[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBros http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/040d66ac317acbcca91cb75162dbc40e.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"[-[[DamselInDistress And try not to get kidnapped for two friggin' seconds.]]"-]]]

->''"If the Hero says 'wait here,' it really doesn't matter whether you obey him or not. If you stay, you will be captured by the Evil Overlord's henchmen as soon as the Hero is out of earshot. If you tag along, you will be caught by the Evil Overlord's henchmen as you stumble along. Don't agonize over your decision."''
-->-- [[http://www.oocities.org/evilsnack/innocent.htm The Normal Innocent Bystander's Survival Guide]]

Whenever our hero has to go off and do something important, they first decide to dump off any "dead weight" (such as [[SmallAnnoyingCreature cute sidekicks]] or LoveInterests) that might slow them down by [[DamselScrappy getting into trouble at precisely the wrong time]]. He'll tell the person something akin to "Wait here, if I'm not back in an hour, call the police."

This rarely helps.

If they listen to the hero, they'll get [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty captured]] or TrappedByMountainLions the moment he's out of earshot. Half the time, they'll ignore the hero's advice and go off to do something incredibly stupid (and inevitably [[DistressBall end up in hot water]]). You'd think they could take five minutes to call the relevant authorities, or failing that get one of the hero's peers to come help before doing something incredibly stupid, but noooo.

As illustrated above, being left somewhere is something of a no-win situation, as the [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption laws of drama necessitate]] you either getting captured if you stay put or getting captured if you stumble off. If heroes were the least bit GenreSavvy, they'd realize that it's safer to keep TheLoad where you can keep an eye on them.

Occasonially, it's the hero who ends up getting in over his head. In this case, the buddy/girl will get to be the {{big damn hero|es}} for once and bail him out of a thrashing by the villain's [[{{Mooks}} goons]]. Cue AnAesop about ThePowerOfFriendship when the hero [[ArsonMurderAndLifeSaving complains about them ignoring orders]].

Often parodied if the character being told to wait is incapacited and thus unable to do anything ''other'' than wait. See HeroHarassesHelpers for when the hero rudely rejects the help of other characters to fight with him. Not to be confused with FineYouCanJustWaitHereAlone.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', this is toyed with when Roy tells Riza to wait for him, but only a day. After that, she is to leave him essentially for dead. Of course, she refuses, and stays at her post. However, at the moment Roy returns, he finds [[spoiler:Major Armstrong instead! It freaks him out, but then he realizes that he's been a LONG time, so it wouldn't be too surprising if Riza had gone. She was just at the restroom at the moment though, and returns shortly after]].
* ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' has an interesting variation in the Watanagashi arc. Keiichi and Rena have gotten Mion [[spoiler:actually Shion]] to confess to the murders and convinced her to turn herself in. She agrees, on the condition that she be given a half hour alone with Keiichi. Keiichi agrees, but (understanding that his friend is a homicidal maniac) tells Rena that if he's not back within the time limit, to call the police. Rena does just this. As a result, Keiichi narrowly avoids having several nails hammered into his hand.
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' Ichigo tells Orihime and Uryu to wait for him during the Ulquiorra fight, [[spoiler:she doesn't, the resulting crossfire probably saves Ichigo's life... And causes his SuperpoweredEvilSide to give Uryu a nearly mortal wound]].
* Lampshaded in the GagDub of ''Anime/GhostStories''.
-->'''Hajime:''' Obeying horror movie rules, I'm going to go out alone. You stay here while I go out looking for help.\\
'''Momoko:''' Okay. God bless him. Leaving me here alone and defenseless in a cemetery. What a guy.

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* ComicBook/LoisLane is, of course, the queen of this trope in every incarnation she's appeared in. ComicBook/JimmyOlsen ties a close second.
* In the original Gold Key ''ComicBook/MagnusRobotFighter'', Leeja Clane would, on the fairly uncommon times Magnus told her to stay out of harms way, do exactly that. Until something happened that Magnus needed to be urgently told about. Then Leeja would try to find him and only then be caught by the villain. Unlike ''Star Trek'', nobody in North Am thought of personal, portable communications.

