Which fictional TV pair has given you major BFF goals? Was it Serena and Blair from Gossip Girl? Or maybe it was Grace and Karen from Will & Grace? Sure, there were times when they gave us the perfect picture of true friendship. They brought out the best in each other and supported one another when they needed it the most. But still, these moments can’t hide the fact that these friendships were dysfunctional and kind of toxic.
The internet is littered with enough cute memes and GIFs to convince people that certain fictional pairs are the best examples of friendship. But if you think about it, all we’re seeing are the highlight reels. Not the huge offenses, the constant insults, the unnecessary drama, or the childish behavior. Of course, even the strongest friendships have challenges, but there’s a solid line between toxic friendships (where one or both parties make a habit of bringing more stress into the other’s life) and healthy ones (where both parties genuinely respect one another and have their best interests at heart).
We know an awful friend when we see one, and they should be acknowledged as such, not celebrated for their ridiculous behavior. See some of the most toxic friends from TV shows:
Rachel Green from Friends
She delivers funny one-liners, and she’s pretty, but her overall personality is just beyond awful. She’s inconsiderate, manipulative, childish and a bit self-absorbed, so it comes as no surprise that she doesn’t make a good friend. For example, remember that episode where Monica had a huge crush on an actor, but since she couldn’t approach him, she let Rachel talk to him on her behalf? Well, to briefly refresh your memory, Rachel never got around to asking the cute actor if he wanted to date her friend. He actually asked her out. And of course, since Rachel was suddenly interested, she told Monica that she wanted to date him. At first, Monica waved it off and gave her the okay to avoid drama, but then she said she wasn’t okay with it and the two got into a big fight.
Any true friend would know that they can’t go after someone that their friend in interested in! But we’ll argue that Monica was at fault too because she could’ve been honest about how she felt from the beginning.
Ross Geller from Friends
Ross may have been the smartest in his group, but his intelligence seriously got to his head. He was narcissistic, annoying, and such a condescending jerk to his friends. He almost always made it his mission to rain on everyone’s parade, he loved to mock others, and when his friends told him what he didn’t want to hear (even if they were trying to help!), he lashed out at them.
What was truly messed up, though, was how he treated his best friend, Joey. Not only did he constantly ridicule him for being less smart, but in one episode, he literally hooked up with Joey’s ex-girlfriend just minutes after they split up. Honestly, how cold and heartless could you be?
Jessa Johansson from Girls
She was that refreshing, free-spirited (and often cruel) character that everyone grew to love. Many fans would even argue that Jessa was the best part of the show. But let’s be real, Jessa was the absolute worst friend. For example: Getting into a relationship with her best friend’s ex? Showing up two hours late for a special dinner that was planned for her? Telling Hannah, an aspiring author, that her first book is bound to fail? Constantly dishing out insults and being rude for no reason? …Do we even need to go on?
Serena Van Der Woodsen from Gossip Girl
In general, Serena was by far one of the most unbearable characters to watch on this show. And when it came to her friendship with Blair, she legit took her toxic behavior to a whole new level. For example, she slept with her best friend’s boyfriend, sabotaged Blair’s wedding because she was jealous of her relationship with Dan, ditched Blair around the same time that her dad abandoned her, and constantly tried to steal her spotlight. One time she actually told Blair: “I’m just tired of trying to hold myself back, so I don’t outshine you.” …Like, really? Is it normal to say something like that to your BFF or are we missing something? Blair was the obvious mean girl of the show, but Serena’s antics were so much worse – mostly because she pretended they weren’t there.
Alison DiLaurentis from Pretty Little Liars
She may have been popular and gorgeous, but she was downright cruel, and she knew how to get under people’s skin. Alison screwed around with the Liars so much that we can’t help but wonder why they were friends with her in the first place. She was extremely judgmental, she bullied them incessantly, and she had no issue with ruining their self-esteem or toying with their emotions. She also had this awful habit where she’d constantly hint at the girls’ secrets while they were hanging out in public, just to keep them on their toes. Oh, and of course we can’t forget how she faked her own death and then terrorized each of her so-called friends. This sounds like the total opposite of friendship, guys.
Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls
If you can recall some of the scenes between Lorelai and Sookie on Gilmore Girls, then you’ve probably noticed how Lorelai almost always talked about herself or focused on her personal concerns. And Sookie, being the bubbly, loyal and patient friends that she was, always listened and offered support. Yes, they had their cute moments, but we could always sense that their relationship was one-sided. It was always about Lorelai!
Not convinced? Well, consider this quote of hers from one episode: “Hey Sookie, I know you just gave birth, but how about you do some labor-intensive work with me to start up a catering business instead of resting?”
Todd Packer from The Office
And the award for worst TV friend EVER goes to… Todd Packer! The same guy who always picked on Michael, uttered homophobic slurs on the regular and literally defecated on a rug in Michael’s office. He also hit on a bouncer’s girlfriend once and left Michael to take the blame, letting him get beat up by the bouncer and all of his friends. And yet, Michael still called this guy his “best friend.” But thankfully, he finally came to his senses after Todd insulted the love of his life, Holly.
Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory
Remember that episode where Raj reached his breaking point with Howard and decided to cut him out of his life for good (well, not for good, more like for two episodes)? Well, in case you’re unfamiliar, Raj was going for this really big job, and when he didn’t get it, he noticed his lack of self-confidence was to blame. Upon realizing that his self-confidence started to plummet when he became friends with Howard and decided to cut him out of his life.
