Drama Reactions & Reviews
Top 10 favorite drama girlfriends
by | January 24, 2017 | 149 Comments

javabeans: It seemed a natural progression to follow our favorite drama bromances with our favorite female friendships, since next to romance, it’s often the heartwarming depictions of friendships that suck us in and stir our emotions.

girlfriday: Do they ever. Friendships and family relationships often make me cry more than romances do.

javabeans: It’s too bad that unlike bromance, the women’s equivalent still doesn’t have a good pithy word that encapsulates what it means and sounds cool.

girlfriday: What, no womance for you?

javabeans: Not when I just hear it as Whoa, mans. I can’t use words like womance, sismance, or the like. Good effort, stumble on the dismount.

girlfriday: Yeah, girlfriends is the only term that feels natural, because when in real life would I ever say sismance?

javabeans: I can tell you when you should, which is never.

girlfriday: On your next birthday, it’s going to be on your card. In big pink letters.

javabeans: I’m not sure this is a game you want to be escalating.

girlfriday: Whatever you want to call it, there was no shortage of great female relationships in dramas, from high schoolers to grandmas in their eighties.

javabeans: I don’t think dramaland is quite as abundant in the female friendships as it is with the men, but when they’re good, they can be very, very good. Here are our top ten:


1. Dear My Friends (2016)

girlfriday: Sometimes the length of a friendship doesn’t necessarily indicate depth, but in the case of these lifelong friends, the years spent side by side made their life stories inextricably linked. These girlfriends showed that when friendships weather divorce, and death, and decades of hardship, they can become the strongest relationships of your life. Dear My Friends was an unusual drama—a love story among friends who were facing their twilight years together—but it’s the most realistic portrayal I’ve ever seen of true lasting friendship. For these women, who were underappreciated by husbands and children, their childhood friends were an unchanging source of understanding, comfort, and love. At times that love was tough and unyielding, and other times it was motherly and warm, and though they all walked such different paths in life, they always dropped everything and ran to each other when they were needed, no questions asked.

The best of them was the friendship between Kim Hye-ja and Na Mun-hee, an inseparable pair who likened themselves to Thelma and Louise and went everywhere holding hands. They were so wonderfully young at heart whenever they were together, still getting into the same petty fights they had as teenagers, as if they hadn’t aged a day. Their stirring love story was the heart of this show, and a reminder of why we all seek to make lifelong connections with people.


2. The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry (2010)

javabeans: Seven years after The woman Who Still Wants to Marry ended, I still haven’t found a dramaland depiction of female friendships that tops its sweet, cheery charm in my heart. It’s not the kind of friendship with life-or-death stakes or heart-wrenching sacrifices, but the drama gave us a lovely, refreshing slice-of-life take on modern women navigating career, romance, and thirtysomethinghood with their best girls at their sides, always ready to offer up a drink in toast or commiseration. There have been countless dramas that have taken a similar approach—I thank/blame Sex and the City—but the beauty here is in the execution, mixing in dashes of poignancy amongst the many, many comic gems, whether it involved your girlfriends peeling you off of wet cement and cutting your hair free of the sidewalk, or going along with your hare-brained exorcism scheme.

These three didn’t meet eye to eye on everything, but their friendship wasn’t as much about having the same outlook on life (one was dying to marry, one had sworn it off forever) as it was respecting how important choices were to the others and advising accordingly. They were the kind of friends who’d come running to comfort you through a heartbreak or a career setback, remind you all the ways in which you were better than your worst moments, and sometimes deliver the truth you didn’t quite want to hear. When I first watched this show seven years ago, I wanted to be these women when I grew up; would that we could all grow into independence and adulthood with as much grace and good humor.


3. Age of Youth (2016)

HeadsNo2: Age of Youth was a drama that resonated with anyone who’s ever had to share their living space with someone else, but especially for those who’ve ever been assigned roommates to live with. There’s always that uncertainty that comes from being shoved in close quarters with someone you don’t know, and first impressions can seem like the most important thing—when really, they’re nothing compared to what you learn by just spending time with each other.

The five girls at the Belle Epoque house couldn’t have been more different, so it was in watching them come together and coalesce as a band of unlikely sisters that the true reward came in. I loved watching them cope with everyday problems—someone eating your food matters, darn it—as much as I loved watching them overcome bigger issues, like how to help someone without hurting her pride, or advise someone who didn’t want to hear difficult truths. Whether they stayed up to cover the night shift for their roommate, held each other’s hair back for a good ol’ drunk vomit, or banded together to protect one of their own from physical threat, these five girls felt like the truest of friends by the end of their journey. I just wish it had never ended. *sniff*


4. Fantastic (2016)

javabeans: More than the romance, it was the three friends at the center of Fantastic that pulled me in and kept me there, for the way they sent a message that isn’t actually that common in the world of dramas: that friends can be as devoted and love as unconditionally as family—and sometimes even do better than blood kin. At first glance, their friendship seems fairly standard—cute and sweet, but like so many high school friendships that drift apart in adulthood. But it was the way they rallied around each other in moments of need that made my heart ache (in the good way), going above and beyond the call of friendship, stepping in when anybody else would have walked away. In one case that meant scrounging up money that couldn’t be spared in order to help a friend’s mother get surgery, while in another it meant taking care of a sick friend who had nobody else to look after her. And when one needed help freeing herself from a hellish marriage, it was the other two who came in with fists raised, ready to smack down any naysayers—and, more importantly, armed with the wits to secure her freedom unequivocally. Individually, these women were resilient and admirable, but together, driven by a common goal and fierce mama-lion protectiveness, they were unstoppable.


