Sarah Packard: I love you.Humans need affection (physical as well as verbal) to thrive. This trope is about characters who have been deprived of affection for so long that they desperately crave it. While this can be interpreted as the opposite of Hates Being Touched, it doesn't have to be: sometimes the person Hates Being Touched but wants affection anyway, or even more because of it. Sometimes, a character who's like this could become so vulnerable/naive that they are willing to accept affection from anyone despite the fact the person may only be using them for their own personal gain. I Just Want to Have Friends is a Sub-Trope. In extreme cases, this trope may or may not lead to the person exhibiting No Sense of Personal Space or Yandere traits, as well as not being good with rejection. This trope can easily overlap with Because You Were Nice to Me. Compare Love Hungry, where the character wants to force others to love them, and Attention Whore, where a character acts out, but not necessarily for affection. If a person has been so isolated from people and human contact they may also Go Mad from the Isolation.
Eddie Felton: You need the words?
Sarah Packard: Yes, I need them very much. If you ever say them I'll never let you take them back.
Eddie Felton: You need the words?
Sarah Packard: Yes, I need them very much. If you ever say them I'll never let you take them back.
open/close all folders
- Bleach: Yukio Hans Vorarlberna. His sadism might've been biological, but he would've been far less homicidal if his parents gave enough of a damn to raise him properly. Fully explained in chapter 471: he was a former Cute Mute who was kept locked away by his parents due to his speech impediment, and was so lonely that he first used his powers to recreate images of his parents as sort-of Imaginary Friends.
- Black Butler II's Alois Trancy. His tendency to act out is because his demonic servants are completely incapable of providing the type of affection he needs.
- Ciel is implied to be like this at times too, stemming from the loss of his parents at a young age and being put to torture in a cage before Sebastian rescued him. Although he claimed to hate being touched there are times where he seeks attention from Sebastian and also from his fiance Elizabeth. In particular, he misses his parents incredibly and still loves them, wanting to get revenge for them.
- Naruto and Gaara at times. Probably came from their attention starved youth where they were persecuted by others for having a demon sealed inside them. Also, in The Last movie Toneri desires to take Hinata away from the world before he destroys it so he will no longer be alone.
- Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion is an odd mixture of this trope and Hates Being Touched. Generally, much of the cast fits this.
- Lucy in Elfen Lied stemming from her attachment to a puppy and to Kohta who were kind to her.
- Mayu also had it tough with her Abusive Parents, and her stepfather who raped her. She was going to commit suicide because of this hardship but the sound of a puppy barking and the attention it paid to her made her choose not to.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia it's implied that Russia is this. Unfortunately, he tends to scare people away.
- Quite a few characters in Fruits Basket. Look no further than Hatori's reaction to being accepted by Hana even after she finds out about his curse and vice versa with Kyo and Tohru.
- Guts and Griffith (before he became Femto, anyway) in Berserk are both painfully starved for genuine affection and intimacy. Guts is also a combination of this and Hates Being Touched, though he makes an exception for Casca. Following the Eclipse, Guts has a full-on case of this for Casca, which Casca cannot reciprocate because of her Eclipse-induced madness, which makes him miserable in a big way and is one of the key motivators of his quest to Find the Cure.
- In One Piece Baby-5, one of Doflamingo's top fighters, has this to an insane degree. She was abandoned by her own mother for being useless, so anyone showing her kindness and interest, even if it is blatantly false, will receive her loyalty. If a person says they like her and asks for a load of cash, she will give them that cash without hesitation. Another member of her own crew admits this fact makes her easy to manipulate and keep in line. She is finally defeated and turns away from Doflamingo when a man named Sai, not knowing the depth of her condition, inadvertently showed her some kindness in their fight and she fell for him. At his words, those who serve Doflamingo should die, she is willing to blow her own head off. Sai stops her and says he will take her away, make her his wife, and always treat her with respect.
- Rolo in Code Geass seems to be this way in his relationship with his brother Lelouch. He's really clingy towards Lelouch, tries to Murder the Hypotenuse so he can remain Lelouch's brother, and sacrifices himself for Lelouch telling him that even if Lelouch betrayed him their relationship was real to him.
