Once in a hotel dining-room, I said, rather too loudly, "I loathe prunes."
"So do I," came an unexpected six-year-old voice from another table.
Sympathy was instantaneous. Neither of us thought it funny. We both knew that prunes are far too nasty to be funny. That is the proper meeting between man and child as independent personalities.
Two characters, strangers or hostile to each other, accidentally discover a common thing. It can be an interest, or a past experience, or a background, but it foments friendship between them. For dramatic purposes, this is often between extremely different characters.
It can also mark the deepening of an existing relationship.
Lies can sometimes backfire when another character thinks it's this trope; see I Am One of Those Too
Compare Fire-Forged Friends
; note that merely finding they were both soldiers or the like is this, though if they fought in some of the same battles, it may shade into that. For much more extensive commonalities, see Birds of a Feather
. Also compare Lonely Together
Contrast Not So Different
and Opposites Attract
. Supertrope of Bonding Over Missing Parents
. The lack of this drives Joins to Fit In
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Anime and Manga
- In the Big Finish Doctor Who story "Echoes of Grey", Zoe falls into conversation with a young woman called Ali who, like her, was a lonely child prodigy working in an isolated base. Subverted when it's revealed that Ali was nothing of the kind; her backstory was faked to gain Zoe's trust.
- Turnabout Storm: Princess Celestia acknowledges that Twilight and Phoenix will get along very well the moment Twilight starts talking about "contradictions" much in the same way Phoenix does. Indeed, after some bumps in the road, they end up considering each other a friend.
- Dirty Sympathy Klavier and Apollo become drawn to each other when they reveal that they're both abuse victims in situations they can't escape from.
- P. G. Wodehouse:
- In Uneasy Money, Elizabeth is reconciled to Bill as a house guest when he turns out to know how to handle bees, and is positively interested when he explains how he, like she, wants to live the Arcadian life.
- In Hot Water, Packy sets out to help Jane and Blair Eggleston out of fellow feeling another pair of lovers.
- This is how Mike and Psmith fall in with each other (both violently dislike the Boarding School to which they have been transferred).
- In Something Fresh, Ashe and Joan bond over the fact that they're both reluctant magazine hack writers, and—in the American edition, Something New—both displaced Americans living in London.
- In John C. Wright's The Phoenix Ascendent, Phaethon is arguing with Atkins when he realizes that Atkins calls his ship "she." (Earlier, Phaethon had rejected an offer to avoid exile when he told a man calling it "it" that ships are called "she.")
- In C. S. Lewis's The Four Loves, this is how friendship arises.
Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one."
- In Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsinger, when Menolly is caught in a fight during a fair, another girl, jumping to join her side, calls for a boy to join in because Menolly comes from a sea hold. It works. Robinton rebukes him because his father had sent him to be fostered where he was to broaden his mind.
- In Andre Norton's Dragon Magic, four boys each find a jigsaw puzzle, make one corner — and so one dragon — of it, and get shifted to an ancient era to experience something related to it. This, and their attempts to research the facts, draw them together at the end.
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Regained, when Caliban says that he always knew that Miranda was an angel, Theo says he did, too, and they shared a brotherly smile.
- In Prospero Lost, Miranda had told the winds that she had to defend her people too when leading in to the offer to free them only if they could work out how to protect mankind from the winds.
- In Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
- In the short story "Troll Bridge", Cohen the Barbarian goes to fight a troll. They end up grumbling about Young People Today together instead.
- Angua, Cherie, and Sally, despite being a werewolf, a dwarf, and a vampire and the complicated history between those races, find enough in being all women to bond over. They even connect with Tawneee on the same grounds in Thud!
- In Terry Pratchett's Only You Can Save Mankind, Johnny manages to convince Kirsty to help the Captain when he refers to her by a female pronoun. Kirsty immediately assumes that it was sexism that turned her crew against her, and Johnny keeps his mouth shut about the Scree-Wee society actually being matriarchial. Johnny also has the habit of imagining them as human-like and so, because his imagination can change the game world, a tea cart comes around every afternoon for a snack.
