Created By: 0dd1October 14, 2009 Last Edited By: SKJAMMarch 3, 2012
Troped

Fair Weather Friend

Someone who\\\'s your buddy when things are going well, but isn\\\'t when things go poorly.

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Trope

Someone who's your buddy when things are going well, but isn't when things go poorly.

Friends are good, especially when they are True Companions who will stick with you through thick and thin. But not all of your "friends" are reliable people. Some of them are fickle sorts who will abandon you the moment you get into trouble and actually need a friend to help. That's a Fair Weather Friend.

Sometimes a Fair Weather Friend will bookend a story, palling around with the protagonist at the beginning, disappearing when difficulties arise, then coming back as though nothing had happened when the trouble is over, attempting to regain their place.

Often a part of an Ineffectual Loner's backstory. Inverse of Power Of Friendship.

Needs An Index.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Film
  • Kaa accuses Mowgli's friends of this in the Disney version of The Jungle Book.
  • Taken to the nth degree in Brazil, where Michael Palin's character is willing to perform Cold Blooded Torture on longtime friend Sam when circumstances turn against Sam.

Literature
  • In the book The Man in the Ceiling, the main character abandons his friends who need his help when the most popular boy in school takes an interest in him. He claims that all of them, being outcasts, would have done the same thing in his place.
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Nick Drew abandons his friends when the going gets tough.
  • In Harriet the Spy, the titular character's inner thoughts are shared with her classmates when her diary is taken from her. Her close friends, offended by her unflattering (yet not intentionally harmful) thoughts, join a club devoted to ruining her life. (Unlike some other examples here, they learn better by the end.)
  • Alluded to in the novel Joust. After a new Jouster screws up big time, Ari comments that the Jouster's noble friends won't be hanging around to console him.

Newspaper Comics
  • Peanuts:
    • Referenced in this strip.
      Linus: It's fair weather today, Charlie Brown.
      Charlie Brown: So where are all my friends?
    • In this one Snoopy bemoans the loss of his snowman to a bright, sunny (if cold) day. "There's one thing for sure...he was no 'fair weather friend.'"
    • In the book I Need All the Friends I can Get Charlie Brown says "I need all the friends I can get. I'd even settle for a fair-weather friend."

Webcomics
  • In Misfile "Good" Angel Vashiel advises his semi-fallen brother to turn in one of his (Vashiel's) friends on suspicion of murder to win brownie points in heaven even though he (Vashiel) doesn't really think he is guilty. Fortunately his brother has some morals and points out that this makes Vashiel the ultimate in fair weather friends (and kinda a dick as well).

Western Animation

Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • October 14, 2009
    0dd1
    No...seriously, do we have this one? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
  • October 14, 2009
    Earnest
    Well, we have Professional Butt Kisser, but that's more of a Sub Trope of this.
  • October 15, 2009
    Paradisca Corbasi
    Seen It A Million Times but no examples come to mind except in that case of when the Leader needs a volunteer everybody takes a step back leaving The Gilligan to be 'the volunteer' and that's reaching a bit.
  • October 15, 2009
    Chabal 2
    Kaa in The Jungle Book (Disney version) mentions this.
  • October 15, 2009
    Desertopa
    There are a lot of examples in Kid Lit. In the book "The Man in the Ceiling," the main character abandons his friends when the most popular boy in school takes an interest in him. He claims that all of them, being outcasts, would have done the same thing in his place.
  • October 16, 2009
    Arivne
    A couple from the Wiki:

    The Bartimaeus Trilogy

    Smug Snake
  • October 16, 2009
    CrypticMirror
    • In Misfile "Good" Angel Vashiel advises his semi-fallen brother to turn in one of his (Vashiel's) friends on suspicion of murder to win brownie points in heaven even though he (Vashiel) doesn't really think he is guilty. Fortunately his brother has some morals and points out that this makes Vashiel the ultimate in fair weather friends (and kinda a dick as well).
  • October 21, 2009
    0dd1
    Seems a shame that we didn't have this... One example I can think of is from The Mighty B, Penelope.
  • October 21, 2009
    Giant Space Chinchilla
  • October 21, 2009
    Madrugada
    Seems to me that this is considerably milder than Chronic Backstabbing Disorder -- that's active betrayal, repeatedly. This is simply dropping a friend or not being available when they could use some help. In most cases in fiction, it blows over quickly and the Aesop is learned.
  • May 6, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Bumping this because a recent YKTTW called "What You Are When The Chips Are Down" reminded me of the general concept of a fair weather friend, and I wondered if we had a trope for it. Turned out we just had a YKTTW...
  • May 7, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Bump
  • May 14, 2011
    QuakPenguin
    In The Simpsons Rear Window episode Bart asks Milhouse to sign his leg cast but he just writes something like Mil..Pool and leaves for the swimming pool.
  • February 18, 2012
    SKJAM
    New description, edited examples. Needs More Polish in general.
  • February 22, 2012
    pawsplay
    Literature:
    • In Harriet the Spy, the titular character's inner thoughts are shared with her classmates when her diary is taken from her. Her close friends, offended by her unflattering (yet not intentionally harmful) thoughts, join a club devoted to ruining her life.
  • February 23, 2012
    Antigone3
    Alluded to in the novel Joust. After a new Jouster screws up big time, Ari comments that the Jouster's noble friends won't be hanging around to console him.
  • February 23, 2012
    TrustBen
    Taken to the nth degree in Brazil, where Michael Palin's character is willing to perform Cold Blooded Torture on longtime friend Sam.
  • February 23, 2012
    Bisected8
    Potential page quote;

  • February 23, 2012
    SKJAM
    @pawsplay: So if Harriet's true friends abandon her to join the other side, are they still true friends?
  • February 23, 2012
    pawsplay
    Well, eventually, but yeah, that's a terrible juxta. Fixing!
  • February 25, 2012
    SKJAM
    Added new examples and potential page quote, sorted examples a bit, has anyone here seen The Mighty B so we can get more info in that example? Also, any other bits you think would be helpful before launch.
  • February 25, 2012
    Psi001
  • February 25, 2012
    SKJAM
    By the way, this also Needs An Index.

    And those of you good at Image Picking might want to see if you can find one--I seem to recall at least one Mad Magazine parody where one character is saying "We may be in dire danger, old friend, but I know I can count on you through thick or thin!" or words to that effect. but eithern in the same panel or the next the old friend is vamoosing.
  • February 25, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • Peanuts:
      • Referenced in this strip.
        Linus: It's fair weather today, Charlie Brown.
        Charlie Brown: So where are all my friends?
      • In this one Snoopy bemoans the loss of his snowman to a bright, sunny (if cold) day. "There's one thing for sure...he was no 'fair weather friend.'"
      • In the book I Need All the Friends I can Get Charlie Brown says "I need all the friends I can get. I'd even settle for a fair-weather friend."
  • March 2, 2012
    SKJAM
    Okay, have added examples, and did what I could with The Mighty B based on its trope page.

    Now, I think this one is almost ready for launch, but want that index.
  • March 2, 2012
    reub2000
  • March 3, 2012
    CrypticMirror
    Index would be Friendship Tropes
  • March 3, 2012
    SKJAM
    Thanks! Okay, this will be launching within the day, so any last-minute updates or suggestions?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable