13 Ways Sheldon & Penny’s Friendship Was The Best

The focus of The Big Bang Theory was initially the friendship between Leonard and Sheldon, who worked and lived together. But when a pretty aspiring actress moved in across the hall, she became part of the clique as well. Soon, the group was rounded out by Howard, Raj, Bernadette, and Amy. What followed were some of the sweetest friendship scenes.

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Two people, in particular, had a unique and underrated friendship: Sheldon and Penny. While they’re opposites, there’s no denying the pair’s tight-knit bond. Some might even argue that their friendship was the best of them all, but why?


Updated on May 2nd, 2022, by Lynn Gibbs: Sheldon Cooper and Penny Hofstadter are the thickest friends in The Big Bang TheoryAlthough the focus of the show was on Sheldon and Leonard’s life with their friends, science experiments, and relationships, the bond between Sheldon and his neighbor Penny stole the show.

There was nothing ever romantic between the two, which is what made their friendship so strong. There were no hidden agendas, unsaid feelings, or judgments. Sheldon and Penny grew from each other, learned from each other, and were there for one another when they needed it. 

Sheldon And Penny Both Taught Each Other Things From Their Worlds

Penny teaching Sheldon pop culture on TBBT

It wouldn’t be surprising if Sheldon wrote a book on life lessons in TBBT because he truly felt that his way of life was the only way. This is why he created contractual obligations for his roommates and relationships. However, if Sheldon ever wrote that book, he’d have to thank Penny for teaching him about things outside his interests.

Sheldon and Penny once made a morning game of quizzing each other via notecards on popular things in their world. For Penny it was the Kardashians, for Sheldon it was different faces of science. Penny also taught Sheldon how to act better on camera for his online show Fun With Flags, while Sheldon taught Penny more about comics and science-fiction movies. Together, they were a fun on-screen duo.

Penny Acted As An Older Sister To Sheldon

penny takes sheldon to disneyland - the big bang theory

Sheldon and Penny had some of the best friendship moments in each season of TBBT because of their sibling-like bond. With Sheldon’s mother and sister in Texas, Penny was the closest thing he had to a sister. She watched over him, kept him safe, and called for backup when he was out of control.

Penny and Sheldon fought at times but it was exactly how brothers and sisters fought. It never lasted longer than a day and one of them always apologized in the end. They also didn’t take each other’s insults too seriously, which is commendable, because they knew the other wasn’t coming from a bad place.

Sheldon And Penny Lived Nicely Together

Sheldon and Leonard talk at Penny's apartment on TBBT

Sheldon’s dedication was to Leonard since they were in a contractual relationship due to being roommates. But the more serious Leonard and Penny became, the more obvious it was that Sheldon found it easier to live with Penny than Leonard.

RELATED: 10 Quotes That Prove Sheldon And Penny Have The Best Big Bang Theory Friendship

In one scene, Leonard was tired of Sheldon’s rules and didn’t want to do a roommate meeting. He looked to Penny for support but Penny saw no issue with having a meeting to discuss living accommodations. While Leonard and Penny did grow tired of Sheldon constantly being around, Penny respected Sheldon’s space, rules, and routines.

Sheldon And Penny Rarely Needed Anything From One Another

Penny and Sheldon in the doorway in The Big Bang Theory

Neither Sheldon nor Penny actually ever needed something from the other that they couldn’t get without hanging out. Yet they still did. They lived very different lives with different belief systems and priorities. Knowing this, when they did get together it was totally for selfless reasons, even if it didn’t always seem that way.

Sure, Sheldon might have bugged Penny to drive him somewhere or Penny might mooch off of Sheldon’s Wi-Fi, but for the most part, any time they actually hung out, they wanted to help each other, even if it sometimes came across as though Penny and Sheldon weren’t friends.

Sheldon And Penny Had Serious Conversations & Understood Without Judgement

Whether it was while Sheldon was sick in bed, in the laundry room, or on the staircase, Sheldon and Penny always seemed to have the best heart-to-heart conversations in the oddest of places, which is something only true friends could do.

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One of the more important scenes was during Sheldon’s birthday party. He panicked when he had so many people over to see him and he went into the bathroom to clear his mind. Penny went in after him and listened to his fears without pressuring or rushing him. As they sat on the tub, Penny and Sheldon had some of the best quotes in their friendship as they opened up to each other.

Sheldon And Penny Bonded Over Singing “Soft Kitty” When They Were Ill

Penny was the only other person Sheldon allowed to sing the sacred song “Soft Kitty” to him when he was sick. His mother used to sing it to him when he was a little boy and it was one of those things that comforted him when he needed it most. When Sheldon asked her to sing the song to him, it was clear that Sheldon saw Penny and Leonard as an extension of his parents.

