The main characters in were far from perfect, and while most learned from their mistakes, others, like Rachel, often proved that they weren’t as good of a friend as they thought. Although many years have passed since came to an end, its arrival in the world of streaming has expanded its fanbase and reached new generations. While this has been beneficial to the success and legacy of the show, having a wider audience has also put under the microscope, and many of its characters’ flaws have been pointed out and criticized – and, in most cases, with good reason.
While the main characters in are a tight-knit group, they had moments where friendship wasn’t exactly on their minds, and they showed their least kind and amicable side. Most of them learned from their mistakes and went through satisfying character development, but some others kept showing that they weren’t exactly a good friend. Unfortunately, falling into this category is , who throughout the whole run of proved that she was the group’s worst friend – and here are 10 moments that support this.
Rachel made quite an impression in her first appearance in by arriving at Central Perk in her wedding dress, as she had run away from her wedding. Rachel was looking for Monica and found her at Central Perk, where the latter introduced the former to her friends. Later on that day, Rachel was talking on the phone with her father about her fleeing from the wedding and announced that she was moving in with Monica. Not only did she not ask Monica if she could move in with her but they hadn’t spoken to each other in years, and this was a key moment in showing how self-centered Rachel was.
Rachel moving in with Monica without her permission could have gotten a pass had Rachel been a good roommate, but she really wasn’t. Surely, it took Rachel a while to adapt to being a responsible adult and not depending on her father’s money, but she continued to act like a spoiled girl for years after moving in with Monica, and wouldn’t cook, clean, and rarely helped around the house. One of her most irresponsible moments as a roommate was when she left her hair iron on at Phoebe’s apartment, causing a fire that led them to temporarily live with Joey and Monica.
Rachel cared about her public image a bit too much, and it sometimes went as far as to affect her friends as well. In season 6 episode “The One Where Phoebe Runs”, Rachel and Phoebe went for a run in the park as a bonding activity now that they were roommates, but Rachel was surprised to see that Phoebe had a weird way of running. Rachel became embarrassed of how Phoebe ran, even though Phoebe didn’t care because she was having fun, and Rachel ended up pretending to be injured to not go on a jog with Phoebe. Phoebe caught her lie and confronted her, and Rachel finally loosened up and tried Phoebe’s way of running.
Another early example of how bad of a friend Rachel was in is when she stole Monica’s date with Jean-Claude Van Damme. When the group visited Marcel (the monkey) on the set of the movie he was working on, Monica spotted Jean-Claude Van Damme, who she had a crush on. Monica was too intimidated to talk to him and sent Rachel to talk for her, but Rachel ended up flirting with Van Damme and agreed to go on a date with him. After a fight over this, Rachel gave up her date to let Monica go out with him, but not before telling Van Damme that Monica wanted a threesome with him and Drew Barrymore.
One of most memorable moments was when instead of his bride’s, Emily, but the problems in the Rachel-Ross-Emily department started before the wedding. Rachel had a hard time accepting Ross and Emily’s relationship, deciding that attending their wedding would be too painful for her, but she changed her mind at the last minute and flew to London to go to the wedding. Rachel’s plan was to tell Ross that she loved him with hopes that he wouldn’t marry Emily, and while she didn’t get to come clean about her feelings, her presence was enough to make Ross say her name in front of every guest.
Ross’ relationship with Emily wasn’t the only one Rachel actively ruined, and there were two before that she also tried to sabotage. First was Julie, who Ross reunited with during a work trip, and just when Rachel had realized her feelings for Ross, he returned from his trip with Julie. Julie was always nice and friendly to the whole group, and Rachel’s feelings for Ross don’t justify how mean Rachel was to Julie and her attempts to break them up. Another example is Bonnie, Phoebe’s friend who joined them at the beach house. In order to sabotage their relationship, Rachel convinced Bonnie to go bald again, and if that wasn’t enough, she came clean to Ross about her feelings for him, which led Ross to leave Bonnie and get back with Rachel. They didn’t last long after that.
At one point in , Rachel had feelings for Joey and repeated the above-mentioned toxic patterns. Rachel couldn’t tell Joey what she felt for him because he started going out with Ross’ coworker, Charlie, and though Charlie was always polite to everyone, Rachel was cold and rude to her all the time. Joey and Charlie eventually broke up and Joey and Rachel got together, while Charlie and Ross also started dating. Drunk Ross revealed in front of all of them that Charlie didn’t like Rachel, but at least she was mature enough to be polite and not mess with Rachel’s life.
The reached a high point when a drunken night resulted in the birth of their daughter, Emma. Ross and Rachel had agreed to not get back together but would raise Emma together, but Ross’ mother gave him his grandmother’s engagement ring to give it to Rachel. While at the hospital, the ring fell out from Ross’ jacket and Joey picked it up, but when he turned around to show it to Rachel, it looked like he was proposing, and Rachel immediately said “yes”. Rachel didn’t have feelings for Joey and she had just had a baby with Ross, and agreeing to marry Joey (even though he wasn’t proposing) unleashed problems for the three of them.
When Rachel got pregnant, one of her biggest challenges was telling her father about it. Dr. Green was explosive and even Rachel feared him, so she knew he wasn't going to take it well. Seeing how her father was starting to get angry at her, Rachel lied about being engaged to Ross, and when she told him the truth, she made it worse by saying Ross didn't want to marry her because she was damaged. This led Rachel’s father to confront Ross in front of his girlfriend, Mona, causing problems in Ross and Mona's relationship.
Monica and Rachel were best friends, but . In addition to the Jean-Claude Van Damme incident, Rachel stole Monica’s thunder by kissing Ross on the night of the celebration of Monica and Chandler’s engagement. Rachel did it again when her pregnancy came to light on the day of Monica and Chandler’s wedding, and one more time when she stole the name Monica had planned for her future baby. While Rachel did change a lot over the course of , she never fully understood what being a friend was about, and was lucky enough to have friends that forgave her for the horrible things she did to them.