Considering the fact that Howard had been insulting his best friend and mocking his culture from day one, we’re kind of surprised that this didn’t happen earlier. And although it’s great that the two have since reconciled, it seems like Howard didn’t make much of an effort to change. So much for trying to teach him a lesson…
Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory
Controlling, condescending, and selfish are just a few words that come to mind when we think of Sheldon. And perhaps it’s not entirely his fault since he’s slow to understand social cues and he’s not great at detecting how people feel. But still, we’ve seen more than enough of his interactions with the guys to know that he’s the worst friend. He thinks he’s entitled to everything and so he believes that his friends are there to cater to his every need.
And yet, when they need a favor from him, he’s quick to say “no” or make up excuses. He loves to dismiss his friends’ accomplishments while reminding them of his own and he honestly sucks at empathizing with others. In fact, at one point, Leonard (his best friend and former roommate) tried to move out because just being around him got so unbearable! If that’s not a dysfunctional friendship, then we don’t know what is.
Nancy Wheeler from Stranger Things
She’s intelligent, brave, and pretty funny, but she makes such an awful friend. I’m sorry, but have we all forgotten about when she pressured her BFF, Barb, into coming to Steve’s pool party – then ditched her to go hookup with the (at the time) douchebag? While Barb was sitting alone by the pool, she was taken by a predatory humanoid creature called the Demogorgon and ultimately killed. It’s a stretch to say that this was Nancy’s fault (since she couldn’t have known that this would happen), but still, it goes to show that she only cared about herself, and she clearly valued her love interests more than she did her own best friend. JUSTICE FOR BARB.
Mindy Lahiri from The Mindy Project
We absolutely love Mindy because of her confidence and her quirky personality, but guys, she is literally one of the worst fictional friends we’ve ever seen on TV. Take, for instance, the one episode where she threw a welcoming party for her childhood friend Elena, who was moving to New York. She promised her a great selection of cute guys and a fun time, but when things didn’t go her way, she lashed out at her male coworkers for not doing enough to impress her friend. Then, to Mindy’s dismay, Elena had a connection with Morgan and started to date him. She wasn’t happy about this, and so what did she do? Sabotaged their relationship by exposing Morgan’s most embarrassing secret, of course.
The scary part is that this is just the tip of the iceberg and she proves to be a selfish friend more often than not.
Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City
If the award for the worst friend ever were real, then Carrie would have definitely been a contender during Sex and the City’s HBO run and movie sequels. She got angry when Charlotte didn’t want to lend her money for an apartment she couldn’t afford (because you know, she spent her own money on shoes), she failed to be there for her friend when she got an injury (and so she thought it appropriate to send Aidan to go help a naked Miranda in her home), and rather than offering her support for Miranda when she wanted an abortion, she changed the conversation and focused on how she once had an abortion. But perhaps one of her worst offenses was when she went to visit Samantha, who’d been diagnosed with cancer. While Samantha was getting chemo, Carrie her literally rambled on about her perfect relationship with Petrovsky. Like, would it have killed her to not focus on herself for once?
Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell
He was charming, and he could get any girl he wanted, but the guy was a sociopath. He loved to scheme, and so he took advantage of his friends, lied constantly, and even brainwashed them at one point. He created a ton of mischief for his own amusement, and whenever his friends faced the consequences, he did absolutely nothing to help remedy the situation. For instance, in one episode alone, he encouraged his best friend Jessie to dance with a guy who sexually harassed a girl, convinced his friend Screech to throw a huge party against his parents’ wishes, and gambled away Screech’s pet dog. No amount of blonde hair or flirty remarks can cover up the fact that he’s a total jerk.
Karen Walker from Will & Grace
Yes, she shared a few heartwarming moments with her closest friend, Grace, but it doesn’t mean that she was a good friend. She poked fun at Grace and her fashion choices almost all the time, she was rude for no reason, and she refused to actually do her part at work. Even Grace, who had to work with her, mentioned that she’s “a spoiled, shrill, gold-digging socialite who would sooner chew off her own foot than do an honest day’s work.” At least she owned it.
Kelly Taylor from Beverly Hills, 90210
Kelly is pretty much an awful person and an even worse friend. We should note that the only reason why she became friends with Brenda was because she didn’t want to get paired up with a fat girl in her class. She was obsessed with boys, she was self-centered, and she couldn’t care less about her friends because she treated them horribly. For example, she actually hit on Brenda’s boyfriend while the two were dating. Then, she slept with him and started dating him on the side. Talk about heartless.
Marissa Cooper from The O.C.
In retrospect, we’re starting to think that Marissa’s sole purpose on this show was to make everyone’s life a living hell. She was selfish, narcissistic, pessimistic, and so self-destructive. She almost died multiple times, forcing her friends to come to her rescue. And how did she repay them? By adding unnecessary drama. Poor Summer was supposed to be her “best friend,” but Marissa took advantage of her kindness by staying at her house for over a year. Plus, she spent most of their time together complaining about her own problems. SMH.
Seth Cohen from The O.C.
Seth was self-obsessed, condescending, entitled, and so manipulative. Perhaps most fans were too blinded by his cuteness and humor to see this back then, but Seth was a real jerk to everyone – especially his friends. He only ever wanted to talk about himself and his problems, regardless of what his friends were going through. And if others tried to switch the topic, he protested like an immature kid. Not cool, Seth.