- No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!: Tomoko. To the point of making Brother-Sister Incest overtures, with Tomoki none too pleased. Also part of why she's so attached to her only real friend Yuu, besides the Homoerotic Subtext.
- In Adekan Kojiro appears to be a Living Emotional Crutch for Shiro with all the Ho Yay implications attached and Shiro actively allows Kojiro to get close to him most of the time stemming from his Dark and Troubled Past and as a kid was very close to Anri who served as a Living Emotional Crutch for him before Kojiro came into the picture. It's even said outright that since Shiro had his humanity stripped away from him he's learning to be kind and care about people again ever since he got close to Kojiro, given how Kojiro himself is such a kindhearted guy. It's also implied to be the reason he's clingy around woman too.
- Anri calls Shiro to complain when a panda he's attracted to rejects him. Shiro states that Anri does so every time he's rejected. It's also implied to be the reason he's such a Crazy Jealous Guy about Shiro because Shiro keeps pushing him away compared to their time as children when he was much warmer towards Anri.
- Tokyo Ghoul:
- Karren desires affection from Tsukiyama and even sacrifices herself at the cost of her own life to save him after he acknowledges her feelings. She even thinks about how she wants to be loved.
- Kaneki more or less requires his loved ones around him to maintain his resolve and well being. Hide in particular is his Living Emotional Crutch.
- Shiro and Kurona once lived a happy life with a loving family who they lost to a ghoul. They went from being happy and optimistic to being nihilistic and cold. They develop an attachment to the Mad Scientist Kanou because he is willing to change them into ghouls so they can get their revenge and they think being humans living in a "twisted world" is the cause of all their suffering. Eto manages to Break Them by Talking by cruelly stating that no matter how much they cling to each other and Kanou they can't fill the emptiness left behind as a result of their loving parents dying.
- After Hinami loses her parents she states she's very sad and turns to Kaneki and Touka for affection and comfort as a way to keep from succumbing to loneliness. She needs constant contact from the people she loves and when they pull away (Kaneki) she gets very sad indeed.
- Torso's backstory reveals he grew up isolated from others and was abused by his father. He states the best time of his life was when he made his first female friend. When his father killed her he killed him. He also desires love and affection from Mutsuki though he resorts to unscrupulous means to do so.
- Durarara!!: Shizuo Heiwajima doesn't see affection as a weakness or liability - he craves human contact more than anything else, romantic or otherwise - but experience has taught him that he's dangerously prone to hospitalizing people he wants to be close to.
- Seraph of the End: Though he initially acts the opposite Yuu craves to have a family and for people to love him ever since he lost his family at a young age. Guren even states in the manga that Yuu desires to be loved by others. Mika seems to be this way in regards to Yuu as well. Miharu also Desperately Craves Affection but only from Guren.
- Girls Bravo: Yukina The Big Bad falls for Yukinari because Yukinari is the only guy that does not trigger her allergy to men. By the end of the series she takes every opportunity to cling to him to make up for a lifetime of being starved of physical intimacy.
- In the Trigun manga, a Murder the Hypotenuse ploy turns out to have been over half the point of the entire Gung-Ho Guns plotline. Legato was jealous of Vash. Because Knives was preoccupied with his twin, the only person on the planet he didn't intend to kill, and Legato apparently felt that if Knives had no one living to care about, he might find some scrap of affection for his chief minion. And Knives breaks his spine when he finds out.
- Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest: A strange example can be found in Konuma in chapter 85 that has a lot of Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror attached: after trying to get Inugami to sleep with her and eventually trying to blackmail him with Aoshika's whereabouts, she finally gets Inugami to push her down on to Aoshika's bed(!) and kiss her. In a startling moment of clarity, Konuma muses that no matter what she did, she couldn't get a reaction from Inugami but if it's for Aoshika, he would do anything to Konuma. She even points out that he couldn't give a rat's ass about how that feels to her and he agrees. It's one of the few times that Konuma shows any true humanity. What makes it worse is that for all the disturbing characters in this manga, Konuma is the only one that NO ONE CARES ABOUT. Inugami has Aoshika's love, Chiba's mutual respect and is the focus of Haguro's obsession, Haguro has the respect and fear of most of his subordinates and the Kurodas had each other. She is, at best, a biological means to an end for Haguro and an annoyance at all other times. Granted much of this is the result of her personality (which includes her masturbating after a massacre just to feel something) and the company she keeps but it's still quite tragic. Don't worry though; the sympathetic feels will completely disappear in the next chapter where she tries and fails to kill Inugami.
