Love triangles and romantic rivalries are a staple in romance Webtoons. Romantic rivalries are used to create conflict and tension between the characters. However, some of Webtoon's most heated rivalries have led to friendship and surprised its readers.
Romantic rivals usually have a forced proximity, running into each other whenever they're with their common love interest. The love interest, who cares for both parties, typically encourages the rivals to get along. In some instances, the rivals grow close to one another by accident and slowly develop their own friendship. Here are some of the most fascinating Webtoon friendships born from romantic rivalry.
In True Beauty, Suho Lee and Seojun Han share a dark and complex history before both falling for Jugyeong. Suho and Seojun first became friends in middle school, forming a friend group with Seyeon called the "Three S's." Seyeon commits suicide after being relentlessly bullied by fans as a k-pop idol. Seyeon had called Suho for help and support right before his suicide, but Suho failed to pick up. Seojun blames Suho for Seyeon's death for years, convinced that Seyeon would've never gone through with it had Suho answered the phone.
Suho and Seojun are forced to see each other again in high school, where they have many heated and public arguments. They both fall for Jugyeong separately, and she helps them reconcile. The two friends frequently run into each other at Seyeon's grave site to pay their respects and overcome their shared grief. They become close enough to visit each other and share advice. Despite both being romantically involved with Jugyeong, the three share a heartwarming friendship.
In Siren's Lament, Shon and Lyra are childhood friends, so he's distrusting of Ian when he shows up out of the blue to change their lives forever. Ian is a siren who kisses Lyra while she's drowning in the ocean. This act causes Ian and Lyra to share the siren curse, making them both half-human and half-siren. Ian has nowhere to go and moves in with Lyra, which troubles Shon because they both have romantic feelings for Lyra.
The three of them end up working in Lyra's flower shop, where Ian walks around shirtless and Shon reprimands him. While their arguments and banter offer comedic relief, Shon and Ian form a genuine friendship where they share advice and save each others' lives from time to time.
My Dear Cold-Blooded King
My Dear-Cold Blooded King proves that feelings and emotions are constantly evolving and can change at any time. With complex and unpredictable relationships, there is a lot of overlap between the main characters and their romantic interests. Mei and Katsu begin the series in a forced engagement to please the kingdom. The engagement saddens the soft-spoken Akane, who's the princess originally expected to marry Katsu since they were children.
However, Mei and Hayate fall in love and her engagement to Katsu is broken off. Mei and Akane grow close both at the palace and in their travels. Mei encourages Akane to pursue Katsu, proving that they were meant to be from the beginning. Meanwhile, both Katsu and Hayate are able to reconcile with their childhood friend, Yuuta, after he kidnapped Mei and tried to make her his bride.
Velrose is Zylith's best friend at the beginning of Freaking Romance, where Zylith moves into a new apartment with a rift between dimensions. Zylith and Zelan have the same apartment but in different dimensions, causing them to sporadically see one another before disappearing. Velrose begs Zylith to move out of the apartment, believing Zelan is a ghost and shouldn't be trusted.
Zylith and Velrose explore whether their friendship can escalate into a romance until it becomes clear that she likes Zelan. Velrose and Zelan compete for Zylith until they have a heart-to-heart talk where Zelan convinces Velrose to trust him. When Zylith gets stuck in Zelan's dimension alone for several years, Velrose and Zelan become best friends while waiting for her return.
Swimming Lessons for a Mermaid
Swimming Lessons for a Mermaid is a heartwarming high school romance where a swimming star teaches a land-bound mermaid how to swim. Soo eventually develops feelings for Choa during their swim lessons in the school pool after hours. However, Choa's childhood friend, Woo, transfers to the same high school and reconnects with her.
Soo and Woo are the only ones who know she's a mermaid. They work together to guard her secret, always putting Choa's needs before their romantic rivalry. They grow to respect and support each other, with Woo even attending Soo's swim meet to cheer him on.