8 Sweet “Friends To Lovers” Couples In K-Dramas


Whether it be a profound childhood connection or a friendship forged later in life, one of the most common tropes in K-dramas is “friends to lovers.” After all, what is more enticing than watching two people who already so clearly adore, trust, and support each other fall even deeper in love? Many noteworthy dramas have this trope and some common favorites are “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo” or “Fight My Way.” While these are amazing dramas and worth re-watching time and time again, many other dramas tackle this trope in marvelous ways and not just through their leading pair. Here are eight dramas that utilize the “friends to lovers” trope with a pair of their characters that you should totally check out.

Sa Jin Jin and Gong Ji Won in “20th Century Boy and Girl

If you’re looking for a flat-out romcom with little room for melodrama and angst, then “20th Century Boy and Girl” is definitely a great place to start. The drama follows the romance between childhood friends Sa Jin Jin (Han Ye Seul) and Gong Ji Won (Kim Ji Suk). Sa Jin Jin is an A-list actress who is known for never having dated anyone while Gong Ji Won is an investment banker. They haven’t seen each other in years, but as luck would have it, they fatefully reunite.

This drama leaves your heart feeling warm and full. The biggest requirement of the “friends to lovers” trope is the unwavering support and adoration the pair has for one another, which is why people always say you should marry your best friend. While Ji Won and Jin Jin are terribly slow at admitting their feelings, their romance is tender, soft, and utterly supportive. Never once does Ji Won step in the way of Jin Jin’s career or personal desires, even if it doesn’t favor what he wants and vice versa. Their connection and chemistry shine in every scene they have together.

Catch the first episode below: 

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Han Jae Yi and Chae Do Jin in “Come and Hug Me

If you’re into crime dramas but you’re still looking for some romance, then “Come and Hug Me” should be in your watchlist (if it isn’t there already). The story follows the tragic romance between Han Jae Yi (Jin Ki Joo) and Chae Do Jin (Jang Ki Yong) who split apart in their childhood after his father murders her parents. In the present day, Jae Yi is an aspiring actress and Do Jin is a detective looking to atone for his father’s sins. While the world seems to look down on their romance, they always seem to find solace in one another.

While the “friends to lovers” trope is usually known for its cuteness, this drama thrusts it into a Shakespearean tragedy setting. Not only will this drama have you stress-sweating with anticipation, but you’ll also experience immense heartbreak as the obstacles these two have to face feel unbearable at times. Melodramas are known for their angsty plots and usually, the romance can get lost in all the drama. However, this drama does a great job of letting the romance be the guiding light of the show. While Jae Yi’s and Do Jin’s lives seem to be up in flames most of the time, they find peace and happiness with each other.

Catch the first episode below: 

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Go Bok Sil and Louie in “Shopping King Louie

Another iconic “friends to lovers” couple is Go Bok Sil (Nam Ji Hyun) and Louie (Seo In Guk) in “Shopping King Louie.” After getting in an accident and suffering amnesia, Louie finds himself braving the bustling city of Seoul with Bok Shil, who has come from the countryside to look for her brother. While they both approach life in very different ways—he loves to shop while she’s responsible and prefers to save money—their friendship is quickly and strongly forged as they have to rely on each other to survive.

Another great part of “friends to lovers” is it easily can slide its way into the found family trope. While they begin as strangers, they quickly consider and protect each other as if they are family. Louie steps up and wills himself to be more responsible for Bok Sil, and Bok Sil learns how to relax and enjoy her time. Their romance is the perfect combination of youthful, butterfly-inducing first love mixed with the bickering of an old married couple.

Catch the first episode below: 

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Ha Ja Ae and Song Sang Hyun in “Descendants of the Sun

While “Descendants of the Sun” is known for its striking romances between both its leading pairs, an underrated but just as wholesome romance is forged between Ha Ja Ae (Seo Jung Yeon) and Song Sang Hyun (Lee Seung Joon). Working together as a doctor and nurse for years, they ultimately find their way to each other when they return home after working in Uruk.

Their romance speaks to the versatility of this trope. While this trope is most commonly found with childhood friends, Ja Ae and Sang Hyun’s romance comes to fruition in their later years after they’ve already had previous relationships. Their quarrels make up some memorable scenes of “Descendants of the Sun,” and it was clear from the beginning that something could most definitely happen between them. While his feelings are more openly shown, Ja Ae tends to shy away from hers and pretends their sweet moments don’t exist. Their romance shows no matter your age, there’s always someone out there who could be perfect for you.