5. Answer Me 1997 (2012)

girlfriday: I remember thinking when I first watched this drama that this was a friendship I knew inside and out, because I’d lived it. It was so familiar and down-to-earth, and all the more heartwarming because it tapped into the memories I had of being a teenager and all the hours I spent with friends arguing about our favorite actors and singers, and trying to imitate the terrible fashion trends of our time. I would also recommend the other two Answer Me shows for their female friendships—the franchise is chock full of memorable bromances and girlfriends no matter which era you pick—but these girlfriends were my personal favorite.

It was the kind of friendship that could erupt in a dramatic fight over idol bands—H.O.T. vs. Sechskies never seemed so important until it threatened to break up a friendship—but in the end these girls were loyal to each other in every way that really mattered, proving that being young doesn’t mean you can’t become the kind of true-blue friend we all want in life. When one friend got her hair lopped off as a punishment and her best friend showed up at school with a matching ugly bowl-cut, I never loved two friends more. Sometimes you just need someone who gets you, at the time and place and age you’re in. And if that friendship grows up with you, then you’re one of the lucky ones.


6. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-ju (2016-17)

javabeans: The Weightlifting trio makes me think of what the Fantastic ladies were like in high school: energetic, loyal, and capable of growing into deep and meaningful adult relationships. That isn’t to say their friendship wasn’t plenty meaningful here as college students, but rather that we saw glimmers of what could become more serious and significant bonds later down the line, when they’d all lived a little more and experienced more struggles. We saw the beginning stages of that maturation as the drama unfolded, taking the girls from their carefree swagger through some growing pains that strained their bonds before strengthening them ever-stronger. They weren’t always perfect friends doing the right thing; as youngsters stumbling through a lot of first times—first crushes, first kisses, first heartbreaks—they were bound to make missteps, which sometimes hurt feelings and caused rifts. But we could feel that genuine love and trust held them together, which trumped misunderstandings and slighted feelings, and I felt safe knowing that after the drama’s curtain fell, they’d continue to grow as friends and emotional supports for each other, able to weather whatever adult storms came their way next.


7. High Society (2015)

HeadsNo2: One of the high points of High Society was its depiction of friendship between its main foursome, but none took the cake quite as much as the relationship between our heroine, born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and her hard-working, cheerful Candy best friend. In this story, the rich girl envied the poor girl—after all, she started out wanting to escape her chaebol family’s expectations, so Ji-yi represented all the things Yoon-ha wanted in life, like simplicity and happiness, and being loved for who you are and not the size of your bank account.

Though they started out on a lie, with the chaebol’s daughter lying about being a chaebol, their friendship was too genuine for any misunderstandings to last long. Even when some lovelines got crossed, both girls remained loyal to each other first, conceding crushes and refusing to become rivals in love. They each wanted the life that the other had, but their adorable love for each other always won out over any feelings of jealousy. When your chaebol friend is ready to break a car window with a brick just to get you out of a potentially sticky situation, the class divide doesn’t seem so divisive anymore—friends are friends no matter the circumstance, which is one of the nicer ideas this show left us with.


8. I Need Romance (2011)

girlfriday: These are your quintessential thirtysomething single girlfriends, a la Sex and the City—they have careers and complicated love lives, and they disagree on everything from sex to marriage. This trio of friends couldn’t be more different from one another, but they also respected those differences and hugged each other instead of judging, which is why I always liked this particular friendship. They were hilariously frank and showed their support in entertaining ways, like the sensible one dictating over the phone exactly what to say so her friend could kick an unwelcome ex-boyfriend out of the house, or the three friends turning a wedding night into a hotel slumber party when one of them got stood up at the altar.

It was just nice to see healthy relationships between women who could be honest with each other about their deepest fears when they needed it, and also turn around and be completely silly and take their friends’ side, no matter how nutty the situation. It was the relationship between the three friends that really carried the show—they cheered each other on at their best and at their worst, and though we might’ve come for romance, it was friendship that made me care most of all.


9. Heartless City (2013)

HeadsNo2: These two may be the most complicated on the list, and for good reason—one was a madam in charge of—er, renting the other one out, while the other was the not-so-sacrificial lamb. While that may not sound like the most affectionate relationship, in the seedy underworld that was Heartless City, theirs was a bond forged by fire and blood. As she found herself with a sudden protege, the normally aloof madam slowly changed—as did her feelings about the work they were doing—as she became more and more attached to a girl she first treated as an employee, then as confidant and friend and, eventually, sister.

There was always something motherly in the way the madam treated her newest charge, which only complicated and underscored their already strange relationship. But despite their work revolving around men—and the worst sorts of them, at that—these two had a friendship outside the realm of men as well, with a storyline that gave them their own problems to deal with and wonderfully thought-out arcs to live out. In a noir that was all about self-sacrifice, they proved that there’s strength in unity, and that the alliance between women who’ve made their living in darkness isn’t one easily torn apart.


