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The Best And Worst Moment For Each Character On Friends

The six main characters on "Friends" had their ups and downs across 10 seasons — some more than others. They could be a rather selfish bunch, sometimes acting out of their own self-interest and not considering the feelings of those around them. On the other hand, the group could be quite kind, pulling one another through tough times and offering them support in whatever form was needed.

Chandler (Matthew Perry), Monica (Courteney Cox), Ross (David Schwimmer), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) were not without fault, but they made up for their mistakes with generosity and kindness. There were highs and lows for the friends throughout each season, but looking back now, there were clear best and worst moments for each of them. Some of the worst things they did were reprehensible when you think about them happening in the real world, while some of their better moments might have made you wish you had a friend like them by your side.

We've broken down the best and worst thing each member of the group did over the 10 years the show was on the airwaves; it might make you look at them differently on your next re-watch.

Monica (worst) — She lied about being a reverend

When Monica and Chandler realized they couldn't conceive a child, they turned to adoption to make their dreams of becoming parents come true. During Season 10's Thanksgiving episode, they found out that a pregnant woman named Erica in Ohio had chosen them to adopt her baby. When they traveled to meet her, Chandler and Monica discovered there was a mix-up in the adoption agency's paperwork, and the woman thought they were an entirely different couple.

Believing they were a reverend and a doctor, Erica expressed her excitement that they were going to give her baby a good home. Chandler tried to jump in and correct Erica, but Monica stopped him and pretended to be a reverend to keep up the charade. 

Monica was very desperate to have a child. But pretending to be an entirely different person, in order to trick Erica into giving them her baby? That's just disgusting. Monica even tried to convince Chandler to keep pretending after they spoke in private, but luckily for her conscience, he took a stand. Looking back now, Monica sure did give Rachel a run for her money in this episode when it comes to selfish "Friends" characters.

Monica (best) — She fed five other people for 10 years

Despite the atrocious behavior Monica exhibited when meeting Erica, she does do some very nice things over the 10 seasons of "Friends." 

Perhaps most noticeably, Courteney Cox's character is an incredibly giving person, and takes pride in always being a good hostess. Throughout the series, Chandler, Phoebe, and Rachel all lived with Monica, who served as the apartment's resident chef, maid, and rule-keeper. She didn't just provide food for those who live with her, however, but all of her friends who would come and go as they pleased.

For a solid decade, Monica fed five adults other than herself daily, which is not only a labor-intensive thing to do, but also an expensive one. She cooked every Thanksgiving dinner for a group that barely helped, and made delicious candies, cookies, jams, and even a flan for them to indulge. 

It's a logical assumption that she did the cooking on other major holidays as well, since this group of pals never celebrated with their family members, ever. But somehow, Monica never complained — she did it all just to keep her friends happy and well-fed.

Chandler (worst) — He kissed Kathy while she was with Joey

In Season 4, Joey began dating a woman named Kathy (Paget Brewster) who he had met in acting class. Chandler then hit on her at the coffee shop before knowing who she was — and after learning she was involved with his roommate, he did the right thing and backed off. But that didn't last long, as Mathew Perry's character couldn't help but fall for Kathy, and she seemed to reciprocate.

Them his lowest moment struck. When Joey got stuck with car trouble and canceled his date with Kathy, she hung out at the apartment and gave Chandler a haircut; the sexual tension between the two was tangible, and when Kathy tried to leave, she shared a passionate kiss with Chandler. 

Although they stopped themselves before things went too far, Chandler nonetheless disregarded his relationship with Joey, and it's the lowest point he ever sunk on the series. Somehow, Joey found it in his heart to forgive his friend, and Kathy and Chandler began a relationship. Unfortunately for Chandler, however, Kathy then cheated on him several episodes later. Once a cheater, always a cheater.

Chandler (best) — He saved the adoption

Monica's worst act may have been lying to Erica about being a reverend during an adoption interview, but Chandler's best moment was saving the day.

When Erica (Anna Faris) found out she was being lied to, she abruptly ended their meeting and stormed out, declaring that there was no way she could ever give Monica and Chandler her child. As Monica was left behind feeling sorry for herself, Chandler chased down Erica for one last plea.

The sarcastic funnyman then delivered one of his best speeches in the entire series, explaining to Erica that Monica was a mother without a baby. He opened up, laying bare how it was killing him that he couldn't give her a child, and promising that he will be a good dad when the time comes. 

