Friends: 15 Reasons Ross and Rachel DON'T Belong Together

Ross and Rachel are held up as one of the great TV couples of all time. Their constant will they/won’t they dynamic left Friends fans enthralled for ten whole seasons, and it left them thrilled when they finally got together in the show’s final episode.

The pair were always interesting to watch, and they were an essential ingredient in a show that captivated an entire nation for a decade. As actual people, though, Ross and Rachel never really belonged together. In fact, they aren’t really a good couple at all.

The pairing of Ross and Rachel sounds perfectly natural - at least until you really think about it. When you compare them to the show’s other central couple, Monica and Chandler, it begins to seem clear that Ross and Rachel never had the stability that characterizes Monica and Chandler. Granted, Ross and Rachel have a longer history and more baggage, but they also seem like two people who like the idea of being together more than they actually want to be together.

As iconic as they may be, they’re actually a pretty horrendous couple. After all, they fought for years about whether or not they were on a break.

Here are 15 Reasons Ross And Rachel Don't Belong Together.

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Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer in Friends
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15 Ross is a Hopeless Romantic

Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer in Friends

Ross and Rachel might seem like fate to those who watch Friends avidly, but the show itself is constantly reminding us that Ross is more in love with marriage than he is with any particular woman.

His marriage to Emily is brief, of course, but it’s a flame that burns bright while it’s alive. The two of them move incredibly quickly toward marriage, and Ross’ dynamics with the other women he dates are similarly rushed. He even marries Rachel for a brief period when they get drunk in Las Vegas.

The point is, Ross’s decisions are incredibly impulsive when it comes to his love life. This normally rational person suddenly loses all control, and proposes to every person he meets.

Rachel may seem like Ross’s perfect match, but even she is a subject to his impulses the way every other woman in his life is. Ross doesn’t love Rachel, he loves the idea of being with Rachel, and those are two hugely different things.  

14 They're Never Single at the Same Time

Even as the show progressed, Ross and Rachel could never seem to stay single for very long. Both of them got involved in a variety of relationships, and when one of them was single, the other typically wasn’t. Of course, part of this is the show itself trying to prolong the inevitable by throwing obstacles in the way of their happiness, but this question of timing is important.

Sometimes people miss their chance to be with one another, and there’s a real argument to be made that Ross and Rachel missed theirs. After they broke up, Rachel became even more focused on her career, and Ross found other women who made him happy, even if only for a little while.

When they finally get together at the show’s end, it doesn’t seem like they really fit anymore. They’ve moved beyond one another, and have only come back together because the show needs to resolve their relationship.

13 The Actors Don't Have Chemistry

Jennifer Aniston was an understandable sensation when Friends first arrived on the TV scene. She’s a pretty talented actress who also happens to be pretty attractive. Unfortunately, she and David Schwimmer just don’t seem like a natural couple on screen together. They don’t complement one another, and they can, at times, seem like two random people who have simply been thrown together by a writers’ room.

Early on, there does seem to be a real spark between Ross and Rachel, but it’s one that doesn’t last for long. What’s left behind are two actors who don’t interact interact terribly well on camera.

There are entire seasons of Friends that only hint at a relationship between Ross and Rachel, and these hints don’t come from the natural tension that exists between the actors. In fact, David Scwimmer and Jennifer Aniston rarely seemed like the kind of couple that was truly in love.

12 They're Not Naturally Funny Together

Rachel Monica Ross in Friends

Friends is, first and foremost, a pretty funny sitcom. It’s a show about the hilarious ways in which its characters interact with one another, and about the crazy situations they often find themselves in. What’s fascinating is that, while many pairings on the show produce hilarious results, Ross and Rachel was rarely of them. Their scenes together may have been tender or sweet, but they were almost never outright hilarious.

In fact, both Ross and Rachel were the closest thing the show had to straight-people for their respective genders. Most of the funniest dialogue comes from the rest of the show’s core cast. Both of them do have plenty of funny moments. On a show like Friends, it can be hard to avoid them. Still, they never seemed like a pairing that was built to produce laughs, even as Friends remained a show designed for that purpose.

Ross can be funny, and so can Rachel, but they very rarely manage to be funny together.