Catch the first episode below: 

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Kang Dan Yi and Cha Eun Ho in “Romance is a Bonus Book”

If you’re into noona romances then Kang Dan Yi (Lee Na Young) and Cha Eun Ho (Lee Jong Suk) in “Romance is a Bonus Book” are sure to charm your heart. While they’ve known each other for years, the drama starts with Dan Yi trying her best to manage the aftermath of her divorce and unemployment. As luck would have it, she winds up working at Gyeoroo Publishing alongside Cha Eun Ho.

This drama showcases the transition between friends to lovers well. Their friendship is very solid, and every episode is a reminder of how much they know each other’s little quirks and what the other is feeling with just one look. While Cha Eun Ho has loved Dan Yi for a long time, Dan Yi is a little aloof to her feelings. While she’s sure that Eun Ho is her number one, she is scared to lose him and worries about what would happen if they were to break up. Eun Ho constantly supports her and steps up to prove that he is just as capable of taking care of her as she has of him over the years. Their relationship is written with care and a whole lot of love, and if you’re a fan of this trope, these two will leave a deep impression on your heart.

Choi Soo Ji and Lee Se Joo in “Tempted

Okay, let’s be honest, one of the best parts about this trope is the pining of it all. If you’re addicted to the deep, unadulterated longing that comes with this trope, then you’ll adore Choi Soo Ji (Moon Ga Young) and Lee Se Joo (Kim Min Jae) in “Tempted.” Caught up in deadly schemes to ruin people who have wronged them, these two are the ultimate conniving couple. At least, they could be if Soo Ji wasn’t so hung up on their other best friend Kwon Si Hyun (Wo Do Hwan) who winds up falling for their target Eun Tae Hee (Joy).

The lengths Se Joo is willing to go to make Soo Ji happy are morally corrupt most of the time, but it is still rather endearing. He pays attention to her more than anyone else and is always there to cheer her up when she’s feeling down. Of course, it’s always when that kind of person isn’t around does the other finally notice how much they mean to them. These two are the epitome of a slow burn but it’s worth it in the end.

Catch the first episode below: 

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Yoo Ryung and Ko Ji Seok in “Catch the Ghost”

If done well, the “friends to lovers” trope is also an important part of the “enemies to lovers” trope. While the “enemies to lovers” trope is driven by passion, tension, and opposition, there’s always a distinct stage that can get looked over when it’s executed: the part where they become friends. A couple that showcases this well is Yoo Ryung (Moon Geun Young) and Ko Ji Seok (Kim Seon Ho) in “Catch the Ghost.” Yoo Ryung becomes Ji Seok’s partner on the subway police with an ulterior motive to look for her missing twin sister. Their work ethics are completely different as Yoo Ryung loves to jump and chase justice head-on, whereas Ji Seok has become comfortable passing off cases to the other police teams. To say the pair butts heads is an understatement.

While their differing personalities drive the plot and showcase their wonderful chemistry, the two quickly forge a deep partnership and friendship. Yoo Ryung’s passion for justice inspires Ji Seok to pursue it like he once had, and they bond over the struggles of being the sole caretaker for their family members. From their mutual support and loyalty to their hilarious bickering and deep adoration, they’ve got all the great makings of “friends to lovers.”

Song Ji Won and Im Sung Min in “Age of Youth” and “Age of Youth 2”

If you’ve already watched both seasons of “Age of Youth,” then you already know what an absolute treat Song Ji Won (Park Eun Bin) and Im Sung Min (Song Seung Won) are. While the drama has more of a focus on Ji Won and her roommates and their journey through college, Im Sung Min’s friendship and implicated romance with Ji Won is a fan favorite. Both of them are journalist students, and if there’s one word to describe their friendship, it’s chaotic. Ji Won teases Sung Min to no end, but he is always the person she relies on when she needs help.

While their scenes are quite limited in the first season, it’s the second season that gives a little bit more depth to their relationship. Ji Won takes it upon herself to investigate what happened to a girl she knew from when she was a child. While she snoops around with Sung Min by her side, the romantic tropes begin to jump out. Whether it be being mistaken for a married couple or sharing a hotel room with one bed, these two have the makings of your favorite 600,000-word fanfiction come to life. They’re the perfect example of will-they-won’t-they, and if you haven’t fallen in love with them already, you certainly will.

Hello Soompiers, what are your favorite “friends to lovers” couples from a K-drama? Let us know in the comments below!

kaityv spends most of her time watching K-dramas even though she should be writing. If she’s not watching a drama then she’s for sure dying over BTS’s and Red Velvet’s music and videos.

Currently watching: “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay”
All-time favorite: “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon,”
Looking forward to: “So I Married an Anti-Fan,” “Flower of Evil

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