10. Ex-Girlfriend Club (2015)

javabeans: This drama almost seems like an odd choice for a case of great girlfriends, because the premise sounds like it could have gone down such a bad path: Four ex-girlfriends resurface in a webtoon artist’s life when his successful series—based on his past relationships with his exes—gets snapped up for a movie. The exes dislike the idea of the project almost as much as they dislike each other—partly for all being exes, and partly for being complete opposites (one’s a fierce careerwoman, one’s a sweet and wily noona, one’s a young seductress, and one’s our best-buddy heroine). The initial encounters are contentious and combative, replete with snide comments and hair-pulling. But a curious thing happens as the ladies team up in a calculated, the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend sort of way, and start seeing each other for their individual merits. What I feared would sink into jealous stalking and petty squabbling turns into good-natured hilarity as they bond despite their own intentions, and as each ex-girlfriend gets her moment of closure with our main hero, she finds newfound sisters in the other exes. It’s not a conventional path to friendship, but it for sure is a laugh-out-loud, bizarrely funny one.


149 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. elvira

    I love The Woman who Still Wants to Marry. It’s the first womance drama I watched and I fell for it because of Kim Boo Ki [Wang Bit Na]. She’s a badass! Not to mention Kim Bum, as a young puppy crushing hard on noona.

    • 1.1 birdscout

      The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry holds a special place in my dramabeans-loving heart as the Kdrama where girlfriday joined forces with javabeans 🙂 Thanks for enriching my life ladies! It’s no exaggeration to say that your site has changed the course of my life for the better <3

      • 1.1.1 Dkaoru

        My favorite girlfriends are: Javabeans and Girlfriday!

  2. spazmo

    it’s nice to have stories about women who are not conniving to steal one another’s men behind their backs, omg…

    men come and go, but girlfriends are forever! they are with you when you get a new boyfriend/husband, when you break up/divorce, when you have your baby/ies, when your children get married, when you lose your parents…

    women/girlfriends rock!

    • 2.1 skelly

      One of my personal favorites is the trio from Protect the Boss – mainly for the cliche-busting inclusion of the pampered, spoiled rival. The hard-working, take-no-prisoners heroine and her wrestler GF exposed all the doubts and fears underlying the spoiled brat’s bad behavior and with tough love and lots of stayovers gave her a much-needed values readjustment. That relationship development was a lot more interesting than what was going on between the hero and heroine (although it was refreshing to have the heroine in control pretty much from the get-go).

      • 2.1.1 risa

        Yes, the awesome Protect the Boss trio was the first one that came to mind while reading this post. The show definitely deserves extra brownie points for breaking the mold in terms of (eventually) making the second female lead really endearing. It seemed extra stunning at the time, because she was played by Wang Ji-hye whom many of us were conditioned to hate after watching her as the invidious In-hee Bot in Personal Taste. But who wouldn’t love Ice Cream Girl? And it was such an unexpected treat to watch her become accepted as a true friend by the female lead and her bestie.

      • 2.1.2 jomo

        Yes, PTB was the first one I thought of, too!
        Not only did The Other Woman end up friends with the lead lady, but her BFF! I loved those three in their PJS, fighting over who slept where.
        Now that I think of it, how did Ice Cream end up in their tiny apartment, anyway?

        I gotta go rewatch!

      • 2.1.3 nomad

        This! The first girlfriends relationship in kdrama that I witnessed was Protect The Boss. I love that the 2nd lead became best friends with the heroine and her body guard best friend.

  3. giocare

    Which one would you guys recommend for a person to start first?

    • 3.1 Confused

      Definitely Age of Youth and Reply 1997!! My two personal favorites.

    • 3.2 Ammy

      2016’s both Age of Youth and Dear My friends are the best in my list.

    • 3.3 Blueribbon

      I would recommend Reply 1997, Dear My friends and Age of Youth and to watch them in that order. I feel like the fact that I watched Dear my friends before Age of Youth made me appreciated more and it quenched my thirst for more slice of life type shows. 🙂

      • 3.3.1 nomad

        I agree, except that I honestly think that Reply 1988 ahjummas have a better girlfriends depiction than Reply 1997. Don’t take me wrong, I LOVEEEE R97! Just that the ahjumma’s relationship in R88 leaves a bigger impact in my heart.

    • 3.4 Boomboompow

      Weightligting Fairy!

      • 3.4.1 Marie

        Was initially rooting for the swag friendship also but heard some rumors in instagram that Nan Hee was secretly dating NJH. Total minus points in terms of friendships! Hahahaha! So it will be age of youth for me 😀

        • Boomboompow

          REALLY?? Daebak!

        • kx

          It is a “rumor” as you said, and should die. Please do not spread what is at this point mere speculation based off a few pictures and interactions unless the actor/actress publicly acknowledges it. A few fans and antis are jelly because the actress playing Nan Hee has taken a few cute pictures together and have been seen to have interacted behind-the-scenes with him, the obvious since they are costars. Cho Hye Jung (Nan Hee) is being targeted because of the supposed rumor and this needs to stop.

    • 3.5 hyanggi

      Definitely Age of Youth, it’s both very short and a delightful breezy watch.