By opening himself up to such vulnerability, Chandler was ultimately able to convince Erica to reconsider them as potential parents to her child. She was taken with his speech and decided to give Monica and Chandler her baby, which we found out several episodes later was actually twins. That's what you get for lying, Monica.

Ross (worst) — He lied to Rachel about their annulment

In the Season 5 finale, a very drunk Ross and Rachel tied the knot in a chapel in Las Vegas. When they then sobered up and realized what they had done, the not-so-happy couple disagreed on how to handle it the next day. Ross, terrified of having three divorces on his record, suggested they stay married. Since Rachel is a normal person, she opted against this, and the pair eventually agreed to have the marriage annulled — saving Ross from that dreaded third strike.

Ross, often a not-so-normal person, decided not to get the marriage annulled and lied to Rachel, telling her it had been done. After pursuing this charade for days, Rachel learned the truth when her hubby's lawyer called — causing Rachel to flip out. Since they didn't end up qualifying for an annulment, the pair ultimately had to divorce.

It was an amusing storyline, but extremely disturbing when you think about the behavior of Ross. What would have happened that day if the lawyer didn't call? How long would they have been married without Rachel knowing? What kind of legal ramifications could it have had for Rachel? When Ross chose to lie to his friend about their marriage status, it might just have been the worst thing any character ever did on "Friends."

Ross (best)— He gave up a TV appearance to help Rachel get ready

Although Ross did something terrible to Rachel, he's also done many wonderful things for her, and his other friends as well. 

He bought Pat the dog for Joey when he was broke, walked Carol down the aisle at her wedding, and although he has his quirks, most of the time he was a pretty good friend. Perhaps his sweetest moment came in Season 3's "The One With A Chick And A Duck." Rachel was injured in the aftermath of Monica slamming into her on roller skates in front of Central Perk, and when it was suspected that she'd broken a rib — potentially missing an important dinner at her boss's house — Rachel hesitated on visiting the ER to have her injury addressed.

Ross, who was scheduled to appear on the Discovery Channel that same night, discovered his injured ex in her apartment and decided to help her get ready for the career-dependent dinner. But after applying her makeup and helping her get dressed, he  realized they couldn't postpone the hospital visit any longer, so he made the selfless decision to remain by her side. 

Of course, Rachel didn't know about the television appearance, and found out later that Ross had skipped it. The two then shared a special moment (complete with a soap opera-length stare) where it seemed as though they might kiss — but Ross left, and the pair seemed to long for each other on opposite sides of the door. 

Since "Friends" fans know all too well how much Ross loves the Discovery Channel and talking about dinosaurs, it infused the moment with a powerful, heart-tugging sense of emotion, and underlined how much these two characters felt for each other.

Rachel (worst) — She accepted a job in Paris without discussing it with Ross

A lot of the final moments of "Friends" was focused on Rachel accepting a job in Paris to work for Louis Vuitton. The position presented an opportunity most up-and-comers in the fashion industry could only dream of, so it wasn't surprising that she accepted it — what was surprising, however, was that she would take the job without first discussing it with the man who supposedly meant so much to her.

While it's true that Ross and Rachel were not technically a couple at this point, they did have a child together, which would seem to bond most people together somewhat. It seemed like Ross would have some valuable input into such a crucial life decision, as well as a say in where his daughter lived and how schlepping her across the Atlantic several times a year could impact her long-term.

Nevertheless, Rachel decided to move to Paris with their daughter, without a thought of how it might affect him. She did not ask if he'd be okay with it, or if Emma could go with her — distracted instead by daydreams of croissants and dressing up her daughter in colorful berets.

By isolating her dinosaur bone-dusting ex from the decision, Rachel reinforced the notion that she was the most selfish of the six. Taking this job, and moving Emma to another country without a mere mention of it was extremely insensitive. Would it have been okay if Ross took Emma on an archeological dig in Egypt for two years without telling Rachel? No, because that's not something a nice person does.

Rachel (best) — She got off the plane

While we're on the subject of Rachel being terrible, let's cut her some slack and talk about one of the things she did right in 10 years. It also happens to revolve around the whole Paris situation and comes in the series finale episode. As Rachel gets ready to board her plane to France, Ross catches up with her at the gate and declares his love for her. With croissants still on the brain, Rachel leaves and boards the plane anyway, effectively crushing Ross in the process.