- In Rudyard Kipling's "A Matter of Fact", the main characters are all journalists together.
we were all at home instantly, because we were men of the same profession needing no introduction
- This - and possibly a Precocious Crush - is what drives Tash Arranda in Galaxy of Fear to like and trust Luke Skywalker from the moment she meets him. They're both Force-Sensitive. What's more, Luke is the first other Sensitive Tash has ever met, and the first to be kind and encourage her strange talents rather than just dismissing her as a Creepy Child.
He winked at Tash, and she felt the Force flow between them, just as she had during their first meeting. It was a warm, electric tingle, as though she were on one end of a wire with Luke at the other. Together, they made a connection.
- In Sarah A. Hoyt's Draw One in the Dark, Tom knows he can't leave Kyrie to fight alone, because she helped him, and because they are both shifters.
- In Sarah A. Hoyt's Darkship Thieves, Athena and Kit bond when she assures him of her having to deal with Obstructive Bureaucrats and finding it no fun at all.
- In Barbara Robinson's The Best School Year Ever, the narrator deduces that perhaps Imogene looked out for little Howard and made sure no one took his blanket away because someone had taken her blanket, just like his, away when she was little.
- In John C. Wright's The Hermetic Millennia, Illiance calls on Menelaus to help him because of the brotherhood of scholars. Later, Menelaus calls on Illiance to help him with his own scholarly work.
- In Seanan McGuire's October Daye novel An Artificial Night, Toby sees May and Tybalt together, and May assures her they have much in common. Tybalt adds that a common urge to hit her over the head until she stops doing stupid things leads the list.
- In Jennifer Crusie's Maybe This Time, when Southie meets Alice and asks her what's new, Alice says she likes nuts now. Southie, eager to bond, assures her he does, too.
- In Andre Norton's Dread Companion, Kilda's mentor at the creche became so because they both desired to do things they couldn't.
- In Andre Norton's Catseye, Rerne tells Troy that a rider of Norden is always welcome at the Rangers' hearth. Troy denies; he's just a refugee now.
- In Andre Norton's The Zero Stone, Eet tells Jern that it's not just for convenience that he hooked onto him, but also because they have much in common.
- In Rebecca Lickiss's Eccentric Circles, Africa, Piper's blue-eyed blond cousin, and Sherlock, her black husband actually got to Meet Cute over this. He invoked trope on their anti-Meaningful Names, explaining that "Sherlock" means "the blond one."
- In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, when appealing for a Cool Sword to save Jenny, Jack tells Wayland about her. Wayland comments that she sounds like his wife.
- In Victoria Forester's The Girl Who Could Fly, Piper and Sally Sue at once, because their favorite ice cream flavor is strawberry.
- In Julie Kagawa's The Iron King, Angie drives Meghan home. She talks about how they understand each other with the abuse they both get.
- In Laura Amy Schlitz's Splendors And Glooms, when Parsefall bluntly states that he thinks death masks are gruesome, Clara, whose home is engulfed with such reminds of her dead brothers and sisters, feels a connection.
- In Sarah A. Hoyt's Darkship Renegades, one reason for Thena's feeling hostile to Zen is that she has been widowed — as Kit had been, giving them a connection.
- In L Jagi Lamplighter's The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, Rachel and Gaius were both admitted a year younger than normal to the school — a connection despite his being several years her elder.
Live Action TV
- Attempted in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Lower Decks." Ensign Sam Lavelle tries to ingratiate himself with Riker in order to secure a promotion. Ben (the 10-Forward waiter, a lower deck version of Guinan) suggests that Sam find something in common with Riker and mentions that Riker is Canadian. Sam's grandfather was Canadian, so he tries to use that. Turns out, Riker is Alaskan.
