"Verizon Friendly" creates a problem, as you pretty much have to buy a phone from Verizon themselves.
The base technology of the network is CDMA, which only one other carrier, Sprint, uses in the US. This problem is compounded by the fact that Sprint and Verizon use completely different frequencies, so the radios used in a Sprint phone wont operate fully on Verizon's network. Further throwing a wrench into the works is that CDMA isn't a popular network protocol by any means and most manufacturers only make devices for one network or the other.
If Verizon was GSM based like most other carriers worldwide, the issue would be much different as many manufacturer make "universal unlocked" devices such as the Google Nexus 5, which has nearly universal compatibility and will run on nearly any GSM network simply by putting your sim card into it.
The best answer would be either use an upgrade and get a phone cheap, or pay the full retail price of the phone and stay out of contract. I would look at Samsung Devices if you go this route, Rumor has it the Galaxy S5 will be coming out next month, so there's something to keep an eye out for.
This has been my experience, as I'm a Verizon customer myself, and I did actually manage a Verizon store for 2 years before moving on to bigger better things. Best of luck to you.