As great a group of friends as you are, if a situation is particularly dire for the group, and/or if something has a strongly negative effect for a particular character, that same group of TrueCompanions might not be able to stick together anymore. If you want the story to become DarkerAndEdgier, have a main character drive the others apart. Have that character drive a wedge between the protagonists, dividing the FiveManBand to a near-irreparable state.

This brings a great tragedy for a FiveManBand, as well. For any group of TrueCompanions, actually. Circumstances develop so badly that one character simply had enough, choosing a FaceHeelTurn so devastating that the rest of the group won't be able to function from the shock. In other cases, TheResenter might take a few jabs at TheHero, on account of the former being AlwaysSecondBest. If they can't resolve the feud peacefully, friends of both are forced to take sides. Maybe the one that brought them together starts facing problems with their friends' personality flaws or psychological hang-ups; peer pressure kicks in, and {{The Heart}}s' attempts to resolve their friends' issues leads to more problems (maybe even more psychological distress on the part of TheHeart) and broken bonds because of those problems.

Maybe [[TheChick the one that keeps them together]] starts hating his/her designated role as the DistressedDamsel or TheLoad, and their resentment leads to AHouseDivided, or they decide to leave the FiveManBand, which [[BreakingTheFellowship falls apart]] because the one balancing them isn't there. In another scenario, TheHeroDies, and the rest of the characters fight over whether or not to revive him, despite the great risks involving such an act. In another scenario, the ImpliedLoveInterest goes through so much UnresolvedSexualTension, or BelligerentSexualTension, that they turn into the {{Yandere}} and take every step needed to keep the rest of their friends from influencing their love interest.

Whatever the case, good luck trying to bring the group back together after these depressing turn of events.

See also BreakingTheFellowship. Absolutely not related to an evil interrogator trying to break Film/JamesBond.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* This is what happens in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' after Sasuke meets again his long lost and hated big brother Itachi, whom he swore to kill after the latter slaughtered every single member of their clan, save for Sasuke. The meeting can be resumed as NoHoldsBarredBeatdown meets MindRape. When he recovers (physically), Sasuke becomes obsessed with revenge while reporting his frustration upon [[TheHero Naruto]] (because of the latter's progress). Meanwhile [[TheHeart Sakura]] cannot do much but witness this. Sasuke leaves the Leaf not long after, to be taught by the current BigBad. Bringing him back becomes his former TrueCompanions' goal for the second part of the tale.
* This was threatening to happen to the Straw Hat Pirates in ''Manga/OnePiece'' when they reached the city of Water Seven. Robin disappeared for reasons unknown to any of her crewmates, and Usopp had a falling out with Luffy and left on his own accord. The rest of the time he was there, Luffy was trying his hardest not to let the rest of the crew disband. Averted in that he succeeded in keeping the crew together [[spoiler: and eventually got Robin and Usopp back too, which were the main driving forces of that part of the series]].
** This also forms part of the plot of the sixth movie. The bad guys manipulate the crew members into distrusting each other, and eventually absorbs all of them except Luffy.
* In ''Manga/AirGear'', the old Sleeping Forest was shattered when Kilik and Sora had a falling out over the Sky Regalia. Since then, Kilik severed all contact with his former teammates with the exception of the only one who remained neutral, and the rest of the team members scattered: Spitfire decided to reclaim his title, Rika retired, Sora was crippled, Falco became a recluse, Black Burn became a drunk and never involved himself with A-Ts without a disguise, and Dauntless seems to have disappeared.

* In ''[[{{Film/Bratz}} Bratz: The Movie]]'', head girl Meredith is set upon driving the Bratz girls apart; after two years, she has succeeded in making them part of her pre-defined cliques, and they can barely speak to each other any more.
* Such a case could be argued for Andrew Detmer in ''Film/{{Chronicle}}'', though the fault also lies on his father for Andrew's StartOfDarkness.
* It's very common for animated films to have this happen shortly before the climax, particularly the works of Creator/{{Pixar}} and Creator/{{Dreamworks}}. Either the personality conflicts that drove the tension earlier in the film will be reignited, or a lie one of the characters had told the other will be revealed, making them go their separate ways. Of course, the protagonists will always remember the value of their friendship in time to to reunite and stop the BigBad.
* In ''WesternAnimation/EquestriaGirls'', the reason the human counterparts of Twilight's friends hate each other when they used to be friends is because [[spoiler:Sunset Shimmer drove them apart.]]

