Look, I'm not trying to start a fight or anything but, I've got to be honest and let you all know that The Office is WAY more superior to Friends. Periodt.
In all seriousness, both shows are really good shows is you're looking for something to binge-watch in a "relatable, I can grow with the characters" kind of way. I mean, there is a reason they both had so many seasons and a cult following. Although it's true that they are both great shows when in comparison with each other, it is crazy how much better The Office is than Friends.
Let's start from the basics of the shows, they are both comedies that follow a group of people in a similar setting on their day to day lives. Both have a list of characters that we all as viewers can sit and compare ourselves or those we know with as our most relatable characters. Both have character development, heartbreak, deep friendships and laughable moments. So, if they both have the recipe to make a great show, why does one beat out the other?
When you look at Friends episode 1, you are in your standard comedy set up. You've got the standard group of well, friends, the main point(s) of meeting(apartments and coffee shop) and a timeline for each character. It's basic, but you can follow these things and easily quickly become invested in the lives of your characters. Though, when you are watching the show there is something absolutely forgettable about every character on the show. I mean sure you get the idea that joey is the dumb one, Pheobe is "out there", Ross is your I guess hopeless romantic, and Rachel is the rich girl gone poor girl character. Though again there are things about these characters that you can relate with, you'd never fully be able to connect with them.
Now when you look at the office episode 1, you have something that resembles your standard set up for a comedy show but is actually something entirely different. You're thrusted into the standard meeting place (the office) but you are also given the introduction to each character in an almost cringe-worthy kind of way. Each person you meet leaves a lasting impression on you, not because they have done something to label themselves as a type character but their reactions leave a resonating feeling with you. They are reacting with you to what is happening on the screen, I mean do we need to look at the scene where Michael crumples the fax Pam tried to give him? We all wanted to stab him pam... we all did.
Diving into the overall character development on each show, when you look at friends, honestly there really isn't any. I mean sure you can 100% argue that relationships between certain characters on the show developed, like maybe Pheobe and Joey, Rachel and Ross and definitely between Monica and Chandler but individually nothing really changed. I mean, look at Ross for instance, from the beginning of the show he shows up like this puppy who needs other people in his life to push him to do anything that will benefit him.. after how many seasons how frustrated are you with him over the same crap? Pheobe? I don't know how someone can be portrayed as a weirdo hippie throughout a show as much as she had been.
While on the Office almost everyone on this show has character development, granted some of them aren't as deep as certain characters but they happen and you notice how much they have changed since their first appearance on the show.
The office is just overall the superior show.