Penny was confused when Sheldon first asked her to sing the song to him, but over time, it was one of those moments that bonded them. There was even a time when Penny begged Sheldon to sing the song to her when she injured her shoulder.

Sheldon Truly Cared About Penny

Penny and Sheldon Cooper pizza in The Big Bang Theory

Even though he would use every opportunity to insult her intelligence, Sheldon clearly really cared about Penny. He always tried to help her when he knew she was down or facing a dilemma, even if he might have come across as condescending and annoying at times while doing so.

A big moment that showed Sheldon’s care was when Penny was short on money and was stressed over what to do. Without hesitation, Sheldon offered her money and told her to pay him back when he could. Later, when Penny and Leonard broke up, Sheldon worried about what his friendship with Penny would be like because he grew to like her. Sheldon and Penny’s best moments were when they needed each other most and were there for one another without question.

Penny Was Protective Of Sheldon

Sheldon Cooper and Penny laugh in The Big Bang Theory

Just as Sheldon cared about Penny, she too cared deeply about him, even if she sometimes seemed cold at times. Penny’s care for Sheldon came from a protective place. She knew Sheldon was different from other people and wanted to defend him from online trolls, Amy, and even Leonard.

RELATED: Sheldon & Amy’s Relationship Timeline On The Big Bang Theory, Season By Season

When Sheldon’s relationship timeline with Amy came to an end, Penny saw it coming but that didn’t mean she wasn’t’ worried about how Sheldon was going to bounce back. She also protected him when someone hacked his virtual game and stole the cherished items that he worked so hard for. Instead of ignoring him, Penny drove to the bully’s house and defended Sheldon’s honor.

There Was A Mutual Respect Between Sheldon And Penny

Sheldon Cooper and Penny kiss in The Big Bang Theory

The pair had mutual respect for one another, even though they didn’t always show it. Sheldon would never admit that he admired Penny for her ability to live so freely, without anxiety, and without caring about things like he did.

Meanwhile, Penny admired Sheldon’s superior intellect, the rational and unbiased way he could look at any situation, and his incredible self-confidence. This was shown when Sheldon went to Penny for acting advice and when Penny asked Sheldon to teach her physics. They were opposites who were satisfied in their lives and who they were, but they still respected the way each other operated.

Sheldon And Penny Complemented Each Other

Sheldon and Penny couldn’t be more different from one another. Sheldon was a bona fide and self-professed geek who loved physics, comic books, Star Wars, and Star Trek. He paid no mind to other pop culture, outward appearances, partying, or drinking.

Penny, on the other hand, was a party girl who had the wine flowing every night. She cared about how she looked and the clothes she wore and didn’t know the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek — and frankly, didn’t care. Academia wasn’t her strong suit either. But as they say, opposites attract, even when it comes to friendships.

Penny Helped Sheldon Open Up

Sheldon Cooper and Penny hugging in The Big Bang Theory

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Jim Pasons’ performance on TBBT as Sheldon Cooper was one of the greats. He perfected Sheldon’s social awkwardness, inability to understand social cues, and disdain for anything other than physics. Sheldon took everything literally, which was why sarcasm was such a hard topic for him to grasp.

Thanks to Penny, Sheldon opened up to these things that he once found difficult. She taught him about pop culture via flashcards, she helped him “break up” with String Theory, and Penny even talked him through his relationship woes to help him understand the female brain. Without Penny, Sheldon’s relationship and friendship with the guys would have suffered.

Sheldon Told It Like It Was With Penny

Penny pins Sheldon to the ground in The Big Bang Theory

Sometimes all a person needs is for someone to be straight with them and tell it like it is. While others might try to skirt around the issue or pick sides, Sheldon always approached advice from a completely logical perspective.

Penny never had to worry if Sheldon had a hidden agenda. She went to him for advice on her career, relationship problems with Leonard, and tricky situations she got herself into with Amy and Bernadette. While Sheldon didn’t always care about Penny’s mundane problems, he did help her when she needed it in a roundabout way, making them one of the best friendships on TBBT.

Penny Was The Buffer Between Sheldon And Leonard

While Sheldon and Leonard were supposed to be best friends, their friendship might not have lasted as long as it did without Penny as the buffer. She not only served as a middleman between them during disputes, but her apartment was a respite for Leonard to go to when he was fed up with Sheldon, or for Sheldon when he needed to get away from Leonard.

Both Leonard and Sheldon trusted Penny and would open up to her about each other. Even though she could be a bully to them, in many ways, she was both of their best friends and a person they trusted. As The Big Bang Theory’s seasons went on, episodes between these three got better.

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