Friends became a cultural phenomenon back in 1994 when the story of six friends in their 20's going through the trials and tribulations of adulthood in New York took the world by storm. It went on for a total of ten seasons, and to this day, people are constantly rewatching and quoting old episodes, showing that it will truly stand the test of time.
The fanbase of Friends has always been a dedicated bunch and over the years since it ultimately ended in 2004, many of those fans have come up with their own "fan theories" about the beloved show.
For those who aren't aware of what a fan theory is, it is defined as, "A form of contemporary critical theory, in which the audience analyzes the text and creates a new interpretation that explains “what really happened,” creating a separate narrative aside from or within the narrative." Basically, it's a fun way for the dedicated fans to create a whole new world within an already existing fictional world they love.
Because of this trend amongst popular television shows, Friends was bound to be the next subject of television fan theorists. And now, there are several upon several prime examples of enthralling fan theories about this hit sitcom from the 90's.
So whether you enjoy the dark and twisted fan theories that some have come up with, or just like to read the fun fan theories that talk about where the characters ended up after the show, we have it all compiled in this very intriguing list.
Be prepared to have your minds blown as you read 24 Friends Fan Theories (That Could Totally Be True)
24 Is Phoebe A Villain?
There is one fan theory out there that suggests that Phoebe is actually quite smart, despite her awful upbringing and her moments of flightiness, and because of that, she enjoys pitting her friends against one another for her own amusement.
For example, the episode where she won the argument against Ross about the theory of evolution, causing him to question everything he has ever believed. When he left, she simply turned around and said, “That was fun - who’s hungry?”
Phoebe may seem on the surface to be a fun, ditzy, and caring friend, but maybe there's more that lies beneath.
23 Gunther Always Reserved Seating For Rachel And Her Friends
We all know that Gunther, who worked at their favorite coffee shop, Central Perk, was deeply in love with Rachel, though she never knew it. So this theory has to do with that love causing him to always reserve the couch and armchairs for her and her friends.
Basically, he did this even though they weren’t aware of the true reason for it.
They simply thought it was available for them always since they were regulars.
Little did they know, Gunther had a huge crush on Rachel, causing them to get special treatment.
Too bad his love was never returned.
22 Friends Is In The Same Universe As Seinfeld And Mad About You
It isn’t too difficult to piece this theory together, seeing as the connections between the three hit sitcoms were very apparent. See, Jamie (Helen Hunt) from Mad About You came into Central Perk on Friends, mistaking Phoebe for her twin sister, Ursula (who appeared on Mad About You as well).
Then, Kramer (Michael Richards) from Seinfeld was on an episode of Mad About You, which suggests that all three shows were indeed in the same universe.
But then again, Kramer and George were both seen on Seinfeld watching Mad About You, so who knows what is actually the case...
21 Joey And Phoebe Were More Than Friends
This theory came from Matt Leblanc (a.k.a Joey Tribbiani) himself. He and Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe, were hoping that was what was going to happen towards the end of the series.
They figured it would come out that Joey and Phoebe had been secretly hooking up all along.
They even wanted that to happen and suggested it to the writers, who ended up not going along with the idea. But it still would make sense that the two oddballs of the group would find solace in each other’s arms…or something like that.
20 Rachel And Ben Wyatt From Parks And Rec Were A Thing
During one episode of Friends, Monica was listing off the guys that Rachel had slept with on the first date, and one of the names she said sounded oddly familiar. And that name was Ben Wyatt.
So it has been thought that maybe Ben Wyatt ended up being the same Ben we knew from Parks and Recreation. It is unlikely that the writers on Parks and Rec decided to use a throwaway character from Friends as a main character on their own show, but Redditors have done the math and realized that Rachel would have been 29 and Ben would have been 26 at the time it was mentioned. So it’s not totally off base, I suppose.
19 The Whole Series Was Rachel’s Dream
It was no secret that Rachel didn’t want to marry Barry and dreaded her future as a spoiled, snobby housewife. That’s how the whole series started after all, with her running away from her upcoming nuptials and into Central Perk with her new friends.
But one person has theorized that Rachel was actually having an anxiety dream the night before her wedding, and dreamt up a whole different life for herself, including the five other friends. This was a way for her to escape the true life she would be entering into the following morning.
Let's hope for Rachel's sake, that isn't true.
18 Was This All Phoebe’s Sad Fantasy?
This next one is definitely more on the depressing side, but it is still interesting nonetheless.