      But I’ve yet to see Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Ju and Dear My Friends, and I will ! (determined face, ready to try and open the 4th dimension)

      • 3.5.1 Carmi

        What ??? How have you not seen weightlifting fairy Kim bok Joo??? It’s among the best dramas , on the list with Age of youth, Fantastic, High Society !

        • hyanggi

          I knowwww, I’m sorryyy. Life happens, but I’ll make it happen, I promise *tighten bandana, clench teeth*

    • 3.6 fab

      Reply 1997!! Also known as Answer Me 1997.

    • 3.7 Knom

      Age of Youth (excellent slice of life drama). It was a surprise hit for me and my sisters. It has a nice balance of telling each girl’s their own life-stories while still intertwine their lives together. Plus, there is a bit of mystery and horror in it which makes the drama alot of fun. My sister and I enjoyed every minute of it. We love all of the gals and we hope for a Season 2.

    • 3.8 JessA

      I loved Fantastic and Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo!

    • 3.9 lenrasoon

      I would recommend Age Of Youth.

  4. Troll


  5. milktea95

    Awww. I was hoping our ahjumma trio from Reply 1988 to be on the list (Ra Mi Ran though). At least we have our HOT and Sechskies fangirls.

    • 5.1 MariD

      This!!! This so much!! The moms in Reply 1988 were the best! They were always there for each their, always made sure the others were not lacking & they loved their gossip time together.

    • 5.2 crazyahjummafan

      I love them too! Their friendship was so giving and warm! I wish that my two groups of close gfs will end up like them!

    • 5.3 Ar

      reply 1988 #friendshipgoals

    • 5.4 hyanggi


      They went over my mind, too. But when mentioned, they DEFINITELY have to go into the list. I love Ra Miran ever since

    • 5.5 Sula

      I was just coming down here to say this! I love the ahjummas!!

    • 5.6 nomad

      I read this late! So much to this!!

  6. Crazyredhairmireu

    I agree with many of these but where is Princess and Kang Ja of Angry Mom???? They were the cutest and most loyal friends. It was even more hilarious that one pretended to be the mother of the other to get her friend enrolled in high school. No matter how tough the situation got they had each other’s back.

    • 6.1 hella

      YES!! I 1,000% agree. They were one of my favorite parts of that show, and I loved almost every part of that show!

    • 6.2 Dwarf

      Angry mom was the first one to come to my mind too!!!

    • 6.3 amy

      As soon as I read this list I immediately jumped down to the comments to see if anyone else was thinking about Angry Mom! I’m glad you mentioned it! I feel like that is a real contender 🙂

      • 6.3.1 amy

        Apparently I’m still thinking of this because Angry Mom also had an amazing friendship between the two teenagers (the daughter and her friend) at the beginning that I think was exemplary. Angry Mom = the best.

        • WishfulToki

          Actually, there is so much bad parenting in dramaland that I would love to see a ‘top parents list’. It just warms the heart when you see parents who they try their best to love their kids, even thought they make mistakes.

          – Bok Joo’s dad in Weighlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. That same actor in Cantabile Tomorrow…
          – rock n’roll dancing dad in Healer.
          – Lettuce-wrapping mom in Fated to Love you.

          • neener

            Don’t forget the parents in Oh Hae-young Again. Her parents were the BEST!

          • Ammy

            In the best parents list, dad from “What happens to my family?” is the one I love the most.

          • mwwg

            Cranky/awesome mom in I Hear Your Voice is my jam.

          • skelly

            Another great set of parents are the lead female’s parents in Solomon’s Perjury: wise, supportive, loving — I look at them and I hope that’s how my kids see us!

    • 6.4 mwwg

      OMG, I never missed having my best friend nearby as much as I did while watching Angry Mom. Princess is the best friend a Sashimi could ever have.

      I would only add Surplus Princess. There were flaws in this drama, but man, did I love Jo Boa and Kim Seulgi as best buds.

      Both of these shows were pretty fantastical takes on slice of life type themes, but the friendships, they were real.

      • 6.4.1 mwwg

        Oh, and Let’s Eat 1. I really love tough ladies and their cutey friends!

  7. Celine

    I love R88 neighborhood moms! Yay for girlfriends!

  8. Cocoboo

    I thought it was going to be hard to think of my top faves here compared to the bromances, but I do like some of the ones already mentioned. Age Of Youth and WFKBJ. ♥

    My other picks:
    The 4 girlfriends in One More Happy Ending
    Kim Hye Jin and Min Ha Ri in She Was Pretty

    • 8.1 Purple Owl

      I love both friendships you mentioned. OMHE was tops for me because of the snag in SwP. But I’m glad the friendship survived them liking the same man in a realistic & healthy way.

    • 8.2 Nanda

      Love your choices!

    • 8.3 fab

      Uhm, no way Ha Ri was a friend. Let alone a good.

    • 8.4 monologue

      I really liked the friendships in one more happy ending too.

      I’d also add secret garden though that friendship wasnt central to the drama

    • 8.5 ajbny

      Yes! I loved those girl friends too! Of course their lives apart were so rich as well.

  9. hella

    Ahh, what a great list. There are few here I’ve heard of but have yet to see, so I’m excited! I wish Valid Love was on the list, though. I guess they’re disqualified because they’re related, but there has to be some recognition for the sweetest, most heart-aching-est sister-in-law relationship I’ve ever seen. My heart T_T

    • 9.1 Rose

      +100000 Their relationship was heartbreaking….

