Why Ross Geller is the worst character on ‘Friends’

Ross Geller and his favorite excuse. Photo by Philippe Berdalle | photo art by Jacquelyn Sharga

The man who did not deserve a break …

The show “Friends” is nearing 30 years in the public eye. During its course, the show accumulated a huge following and the following has only grown since the show’s end in 2004 with its reruns and “Friends” related paraphernalia. 

Because of this show’s widespread and longtime audience, many debates and analysis have been made themselves known over the years. Team Joey or Team Ross, Mondler or Michard, Team David or Team Mike, so on and so on …

A debate that I did not know I had to have a team for was the debate about whether or not Ross is the worst character in the show. I quite literally thought that it was a given with the way the writers made him so painfully obnoxious more often than not. It wasn’t until I posted a TikTok on my personal account that blew up when I found out there are people who seriously think Ross is a good guy.


@jackyshark Those of you who know me, know how passionate I am about this. JUST BECAUSE HE’S FUNNY, DOESN’T MEAN I HAVE TO LIKE HIM. #fypシ #friends #friendstv ♬ hello rocco – mari888

I would just like to make it known upfront, just so I’m crystal clear about this, that my hatred towards Ross has nothing to do with actor David Schwimmer. David Schwimmer is actually the only reason I can stomach Ross at all. His physical performance and verbal delivery was killer.

The unagi episode? Love it. The one where they all find out about Monica and Chandler? Love it. Shwimmer did a great job with the character he was given, but I would be lying to you if I said that this character wasn’t flawed from the get go. 

Everything that I am about to list plays off one another and some things he does can fall into and under multiple traits and categories – so just keep that in mind. I do love Ross, but I do not like Ross.

Ross was selfish, but not entirely. He has his selfless moments, there just weren’t enough of them to counteract the selfish ones. I would like to highlight some moments that honestly made my heart melt that involved Ross. 

Ross got Phoebe a bike. Ross stood up for Monica, without her asking, when only her boxes of momentos got flooded. He also was going to take Rachel to the dance when her date stood her up, but he was in love with her, so although that wasn’t a completely selfless act, it was sweet. 

Ross was not only sexist towards women, but towards men too. His ideas were so warped, and the way he lashed out so irrationally and consistently any and every time someone didn’t fit the idea he had for them in his head leads me to believe that this man was on a whole other level of crazy. 

Ross literally refused the service of a wonderful, nurturing and sweet nanny, purely because he was a man. Huh? Can you spell “insecure”? 

I would say that like Ross could spell it, but he made it very clear to everyone that he’s not good with literature when said he couldn’t read Rachel’s letter, of which she poured her heart and soul into. I understand that 18 pages front and back is a lot, but if you really care about that person, so frickin’ what? Read the letter.

Let’s not forget how he reacted when he saw Ben, his son, playing with a Barbie doll. Oh, and remember how he left one of his many girlfriends, Bonnie, because she shaved her head?  If there’s anything this man consistently has throughout the show, it’s the audacity.  

This man was so possessive, needy and controlling that he couldn’t fathom the idea of Rachel having a life outside of their relationship. The way he acted when she started doing well in her job and outside of their circle was disgustingly immature and inappropriate. 

He literally embarrassed and disrespected her in her place of work when she was freaking out because something out of her control was happening. Instead of comforting her or doing what she originally asked him to do, which was literally nothing, he set her desk on fire.

This wouldn’t be the last time Ross would humiliate a woman he “loved” either. Let’s not forget who’s name he said at the alter when getting married to Emily.

And incase you don’t know what I’m talking about … He didn’t say the name of the woman standing right in front of him, Emily, his literal fiancé, he instead said the name of the woman he cheated on, Rachel.

Truly one of the most humiliating and confusing situations to put someone through. Yet, Ross still managed to play victim during the next few episodes when Emily was understandably having trust issues with Rachel still being a huge person in his life.

Emily was a character that was doomed to fail. A stepping stone for the inevitable endgame couple that is Ross and Rachel, but that shouldn’t make what Ross did to her any less heartbreaking.

Ross was just as possessive and manipulative towards Emily as he was towards any woman he was with, but probably put her through the most amount of pain in the quickest amount of time. Leaving that poor woman disoriented and confused for years to come.

Not only was this man jealous of Rachel (or any woman he was with) interacting with any man, but he was also jealous of Rachel’s job. I can’t help but feel embarrassed for both Ross and Rachel in episode 12 of season 3, when Ross decides to bombard her with “romantic” paraphernalia at her office. 

I do understand how it could be frustrating that Rachel was missing their 1 year anniversary dinner, but wow, was going to and setting literal fire to her workspace the complete and absolute wrong move. He’s a menace.