As she waits for the plane to take off, Rachel has a change of heart and calls Ross only to get his answering machine. She apologizes for blowing him off at the gate and has a lightbulb moment where she realizes she loves him more than anything. We listen to the whole thing play out alongside Ross as he listens to the message, and Rachel begins to argue with the flight attendant to let her off the plane. The voicemail cuts off, and we're left wondering if she was able to exit before takeoff. Spoiler alert: she does. Giving up the job in Paris and staying with Ross is possibly the smartest move Rachel makes in the entire series because as fun and easy as bicontinental relationships seem like they would be, they're not.

Phoebe (worst) — She mugged Ross

Viewers heard a lot about how Phoebe had a tough life on the streets growing up, living in a burned-out car and running with some of New York City's most questionable inhabitants. Her life was never easy, and she even mugged people in her younger years just to survive. 

In Season 9, Phoebe told a particularly horrifying tale: When she was a teenager, she would steal from comic book nerds, and Ross just happened to be one of her victims. Putting the clues together, Phoebe realized her friend was someone she had mugged in the past, so she came clean — which is actually quite admirable, despite the entire thing being her worst moment.

While all the other character's worst moments were things viewers witnessed on screen, at least Phoebe's ugly backstory was left to the imagination. She was dealt a difficult hand in life, had some tough years, but "Friends" fans got to know her after she had turned it all around — in fact, she was even able to reunite Ross with his self-made comic book, "Science Boy" — which she kept after the mugging because she could neither sell nor smoke it.

Phoebe (best)— She carried her brother's babies

Phoebe might just be the most selfless member of the friends group. She routinely put her friends first and never sugarcoated anything. She treated her family the same way, doing something truly remarkable for her step-brother Frank Jr. and his wife Alice when they asked her for the favor of a lifetime in Season 4. Unable to conceive a child on their own, Frank and Alice asked Phoebe to be their surrogate. After giving it some thought and discussing it with her birth mother, Phoebe ultimately decided to sacrifice her body for 9 months for their benefit.

Agreeing to be a surrogate is one of the most selfless things a person can do. But Phoebe was always a very thoughtful character, so it wasn't shocking to see her take on the responsibility, hosting embryos that implanted successfully, resulting in triplets. It's one thing to agree to be somebody's surrogate; to carry three babies? That's just tough on the back. But nevertheless, Phoebe gave her brother and sister-in-law the ultimate gift.

Joey (worst) — He dated Rachel

Quite possibly the worst story arc in all of "Friends" began in Season 8, as Joey began to develop romantic feelings for Rachel. Both viewers and even the actors would come to adamantly hate the storyline of the unlikely duo getting together, as their characters simply weren't compatible as lovers, and anybody who watched the show on a regular basis could see it wasn't going to work. 

Ultimately, Joey shook off his feelings for Rachel when she didn't reciprocate; crisis seemingly averted. But wait, because it got worse: In Season 9, the roles reversed and their fling began all over again. The two kissed in Barbados, reviving a several-episodes-long cringe fest of a relationship.

Eventually, Rachel and Joey came to their senses, realizing they were good friends and would be jeopardizing things if they tried to take their relationship further; ultimately, they called it all off in Season 10. The issue here is that Joey should never have kissed Rachel or pursued a relationship with her in the first place. Why he ever thought a relationship with his friend's ex would be okay is mind-blowing. You'd think that Joey, the bro of all bros, would be a little more respectful of guy code, would bury his feelings for Rachel and move on.

That story would likely play out very different in the real world, where most men are smart enough to not pursue a friend's ex-girlfriend, who just so happens to be the mother of their child — and if they do, they're likely to end up with a fat lip to show for it. It's still shocking to watch those episodes now and see Joey — normally such a nice guy — disregard his buddy's feelings and act on his impulses. It's a storyline viewers (and the actors) wish had never happened.

Joey (best) — He kept Monica and Chandler's secret

When it came to the three men in the friend group, Joey was easily the least selfish of them all. He genuinely cared for his pals as if they were family, holding them in very high regard. Although viewers saw him carry out many good deeds over the years, his most selfless act unfolded over several episodes in Season 5. 

The actor was the first person to find out about Monica and Chandler's relationship. The couple made him swear to keep it a secret, and he agreed, even though he had concerns about how it would impact the friends group over the long run.

Eventually, Monica and Chandler got sloppy, leaving too much evidence about their relationship lying around. They the used Joey as their scapegoat; when Rachel found a pair of Chandler's tighty-whities, Joey claimed ownership to save his friend; when a date was repulsed to find blankets, pillows, candles, and a camera set up, Joey ultimately insisted the sexy set-up was his, trying to maintain his friends' secret. For going above and beyond at moments like this, it seems like Joey might win the ranking of who was ultimately the best friend.