    • 9.2 Beanfan

      Yes! I came here especially to put in a word for “Valid Love.”

      I was so moved by the lengths she went to take care of her sister-in-law’s every need, and the way they just understood each other without being able to communicate properly. They were forced into the relationship by marriage, but as the marriage crumbled, the strength of their genuine regard for each other proved to be stronger than blood ties alone.

      • 9.2.1 Mary Dugan


    • 9.3 ajbny

      How about the two women in Mama? They’re relationship definitely qualifies.

  10. 10 royal

    There really are not a lot of group of female girls in dramaland. But there are a lot of BFFS forever type of friendships that I really love, like Discovery of Romance’s Yeorum and Sol, and Doctor’s Hyejung and Soonhee.

  11. 11 Ally

    Been waiting for this! Age of youth, angry mom, secret garden and protect the boss tho. My fave was trio from Protect the Boss!

    • 11.1 Anabella

      Yes!!! “Protect The Boss” Girlfriends Trio Deserves an Honorable mention for being so Awesome!

    • 11.2 kanz

      Ah I almost forgot them.. because one of the trio started off brash but they overcome their frenemies and become friends in a sweetest way ever! Can’t forget when they sleep over together in one room..

    • 11.3 Wag_a_Muffin

      Another vote for Protect the Boss. (I woke up last night thinking about this. I read this thread before I went to bed and about 1 AM I popped awake, thinking, “Protect the Boss!” I loved how one of the trio was so unlikable at first. (I never would have thought I would end up feeling positive about her–but I did.) And isn’t that how real life is sometimes? People you are immediately drawn to turn out to disappoint you and people who you think, “uh, I don’t know if your potential friend material?” turn out to be your most loyal confidants and allies.

      • 11.3.1 Wag_a_Muffin

        And I should never post while I’m still asleep. Please add the “)” after the first “this.” And the “your” in front of “Potential” should be “you’re.”
        I wouldn’t care except I am an English major college graduate. I don’t play grammar cop with others, it bugs me when I screw up.

        : )

    • 11.4 alua

      Protect the Boss should have been #1.

      I don’t think there are near enough good girlfriends examples in dramas, but this was especially good – because all the girls weren’t friends to begin with, but rather the “love rival”/enemy became one of the girlfriends.

      More dramas need that.

    • 11.5 Lucie

      YES! The friendship that develops between Poop Hair, Wrestler, and Ice Cream is the best thing about that show, and remains one of my favorite female kdrama friendships of all time! If no one else had mentioned it, I was going to!

  12. 12 gadis

    Reply 1997’s Shi-won and Yoo-jung is my favorite depiction of girlfriends. They can be really silly, but also wonderfully caring for each other. They perfectly captured the best part of my teenager life, down to its smallest-yet-meaningful moments.

    But the spectacular one for me is Ex-GF Club, if only because of the way they met for the first time. It could become the biggest disaster in the show, but unexpectedly, it turns out to be the most hilarious, yet heart-warming relationships there.

  13. 13 meowingme

    Ex-Girlfriend Club frenemy interactions got me in stitches multiple times, the disses thrown are so on-point and witty. And loved the individual sound effect for each cast appearance.

  14. 14 korfan

    The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry was quite good. I sure miss those gals!

  15. 15 realiti

    I’m so late into the game and so I waited until there was an article that had some relevance to Weightlifting Fairy to say this:

    I didn’t think I could love another couple as much as I loved Bok Shil and Louie but then came along Bok Joo and Joon Hyung. Loved the drama a lot. So glad I gave it a go.

    I have only seen 2 out of 10 on the list. I’m excited as this gives me some recommended dramas to watch!

    • 15.1 Purple Owl

      Haha, similar thought with Bok Joo. I finished a week late. But fangirled with my friend.

      They aren’t quite BokShil/Louie for me, probably because of my love of the actors but BokJoonHyung came close. Most goal-worthy romances in dramaland.

      Yes, even the amnesia kekeke

  16. 16 Ammy

    She was pretty, Protect the Boss, Angry mom, Secret, Lucky Romance, Marriage Contract, Playful Kiss have noticeable girlfriends.

    • 16.1 Ar

      Another shoutout for Protect the Boss. Wang Ji Hye’s second female lead character started off as the typical second female lead (with a liberal dash of ineptness). By the end she ended up having sleepovers with Noh Eun Seol and Myung ran.

      Loved the She Was Pretty besties ..first time one of those dramatic, tearful run through the airport scenes in the dramas happened between two gal pals.

      • 16.1.1 catt

        I am about to say PTB for honorable mention. Many of girlfriends in dramaland start off as friends. Wang Jihye though going from annoying second female bitch, to annoying freeloader, to annoying but cute roommates, to BFF, to future cousin in law. What a journey.

        • kanz

          Somehow I miss her NOT playing bitchy 2nd lead, because she’s more than capable to play sweethearts (as seen with Jaejoong in PTB and JCW in BVS). At least, please play anything else than usual stock 2nd female lead character!

          • Sera The Ms Temper

            This girl in currently playing the lead girl in Love Is Drop by Drop (daily drama) . She is such a sweetheart and kind (but strong) in this drama. I always love her, even when she played secondary role for eg in Hotel King. I am watching this daily drama just for her.