Ross ignored Rachel’s wishes, which was to raincheck, because she was needed at her job, for a crazy situation that needed to be taken care of immediately. Rachel did raise her voice at Ross but it was justified, and honestly needed! Someone needed to put that man in his place and that was the closest anyone ever got to doing so. 

Rachel was so stressed, you could hear it over the phone, and honestly if he really wanted to, he could’ve done something even more special for her by setting out her PJs and running a hot bath for her to come home to after a long stressful day. But he never took her seriously and it was made into a joke. One that I never laughed at because that’s atrocious behavior. 

Ross was also homophobic. He wasn’t mad that Carol moved on, because this man jumped from woman to woman with haste and vigor, he was mad that Carol moved on with a woman. He’s insecure about his masculinity and makes it the woman’s problem. 

“The One with the Metaphorical Tunnel” AKA the episode where Ben plays with a Barbie doll, is the perfect display of Ross’ toxic masculinity. Also, any episode where Susan and Ross have to interact. Susan is a better match for Carol than Ross ever was and that rubs him the wrong way. And honestly, that’s funny to me. 

Hey, remember when Ross lied? Like all the time? But more specifically when he lied to Rachel about divorcing her? 

I don’t know how to word this question any differently so I apologize but… What the hell was that for? Ego? Pride? Insecurity? I’m gonna safely assume that it was all of the above, but anyway you look at it, yikes. 

Ross was also a manipulator and a cheater. Even in situations where he was ever so clearly not the victim, he would still play the victim card. I’ll give credit where credit is due, this man was devoted to the idea that he was not the problem in any situation he was in. 

For someone who loved to hear the sound of his own voice, this man did not know how to communicate with anyone in his life. The lack of communications skills went hand in hand with his lack of emotional maturity. 

Ross is so emotionally stunted. He needs therapy. And he’s the type of person that would conjure up any excuse to not go. I can hear him, in his stupid little Ross-y tone, degrading the therapist. His therapist would need therapy after one session with him. 

And the award for biggest hypocrite goes to Ross! This man really turned around and started a relationship with Joey’s freshly ex-girlfriend and still got mad at Joey for starting a relationship with Rachel. Make it make sense!

I don’t know how people still think that Ross and Rachel are endgame. Ross is the most toxic character in the entire show. He doesn’t grow, he doesn’t develop, he doesn’t change.

Which was painful to watch because he was the one who needed to grow the  most! There is zero character growth for the character of Ross. Why aren’t you growing, Ross? You studied evolution.

You made sure everyone knew you studied evolution. You made sure to make Phoebe feel bad for thinking evolution isn’t a thing. Therefore, you should know how to evolve.

Therefore, this stubbornness and resistance to change is clownery and tomfoolery of the highest degree on your part. Why aren’t you participating in evolution? Darwin and I both have a dinosaur sized bone to pick with you. I’m talking about one T-Rex femur-sized bone here, Ross. 

Much to my dismay, I have to admit that I smiled when Ross and Rachel ended up together in the end. But that smile disappeared so fast when this man had the audacity to say what he said to Rachel in response to her being vulnerable with him, saying so sweetly to him, “no more messing around, I don’t want to mess this up again.” 

Ross says … “Unless we’re on a break again.” Wow, that’s a good one, Ross. Except it’s not at all actually, and I would’ve gone straight back to the airport if I were Rachel.

Hypothetically speaking, it is supposed to make me, an audience member, feel good when Ross and Rachel end up together in the end because we, the audience, have been spoonfed the idea of them being together for the entire show. By Phoebe, Monica, Chandler and even Joey. And we’ll talk about Joey… 

But as I’ve gotten older and rewatched the show a few times, the whole notion and phenomenon of “Wow, we’ve waited so long for this, they’re finally back together again” has worn off. 

I used to look at the first time they dated with Ross-colored glasses, they were perfect together in my eyes. Their only flaw was breaking up, but I thought that way because I was a literal child. They were honestly never a good match, and that does hurt my heart to say. 

I’ve seen the comments about Joey and Rachel being endgame, and I’ve also seen people responding to those comments, either agreeing or brutally disagreeing. I happen to see both sides of this argument. 

I hear what they’re trying to say about Joey and Rachel. Do I agree 100%? No. But do I think that Joey treated Emma and Rachel 9 million times better than Ross ever did? Yes. 

Ideally, if the show really wanted me to be happy for Ross and Rachel in the end, he would’ve gone to Paris with her. They could have ended up together in Paris. This man had a pension and this man loved making his business known, so we all knew that he had a pension.

It wasn’t a matter of money, or even Ben, who we saw maybe once in the later seasons, it just wasn’t even in the cards for Ross. Never once did it cross this man’s mind that he should go with Rachel, the alleged love of his life. And this decision on the writers’ part was a huge smack in the face to any growth Rachel had made.