- Descendants of Darkness: Tsuzuki finally confides in Hisoka that he's not human, and then he attempts to stab out his eyes with a shard of glass, because it was the color of his eyes that made the people in his life mistreat and abuse him. Hisoka is absolutely furious that they would treat him like this, and that even after that Tsuzuki still craved their acceptance because he was so starved for love.
- Mukuro in the Katekyo Hitman Reborn! fanfic "Homecoming" due to him being kept asleep for so long since he's a prisoner. This leads to him frequently sexually harassing Tsuna.
- Syaoran in Shatterheart becomes desperate for any sort of affection after being kept isolated for years and because his friends started to shun him for his clone's betrayal.
- In Lucina Reacts, Tharja is revealed to be this.
- In Sol Invictus, Garp secretly yearns for open affection, which makes him especially close to Fem!Luffy.
Films — Animated
- WALL•E. Evident in his relationship with EVE.
- Frozen has Anna who is so love-starved from her palace isolation that she agrees to marry Prince Hans the same day she meets him, right after Love at First Sight and a duet with him. Both her sister and new acquaintance Kristoff are aghast at her impulsiveness, though Anna seems rightly afraid she'll never get another chance to meet someone like that. Elsa and Kristoff had every right to be worried, as Hans is revealed to be manipulating Anna.
Films — Live-Action
- X-Men Film Series: Xavier, who is by nature a very sensitive individual who wears his heart on his sleeve, had developed severe abandonment issues through a combination of growing up as a Lonely Rich Kid and being left behind by his best friend Erik and his foster sister Raven at the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This culminates in him becoming a clinically depressed, Addled Addict for a whole decade. Hank takes care of Charles 24/7, and they are frightfully codependent because McCoy enables his friend's substance abuse after he produces a serum which dulls Xavier's mutant ability. They're excessively clingy on an emotional level, being each other's Only Friend and Living Emotional Crutch. Professor X's mental state vastly improves after 1973, yet he still craves affection, and it's expressed through his doting parenting style with his students. It's not adequate for him to merely be an educator; he also wants to be their adored and revered father figure, which is why he devotes so much of his time and energy assisting with their psychological well-being.
- Seemingly the case in The Sure Thing for the eponymous Sure Thing. Gib is thrown at the end of his 3000-mile Quest for Sex when the Sure Thing asks him to say that he loves her before they have sex.
- Sarah Packard from The Hustler, whose desperation is only held in check by her constant drinking. It becomes more obvious when she starts falling in love with Eddie.
- Lillie in Wild Orchids can't get her Married to the Job husband to give her affection or even attention. She winds up succumbing to the handsome prince that's been chasing her, mostly because he's the only one showing interest.
- In the movie Precious and the book Push it was based on the titular Precious is sexually abused by her father and is implied to have had the same thing happen to her by her mother, who also piles emotional and physical abuse on her including telling her nobody is ever going to love her. She receives no genuine familial affection from her family so Precious finds a way out of her traumatic daily life by escaping into daydreams. In her mind, she has created an alternate world where she is loved and appreciated.
- Thor: Loki. On the one hand, he's a conniving, power-hungry liar, willing to betray his brother and doom him to permanent banishment while he usurped the throne. On the other hand, he's a deeply damaged young man who's convinced he's The Unfavorite, especially after finding out he was not only adopted, but from an enemy race, and is desperate for his father's approval and affection. It's made even sadder because he already had his father's acceptance and fondness, but convinced himself otherwise.