            I think started from last year until now she is busy doing some long drama – last year Yes That’s How It Is. I am just glad she is finally grabbing the leading role, even it is daily drama.

  17. 17 Dayday

    Belle epoque girls all the way!!!!! I love love them so much, watching them really bring back memories in college days.

  18. 18 bebeswtz

    – the sisterhood between Hye Jin and Ha Ri from “She Was Pretty”
    – Soon Hee and Hye Jung from “Doctors”
    – the ladies from “One More Happy Ending”
    – the unwavering friendship between Jan Di and Ga Eul in “Boys Over Flowers”
    – the rock-solid support between Eun Soo and Jang Mi in “Save Your Last Dance for Me”

  19. 19 dramalover

    I am surprised that ‘Reply 1988’ trio mums isn’t in this list!

    • 19.1 mariazzang

      I agree. They deserve a place in the top 10. They have one of the best friendships out there in the world of kdramas.

      • 19.1.1 bbstl

        Agree, that friendship was really inspiring for me.

        I give another vote for the girlfriends in Angry Mom as well.

    • 19.2 jen.


  20. 20 panshel

    Surplus Princess is my favorite girlfriends. Kim Seul Gi was loyal to the end, always looking out for Mermaid Jo Boa.

    • 20.1 gadis

      Oh yes, This!! The friendship that transcend species.

    • 20.2 Chintu

      Yup, this!
      And the dream high girlfriends! Iu and suzy r a given, and suzy and eumjung’s journey from best friends to ex friends to good friends was pretty good too!

  21. 21 mariazzang

    Yeorum and Sol from Discovery of Romance is one of my favorite kdrama girlfriends. I can even add JoonHo is the mix because let’s face it, he has been one of the girls for 10+ years already.

    • 21.1 PakalanaPikake

      I just rewatched DISCOVERY OF ROMANCE in the past month or two, and totally agree about JoonHo being one of the girls. He also had exquisite taste in plumbing fixtures. 😉

  22. 22 Heol

    “When one friend got her hair lopped off as a punishment and her best friend showed up at school with a matching ugly bowl-cut, I never loved two friends more.” I know rightt! When i saw the title, this scene popped in my head. Their friendship is just too cute :))

  23. 23 JISG

    This list is fine I guess but lacks luster…mostly one type of female relationship: we’re BFFS 4EVAH(!)

    perhaps a reflection of the limited choices out there…

    • 23.1 Midnight

      I don’t agree with most of this list. I think there are lots and lots of fantastic friendships in dramaland but most times they are very understated and heartfelt. Those listed here are mostly the catch-your-eye in-your-face hyped ones. Female friendships that really grip me the most are those that the friends are frank, curt, and brutally honest to each other, don’t see eye to eye most of the times, and aren’t the type to always support each other’s every decision, but they are STILL fiercely loyal and deeply love each other. And the best ones are those that go through an evolution during the show.

  24. 24 Sam_1

    Dear My Friends and Age of Youth are among the stellar ones I’ve watched last 2016. Definitely recommended. If you have decided to watch at least a handful of dramas, these two should be among them.

  25. 25 ohlalaland

    I really liked the friendships in Age of Youth, WLFKBJ and Ex-girlfriend’s club (in this case frenemies). I also loved the ahjumma trio in Reply 1988…friendship goals indeed.

  26. 26 TiaC

    Did anyone else notice how very recent most of these dramas are? 7 out of 10 were from 2015 or later and not one was before 2010!

    I wonder if it’s that the most recent ones are just more likely to stay with us, or if it’s the more unfortunate reality that writers and networks haven’t given as much thought to female characters and friendships until the past few years. Just some food for thought…

    • 26.1 Ar

      I feel like it’s a recent development too (speaking to prime time dramas, not sure abt weekend and dailies), but my drama viewing only started in 2004/2005. I also feel like the shift happened around 2010 around the time of secret garden when the two female leads end up having their own romance and aren’t rivals. The drama got some problems, but it also showed you don’t need an evil girl to make your female lead attractive. You don’t need to tear another woman down to boost up another one or to create romantic tension. It’s not a zero sum thing, but a win-win.

      It’s also a more recent development to tell different kinds of stories beyond romance and melodrama, so maybe that helped?

    • 26.2 sorrynotsorry

      I’ve seen some friendships in “older” dramas but the emphasis on female friendship does seem to be a bit newer. The older dramas do show more obsessive, vengeful 2nd female leads over and over again. I’m glad that’s going by the wayside.

  27. 27 Purple Owl

    I haven’t seen 1 or 2.

    I couldn’t get passed episode 2 of AoY. Hopefully one day.

    Finally finished 4. Thank goodness. Their friendship was beautiful.

    5 & 6 are my life. I knew the hair cut would be mentioned. I teared up with that moment.

    7 was amazing. A perfect Flintstones/Rubbles four-way friendship.

    Idk if I’ll watch 8. But 9, 10 are on the list.

    Nan Hee – Mi Sun
    Bok Joo – Seol
    Seok Ok – So Hye

    And hey they even both have Jisoo

  28. 28 Ar

    Any sageuk drama girlfriends out there? I’m having trouble recalling any, unless you count that ridiculously devoted and one sided friendship in Scarlet Heart.