The show starts with Rachel having a crisis. She doesn’t know who she is. She tells her dad, “My whole life I’ve been told ‘you’re a shoe, you’re a shoe, you’re a shoe.’ And one day I realized, ‘maybe I don’t want to be a shoe, maybe I want to be a purse, or a hat.”

Yet, she ends up with the one guy that would tell her what to be, in this case, a shoe, staying in New York. Basically telling her not to pursue her dream job. 

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, yeah, when you put it like that, maybe she should’ve ended up with Joey. Ross is so disrespectful towards the idea of Rachel’s potential. Him existing holds her back, he holds her back more times than I can count. 

It makes me genuinely sad because I did love his character as a child. I still quote Ross to this day because he is definitely one of the funniest characters on the show. I love me a good “unagi” or “pivot” moment, but he’s not a good guy, and definitely not the right guy for Rachel. 

I feel like Joey and Rachel being together should’ve lasted longer. You’re telling me those two couldn’t get it on? I call bull. 

They were so sweet together. Yet, in the third episode of season 10, the writers hit us with this brilliant explanation as to why they couldn’t work:

“How come Monica and Chandler could do it?” Rachel said. “Well, maybe it’s because they weren’t as good of friends as we are,” Joey said. 

I beg your pardon? In the words of Chandler, “SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UUUUP!” The best relationships stem from a solid foundation of trust and friendship. 

The writers definitely felt guilty because of the backlash they faced from the viewers, and there are rumors about even the cast complaining, for not introducing that concept sooner. If they played with the idea before Rachel had a kid with Ross, maybe things would have turned out differently. 

The existence of Emma is the perfect crutch for people from the 1940s. Yes, Ross and Rachel do have a kid together, but that doesn’t mean they have to be together. Joey treated Rachel and Emma better than Ross ever did, enough said on that. 

Again, my point is not that Joey and Rachel should have ended up together, and it’s not even that Ross and Rachel should have ended up together in Paris, my point is that Ross had so many opportunities to do the right thing, too many times to count with Rachel, and quite literally never did. 

Rachel is literally a goddess, she might be a little ditsy and vapid from time to time, but she’s sweet and has a good heart, and Ross took advantage of that. Rachel ended up right back where she started because of Ross and that simply sucks. I don’t think her happily ever after is in New York, but this is about Ross. 

Ross was never supportive of Rachel’s job because it was something he couldn’t control and something she was passionate about. He degraded her field of work because he didn’t understand it. 

Hey bud, news flash! Not everyone has to like the same things. For example, I do not like Ross, and Ross loves Ross. We disagree, and that’s okay, but we are entitled to our own opinions… even though loving Ross will always be the wrong opinion.

To be more specific, I do love the idea of Ross, and the bigger picture he represents, which is being 1 of the 6 people who shaped my childhood, but I really do not like Ross. Ross’s deep insecurity, immeasurable vanity and unwillingness to face his flaws is a toxic combination of traits. Ross has this insistent need to prove how much of a man he is, which really shows just how fragile his masculinity is.

Ross is constantly preoccupied proving to others how manly he is that he ends up overcompensating and being completely emotionally detached from everything and everyone. He’s so defensive and this is because he’s insecure, which is why he craves being the dominant one in his relationships. It’s the exact reason he chose to hate Susan, even though she’s a great person.

The guy is a narcissist, like a Grade A narcissist. The scene where Janice breaks up with him gave me enough serotonin to last me a whole nother lifetime. Also, the fact that he dated Janice proves just how little he cares about his significant others and friends. 

Janice was not only Chandler’s long term off and on love interest, someone who he considered moving in with, but was known to whine, and she’s the one that calls Ross out for whining. It’s perfect!

The self-victimization is tolerated by the friend group, even if they do make the occasional snide remark, they still put up with it! He only cares about himself and how he is perceived in relationships. 

Why should we be happy for him when he ends up with his dream girl in the end? He doesn’t deserve it. Ross uses women, and he ultimately uses Rachel to complete this vision he had for the perfect version of himself. 

All of the women that came in between him and Rachel were sadly disposable, that’s why I will forever sympathize with Emily, because the writers set that pair up purely to fail, and so did Ross. 

It’s a miracle that Joey and Chandler remained friends with this guy, seeing how little he put into the friendship. He really only came to them when he needed to complain. The man is so insufferably immature. 

“Not if we’re on a break again.” Die in a hole. Dig yourself a little dinosaur excavation site type hole, crawl up in it and die Ross. 

Then, I’ll cover you in cement, and when the time comes, you’ll be dug up and people will be like “Look! It’s a Rossasuarus Rex! Known for being the most immature creature to walk the Earth.” You’re done, Ross. You’re done.