Friends primarily focused on the interweaving lives of six people over the course of ten seasons, but how did the group meet in the first place? The sitcom first aired in 1994 and released 236 episodes before concluding in 2004, and it's considered by many to be one of the best TV shows of all-time - and a lot of that is due to the core cast.
The six friends in the gang went through a lot over the course of the series, but they always managed to stick together. As they navigated life in New York City during their 20s and 30s, they experienced love, loss, marriage, birth, and a number of other milestones. Monica, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey each had their own role in the group, but there was always some type of common ground.
Some of the characters in Friends had a longer history than others, but that didn't deter a deep connection between them all down the line. The friendships and relationships the group forged was everlasting, which was a reason why it was such a hit for viewers. Many audience members wished they had a close group of friends like the characters portrayed in the series. That said, here's a breakdown of how all of the characters met each other.
Monica could easily be viewed as the glue that held the group together. She has an important connection to all of the main characters in Friends and her apartment was the primary meeting spot, besides Central Perk. Monica would go on to marry Chandler, but she was first introduced to him at Thanksgiving years prior. He attended the Geller family dinner and commented on her macaroni, causing her to pursue a career as a chef. Unfortunately, Chandler also made a comment about her weight, which made her obsess about her appearance.
As revealed in the Friends pilot, Monica and Rachel were best friends since they were kids. Monica didn't meet Phoebe until she was an adult living in the city. There aren't many details regarding their first encounter, but Phoebe served as Monica's roommate. The living situation didn't last long, however, since Phoebe couldn't take Monica's excessive neatness. Around that time, Monica met Joey since he was thinking about moving in across the hall with Chandler. When Monica first ran into Joey, she had a crush on him but those feelings quickly disappeared.
As the older brother of Monica, Ross was familiar with his sister's friends, particularly Rachel. Ross harbored feelings for Rachel in high school, but since he was friends with her bully, he helped create the "I Hate Rachel Club". After Rachel reentered Monica's life, Ross finally came clean about his true feelings. Besides Rachel, Ross had known Chandler for years before Friends began. Chandler was Ross' college roommate and best friend.
Ross was introduced to Joey through Chandler. At first, Ross and Joey were just mutual friends, but they went on to become very close pals. Ross' first encounter with Phoebe might be the best highlight of how each member of the group met. Ross was mugged by Phoebe when he was 12-years-old. She stole his backpack, including the only copy of his Ross' comic, Science Boy.
Rachel had connections to some of the Friends characters since childhood. She met Monica when they were just 6-years-old and the friendship carried through high school. Through her relationship with Monica, Rachel met Ross. She knew he had a crush on her despite his participation in the hate club. Rachel also met Chandler due to her interaction with the Geller family. She encountered Chandler for the first time at a Thanksgiving dinner in 1987. Rachel would see Chandler regularly at parties hosted by Ross while he was in college.
When Rachel left her fiancé, Barry, at the altar, she went looking for Monica. She wound up at Central Perk where she met the rest of the group - Phoebe and Joey. Rachel and Phoebe instantly hit it off due to their mutual friendship with Monica. Rachel moved in with Monica after her runaway bride fiasco, which gave her a reason to get to know her neighbor, Joey. Even though Rachel and Ross had an on-again-off-again relationship, she had a brief romance with Joey in Friends season 9.
Chandler first met Ross in college when the duo were roommates. They became best friends so Chandler received an invitation to the Geller family Thanksgiving in the late '80s. Chandler never had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner but he attended anyway. That night, Chandler called Monica fat, causing her to get revenge on him the following year. She ended up dropping a knife on his foot and severed part of his little toe. Chandler and Monica's relationship greatly improved as they got older.
Monica lived in the adjacent apartment from Chandler after they were out of college. Around that time, a new roommate moved in with Monica, which is how Chandler met Phoebe. Shortly after, Chandler was in the need of another roommate, which is how the bulk of the group was introduced to Joey. Chandler and Joey bonded on their shared love of sports, beer, and women.
By the age of 14, Phoebe was living on the streets of New York City. At one point, she mugged a younger boy, who was later revealed to be Ross. She stole his backpack since she took desperate actions to support herself at such a young age. Ross lied at the time of the mugging and claimed he was robbed by a "huge man." Phoebe still had his stolen comic book, so she gave it back and apologized for her old lifestyle.
Phoebe met most of the others after she moved in Monica. She got to know Chandler, the neighbor across the hall after Monica started dating his roommate, Kip. After Kip left, Joey took the vacancy in Chandler's apartment. Phoebe met Rachel last after they were first introduced at Central Perk in the Friends' debut episode.
Joey was one of the last members to join the core group in Friends. He answered an ad after Chandler was searching for a new roommate. Joey arrived at the apartment for an interview, but it didn't go well after he mistook Chandler for being gay. After the interview, Joey encountered Monica, who invited him over for lemonade. Joey misunderstood the invitation and stripped naked. Chandler later asked Joey to be his roommate, giving him a fresh start at a friendship with Monica.
Once he was moved in, Joey got to know Ross, since he was one of Chandler's best friends. The trio formed a strong friendship over time. Joey also met Phoebe, since she lived with Monica for a short time. He and Phoebe instantly clicked due to their feelings of being outsiders with no college education. Joey then met Rachel when she barged into Central Perk after running from her own wedding ceremony.