This person theorizes that Phoebe is actually still homeless and on illegal substances.
And she is, in turn, having a fever dream of sorts where she projects herself into the lives of the other five friends to feel better about her own life.
That's a sad tale and the whole theory makes it sound even more depressing, but co-creator Marta Kauffman responded by saying, “That’s a terrible theory. That’s insane! That’s, like, that’s like crazy alt-television theory.”
Basically, it’s not true but is still fascinating.
17 Joey Really Just Wanted Pancakes
In one episode, Joey wants Rachel to let his one-night stand, Erin, down easy by saying he’s not looking for anything serious. He follows it up by saying Chandler used to do it for him and then make pancakes for both the girl and Joey.
When Rachel refuses, and then eventually gets him to give Erin a chance, it backfires when Erin doesn’t want anything serious. When Joey is let down, Rachel offers to make him pancakes and he immediately cheers up.
So what the theorist is saying is that Joey only pretended to like Erin so Rachel would make him pancakes. That is honestly not too out of the realm of possibilities.
16 Monica’s Obsessive Side Only Developed After Her Loss
This hasn’t been proven but has some merit to it once you break it down. It suggests that Monica was much less controlling and laid-back when she was overweight, as seen in flashbacks. But then when she’s a grown-up who has lost a substantial amount of weight, she is a clean freak who is very controlling of those around her.
This means that they think she took diet pills while at “fat camp” which made her personality change and maybe even caused her infertility. Sad, but plausible.
The grass is always greener, as the saying goes.
15 Ross Lost His Time With Ben
Another dark theory, but this one seems like it could actually be true, as opposed to the Phoebe theory. This person suggests that Ross lost custody of Ben, his son, around mid-season 8.
He is never seen after that point, and seeing as Ross has done several questionable things over the years that we saw him on Friends, it isn’t out of the question that Carol, his ex-wife, would have sole custody of Ben once she got tired of his antics. Plus, the evidence is there seeing as Ben is never seen meeting his sister, Emma.
Clearly, Ross needs a parenting class, stat.
14 The Whole Show Was A Starbucks Ad
One Facebook user went on a rant about how Friends was actually one long advertisement for Starbucks.
Because why else would young people be hanging out at a coffee shop all the time?
It may be called Central Perk but it is still a coffee shop nonetheless.
They get even more detailed when they say because Rachel’s last name is Green, it must be like the company color for Starbucks. And that her hair is similar to that of the mermaid on the logo for the brand.
It is very far-fetched, to say the least.
13 The Real Reason For Mr. Heckles Demise
Mr. Heckles was the kooky upstairs neighbor of Rachel and Monica’s who was always complaining about the noise they made. Even moments before he met his end, he went down there to complain once again. Upon leaving, he states he is going to go rejoin his “dinner party.”
And then he is gone soon after. But this person is suggesting that whoever his dinner party guest was ended up being the person who ended his life.
It’s either that or Mr. Heckles was lying once again and there was no dinner party, to begin with, and he simply passed from natural causes. But who knows?
12 Why Was Ross His Mother’s Favorite?
It was very obvious from the moment we saw Judy Geller interact with her two children that Ross was her favorite and that she viewed Monica as her problem child. Even though Monica always had a good head on her shoulders.
So the theory is that Judy had an affair years before and that Monica was the result of her tryst with the mystery man. She always felt guilty after that point, so she took that out on Monica and viewed Ross as her only “legitimate child.”
I can't lie, that doesn't sound like the craziest theory I've ever heard.
11 It All Takes Place In An Institution
Here we have yet another dark theory about this beloved show of our’s, but at least these people keep it interesting. This person suggested that Central Perk is actually the cafeteria in a Mental Hospital and that all of the characters on Friends actually have personality disorders they’re being treated for.
So that’s why we only see them in their apartments - or “rooms” - and in Central Perk, the “cafeteria.”
And it is also why they always seem so hostile to “outsiders” because they view them as trying to take one of the friends from the hospital.
10 A High School Student’s Future
We’ve all been in high school, dreaming of the day we were “grown up” and living our best life, which usually spurred us into daydreaming about the future.
Well, that is what one person suggests all of the Friends characters are actually doing. Basically, they think Rachel is dreaming of being an independent woman, while Ross is a paleontologist with a Ph.D., and Monica has lost weight and become a popular chef.
Meanwhile, Phoebe has overcome her sad beginnings and become a happy, cheerful person.