    • 28.1 Sera The Ms Temper

      Quite hard to remember though, but I think in Hwarang there is right?

      Horse Doctor – friendship between the female lead (Lee Yo Won) and Princess Sukhwi (Kim So Eun). Also there was Jo Boa too.

      Dong Yi – between Dong Yi and Queen In Hyun (Park Ha Sun).

      that’s all I can remember.

      • 28.1.1 LAI

        Princess Man..

        • Wag_a_Muffin

          I forgot about Princess’ Man! You’re right. Another super friendship that evolved and grew (and I cried out loud in this drama.)

    • 28.2 gadis

      Ah-ro (Go Ara) and Soo-yeon (Lee Da-in) in Hwarang.

      Ahrang (Shin Min-ah) and shaman who can hear ghost in Arang and the Magistrate.

      • 28.2.1 Ar

        Been obsessed with Hwarang and totally forgot Aro and sooyeon. I wish they have more scenes together.

      • 28.2.2 Ammy

        Yes, ofc Arang and Shaman lady had a unique bonding which is beautiful

    • 28.3 Midnight

      Dae Jang Geum and Yeon Saeng had one of the most beautiful friendships

    • 28.4 WishfulToki

      Jewel in the Palace (Dae Jang Eum): Girlfriends in two generations who’d die for each other.

  29. 29 Sera The Ms Temper

    I agree with the list, actually there are some other others BFF but maybe not so much on a group of girlfriends just like Age Of Youth for example.

    Recently I do think Lee Yo Won – Uee relationship / friendship in Night Light whichever appropriate, also the unique one. They don’t look like a BFF, not also only as superior and employee, but they understand each other even with only one look. This kind of drama- we wish for happy ending between the female leads more than with the male lead.

  30. 30 Barbrey

    This doesn’t really count in the same way as above (and I agree with your list – it’s a good one!) but I loved Mom and Mom in Jealousy Incarnate as Frenemies. So often Frenemies are male, but I can’t think of many female ones. You do get the mean or competing girl make friends with the nice girl at the end of some dramas, but not often a feeling that they’re going to be best, squabbling friends forever.

    • 30.1 Boomboompow

      Yes, I love them!

    • 30.2 AllPhryne

      My thoughts exactly. It was such a perfectly flawed relationship from the beginning, but for the sake of their daughter they just decided to stay and cohabitate. I loved it.

    • 30.3 gadis

      OMG, how come I forgot about these two charismatic, lovable, yet petty Mom?! I luuuvv them.

  31. 31 Candy

    Mom-in-law and daughter-in-law in “Marriage not dating”,anyone?

    • 31.1 Nyan Cat


    • 31.2 salt n' pepper


    • 31.3 ajbny

      Yes! I just finished this drama a few weeks ago! I loved when Mom finally let go of her pom and went into hair pulling mode in the store! And when she kept her pom and spilled water on the slimy monkey’s pants at Jang Mi’s restaurant.

      I wish we could’ve seen more of it, but I think they’re relationship as mother and daughter in law would have been lovely.

  32. 32 Kasumi

    Few more come to mind.
    Eun-Jae and Dong-Ah in Wild Romance. Opposites who help each other navigate romance and other trials.

    Hae-Young and Hee-Ran in Oh Hae Young. In a drama all about romance, Hee-Ran’s support and advice to Hae-Young always stood out to me.

    The three moms in Shopping King Louie. Them bonding over a scarf, giving each other fancy names like Audrey,Cleopatra, playing monopoly, etc made me smile.

    • 32.1 fangirl sy

      I can’t believe I have forgotten about Hee Ran but you are right! I like their friendship too and I like that Hee Ran was successful in her own right as well.

      • 32.1.1 PakalanaPikake

        Not to mention the fact that when the chips were down for Hae-young, Hee-ran rescheduled her date on extremely short notice so she’d have a place to crash. In my book, that’s above and beyond the call of duty. 😉

  33. 33 KDramaWatcher2609

    It seems like I seen more bromance than sismance in kdramaland. Looking at the list about proved my point cos most of the 10 dramas in the list I have not watch. I do like the sismance in She Was Pretty too.

    • 33.1 WishfulToki

      Yeah, unfortunately I can think of more rivalries than friendships among the female characters of dramas. Or the female lead basically mainly interacts with men in the show.

      • 33.1.1 KDramaWatcher2609

        I agree.

  34. 34 Dammy

    Reply1988 should have been included in this list…

    the neighborhood ajummas were the true definition of BFF

  35. 35 galuhdu

    you should’ve put One More Happy Ending, they have a great girlfriend moment.

  36. 36 fangirl sy

    I agree with Dammy on the Answer Me 1988 ajummas! They made me cry with their will-give-you-help-without-you-asking-for-it and drunken almost girl group attempt!

    If there was more depth given to it, Doctors’ Hyejung and Sooni Hawaii’s friendship could be sweet too as well as Dada and BFF in 1% of Anything (my favorite scene was when she barged into JaeIn’s house after Dada’s kidnapping).

    After reading this list, I realized that female friendship in Kdramas had not been as touching as I would have wanted them to. But I hope they develop more girlfriendship that are strong and heartachingly relatable in the future too.