- In Star Trek: Enterprise, one of the first signs of Shran and Archer's rivalry turning into a genuine friendship occurs in "Babel One", when they bond over learning that both their ships, the Kumari and the Enterprise were named for a long string of famous vessels from the respective homeworlds.
- This gets is played with in an episode of NCIS. Gibbs is trying to prove that a Medal of Honor recipient did not murder a another soldier during the battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. However, the man's memory is failing and he no longer remembers what actually happened. All the other soldiers from the unit are dead so a desperate Gibbs brings in a Japanese war veteran who fought on the opposite side of the battle. Despite the fact that 60 years ago they were mortal enemies, their common connection is just what is needed to help the man remember how his buddy really died. This is then subverted when we find out that the Japanese man was never on Iwo Jima and is just a chef at a restaurant Gibbs eats at. Then it gets double subverted when he reveals that he actually fought on Guadalcanal where the American also served during the war and was injured.
- In Bones, Sweets and Daisy are in a Friends with Benefits situation but Sweets doesn't want casual sex; he insists that if they're going to be together they should be together. But they can't find anything to bond over: She likes Indian food, he only went there because she likes it. She loves dogs, he's allergic. They finally find a commonality: they both have issues with the final season of Saved by the Bell.
Monica: "Chandler you were an only child, so you didn't have this problem
- Parodied when Pheobe meets her birth mom. Initially hostile, Pheobe bonds with her when she learns they have so much in common: they both like pizza and The Beatles and think puppies are cute...
- In Doctor Who, the First Doctor gets off on the wrong foot with his companions, to say the least. After enduring a "The Reason You Suck" Speech too many and nearly getting the crew all killed due to the paranoia his meanness was causing, the sign he is prepared to reconcile with his main enemy, Ian, is through a short discussion with him in which they express mutual appreciation for Victorian clothing.
- In the episode "Something Wicked" (S01, Ep18) of Supernatural, Dean bonds with Michael, recognizing his need to protect his brother.
- In Prickly City, Winslow wonders why they are friends, when they disagree on everything. Carmen observes they do agree, on one thing: they like being friends.
- In Rent, Roger and Mimi's romance is cemented when they realize they both are HIV-Positive.
- In John Milton's Comus, the Spirit urges that Sabrina will be glad to add the Lady — she will be "swift to aid a virgin, such as was herself, in hard-besetting need."
- In Sinfest,
- In Bob and George, characters regularly bond over their love of ice cream. Such as George's introduction.
- In Nip and Tuck, two feuding boys deny that they stopped feuding and settled down because of this; mutual Blackmail, instead, over girlie hobbies.
- In the The Order of the Stick "Stick Tale" retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk", the giant is willing to discuss commonalities with the human he smells. The housekeeper squelches Jack's reaction to that.
- In Freefall,
- In The Red Star, the old soldier comments to Maya that soldiers' common knowledge of war means a common bond.
- In Blue Yonder, Lena tells Jared she'll help him search for his family because her own mother is missing.
- In The Specialists, Elijah and Hartmann bond by telling stories about how each of them, and their respective identical twin brothers, had exploited their likenesses.
- In Reds Planet, the alien abductees trade stories of their abductions.
- In Urban Underbrush, the girl Blair had dated gets his cousin to help her make him jealous on the grounds they both dislike him.
- In Questionable Content, Marten first establishes a rapport with Angus by discussing their shared interest in boobs. It's a downplayed example, because all this does is get them through the "Awkward Zone" and into a conversation.
- C. S. Lewis recounts in Surprised By Joy when he went to visit a sick neighbor when he was a boy. He didn't even remember why, but when he was there, the other boy had a book of Norse Mythology. When Lewis exclaimed "What, you like that too?", they spent the rest of the visit poring over the book and forming a steadfast friendship.
- Psychologist found that in a experiment where people could punish their partners for errors, if you told the people that the (invisible) partner had a thumbprint that was classified in the same group as them, they would punish this partner less. Even if the person doing the punishing was a textbook narcissist.