So, in reality, it is all a dream. For all their sakes, I certainly hope not.
9 The Truth About Phoebe’s Apartment Burning
There is a point in time on the series where Phoebe finds out that her twin sister, Ursula, is using her name to star in grown-up films. This angers Phoebe, who then decides to take the paychecks Ursula is getting for them in retaliation.
Some Friends fans have theorized that the fire that occurs in Phoebe and Rachel’s apartment right after wasn’t an accident. Maybe the people in that industry were shady and angry over her taking those paychecks, so they decided to make the fire in the apartment look like an accident when it never was.
Luckily, Phoebe made it out alive, but poor Rachel was the one blamed in the end.
8 Ben Geller Is Actually Psychic
In one episode of Friends, Rachel and Monica are watching Ross’ son, Ben, when he accidentally hits his head while playing with Monica. Then he repeatedly says, “Monica Bang,” which makes Monica worry that he’s going to rat her out to her brother.
But this Reddit user seems to think he was actually trying to say, “Monica Bing.”
Which would be interesting since that would later be her surname after she marries Chandler.
So basically, that bonk on his head made him into a psychic, apparently. Yes, this probably isn't one of the more plausible theories, but it would be a fun foreshadowing if it was true.
7 Friends Is Actually In The Home Alone Universe
When the series was wrapping up, Monica and Chandler are looking to buy a house, and then they find the perfect one. But it looks oddly familiar, especially when you see the view outside.
In the episode, “The One With Princess Consuela,” some people noticed that the view outside of Monica and Chandler’s new home is the same view from the McAllister’s home in Home Alone.
Of course, it was probably just reused stock footage, but it’s fun to imagine they bought the house that the McAllister’s once lived in. Hopefully, Kevin didn't leave any traps for them.
6 Phoebe And Mike Are In A Traveling Band
Some Buzzfeed users wanted to imagine what the characters from Friends would be like today, and one user came up with a pretty solid theory of Phoebe And Mike’s future.
They think that they bought an old VW Bus, fixed it up, and they now make their way around the country playing guitar and piano, with Phoebe on guitar and Mike on piano, of course.
Sounds like they are not only having the time of their lives but are living the lives they were always meant to live.
5 Rachel Becomes VP At Louis Vuitton
Rachel has always been a fashionista and a great businesswoman, so it’s no wonder this other Buzzfeed user pictures that for her future.
They theorize that Rachel and Ross return from Paris, and in their first week back they run into Mark, Ross’ nemesis, and Rachel's former boss. But then they learn that Mark is moving to Los Angeles and his position at Louis Vuitton will be available.
This causes him to recommend Rachel for the job, and she, of course, gets it.
And so they lived happily ever after…hopefully.
4 Ross May Have Serious Issues
Ross is incredibly intelligent and has always been enthralled by science since he was a boy. He has also been a bit socially awkward, as we have seen several times throughout the series.
So some Friends fans who are Autistic have theorized that he may have Asperger’s Syndrome, and therefore, is on the spectrum. They say this is because he shares many of the same traits as them, so it’s no wonder that that would be the explanation.
It has not been confirmed, but if the people from the Autism community identify with Ross, then maybe they are correct in their assessment.
3 Joey Finds His Lobster
Joey Tribbiani was always known for being the ladies’ man on the show. He never really settled down, and the only time we saw him in love was when he developed feelings for Rachel….which was interesting.
But in this theory, they believe that he has settled down in the future with an extra he met on a film set, and now has two children with her. Their names? Joey Jr. and Estelle.
Cue the “awws”.
But really, it would be nice to think of a future for Joey where he's found his own version of a happily ever after, so to speak.
2 Gunther Got His Happy Ending
As we all know, Gunther, the barista at Central Perk, always had a serious thing for Rachel. And by “thing” I mean he was madly in love with her, and his feelings were never returned, unfortunately for him.
But in this theory from a Buzzfeed user, in present day he is doing just fine. He is now married to an “insanely gorgeous model” and owns Central Perk. Sounds like everything worked out for him in the end, at least according to this Buzzfeed user.
1 Friends Is Going To Have A Reunion
This last one is more of a hopeful theory that several Friends fans have had over the years rather than an actuality, as of yet. But each time we have started to think it just might come back for a reunion, the creators, writers, and cast have all dispelled the rumors and stated that there are no plans for any reunions.
But maybe they are all just pulling a trick on us, and there are secret plans that we are just not aware of yet.
We can only hope….