11 They're Bad at Communicating What They Want

Ross and Rachel Communication Friends

One bad communicator in a relationship can make things interesting, especially on television. It keeps things dramatic, and leads to an appealing level of frustration at the way two people have a dysfunctional relationship with one another. When there are two bad communicators in a relationship, all hell breaks loose.

The fact that Ross and Rachel can never seem to have a frank conversation about their feelings for one another speaks volumes about their abilities as communicators.

If Ross and Rachel can’t communicate what they want from each other, they’ll never be able to come to compromises in their relationship. The fight they have over whether or not they "were on a break" is just one example of the ways in which Ross and Rachel never come to a firm agreement on anything. Instead, they let disagreements between them fester until they are impossible to solve. That doesn’t sound like a very healthy relationship.

10 Why Do They Care About Each Other?

Why do Ross and Rachel like each other? It’s a simple question, but it’s not one that comes with any obvious answer. When they aren’t dating, they don’t seem any closer than any of the rest of the friends are to one another. They have a child together, but even that’s more a happy accident than anything else. Rachel has been Ross’s crush since high school, but that’s exactly what their relationship is - it’s a crush.

Ross is in love with Rachel the way many high school and college boys fall in love with girls. When they’re young, he doesn’t actually know her very well, and is instead obsessed with the idea of being with her.

Of course, Ross and Rachel get to know each other pretty well over the course of the show, but they never really get past Ross’s initial fantasies about what his relationship with Rachel would be like. It's never really made clear why they care so deeply about one another.

9 They Could Never Get Over Their History Together

Ross and Rachel Marry Friends

Ross and Rachel might have made sense as a couple at the beginning of the show. The nerdy guy who pines after the popular girl and ultimately wins her heart is a story we all love to hear over and over again. By the end of the show, though, it’s pretty clear that the two of them have too much baggage.

Between the baby that they raise together and the “we were on a break” fight they could never really get past, the future for Ross and Rachel would likely consist of a lot of fights about subjects that are mostly in the past.

Of course, this baggage wouldn’t be such an enormous issue for the two of them if they could communicate with one another, but they can’t.

Their baggage goes unaddressed, and Ross and Rachel have more of it than most people. Part of the reason Monica and Chandler worked so well is their lack of history together prior to their relationship. For Ross and Rachel, the opposite is true, and it will likely doom any attempts they might make moving forward.

8 They Have Nothing in Common

This may seem basic, but it’s hugely important. While it may be true that opposites attract, that kind of thing has more to do with personality types than general interests. Ross and Rachel don’t have anything to talk about besides one another, which explains why most of their interactions feel so dramatic. If they were to actually sit down to talk to one another, they’d find themselves with no topics of common interest.

It’s true that Ross is mostly interested in dinosaurs, and Rachel is largely consumed by fashion, but neither one of them ever seems remotely interested in the other’s passion. In fact, both of them are quite dismissive of each other’s interests in ways that are often played for laughs. It may work on television, but it’s hard to make a relationship work if there’s no overlap in interests.

People don’t have to like the exact same things, but the best couples are interested in each other’s interests.

7 They Fight All the Time

Ross and Rachel Breakup Friends

Ross and Rachel only dated for a little while over the course of Freinds’ run, but they managed to spend most of that time arguing with one another. Of course, it’s normal for couples to fight. Conflict is a part of growing closer to one another, and it helps create an understanding between two people. While it may be healthy to fight, it almost definitely isn’t healthy to fight as much as Ross and Rachel do.

Of course, some of these fights are over fairly insignificant things, but others are about their future as a couple, or Ross’s insane levels of possessiveness after he’s finally dating Rachel. What’s more, these fights are rarely constructive. Although they might create temporary solutions, Ross and Rachel have some embedded problems that these fights only begin to address.

When you think about it, Ross and Rachel were fighting before they were ever really dating, which probably isn’t a great sign.

6 Rachel Is Always Pulled Toward Her Career

Even at the end of the series, Rachel is more focused on her career than she is on any particular relationship. She’s formed a lasting bond with every member of their friend group over the ten seasons the show depicts, but she’s willing to leave it all behind to pursue a great job in Paris.

When we first meet Rachel, she’s clueless about her professional choices, and ends up waitressing for several seasons. It speaks volumes about her drive that she ends up with such exciting opportunities.

At the end of the day, these opportunities are what seem to excite her most. Other than her relationship with Ross, Rachel doesn’t get terribly serious with any other man. They come and go as she excels in her career.