- In Cast Away, our hero ends up talking to a volleyball... which, according to the survival specialist consultants on the film, saved his life from going mad from isolation. It becomes clear that our hero has become more attached to it than can be considered strictly sane when he risks his life to "rescue" it when it falls overboard off of a raft. His reason for the attachment to "Wilson" is probably due to his desperation for anything to talk to or have contact with due to him missing the love of his life and longing for her via looking at her picture while on the island.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Credence is vulnerable to emotional manipulation by Graves because of his having to hide his magic from his magic hating mother who abuses him in her bigotry. Graves is unusually affectionate towards Credence for his own gain and the novel describes Credence as being "utterly enthralled" by Graves.
- Gone Girl: Both Amy and Nick seem starved for affection in their dysfunctional relationship.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017) The Baudelaire children. It's pretty much a given with them losing their parents and from then on losing every potential parent figure and friend figure who gave them a scrap of affection. It also explains their protectiveness and neediness over each other because they are all they have left in the world.
- Psycho: Norman Bates in all adaptions has Mommy Issues which make him afraid of getting close to women for fear of his mother's disapproval, though he desperately longs to be intimate with a women. So he settles for watching them while they're in a state of undress.
- Ryan O'Reily of Oz. Evident in his relationship with Dr. Nathan.
- Numerous inmates in Oz are this way. Keller in particular mentions how it's not just sex. He just genuinely longs to touch/feel another person, like Beecher, but the sad thing is his manipulative and destructive tendencies end up pushing Beecher away.
- The Big Bang Theory: in the backstory Leonard was so deprived of affection from his mother as a child that he built a hugging machine... which his dad would borrow sometimes.
- Footman Thomas Barrow of Downton Abbey is, for all his cold-hearted and dastardly ways, a lonely man in a world where people of his persuasion don't usually get a happy ending.
- Played for Laughs in an episode of Scrubs: because he'd been single for too long or something, JD became so touch-starved that when he accidentally bumped into a random coworker in the hallway, he leaned in with a blissful look on his face and just sort of stopped to savor the moment for a bit.
- Over the seasons of Breaking Bad, it becomes clear that this is one of Jesse's weaknesses - Jane, Gus, and most of all Walt are all able to manipulate him by giving him the mild signs of affection or praise that he lacks from anyone else in his life. It's particularly obvious with Walt - mid season 3, he goes into a long rant about how he's lost absolutely everything he ever valued in his life because of Walt and wants to quit and never go back... but ends up returning to cook with him just because Walt tells him that his meth was actually really good.
- Logan Echolls on Veronica Mars has such a sucky home life that he tends to look to friends and love interests for comfort and affection. Which means that his girlfriend's murder and the subsequent unravelling of his close-knit clique really did a number on him.
- Supernatural: It is clear that Dean is very co dependent with Sam and needs constant human contact, approval and love from others. Sam ends up dealing with the brunt of this.
- It gets even sadder when you consider he's repeatedly told Cas he needs him and yet, from Dean's point of view, Cas keeps leaving him. In season 9, it's actually Dean who pushes Cas away in a (misguided) attempt to save Sam, which ends up worsening his already fragile emotional state even further.
- Franklyn mostly just really wants a friend, as shown when he becomes attached to Hannibal.
- Will is desperate for attachment to people due to the loneliness brought on by his mental illness. It's evident also in his heartbroken expression when Dr. Bloom turns down his offer at a relationship because she thinks he's unstable. He appears to fall deeper into Sanity Slippage afterwards.
- Several guards and prisoners in Orange Is the New Black. It's mentioned that several woman are so lonely and cut off in prison that they turn to desperate measures for affection.
- Healy hasn't got any real friends, his wife is a mail-order bride who mostly ignores him and he looks genuinely heartbroken when he overhears Soso mentioning that none of the girls like him. Like Mendez, a lot of Healy's jerkassery appears to come from the fact he really is a very lonely person. It's also revealed that Healy had a troubled childhood, his issues with women stem from the fact his mother was clinically insane, he had to try to take care of her from a very young age, and he never received any affection from her. Later, we have him calling Katya and leaving a heartfelt message because he just wants someone to talk to. Then he proceeds to walk deeper into the ocean as if he's ready to kill himself, only to be stopped when he hears his phone ring. He goes back, probably thinking Katya is answering him, but it's just work. He may have done some shitty things before, but after witnessing how crappy his life was growing up and how lonely he is, you really can't help but feel bad for him.
