Friendships with the opposite sex in K-dramas often spell second-lead syndrome. However, in some cases, platonic friendships in these stories show that they're just that — no romance needed — and they're more than okay. Curious to know which of these K-drama platonic friendships you should add to your must-see? Here are our top picks.
Hong Seol and Kwon Eun Taek from Cheese In The Trap
In the first couple of episodes of the series, Kwon Eun Taek (Nam Joo-Hyuk) and Hong Seol’s (Kim Go-Eun) friendship existed because Eun Taek has a crush on Hong Seol’s BFF, Jang Bo-Ra (Park Min-Ji). However, we later saw Eun Taek and Hong Seol growing closer; Eun Taek came to Hong Seol’s rescue whenever she got into unnecessary trouble. We also saw them giving each other sound advice when the other is going through something emotionally.
Friendship rating: 7 out of 10. When Eun Taek and Bo-Ra finally became a couple, Eun Taek didn’t stop being good friends with Hong Seol and their bond even got stronger. We only wish there were more moments of them dealing with challenging situations together since their chemistry was fun to watch.
Hong Raon and Byung Yeon from Moonlight Drawn By The Clouds/Love In The Moonlight
Kim Byung Yeon’s (Kwak Deong-Yon) mysterious and cold personality as Crown Prince Lee Yeong’s (Park Bo-Gum) bodyguard made him distant towards everybody else. But when naive Hong Raon (Kim Yoo-Jung) accidentally formed a friendship with Lee Yeong, getting acquainted with Byung Yeon was inevitable. With no friends or family of his own, Byung Yeon found a friend in Raon because of their many similarities. Eventually, Raon started treating Byung Yeon like an older brother, and Byung Yeon — despite trying to maintain his cold facade — also became very protective of Raon like a younger sibling.
Friendship rating: 9 out of 10. Their relationship was a great example of finding family outside of blood relations and it’s definitely one of the purest K-drama platonic friendships we’ve seen onscreen so far. We’re docking out a point because of Byung Yeon’s secret (no spoilers though!) but it’s still no biggie compared to what he and Raon went through together.
Deok-Sun and Dong-Ryong from Reply 1988
Reply 1988’s heart is in its relationships. We have the neighbourhood parents whose friendship extended to their children, giving us the Ssangmun-dong crew. With Deok-Sun (Hyeri) being the only girl in the group, it was inevitable that some of her childhood friends will eventually turn into romantic interests. However, despite Deok-Sun and Dong-Ryong’s (Lee Dong-Hwi) many similarities, they remained platonic friends and we're glad about it. This duo’s eccentric humour, love for dancing (despite not being very good at it), and kind but chaotic nature made them the perfect friendship pair that balanced the drama happening between their other friends.
Friendship rating: 9 out of 10. Despite their friendship not being portrayed as sibling-like, Deok-Sun and Dong-Ryong’s relationship perfectly captures another side to real-life platonic friendships. It’s having that certain fondness and affection towards someone without feeling the need to be overprotective towards them. We all want friends who will share both our happy and sad moments. But Deok-Sun and Dong-Ryong proved that sometimes, a go-to feel-good friend no matter how bad things get is something we need.
Go Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) and the Grim Reaper (Lee Dong Wook) were never meant to be friends. In fact, the Reaper was supposed to be after Eun Tak since she’s a lost soul that he has to deal with for work. But when they ended up as housemates because of the Goblin, they eventually formed a sibling-like bond. Eun Tak even helped Reaper deal with his love life while the Reaper willingly extended his sentence to save Eun Tak’s life.
Friendship rating: 10 out of 10. While we’re all for the romance in Goblin, these two’s friendship served a lot of adorable and heartwarming moments that truly made the drama shine even more.
Yoon Se-Ri and the North Korean Company Five from Crash Landing On You
Yoon Se-Ri (Son Ye Jin) and Ri Jeong Hyeok (Hyun Bin) may be the main couple of this drama, but Se-Ri’s friendship with Pyo Chi-Su (Yang Kyung-Won), Park Kwang-Beom (Lee Sin-Young), Kim Ju-Meok (Yoo Su-Bin), and Geum Eun-Dong (Tang Joon-Sang) — also known as Company Five — is one of the drama’s biggest charming points. Cultural differences between the South Korean heiress and the North Korean crew did not stop them from forming an extraordinary bond. Each of them took turns in caring and protecting each other when trouble came their way.
Friendship rating: 10,000 out of 10. Not even military borders were able to stop Se-Ri’s heartwarming relationship with Company Five. The development of their relationships also showed that once we make an effort to overcome our prejudices, there’s always something we can learn from one another.
While the romance element in K-dramas add excitement to the story, platonic friendships laced into these narratives make the plot feel more warm and grounded. Here’s hoping we see more of them.
(Cover photo from: netflix.com)