Critical receptionEarly reviews of the series were mixed. Tom Feran of The Plain Dealer wrote that the series traded "vaguely and less successfully on the hanging-out style of Seinfeld", while Ann Hodges of the Houston Chronicle called it "the new Seinfeld wannabe, but it will never be as funny as Seinfeld." In the Los Angeles Daily News, straal, ray Richmond named the series as "one of the brighter comedies of the new season", and The Los Angeles Times called it "flat-out the best comedy series of the new season".
Chicago Sun-Times' Ginny Holbert found Joey and Rachel's characteristics to be underdeveloped, while Richmond commended the cast as a "likeable, youth ensemble" with "good chemistry" Robert Bianco of USA Today was complimentary of Schwimmer, calling him "terrific". He also praised the female leads, but was concerned that Perry's role as Chandler was "undefined" and that LeBlanc was "relying too much on the same brain-dead stud routine that was already tired the last two times he tried it". The authors of vrienden Like Us: The Unofficial Guide to vrienden thought that the cast was "trying just a little too hard", in particular Perry and Schwimmer.
As the series progressed, reviews became meer positive, and vrienden became one of the most populair sitcoms of its time. It is now often ranked among the all-time best TV shows. Critics commended the series as having consistently sharp writing and chemistry between the main actors. Noel Holston of Newsday, who had dismissed the pilot as a "so-so Seinfeld wannabe" in 1994, repudiated his earlier review after rewatching the episode, and felt like writing an apology to the writers. Heather Havrilesky of Salon.com thought that the series "hit its stride" in the seconde season. Havrilesky found the character-specific jokes and situations "could reliably make u laugh out loud a few times each episode", and the quality of writing allowed the stories to be "original and innovative". Bill Carter of The New York Times called the eighth season a "truly stunning comeback". Carter found that door "generating new hot storylines and high-decibel laughs", the series made its way "back into the hearts of its fans". However, Liane Bonin of Entertainment Weekly felt that the direction of the ninth season was a "disappointing buzzkill", criticizing it for the non-stop celebrity guest spots and going into jump the haai territory. Although disappointed with the season, Bonin noted that "the writing [was] still sharp". Havrilesky thought that the tenth season was "alarmingly awful, far worse than u would ever imagine a toon that was once so good could be." vrienden was featured on Time's lijst of "The 100 Best TV Shows of All-Time", saying, "the well-hidden secret of this toon was that it called itself Friends, and was really about family".
"It may have been impossible for any one episode to live up to the hype and expectations built up around the vrienden finale, but this uur probably came as close as fans could have reasonably hoped. Ultimately, the two-hour package did exactly what it was supposed to do. It wrapped up the story while reminding us why we liked the toon and will miss it."
— Robert Bianco of USA Today on the series finale.
Reviews of the series finale were mixed to positive. USA Today's Robert Bianco described the finale as entertaining and satisfying, and praised it for deftly mixing emotion and humor while showcasing each of the stars. Sarah Rodman of the Boston Herald praised Aniston and Schwimmer for their acting, but felt that their characters' reunion was "a bit too neat, even if it was what most of the show's legions of fans wanted." Roger Catlin of The Hartford Courant felt that newcomers to the series would be "surprised at how laughless the affair could be, and how nearly every strained gag depends on the sheer stupidity of its characters." Ken Parish Perkins, writing for Fort Worth Star-Telegram, pointed out that the finale was "more touching than comical, meer satisfying in terms of closure than knee-slappingly funny."
 AwardsMain article: lijst of awards and nominations received door Friends
To maintain the series' ensemble format, the main cast members decided to enter themselves in the same acting categories for awards. Beginning with the series' eighth season, the actors decided to bevestig themselves in the lead actor balloting, rather than in the supporting actor fields. The series was nominated for 63 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning six. Aniston and Kudrow are the only main cast members to win an Emmy, while Cox is the only actor not to be nominated. The series won the 2002 Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, with nominations in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2003. The series also won an American Comedy Award, one GLAAD Media Award, one Golden Globe Award, three Logie Awards, six People's Choice Awards, one Satellite Award, and one Screen Actors Guild Award.
 RatingsThe tafel, tabel below indicates the ratings of vrienden in the U.S., where it consistently ranked within the top, boven ten of the final televisie ratings. "Rank" refers to how well vrienden rated compared to other televisie series which aired during primetime hours of the corresponding televisie season. The televisie season tends to begin in September, and ends during the May of the following year, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps. "Viewers" refers to the average number of viewers for all original episodes, broadcast during the televisie season in the series' regular timeslot. "Rank" is shown in relation to the total number of series airing on the then-six major English-language networks in a gegeven season. The "season premiere" is the datum that the first episode of the season aired, and the "season finale" is the datum that the final episode of the season aired. So far it has been the last sitcom to reach the No. 1 spot on television, as its successors were CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and American Idol.