The identity of Ted's best friend has been a controversial subject between Marshall, Ted and Barney. Barney and Marshall both claim to be Ted's best friend, and whenever someone comments that Ted's best friend is not them, they tend to act outraged and correct the person who said it.
The most common occurrence of this is when Barney will make a comment stating that he is Ted's best friend, and Ted will try to correct him saying that Marshall is actually his best friend, only for Barney to ignore him and continue on.
The following are episodes where an argument/debate over the identity of Ted's best friend has occurred.
Ted makes a comment "your best friend gets engaged, you start thinking about that stuff", referring to Marshall as his best friend. Barney responds by saying "I thought I was your best friend... Ted, say I'm your best friend!", Ted concedes, calling Barney his best friend. Pleased, he introduces Ted to Yasmin.
Ted and Barney try to pick up women in the airport and end up on a plane to Philly. While there Barney has the idea to lick the Liberty Bell. Barney has to remind Ted why he wants to hang out with him so much. "You're my best friend, alright!"
When Ted calls Marshall "my best friend", Barney gasps; Ted quickly says "One of my best friends". Robin later tells Ted that Marshall is "your best friend"; Barney is again outraged, and an exasperated Robin adds "one of your best friends", causing him to smile.
When Barney tells Marshall "I may be your best friend...", Marshall interjects "Ted's my best friend".
Marshall, Ted and Barney argue over who is Marshall's 'best man'.
While Ted is planning Marshall's bachelor party, Barney can't help but interfere. When Marshall is pissed off at him for all the trouble they went through that night, he threatens to un-invite Barney from the wedding only to find out that Barney flew to San Francisco to get Lily back for him. Ted and Barney turn out to be BOTH Marshall's Best Man. Co-Best Men.
At the bar Ted introduces the gang to his newest girlfriend, whose name Future Ted can't remember and instead refers to as "Blah Blah". Embarrassed that she and Ted met online, she makes up a story about how she saw Ted across a crowded room at a cooking class. In order to change the subject, everyone begins to reminisce about how they all met each other, and their stories are told through flashbacks.
Barney corrects Robin when she describes him as Ted's "really good friend".
Barney tells Abby that he was Ted's best friend for seven years. Abby retorts that Ted said that Marshall is his best friend and Barney loudly repeats "SEVEN YEARS".
Barney, Ted, Marshall, and Lily are at Ted's wedding in Shelter Island, discussing how Stella doesn't want Robin at the wedding because she's his ex. Ted says that Robin is his best friend and Marshall and Barney both shout out "Heyyyy Wowwwww!!!!". Ted then rephrases that Robin is his best female friend. Lily tries to do the same reaction "Hey wow..." but then drops it and says "Nah. I don't care. Why fake it?"
Barney says that he and Marshall are in a competition for the title of 'Ted's best friend' and that will change when he tells Ted that he has recommended him to design the New GNB Headquarters.
When Bilson fires Ted from designing the new GNB headquarters, he tells Marshall and Barney that Ted's best friend should tell him, to help lessen the blow. They both respond "I have to tell him?" at the same time. This results in one of the rare cases where Marshall and Barney argue against being Ted's best friend, as neither of them want to tell him he's been fired.
Ted learns that the girl Holli he has been flirting with through text messages is actually Barney and Marshall having fun at his expense. To get back at them, he tells "Holli" that he has gay dreams about his best friend. Barney and Marshall both try and convince each other they are the one Ted is dreaming about, and try to convince Ted to tell them who it is.
After Barney says that he would be Ted's best man at his wedding, Ted replies that Marshall probably would be. Barney loudly repeats "As your best man..." Later in the same episode, Marshall says that his father is his best friend earning a big "wow" from Ted and Barney.
Barney prevents Ted from getting back together with Jeanette by making him perform some of his plays from The Playbook while communicating with him through an earpiece. In one of these plays, Ted wears a hospital gown and tells a girl he is donating his kidney to "my best friend Barney, not Marshall."
Barney learns from a 'troublemaker' who is at the hotel that Ted is moving to Chicago which opens up a tense conversation between the two.
|Ted:||Thirty, right. You’re right. I guess it’s just, you’re best friend gets engaged—you start thinking about that stuff.|
|Barney:||I thought I was your best friend. Ted, say I’m your best friend.|
|Ted:||You’re my best friend, Barney.|
|Ted:||Marshall, remember this night. When you’re the best man at our wedding and you give a speech, you’re gonna tell this story.|
|Barney:||Why does he get to be the best man? I’M YOUR BEST FRIEND!|
|Ted:||Why? Why do you need me?|
|Barney:||Because, you’re my best friend, alright? You don’t have to tell me I’m yours. But the way I see it, we’re a team. Without you, I’m just the dynamic uno. You know what, fine. If you wanna go home… then we’ll go home.|
|Ted:||Fine…we’ll go lick the Liberty Bell.|
|Barney:||Good, ‘cuz we’re here!|
|Barney:||Okay, I got the veil. She wasn't ready to be married. All right, let's talk bachelor party. Are we thinking full-on strip club, or should we rent a room and have a private toy show?|
|Ted:||What did you just say?|
|Barney:||Marshall, I'm your best man.|
|Marshall:||You're not my best man.|
|Barney:||And as your best man, I have to throw you a bachelor party. That's part of being a best friend.|
|Marshall:||You're not my best friend.|
|Marshall:||Barney, I don't have time for a bachelor party. I've got, like, 18 minutes.|
|Barney:||So.. I just slept with my best friend's ex-girlfriend.|
|Robin:||And I just slept with my ex-boyfriend's really good friend.|
|Barney:||I've been Ted's best friend for seven years.|
|Abby:||Ted said Marshall was his best friend.|
|Barney:||Marshall I want you to enjoy this moment.|
|Barney:||The last moment of you and I are in competition for the title of 'Ted's best friend'.|
|Ted:||Marshall is my best friend.|
|Barney:||Exactly. It's a tie. But all of that is about to change. Is it correct that you are an architect?|
|Ted:||My best friend would know that, but go on.|
|Ted:||You know what? To hell with your dibs. I'm going over there right now and talking to her.|
|Barney:||Oh, yeah, yeah? Be my guest. Fall in love with her. Get married. Just know this: When I step up to make my toast as your best man...|
|Ted:||Actually, Marshall would probably be...|
|Barney:||As your best man...|
|Ted:||It's not until...Monday.|
|Barney:||Monday! So you are gonna just disappear the day after my wedding! After ten years of being best friends...|
|Ted:||Well, actually Marshall is...|
|Barney:||Dont even think about it!|
|Barney:||You are giving me one days notice?|