In short, Rachel’s happy ending might not involve a man at all. It may simply involve taking a dream job in a dream location, and living happily ever after. Instead, she decides to stay in New York and be with Ross.

5 They Hung Out for 10 Years and Couldn't Make it Work

Ross and Rachel in Friends

Ross and Rachel were close friends for 10 straight years, not to mention all the time prior to the beginning of the show when they knew each other. If they couldn’t make it work during all of that time, there’s probably a pretty good reason.

What’s more, it’s not like one of them was completely oblivious to the other the entire time. In fact, the opposite was true for most of the show’s run. Rachel and Ross always knew they had some feelings for one another, but could never manage to articulate it in a way that’s meaningful.

The fact that, even after all that time together, there were still unspoken feelings between them suggests that the communications issues between them could never be completely solved. It also suggests that their love for one another was not so powerful that it forced them together. They only realize their undying affection for one another at moments of intense drama, and that suggests they could never keep things going in the long run.

4 Ross Relies on Grand Romantic Gestures

The moment Ross and Rachel first get together is iconic. After things initially seem to be going well, Rachel is furious with Ross because he made a pros and cons list about their potential relationship. Then, as they’re watching home videos from Rachel’s prom night, Rachel sees that Ross was going to swoop in and save her from being dateless, but is disappointed instead. It’s this gesture that leads to their relationship in the present day, and it’s also a moment that perfectly encapsulates their relationship.

Ross can only win Rachel over with enormous gestures. They never function day-to-day because their relationship is built almost entirely on the spark between them. Moment to moment, it may seem like Ross and Rachel belong together, but their natural attraction to one another does not mean that they can have a romance that lasts. In fact, when they do try dating, things fall apart fairly quickly.

3 Ross Talks Down to Rachel

Ross and Rachel in Friends

Ross may love Rachel sincerely. He may want nothing but the best for her. Having said both of these things, he can also be a terrible person when he’s around her.

Ross has a PHD. He’s a smart guy, and he certainly isn’t afraid to let people know it. What this means, though, is that Ross’s geeky demeanor can sometimes give way to something much crueler. Instead of simply knowing things, he makes other characters on the show feel stupid, and that’s especially true of his relationship with Rachel.

It might not even happen on a conscious level, but because Rachel doesn’t have Ross’s accolades, he has a habit of pretending that she doesn’t have a good mind. He confuses knowledge for intelligence, which is easy to do. Unfortunately, it’s also an incredibly annoying thing to have to deal with on a regular basis, and it’s the kind of tick that can sink an entire relationship, especially because Ross does it so regularly.

2 Ross Is Possessive

Ross Gellar Friends

This is just a general fact about Ross’s personality. He cares deeply about the people he falls in love with, but that deep level of obsession comes with a certain element of possessiveness.

This part of Ross’s personality is at its worst in his relationship with Rachel, and that makes enough sense if you think about it. Rachel was always the object of Ross’s deepest affections. He’d been in love with her since high school, and couldn’t believe that he’d finally gotten the chance to be with the girl of his dreams.

As sweet as this sounds on paper, it ultimately made Ross a fairly possessive boyfriend. Always worried that he would lose Rachel to someone more attractive the way he had in high school, Ross got so clingy with Rachel that he ultimately drove her away. While you could argue that both of them have grown as people since this initial breakup, there’s little indication of this growth, and Ross’s possessiveness could very well sink the relationship again.

1 They're Addicted to Their Own Drama

Ross and Rachel in Friends

Ross and Rachel could never really be stable. Instead, they seemed to constantly be manufacturing reasons to have problems with one another. Ross would get jealous of one of Rachel’s male co-workers, or Rachel would switch jobs and have less time to spend with Ross. These people were so bored with their lives that they had a baby together just to keep things interesting. Okay, that’s probably not totally fair, but still.

Ross and Rachel are incredibly dramatic. Stability was never a part of their relationship, which it at least partially why audiences were so compelled by their romance. In reality, though, this kind of drama, where one person is cheating on the other, or bringing home a new significant other unexpectedly, would get exhausting very quickly.

At some point, they’d have to just be together, and from the time we spend with them on Friends, it doesn’t seem like Ross and Rachel are all that interested in doing that.


Do you think Ross and Rachel from Friends should've ended up together? Let us know in the comments!

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