    How about a Top 10 Parent-child relationship for the next one Dramabeans? Or Top 10 Unconventional Families?

    Love reading your perspectives as always!

    • 36.1 KDramaWatcher2609

      Maybe top 10 evil parent.

      • 36.1.1 kanz

        They’ll have over 100 candidates to choose from. JK.

        • fangirl sy

          hahaha, yes!

      • 36.1.2 Sera The Ms Temper


      • 36.1.3 Ammy

        This list must be topped by SHR’s mom

  37. 37 hyanggi

    I know from the headline that Age of Youth would be included. It’s basically a story about girlfriends, from beginning till end. And I love Head’sNo2’s description of it, ‘eating someone’s food matters! Darnit’

  38. 38 Newbee

    Great list 👍 No regrets of missing out great ones out there unlike the I remember you bromance in top 10 bromances. Of these I could relate more to age of youth’s friendship and found it most heart tugging. What about a list of top second leads( syndrome) ? I bet Jae-hee of sandglass will top it.

  39. 39 kanz

    How about Top 10 school friends, it could be boys&girls too, like Answer Me 1997&1994 squad? I think they have really great bonding.
    Or Top 10 most ridiculous villains/most humane villains/most pathetic villains/most cartoonish villains?
    Top 10 evil second leads?
    Top 10 2nd lead syndrome?

    • 39.1 Sera The Ms Temper

      Top 10 Second Female Lead Sydrome. We always heard of SLS for male, but not so often on second female lead.

      • 39.1.1 Sam_1

        Hear! Hear! 🙂

  40. 40 darcyM

    My friends and I used to use the word “homance”.

    I know. I’m sorry. But…? It rhymes…?

  41. 41 missjb

    age of youth for sure

  42. 42 ohmyaegyo

    When I saw the list, I immediately thought, Fantastic is gonna be in it. And rightly so. But yes, Dear My Friends is definitely number one.

    I’m so glad they included Reply 1997. A lot of things were great in that drama, it did start a trilogy after all, but I’ve always felt like people forgot that great friendship between Shi Won and Yoo Jung because it was overshadowed by the husband mystery, the nostalgia in that era, the cameos, the inside jokes and the friendship among the six main cast. I was pleasantly surprised when I read that in the list and I was thinking, yes, I remember that friendship. I LIVED in that friendship and I still am.

    I’ve adored all of dramabeans’ Top 10 list but I think this one is my personal favorite and the one that is most heartwarming for me. Maybe it is influenced because I am a girl but yeah, this one is my Top 1 among the Top 10 lists so far.

    • 42.1 sorrynotsorry

      Fantastic also has one of the best bromance relationships as well.

  43. 43 RockPaperScissors

    For me, the best sisterhood will always be Mi Rae and Boo Mi in City Hall. The end.

    • 43.1 Midnight

      The actress playing Boo Mi has a knack for playing the lovely best friend role.

  44. 44 LizJ

    Please, oh please…consider doing the Top 10 Rotten Endings! And the Top 10 Villains!

    • 44.1 KDramaWatcher2609

      Yes yes top 10 rotten endings pls.

      • 44.1.1 Ri-megane

        DB compiled a somewhat similar list for “Top 10 endings that are better left unwatched” sometime ago though: http://www.dramabeans.com/2015/10/dramabeans-top-10-korean-dramas-whose-endings-are-better-left-unwatched-trust-us/ .

        • WishfulToki

          Omg, it’s that list. I don’t regret watching those though:
          -Vampire Idol: Papa! I discovered Minah here, and that Kim Woo Bin had a cute side.
          -Gu Family Book: I was way more invested in the parents’ brief epic romance than the main leads anyway.
          -School 2015: Discovering Sungjae, whom I was glad to see in Goblin. I was more disappointed in the ending of the girls’ story than the romance actually.
          -Rooftop Prince: Call me weird. The ending made me cry buckets but also made it unforgettable.

          And… I’m now watching Cheese in the Trap just to find out what all the fan wailing was about.

  45. 45 Shai

    this ones a 10 yr old drama but I really liked the friendship shown in Dalja’s spring too!

    • 45.1 sup_super_supper

      Ditto! Dal Ja’s Spring stays so firmly on my radar at all times, even though it is quite old!

  46. 46 lenrasoon

    I wish there were more dramas like Age of Youth out there.

  47. 47 zashi

    I like the Reply 1997 girlfriendship. It’s an old school friendship that stood the test of puberty, HS, College all through their lives and loves. But then again REPLY 1997 is one of fave kdrama so it could do no wrong for me.

  48. 48 Mulberry

    UEE’s character and her nailshop owner friend in Marriage Contract came to mind for me

  49. 49 Ar

    Just remembered Ji Hyun and Yi Kyung in 49 days. Not one of the top ten girlfriends but made an impression on me. They were thrown together and their partnership was reluctant, but loved how Ji Hyun helped Yi Kyung find a reason to live and Yi Kyung helped Ji Hyun with the dastardly fiancé out to destroy her family issue. They both gave each other a second chance. They became friends at the end and it was so bittersweet to learn why fate brought them together in the first place.

  50. 50 sup_super_supper

    Just chiming in to remind everyone that Dal Ja’s Spring exists, because it should never be forgotten, and the female friendships in it are, while still kind of in development stages, interesting and mature!

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