* In book seven of the ''Literature/HIVESeries'', the betrayal of [[spoiler:Laura]] leads to the [[spoiler:capture of Nigel, Laura, Tom, and Penny.]] The rest return to the H.I.V.E., but are split again when [[spoiler:Otto is expelled.]] At the end, the main cast is within three groups: [[spoiler:Nigel, Tom, Penny, and Laura]] at the [[spoiler:Glasshouse, Otto, Raven, and [=H.I.V.E.mind=] out in the world]], and [[spoiler:Shelby, Franz, Wing, and Nero still on the island.]]
* A lot of the ''Literature/HorusHeresy'' consists of this happening to everyone from random line troops to Adepts of Mars to the eighteen remaining sons of a PhysicalGod. Most notable is the Mournival, the FourTemperamentEnsemble Horus has as advisors, which breaks like fine china when everything goes to hell and leaves Garviel Loken and Tarik Torgaddon on one side and "Little Horus" Aximand and [[ForegoneConclusion Ezekyle]] [[DoomedByCanon Abaddon]] on the other; they do ''not'' get back together, and in fact end up some of the most passionate enemies of the entire civil war, culminating in an entirely sincere effort to kill each other.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Spike in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' calls [[DividedWeFall his role]] in the Scooby Gang's decomposition the "Yoko factor". He didn't create the problems they were facing, but made them likelier to anger and alienate each other.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''The Answer'' for ''VideoGame/Persona3'', after the protagonist dies, Yukari grows adamant about reviving him/her by going back in time. This was so risky that it would've prevented the BigBad from getting sealed, risking the entire world once again to another battle that the team wouldn't have won in any other way than if the protagonist hadn't died. ''Thankfully'', it doesn't come to that, and Yukari gets better, but only after a fight with the rest of the team (Mitsuru sided with her, though).
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'', in the beginning, your party of 4 become true companions, by the end, they all have opposing views and at [[spoiler:least 2 of them will be killed in the fighting.]]
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', [[spoiler:Bastila Shan]] gets tortured into serving the BigBad, and she confronts you in the Ancient Temple on Lehon. If you choose to side with [[spoiler:Bastila]], Jolee, Juhani, Mission and Zaalbar get killed, while Carth runs away into the Lehon Temple. The droids and Canderous are the only ones that remain with you, while [[spoiler:Bastila]] becomes your apprentice. Contrast with the alternate path, in which [[EverybodyLives all the above characters survive]], [[spoiler: and even Bastila can be redeemed if the player character is in a relationship with her or has high enough Persuasion]]. Note that [[spoiler:Bastila]] ''isn't'' the BondBreaker; it's ''[[YouBastard you]]''.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' has [[spoiler: Anders, who is gradually corrupted by the demon of Vengeance until he blows up the Kirkwall Chantry,]] triggering the events of the endgame and driving apart the TrueCompanions who have been together for six years.
** Note that in the optimum ending, only two characters are mutually exclusive. [[spoiler: Sebastian and Anders himself can NEVER be on the same side. Either Anders dies, or Sebastian threatens to raise Kirkwall.]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Shows up in the backstory of ''WebComic/TheOrderOfTheStick''. The Order of the Scribble, united mostly by their goal of closing down all of the rips that allowed the Scribble to enter the world, are able to stick together long enough to accomplish it. Unfortunately, pre-existing issues, the death of one of their own and disagreements on how to best guard the gates lead to a VERY ugly argument, causing them to split up and watch over one of the gates individually. We see that for some of them, even years later, the feelings haven't died down and some of them would never be able to trust the others ever again.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* An impressively realistic example comes from the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' episode "How Long Is Forever". After Starfire goes through time while fighting the token villain of the week, she disappears from the rest of the Titans' lives. What was a few seconds for her, were ''twenty years'' for the rest of the team, and ''none'' of them handled her absence well, since she balanced them out.
* In the 2003 ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|2003}}'' show, Donatello was warped into an alternate future where he had disappeared for 20 years. The Turtles were disbanded, which led to the Shredder succeeding in world domination, and Michelangelo flat-out tells Don it's because he wasn't there to balance them out. Both this and the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' episode are also variations on ItsAWonderfulPlot.