- Piper mentions to a new inmate that she is probably like Piper in that she can't survive in prison without somebody to hold and love. It's probably why she kept jumping back and forth between Larry and Alex as well.
- Alex is heartbroken after Piper leaves her and mentions how she turned to heroin afterward which was like the "perfect girlfriend" for her.
- Pennsatucky's former clique shuns her and she struggles to become a better person and become friends with them again because she is lonely. She also reaches out to Healy because he's kind to her and another guard before the guard rapes her.
- Soso nearly commits suicide out of loneliness and depression but Poussey offers her genuine friendship which saves her.
- "Fucksgiving": In Sophia's salon, Piper is getting her hair done while Sister Ingalls waits alongside. When Sophia begins to wash her hair, Piper starts to become emotional, explaining, "It's just being touched by another person. . . . It's not even sex, you know? I just...I miss contact." Sophia agrees, "Human beings aren't supposed to live like this. I've been in almost two years and there's still nights I reach out for my wife."
- Two and a Half Men: Alan finds himself having sex with a woman every two episodes or so, but his bad luck with maintaining a relationship stems from his crippling insecurity and neediness, Mommy Issues, and his tendency to gravitate towards emotionally damaged women. He also fell into a relationship with Rose despite knowing the risk of hooking up with her because he was so happy she seemed to genuinely like him. She winded up being too obsessive over being in contact with him 24/7 that when he tried to put boundaries in place she glued one of his toy cars to his chest. And his love for toy cars? It's described that he's so lonely he needs something to occupy his time which is why Charlie's girlfriend took pity on him and set him up with Rose. He's also sometimes tries to interact and keep things civil with Charlie despite the latter always shutting him out. His neediness may also possibly be a result of a lousy childhood where he didn't receive much affection from his mother, losing girlfriends occasionally due to Charlie, and his ex wife kicking him out as an adult.
- Rectify: Daniel, being isolated and raped while in prison, craves positive human contact which explains his attachment to his mother and his feelings for Tawney which jump started when she was shown to be genuinely nice and interested in him. He even inappropriately asks to kiss her in one scene despite knowing she's already married before he apologizes.
- Bates Motel: Several characters try to battle their twisted psyches and loneliness by reaching out for physical contact with their loved ones.
- "Lovefool" by The Cardigans can certainly be interpreted as this, especially the chorus:
Love me, love, say that you love me.Fool me, fool me, go on and fool me.Love me, love me, pretend that you love me.Lead me, lead me, just say that you need me.
- Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire desperately desires to be touched and fears it as well.
- The Phantom of the Opera (as well as in the original book).
- The title character of the Victor Herbert comic opera The Princess Pat had the song "I Need Affection."
- Implied to be the case with Herbert von Krolock in Tanz der Vampire, an extroverted vampire living in a castle with only his brooding father and their servant Koukol as company. He immediately falls for Alfred and doesn't take it kindly when Alfred declines his advances.
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: The "You could get used to this" scene was an amusing, Accidental Pervert aside, until you factor in Link's whole life: he grew up somewhat ostracized from the Kokiri, and despite all he went through since then, it's likely he hasn't had much physical contact with another person outside of battle ever. Double that with the fact that he knows his mother died when he was a baby, and hugs are said to originate from being held by our mothers as infants. So what is the "this" that he could get used to? Basic human affection. Then you consider later games in the franchise, where Link has warm, nurturing backgrounds with caring families, either biological (like in The Wind Waker) or surrogate (like in Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword). Those versions of Link are much more expressive. No wonder, then, Link has a blank expression. Besides instinctive surprise/horror, he literally doesn't know how to convey emotions like anyone else would.
- Oswald in Odin Sphere is driven by a desperate need for someone - anyone - to love him, after learning that the adoptive father he thought cared for him really only saw him as a tool. This need is what leads him to agree to slay the dragon Wagner for Odin once Odin promises him the hand of his daughter Gwendolyn in marriage.
- One of the bosses in NieR: Automata fits this - namely, as revealed in Route B, Beauvoir/Simone, who journeyed far and wide and committed atrocities so she could be more attractive for Sartre/Jean-Paul, a philosophical robot with no interest in romance. Realizing that she'll never get his affection, she's Maddened Into Misanthropy at how meaningless her existence had become.
