8 K-Drama Couples That Successfully Make It Out Of The Friend Zone
There’s something about the friends-becoming-lovers storyline that is so romantic. Maybe it’s because it’s a trope that many of us can relate to or have related to before. The comfort, the familiarity of having a close friend who you eventually fall in love with is so sweet and endearing, isn’t it?
In the K-drama world, there have been many successful couples who have started out as friends and turned into lovers. Although the plot can be pretty predictable, it’s still enough to give us butterflies every time! Here’s a look at just 10 of those couples.
Yoon Yoon Jae and Sung Shi Won: “Reply 1997”
This is the first one in the “Reply” series, but it’s one that should be mentioned on this list. “Reply 1997” stars two childhood best friends, Yoon Yoon Jae (Seo In Guk) and Sung Shi Won (Jung Eun Ji). It’s in the first year of high school where Yoon Jae realizes his feelings for Shi Won and finds her attractive.
The best part about these friends who become lovers is their bickering and bantering. Shi Won is really not afraid to tell Yoon Jae how it is and is pretty upright honest with him 100 percent of the time. She throws punches (physically) at him, but they still manage to love each other and it’s pretty darn sweet. Although it takes Shi Won a bit longer to realize her feelings for Yoon Jae, she does eventually come around and it’s all butterflies and rainbows when the two get married and have kids together! You couldn’t ask for a happier ending!
Catch the first episode of “Reply 1997”:
Ko Dong Man and Choi Ae Ra: “Fight My Way”
This adorably realistic K-drama deals with the stresses of adulthood and life in general, and has two friends who rely on each other for support. The two leads played by Park Seo Joon and Kim Ji Won make us yearn for that reliable and dependable friendship that the two characters have.
It’s especially refreshing to see a plot that is relatable, and the OTP’s personal lives and their hopes of achieving their dreams makes it all the better. Cheering for this couple to succeed is like cheering for ourselves, and makes it so much easier to get invested in this story.
Catch the first episode of “Fight My Way”:
Oh Ha Na and Choi Won: “The Time I’ve Loved You”
Based on the popular Taiwanese version “In Time With You,” this power-house of a pair, Lee Jin Wook and Ha Ji Won, starred as friends who become lovers. Although the storyline is pretty predictable, the depth of the stories involved in their individual lives is what will really draw you into the story.
The chemistry between Lee Jin Wook and Ha Ji Won almost made me ship them in real life, but that’s just a testament to their amazing acting skills. The ending of the series dragged on a bit, but Ha Ji Won and Lee Jin Wok were enough to make me watch it until the very end.
Catch the first episode of “The Time I’ve Loved You”:
Han Eun Seong and Kim Rae Wan: “You Drive Me Crazy”
The drama starts with Han Eun Seong (Lee Yoo Young) creeping into Kim Rae Wan’s (Kim Seon Ho) house, begging him to let her spend a few days at his place while hers is being renovated. What we get is a glimpse into their friendship and we quickly find out that the two had slept together a couple months before.
This realistic K-drama puts the focus on the relationship aspect of the two friends as they are open about everything in their lives but struggle to be honest about what happened that one night, two months before. Although the story can be a bit slow at times, I definitely like how honest and simple the script is. There are some heart-stopping moments that really draw you into the relationship between the two main leads; it’s just regrettable that it was lacking the dynamics and a climactic point. On the plus side, it’s only four episodes long, so it makes for a quick watch.
Kim Rae Wan doing Han Eun Seong’s eye make up. Like, forreal – are there guys like this out there?!
Catch the first episode of “You Drive Me Crazy”:
Kim Bok Joo and Jung Joon Hyung: “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo”
This whole series will make you think of your first love or will make you want to fall in love. Jung Joon Hyung (Nam Joo Hyuk) and Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) star in this coming-of-age tale between two childhood friends who meet again in university. They find a mutual love-hate for each other as Joon Hyung continues to annoying Bok Joo. But slowly, this OTP starts to realize that their feelings run far deeper than friendship.
The chemistry between Nam Joo Hyuk and Kim Bok Joo is so intense that you’d think they were dating in real life (wink). Their relationship, subtle hand-holding, and hugs really makes your heart skip a beat and believe in true love.
Catch the first episode of “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo”:
Ra Eun Ho and Hyun Tae Woon: “School 2017”
Kim Sejeong stars as Ra Eun Ho, alongside Kim Jung Hyun who stars as Hyun Tae Woon (or should we say, Hyun Tae Swoon). It’s pretty much what you would expect out of a high school romance storyline. Tae Woon and Eun Ho start off as friends who like to poke fun at each other, but Tae Woon slowly starts to realize his feelings for Eun Ho and ends up confessing his love to her.
I think the best part about this pair is their innocence and chemistry on screen. Sejeong’s smile lights up the screen and Jung Hyun’s presence and acting skills is what definitely earned him a spot on the up-and-coming actors list. Although the story can be a bit flat at times and anti-climactic, the pair really do make the drama enjoyable to watch. Actually, they are pretty much the only reason why I ended up watching it all the way until the end. Their purity and innocence just radiates on screen!
Catch the first episode of “School 2017”:
Park Gae in and Jeon Jin Ho: “Personal Taste”
Son Ye Jin plays furniture designer Park Gae In and Lee Min Ho plays architect Jeon Jin Ho in this adorable romantic comedy about a man who fakes being gay in order to move into a woman’s house. While Jin Ho’s intentions of living with Gae In are hidden, the two manage to develop a friendship while being roommates. However, as he starts to pretend to be the gay roommate, Jin Ho ends up really falling in love with Gae In.
The part I love most about this series is seeing Son Ye Jin and Lee Min Ho together in a drama. And if you love the theme of friends becoming lovers, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy seeing Jin Ho squirm as he tries to sort out his feelings for Gae In.
Ha No Ra and Cha Hyun Suk: “Twenty Again”
Choi Ji Woo plays Ha No Ra, an aspiring dancer who gets pregnant at the age of 19. She gives up on her dreams and drops out of high school to raise her son. 20 years later, No Ra meets her high school friend, Cha Hyun Suk (Lee Sang Yoon). Although they were good friends in high school, it is revealed that he had a small crush on her when they were students.
I love Choi Ji Woo and Lee Sang Yoon individually, so seeing them together in one drama is extra special. Although they do play a couple that is a bit older, they seem very youthful in their interactions, maybe because they play characters who are more on the innocent and naive side. I especially enjoy the aspect in the plot where No Ra finds out that Hyun Suk is one of her professors at the school she is attending. Scandalous!
Catch the first episode of “Twenty Again”:
Hey Soompiers, what is your favorite friends-to-lovers themed K-drama? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer who can lately be seen obsessing over Jung Hae In, singing her heart out to BIGBANG at karaoke, walking her dog, or indulging in desserts. Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “Wok of Love,” “The Undateables” and “About Time”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life” and “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin’s return to the small screen and Song Joong Ki’s next drama