janice irritating. While Maggie Wheeler’s character was beautiful, she was a giant nightmare not just for Chandler Bing, who seemed unable to resist her at times, but also for the audiences who had to contend with her shrill laughter and needy nature.
Chandler never seemed to truly love Janice, he only chose to date her because she was among the only girls in New York City who would date him, and no relationship like that can work; Chandler pairs up with Monica, and Janice ultimately gets another husband and gives birth to a baby boy in series eight—meaning everybody ends up happy.
5 Should Have Stayed: Monica and Richard
Monica falls for Richard fairly early into the show’s run, and, despite the vast age difference, they choose to have a crack at a relationship. Courtney Cox’s character falls head over heels for her father’s friend to such an extent she even pitches the idea of the duo having children. However, knowing he’s not getting any younger, Richard declines the offer and the pair are forced to go their separate ways.
He does later perform a U-turn, but it’s too little too late as Chandler steals her heart instead. While we’re happy they shacked up together we can’t help but feel Richard and Monica suited each other better. Tom Selleck played the guest role perfectly yet his stance on children, which he’d later try and change, ultimately counted against him.
4 Right To Split: Monica and Pete
Before he rose to prominence as director of blockbusters such as Iron Man, The Lion King, and The Jungle Book—and as an actor, too—Jon Favreau popped up in Friends as Pete Becker. Pete meets Monica while she’s working at a diner and attempts to woo her, despite her making it clear they won’t work. She performs a U-turn, however, when he lands a surprise kiss on her lips while standing in his restaurant.
Monica gives dating him a go, but they decide to separate over Pete’s obsession with being the ultimate fighting champion despite being bad at it. The relationship was doomed from the start given that Monica never seemed entirely sold on the idea and Favreau’s character’s strange mission was merely the final nail in the coffin.
3 Right To Split: Phoebe and David
Way back in series one, long before Lisa Kudrow’s Phoebe meets Paul Rudd’s Mike Hannigan and chooses to marry him outside Central Perk, she encounters Hank Azaria’s David. The duo enjoy a series of dates, but their relationship is cruelly cut short when David ends up going to Minsk, in Russia, for scientific research.
Throughout the course of the series, David pops up on numerous occasions. One of those is in season nine when he reveals he’s back for good, but, unfortunately for him, the ship has already sailed. Mike is on Phoebe’s mind at this point, and, when the character pops up in Barbados to win her heart she chooses him. David deserved better than being someone’s plan B and that means that, ultimately, things worked out for the best.
2 Should Have Stayed: Joey And Kate
It’s rare that Joey catches strong feelings for someone. Matt LeBlanc’s character spends must of the show focusing his efforts on one-night stands or booty call’s rather than anything deep and meaningful, enjoying the bachelor lifestyle in the process. However, one exception to the rule is when he meets a woman named Kate when working on a play together.
Joey falls for her hard but is left devastated when she gets a call from her agent that forces her to leave the country. Like Rachel, she’s just one of a handful of women who were able to get Joey to change his ways and focus on something other than sex.
1 Right To Split: Joey and Charlie
Joey is a nice guy, but, when it comes to intelligence, he's sorely lacking in that department. That meant that, when he hooked up with palaeontologist Charlie in season nine, it was always destined to end in tears.
Charley always seemed better-suited to Ross, particularly given that they're both in the same field of work. But that relationship, too, ended in tears with the Professor cheating on David Schwimmer's character with her ex-husband. Ouch, that's gotta' hurt.