[[folder: Films -- Animated ]]
* Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''. While Aladdin and his monkey Abu are exploring the caves full of treasure, Aladdin tells Abu to "wait here" while he goes to get the lamp. As you'd expect, Abu sees a huge gem and goes to grab it, ignoring the warning they received to "[[ForbiddenFruit touch nothing but the lamp]]" and setting off a lava flow apocalypse.
* ''Disney/{{Bambi}}'': Bambi's mother telling him to wait while she checks the meadow to make sure its safe.
* In ''Disney/{{Moana}}'', Maui wants Moana to stay behind when he goes for the Realm of Monsters to snatch his fish hook from Tamatoa. Of course, she refuses which he grudgingly accept. When they are done with Tamatoa, Maui admits that Moana was a life saver.

[[folder: Films -- Live-Action ]]
* Parodied in ''Film/BigTroubleInLittleChina'' when Jack Burton tells several {{Sidekick}}s: "Ok, you people! Sit tight, hold the fort and keep the home fires burning. And if we're not back by dawn, call the President." Of course, they later go in and get captured.
* ''Film/LastActionHero'' goes into this at length, but Jack provides a very pragmatic solution: ''a gun'' in the glove compartment. Unfortunately, it also gives Daniel enough leverage to follow him... and get captured.
* Spoofed in ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' when Mal goes to meet Inara, knowing it's a trap:
-->'''Mal:''' If I'm not back in one hour, you take this ship, and you come and you rescue me.
-->'''Zoe:''' What? And risk my ship?
-->'''Mal:''' I mean it. It's cold out there. I don't wanna get left.
* ''Film/BeverlyHillsCop'' uses the sidekick rescue variant when Axel Foley (lead Eddie Murphy) goes into a warehouse, telling Billy (Judge Reinhold) to stay put, because he doesn't have probable cause. The strictly by-the-book Billy gets increasingly nervous as the BigBad and his thugs show up then leave with the {{Love Interest|s}} in tow, and finally gets up the nerve to go in. The resulting BigDamnHeroes moment sets up his CharacterDevelopment arc for the rest of the movie and [[Film/BeverlyHillsCopII the sequel]].
* This becomes a RunningGag in ''Film/TheGoldenChild'', with Chandler Jarrell repeatedly telling Kee Nang to stay put and her coming after him.
* In ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'', at Weathertop Aragorn says he's going to have a look around and for the hobbits to "stay here." They do. Unfortunately, three of the four decide to pass the time while he's gone by ''[[TooDumbToLive lighting a highly visible fire]]'', thus attracting the attention of the Ringwraiths anyway.
* In ''Film/OceansEleven'', when part of the crew goes to [[spoiler: steal the "pinch"]], George Clooney expressly tells Matt Damon to wait in the van. He can't take the bickering of the two brothers and leaves, which leads to... complications.
* ''Film/TheMask''. Stanley Ipkiss does this to his dog Milo before going to confront Dorian Tyrell. Of course Milo disobeys, follows him and saves the day.
* ''Film/TheAdventuresOfBuckarooBanzaiAcrossThe8thDimension''
** When the Red Lectroids break into Buckaroo's mansion, he tells Penny Priddy to stay in his room. Of course she wanders off looking for him, which is both good and bad. Professor Hikita manages to pass the Oscillation Overthruster to her so the Red Lectroids can't get it from him, but then she's captured by them and used as a HostageForMacGuffin.
** Buckaroo tells the Hong Kong Cavaliers to wait outside Yoyodyne for thirty minutes, then to come in after him and get the Overthruster.
* Film/AceVentura tells a character that if he doesn't come back in 5 minutes, just wait longer.
* In ''Film/GreenLantern'', Hal Jordan tells [[LoveInterests Carol Ferris]] to "Stay here" as he goes off to fight [[BigBad Parallax]]. Considering that the two of them have just witnessed Parallax [[YouHaveFailedMe brutally murder his own minion]], Carol readily agrees. But after Hal immediately gets himself into trouble, Carol saves the day.
