While the beloved sitcom Friends is about the sweet friendship between the six main characters, it’s definitely also a show about love. Fans enjoy watching Monica and Chandler realize their feelings for each other, and it’s also entertaining (and often frustrating) watching the on-again, off-again love story of Rachel and Ross.
With 10 seasons full of hilarious and heartwarming episodes about the changes in the friend group’s lives, there are also many episodes that focus on the art of breaking up. From Ross and Rachel’s infamous break to the end of Monica’s most serious relationship before she falls for Chandler, these episodes tug at the heartstrings while keeping viewers laughing.
Friends:10“Pilot” (S1, E1)
While there are some forgotten details from the friends pilot, fans will never forget the moment when Rachel walks into Central Perk in a wedding dress. It’s definitely quite the entrance, and her story quickly falls into place: she didn’t marry Barry and is going to live with Monica.
It’s true that the show’s first episode is a perfect introduction to these sweet and quirky characters, but it’s also a solid episode about a bad breakup. In this case, it’s about the tough decision to walk away from a wedding that has been planned and paid for, and how Rachel wants a fresh start.
Friends:9“The One With The List” (S2, E8)
Many people love making a pro and con list when making a big life decision, but it’s probably not the best idea to make one when choosing between two love interests… and leaving it for one person to find.
In this funny episode, Ross makes a list when trying to pick Julie or Rachel. While he does want to be with Rachel and ends his relationship with Julie, Rachel sees the list and is totally offended that he belittled her job as a waitress. This season 2 episode proves to viewers that Ross and Rachel’s path won’t be simple, and it makes it impossible not to root for their reunion.
Friends:8“The One With Russ” (S2, E10)
What if Rachel dated someone who was just like Ross and didn’t seem to know at first? This season 2 Friends episode asks that question by having Rachel date a man named Russ.
While this storyline is played up for laughs, it’s also a smart examination of how sometimes, people jump right back into the dating scene after a sad breakup. Or they try to find someone who reminds them of their ex and then realizes that they still have strong feelings for them.
7“The One With Barry And Mindy’s Wedding” (S2, E24)
Monica and Chandlers relationship changes each season, and before they become more than friends, Monica is in a serious relationship with Richard. It feels like things would be perfect between them…. if not for the fact that Richard is older and doesn’t want to start a family with Monica.
In one of the saddest episodes about a breakup, Monica and Richard dance at the reception for Mindy and Barry’s big day. And realize that they can’t get over this problem. Monica feels that it will be tough to find the person who she’s meant to be with. But looking back on this moment, fans smile knowing that her love story with Chandler is waiting.
6“The One Where Ross And Rachel Take A Break” (S3, E15)
When people think about Friends, they remember the big moment when Ross and Rachel talk about taking time apart from each other. This has become the single most significant and memorable scene from the whole sitcom.
In this season 3 episode, the couple fights over spending their anniversary apart. As Rachel is working hard and won’t be able to get away. Viewers hate remembering the episode’s conclusion when Ross and Chloe kiss. As it spells disaster for Ross and Rachel and it will take them several seasons to make it back to where they once were.
5“The One With The Morning After” (S3, E16)
One of the most heartbreaking episodes about the end of a relationship is this season 3. One, as Ross and Rachel go their separate ways after Ross’s terrible mistake.
Fans feel the tension of this episode all over again when remembering how the characters cry. Ross says it’s impossible to think that he could move on from Rachel. It feels inevitable that the two split up, as Rachel has every right to feel horribly about what Ross did. But it’s still hard to look back on.
4“The One With The Jellyfish” (S4, E1)
This Friends couple is so popular that there are even memes about Ross and Rachel, and they have a very long journey on the series. Ross and Rachel have their second breakup at the beginning of season 4. As Ross says “we were on a break” and Rachel knows that. He has some important things to think about and apologize for.
Ross wants nothing more than to be with Rachel again. He tells Bonnie that they can’t see each other anymore. This episode is super dramatic as Rachel wants Ross to read a letter. That she wrote about the reasons why they broke up. Since it’s 18 pages, he can’t get through it all without falling asleep.
3“The One With The Yeti” (S5, E6)
Ross and Rachel’s complex and long love story continues in season 5. In this episode, Ross and Emily decide to get divorced. This is great news for fans who know that Ross doesn’t love Emily. This episode has some quirky moments too. Like Emily wanting to buy new furniture so she doesn’t sit on anything that Rachel did.
While no one wants to get divorced, it’s great that the series portrays this as a tough moment in life. That is easier to get through with the help and support of good friends. Ross realizes that he needs to be in a happier relationship with a partner who trusts him.
2“The One With The Boob Job” (S9, E16)
Fans know that Phoebe and Mike belong Together which is what makes their season 9 split so upsetting.
Phoebe is devastated when she and Mike talk about living together and she learns that he isn’t interested in marriage. Thankfully, the characters reunite at the end of season 9. This breakup is a memorable one since it brings up the topic of the future. Phoebe and Mike’s fears are relatable for many people who struggle with being vulnerable in relationships. It’s great that they’re able to move past it since they care about each other so much.
1“The One With Ross’s Tan” (S10, E3)