All this time we were busy debating the good guys and the bad boys—one is healthy for you but you aren’t attracted to him and the other is attractive but will most definitely become the reason for your extensive therapy bills. Enters the golden retriever boyfriend: someone who is nice, but doesn’t feel entitled because of it. Someone who will give you your space, without being distant. And lastly, someone who understands the true meaning of being a partner.
What Is A Golden Retriever Boyfriend
The term ‘golden retriever’ boyfriend comes from the mannerism found in this wildly-loved breed of dogs. In other instances, it may have seemed insulting to compare men to dogs, but in this particular scenario, it is a serious compliment. They’re playful and happy-go-lucky—and much like the actual golden retrievers, they pair up as your perfect companion. The golden retriever boyfriend isn’t someone who is trying hard to impress you—he is in touch with his feelings and isn’t afraid of being himself around you. While it is very easy to differentiate between the nice guy and the f*uck boy—how does one pick a golden retriever out of a group of Mr goody-two-shoes? Easy, he won’t leverage his kindness and manipulate you into being with him because he has ‘feelings’ for you. Yes, we’re looking at you Tom, from 500 Days of Summer. Girls, if you’re trying to figure out whether the guy you’re dating is a golden retriever or if you’re hoping to find one, here are 10 on-screen characters that completely embody this sentiment.
1. Lee Jun Ho, Attorney Woo
This law-based drama focuses on a gifted attorney, who happens to be on the spectrum. Attorney Woo, as the name suggests, primarily sheds light on her journey—but there’s one person who is constantly doing his most to make her life seamless, or at least help her navigate it: Lee Jun Ho, the cute paralegal who is basically a human version of sunshine. What’s interesting to see is that even when he’s trying to help or pursue her romantically, he never undermines her authority or makes his interest in her look like sympathy. Lee Jun Ho knows his mind and wears his feelings on his sleeves but never overwhelms her with them—a green flag golden retriever boyfriend right there!
2. Rishi Shekhawat, Mismatched
Rishi (played by Rohit Saraf) in Mismatched is the doe-eyed lover boy who confesses his feelings for geeky Dimple (played by Prajakta Koli) from the word go. But as the show progresses, you watch Rishi take a stand for himself, every time he is being treated like a doormat by Dimple. Regardless of his feelings for her, he doesn’t lose objectivity of what’s right and wrong, which is precisely what draws Dimple back to him. Boys, you can simp over a girl but still, hold your own when it comes to matters of integrity.
3. Ben, Never Have I Ever
In this typical hate-to-love trope between Ben and Devi, Ben manages to impress the audience by being her silent cheerleader throughout. He has a healthy, competitive streak with Devi but he recognises her individuality and supports her to own it. Despite Paxton’s heavy charm and brooding good looks (+ 6-pack abs) Devi ultimately picks Ben, because he brings out the best in her—seriously, what else does one even need?
4. Aditya Kashyap, Jab We Met
Aditya Kashyap of Jab We Met was a golden retriever even before the term existed. I think, it mostly got coined because of him. Aditya meets geet during a tumultuous time of his life but he then embraces the uncertain journey the duo is forced to take on. Geet certainly has the ‘main character’ syndrome and Aditya is just happy to tag along for the ride. He is the kind of guy who will be your confidant but will also give you a boost of confidence when you need it. His soothing energy brings balance to Geet’s chaos and later in the movie, he helps her restore the same spark he first fell for.
5. Chandler Bing, Friends
They don’t make them like him anymore. For years, we grew up romanticising Ross and Rachel only to later realise how toxic they were with each other. Chandler, on the other hand, was a slow burn—but once he falls for Monica and commits to her, their relationship becomes the most endearing on the show. Chandler was her best friend before he became her partner and he continues to be her best friend even while they are dating and after they are married. Monica is a neat freak and competitive to a fault, what other men she dates in the past found exhausting, Chandler most certainly loves the most about her.
6. Peter Parker, Spider-Man
Peter Parker and MJ are iconic in every version, but there’s something about Tom Holland and Zendaya’s chemistry in the latest Spider-Man franchise that makes this relationship incomparable. To quote my colleague Isha Mayer, who enthusiastically said, “I mean, he sacrificed his whole life and made the world (including MJ and his best friend) forget him, just so that they are safe ” well, no one can argue with that. Also, he is never intimidated by how smart MJ is, mostly just in awe of her, isn’t that just the best?
7. Jai Singh Rathore, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
Jai was the ultimate golden retriever. Just like the animal, whose entire world revolves around that one human he loves the most—in Jai’s case it was Aditi. It does take him some time and a few wrong decisions to understand that it’s more than just friendship, but even as her best friend, he knew how to be her go-to for everything sans any judgment. From organising a cat funeral for her to being a co-conspirator in all her manic plans, Jai was her knight in shining armour (not that she needed one) even before he chased her to the airport on an actual horse.
8. The Summer I Turned Pretty, Jeremiah
When Belly is busy being lovestruck by Conrad, Jeremiah emerges as the better boyfriend material. Most of the time, we are so fixated on the idea of what we think is best for us that we almost neglect what’s right in front of us. While Conrad is all about being hot and cold, Jeremiah makes sure to have Belly’s back regardless of what she feels for him. He treats her like an equal, includes her in all the boyish fun and respects her in a way she deserves to be respected.
9. Jake Peralta, Brooklyn 99
Jake and Amy are almost too cute to be true. But apart from the nauseatingly sweet-love Jake has for Amy, it’s the way he treats her takes the cake. Not only does he acknowledge that she’s a better detective than him, her being his boss never dampens their relationship even once. In fact, he celebrates her promotions and takes a step back to be a stay-at-home dad when Amy has to take over the Brooklyn 99 Precinct.
10. Jim Halpert, The Office
The Office last aired in 2013 but I am still low-key manifesting a Jim Halpert in my life. If you’ve watched the show, you know Jim is the ideal boyfriend. He is funny, sweet and knows how to wait on the sidelines without love-bombing someone. His and Pam’s love story is what it is because Jim never takes her for granted—even after she becomes his wife and the mother of his children. She’s always his partner-in-crime and the girl of his dreams rolled into one.
For more relationship stories, tap here.