** She doesn't do any actual damage to Parallax, but she does provide the necessary distraction that allows Hal to retrieve his Green Lantern ring. Without her distraction, Parallax [[CurbStompBattle would have killed Hal without a fight]] and the rest of the human race would be easy pickings.
* In ''Film/TheSmurfs'', the rest of the Smurfs tell this to Clumsy twice while in modern-day New York City. The second time, he actually does stay behind, [[spoiler:which allows him to initiate the NoOneGetsLeftBehind, as Papa had made them all promise not to go back for him -- but Clumsy, who wasn't there at the time, never promised anything.]]
* Fugitive Bronek says this to his child hostage Gillie twice in ''Film/TigerBay''. However, as Gillie is 11 years old, the first time she wanders off to play by the river. The second time, she is discovered by the [[HeroAntagonist police]].
* ''Film/{{Constantine}}''
** When John goes to confront the half-demon Balthazar, he tells his potential LoveInterest Angela Dodson to stay in the car. After a while she decides to go after him, ends up losing the amulet he gave her to protect her and is captured by their enemies.
** When John goes to convince Papa Midnite to let him use the Chair, he anticipates that the confrontation will be dangerous and tells his apprentice Chas Kramer to wait. After the encounter ends amicably Chas shows up without being summoned and starts to show off his book learning, to Papa Midnite's amusement.
* ''Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun''. After killing Scaramanga, Film/JamesBond tells Mary Goodknight to "Wait here" while he takes care of the maintenance man. Goodknight enthusiastically tells him that she's already taken care of the maintenance man (she hit him over the head with a wrench).
* ''Film/DemolitionMan''. Before John Spartan enters the museum to confront Simon Phoenix, he tells Lenina Huxley and Alfredo Garcia to wait for him outside so they won't get hurt.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* In ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'', this happens to Jerin. In a subversion, he actually does as told and does ''not'' get in trouble. Of course, he was trained to obey orders by his soldier-descended family, who have a strict chain of command. [[spoiler: It also helps that this provides an opportunity to search his rescuer's stuff and get some more information about her.]]
* In the ''Literature/{{Hurog}}'' duology, Ward tells other people to stay behind a couple of times. They're clever enough to actually do it. Lampshaded when he tells a woman to "wait there", and she... actually does, because it's the most sensible thing to do.
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Literature/TheDevilInIron,'' Literature/ConanTheBarbarian orders Octavia to do this. It doesn't work.
* The Temperance Brennan novels, on which ''Series/{{Bones}}'' was based, have this as a very dark RunningGag. Some cop tells Tempe to stay out of trouble, occasionally reminding her she's not a cop, and then circumstances and/or her own curiosity send her into trouble anyway.
* Harry of ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' on several occasions tells his apprentice to stay somewhere relatively safe before heading off for his latest confrontation. Unusually, this actually works, although the fact that his apprentice can turn herself invisible helps.
* This ends up actually working in ''Literature/TheGirlIn6E''. The title character asks the DamselInDistress to wait for her -- at a shack in the middle of nowhere and the dead of night -- while she goes to confront the antagonist, and to call 911 if she doesn't return in 15 minutes. You'd expect that she'll either get in over her head and be incapacitated, leaving her Damsel at the mercy of the antagonist, or that something or other will happen to the Damsel before she gets back. But while things don't go quite as smoothly as she'd hoped, she returns unharmed in all of 10 minutes, the Damsel is still where she left her, and everything proceeds swimmingly from there.
* The companions frequently try to do this to Princess Eilonwy in the ''Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain''. It works about as well as you expect, given that Eilonwy is a textbook RebelliousPrincess.