- Haruka from Little Busters!, due to her Big, Screwed-Up Family being pretty horrible to her and making her feel worthless, is absolutely desperate for any kind of reassurance. It gets to the point where, late in her route after she and Riki have been going out for some time, she admits that she feels terrible because she's not even totally sure that she actually loves him and isn't just with him because he's the only one who's ever properly shown affection to her. Riki assures her that he doesn't care and loves her anyway.
- Mikan Tsumiki from Super Dangan Ronpa 2, who was bullied so severely throughout her life that she's become convinced that the only way anyone will pay her the slightest bit of mind is to humiliate herself in front of them. As a result, she exaggerates her Cute Clumsy Girl nature. It's also played much more darkly when she turns out to be the murderer in Chapter 3, and she claims that she murdered Mioda and Saionji for the sake of someone she loves. Later on, this person is heavily implied to be Junko Enoshima.
- The Nostalgia Critic hates being abandoned, and craves any kind of love or attention he can get.
- Malcolm and Tamara are written as really wanting to be included (despite hating what they have to do sometimes) and in Christmas With The Kranks, 2007-Critic uses this to his advantage.
- Similarly, Donnie DuPre of Demo Reel is notoriously insecure and will do almost anything for a scrap of positive attention.
- A common fan interpretation of Luna from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (with some support in canon admittedly) is that she went slightly insane from isolation and snaps back at the end of the episode.
- Family Guy:
- Meg Griffin. Meg is often shown as emotionally fragile or disturbed, derived from desperation for love and attention.
- When Peter refuses to have sex with Lois because of her having gained weight she gains even more weight to spite him and secretly desires him to touch her again. Also, when he refused to have sex with her due to taking an abstinence vow she got fed up and jumped him.
- Peter drives to his boss Angela's house, and discovers her attempting to commit suicide in her garage by inhaling the exhaust from her car. Quickly resuscitating her, Angela confesses that she has no hope in life, after not having been with another man for more than ten years. Deciding to help her out by getting her a date with another man, Peter disguises himself as a high society Englishman named "Reginald Knickerbocker." The two then have dinner together, before Angela brings her date back to the house and tries to seduce him, while still threatening to kill herself if he refuses.
- Helga G. Pataki from Hey Arnold! is so neglected by her family that when Arnold pays attention to her and is kind to her she clings to him and develops a crush on him. She'll deny she likes him though.
- Elmyra of Tiny Toon Adventures: Elmyra has a cute crush on Max and one short called "Can't Buy Me Love" has Elmyra meet an evil little girl called Rhoda. Elmyra sees hearts and positively MELTS when Rhoda says she'll let her be her best friend, and spends the rest of the picture bending over backwards to make Rhoda like her. It plays VERY much like any episode where Elmyra chases Max, only way more seriously, and heck, Elmyra even lets Rhoda HAVE Max (who doesn't want him after mere moments). And after she learns her lesson about not needing to give someone something so they'll like you, Rhoda comes by her window and says she'll be her friend again if Elmyra steals her mom's car keys and drives her to Utah. Instantly Elmyra says "okay" and rushes off eagerly to Rhoda's side. So not only is Elmyra completely infatuated with Rhoda, but apparently Rhoda can't leave Elmyra alone for five minutes, even after Elmyra dumped her. Elmyra also had a thing for chasing Fifi around, a voluptuous female skunk which persisted even after Fifi skunked her and had Elmyra go as far as to pose as Fifi's crush Pepe le Pew. Its notable that during all these times she shows affection towards the above respective characters and they rebuff her she falls to pieces.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Nergal Jr desperately wants friends but if someone refuses to be his friend, he freezes them and takes their form.
- In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Harry seems to be so starved for affection from his parents that he'll try to fill it with any kind of outside attention, from trying to get popular to getting a girlfriend (specifically, Gwen).
- The negative end of the spectrum can be found in the titular Bojack Horseman, due to being raised by a Stage Mom and both parents acting as Resentful Guardians - a trait he passed along to Sarah Lynn.