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The Surprising Friends Characters Who Were Almost Lovers

There's no denying that "Friends" is one of the most beloved sitcoms ever to grace the small screen. The program took over the airwaves from 1994 until it wrapped up a decade later in 2004, dominating the Nielsen's and pop culture all the while. This reign was especially impressive considering it was up against some serious competition, such as "Seinfeld,"  "That '70s Show," and many more. Therefore, in retrospect, one has to wonder, what made "Friends" stand out from the pack and become a TV sensation?

A major contributing factor was the cast, which included Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Greene, David Schwimmer, and Courteney Cox as siblings Ross and Monica Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, and Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani. Over the course of their time on "Friends,"  the actors behind these characters grew Incredibly close, creating a level of on-screen chemistry that very few series have ever achieved. Fans eagerly tuned in to see where exactly their fictional lives would go next and how their choices would impact one another.

Oftentimes, these stories wound up in romance territory, with the show boasting more than a handful of couples over the years. However, not every potential pairing wound up coming to fruition, as evidenced by this example of two main "Friends" characters who were very nearly lovers, but the writers elected not to follow through.

The one where Rachel dates...Chandler?

When people think of the quintessential "Friends" couple, undoubtedly Ross and Rachel is the one that comes to mind. Their on-again, off-again relationship is a throughline from season to season that fans were heavily emotionally invested in, even if it seemed at times that they were never going to come together. This thought would have only intensified if the show's writers would have gone all-in with a romance that they teased very briefly in the episode "The One With The Flashback": Rachel and Chandler.

The sixth installment of Season 3 takes place primarily in the past — three years prior, to be exact. Set against the backdrop of a bar that is not yet the Central Perk coffeehouse, Rachel is off celebrating her engagement to Barry (Mitchell Whitfield), but she's not sure she's entirely ready to settle down with one man. This leads to Chandler attempting to woo her, but she turns him down and makes it clear that she's not at all interested. Despite this, on her drive home, she fantasizes about what it would have been like if she gave him a chance before snapping back into reality.

As recalled by Screen Rant, this scene was designed to test the audience's interest in seeing Rachel and Chandler as an item. Evidently, it didn't go over well, so the entire proposition was scrapped, paving the way for Chandler and Monica's love story. All things considered, "Friends" was almost certainly better off taking this route.