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'': The episode "Still Valley". A Confederate scout gives orders to his partner.
-->'''Paradine:''' Now you stay here. If you hear a shot, you get back to the lieutenant at a fast gallop... If you haven't heard from me in 15 minutes, you get back there anyway.
* Dawn in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' often fell into this. ("Dawn's in trouble; [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall must be Tuesday]]...") Although to be fair, Xander had this happen to him occasionally (at least twice a season.)
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' As shown on the quotes page, the Doctor has been facing this problem for forty years. RuleNumberOne is "Don't wander off" yet the companions always do. The unstated but very obvious ''reason'' the Doctor keeps facing this problem is because people who would wait behind when told to are not people he would consider interesting enough as travel companions. The Doctor himself never quite seems to pick up on this.
--->'''The Doctor:''' You know one day, one day, just maybe, I'll meet someone who gets the whole "don't wander off" thing. 900 years of Phone box travel it's the only thing left that surprises me.
* Done several ways in ''Series/{{Chuck}}''. Chuck doesn't listen, gets in trouble. Chuck listens, gets in trouble. Chuck doesn't listen, and saves the day.
** He points this out at the beginning of the season 2 premiere.
** It's gotten to the point where Chuck heavily lampshades this.
--->'''Chuck:''' You know what, it's '''never''' safe in the car!
* ''Series/{{Castle}}'': At every crime scene early in the series, Detective Beckett orders Castle to wait in the car... and he ''never fails'' to get mixed up in the final confrontation of the perp. Subverted in "Home is Where the Heart Stops," when he actually ''does'' wait in the car... and the perp lands on his windshield and drags him out anyway.
-->'''Beckett:''' Wait here.
-->'''Castle:''' [[SarcasmMode Yes, we've seen how well that works out.]]
* In ''Series/KamenRiderDouble'''s prequel movie, Shotaro's boss Sokichi tells him "don't move a damn step from here" during a dangerous mission. Being an impulsive kid, Shotaro moves, and unintentionally causes Sokichi's death, which becomes [[MyGreatestFailure his greatest failure]].
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1963'' episodes
** "Fun and Games". Mike Benson and Laura Hanley are on an alien planet participating in a death duel with two aliens. Mike tells Laura to "stay here" while he goes to check something out. She insists that they stick together, and when he goes anyway she follows him.
** "Demon with a Glass Hand". Trent has Consuelo climb out onto a window ledge outside the building so she'll be safe from the Kyben. Oddly enough, she actually obeys him and stays there until he comes back.
* ''Series/{{CSI NY}}'' 'Point of No Return' has Mac tell Danny to wait by the car while they go in on a bust because Danny forgot his vest. Danny waits, but when the suspect runs out and into another area, Danny follows him anyway and ends up trying to survive a shooting match.
* {{Subverted|Trope}} on ''Series/{{NCIS}}'': Palmer is ordered to stay in the car and he does... but he ''[[CarFu drives the car into the perp!]]''
-->'''Jimmy:''' [[ExactWords Technically, I did]] ''[[ExactWords not]]'' [[ExactWords leave the car.]]
* On ''Series/OrphanBlack'':
** Sarah tells Felix to wait in the car while she goes into a Neolutionist club, and to call Art (the police officer whose partner she's impersonating) and [[BrokenMasquerade tell him everything]] if she doesn't get back in fifteen minutes. She ends up taking about fifteen minutes and thirty seconds.
--->'''Felix:''' Detective Art Bell? ... You don't know me, but I need to talk to you about Beth Childs.\\
'''Art:''' Beth Childs? What about her?\\
'''Felix:''' I was told to call, um... ''[Sarah knocks on the window]'' Shit! Christ! [[BlatantLies Wrong number.]]
** Sarah has teamed up with [[spoiler: Helena]] in order to find one of the originators of the cloning experiment. She goes to search through the archives of a church and tells [[spoiler: Helena]] to stay in the car. Unfortunately, she goes to a bar and ends up being arrested and eventually captured by the [[ReligionOfEvil Prolethians]].
* Spoofed in ''Series/StargateSG1'', where Daniel and a Russian attache have separated from the others in an underground maze:
-->'''Russian:''' I'll go see if I can find the others. Wait here.
-->'''Daniel:''' ''[heavily sarcastic]'' Yes. You go into the dark tunnel, alone, and I'll wait here in the dark room, alone.
* ''Series/{{Blindspot}}'': Weller attempts to do this to Jane in the pilot, but she insists on coming along. And in the second episode. And in the third. They eventually give up and decide to just add her to the team.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* As shown above in the page image, during The Subspace Emissary in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'', [[Franchise/MetalGear Snake]] is very clear to [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]] and [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Peach]].
** Although they don't listen to him, they actually don't get into any trouble and make themselves quite useful. Peach manages to recruit Fox, and they both help out in the fight against Duon, after which Peach adds yet ''another'' useful member into the team: Mr. Game & Watch.
* Solid Snake in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' tells Meyrl to stay behind and hide somewhere while he takes care of terrorists. She initially listens, but almost immediately defies Snake by going ahead anyway just to prove that she is a capable soldier and is not some useless load of a rookie. Naturally, things go wrong ''very'' quickly by having Meryl being mind controlled by Psycho Mantis to shoot Snake (and then shooting herself when the first plan failed) and then being shot in the legs by Sniper Wolf to be captured later on.
* Prince Ross tells Gerda this in the seventh installment of the ''VideoGame/DarkParables'', very early in the plot. It works about as well as you'd expect, and she ends up captured despite the {{player character}}'s best efforts to rescue her.

[[folder: Web Comics ]]
* {{Discussed|Trope}} and promptly played straight in [[http://wapsisquare.com/comic/09042002/ this]] ''Webcomic/WapsiSquare'' strip.
* Webcomic/EvilDiva: First Dad tells her, then [[https://web.archive.org/web/20140406203713/http://www.evildivacomics.com/?p=330 she tells Cerby]].

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* Discussed in ''WebVideo/EverymanHYBRID''. The characters are aware that even if leaving the car means you might meet [[Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos the Slender Man]], staying in the car while the others go looking is never a good idea.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* Jade in ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'' lives and breathes this trope. Jackie will say "Stay here," "Don't play with the CosmicKeystone," "Don't try and fight the ancient evil dragon spirit." And what does she do? The above. It's gotten to the point Jackie should carry chloroform and rope wherever he goes just to subdue her. Or accept she's his {{Sidekick}}, train her, and let her be annoying/helpful like a more competent [[TheScrappy Scrappy]].
* ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest'' TOS episode "Terror Island". When Race Bannon arrives at the title island, he tells Jonny and Hadji to stay and guard the boat to keep them out of danger. Naturally they disobey him, acquire a tractor and ram into the villain's laboratory, thus saving both Jonny's father and Race Bannon from a GiantSpider.
* Yoda to Padmé in ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsCloneWars''. To her credit, Padmé does get out of the situation herself by taking out a couple of invisible mooks.
* April O'Neil does this in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|1987}}'' cartoon, but is at least slightly justified, in that if she listened to the turtles and stayed put, she wouldn't get a story. This was lampshaded in one episode when she trailed some thugs to a warehouse and she calls the turtles for reinforcements.
-->'''April:''' I found the hideout. I'm going to check it out.
-->'''Leo:''' No, don't. Wait!
-->'''April:''' Okay. I won't wait.
* Miko from WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime seemingly has a psychological block against following the directions "Wait here" or "Stay put".
* ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'': The story "Don't Move" follows Odie as he is told to Wait Here while Garfield attends to some business. Unfortunately for Odie, it goes wrong from the beginning, when a dog-catching truck snaps him up. A series of misadventures ensue, ending when [[spoiler:Odie gets deposited just two feet away from the spot where he started. Garfield returns from his errand, oblivious to the events that had happened, then points at Odie and says with annoyance, "[[DramaticIrony You moved.]]"]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SpaceGhost''
** Episode "The Web". When the protagonists arrive on the planet Teelus, Space Ghost tells Jan, Jace and Blip to stay in their ship, the Phantom Cruiser. When Space Ghost is captured by the Black Widow, they must disobey his instructions in order to rescue him.
** Episode "The Schemer". While Space Ghost and the TeamPet Blip are in the Phantom Cruiser, Space Ghost receives a message from Jan and Jace that they're under attack. Space Ghost puts the Phantom Cruiser on hover so he can go to their rescue and tells Blip that he needs to stay behind. Luckily Blip disobeys him and follows him, allowing him to rescue Space Ghost, Jan and Jace after they get captured.
** Episode "The Final Encounter''. Before Space Ghost enters the Council of Doom's planet for their final confrontation, he orders Jan and Jace to to stay outside. After they hear explosions inside the planet, Jace decides they should go inside and help Space Ghost.
* In the WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse short ''Mickey's Delayed Date'', Mickey tells Pluto to stay home while he leaves to go to a dance with Minnie. However, Mickey forgets his tickets at home, leading Pluto go out and bring them to him.
-->'''Mickey:''' Pluto, I thought I told you to--! ''(notices)'' [[AstonishinglyAppropriateInterruption Bring me the tickets!]]
* Inversion: WesternAnimation/DangerMouse orders this to Penfold while he investigates a disturbance at Stonehenge ("The Good, the Bad and the Motionless"). When Penfold protests in panic over being left alone:
-->'''DM:''' No, ''you're'' right, Penfold. ''I'll'' wait here and ''you'' go investigate.\\
'''Penfold:''': (''after a couple of beats'') I know, chief. ''I'll'' wait here and ''you'' go investigate.\\
'''DM:''' (''dryly'') What a good idea, Penfold. Why didn't I think of that?