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Fairweather Friend

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. Contrast A Friend in Need.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Fan Works
  • Motoko runs afoul of this in An Alternate Keitaro Urashima. When she goes through a major Humiliation Conga and is at her lowest, her Girl Posse decides she's not as strong as they thought she was and ditch her. Naru also turns on her because when Makoto lost her duel, she was mildly inconvenienced and took a slight blow to her ego.
  • Similarly, For His Own Sake deals with everyone facing serious consequences for their actions, and friendships fraying at the seams. When some of the girls start taking more responsibility for their own problems, the more stubborn and hard-headed among them prove that they're nothing more than fair-weather friends even while accusing the others of being 'traitors'.

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.
  • Derek in Monsters vs. Aliens breaks up with Susan when he thinks she'll overshadow him due to her transformation, but then tries to hook up with her again when he public opinion of her skyrockets and being her husband would give him extra fame.

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.
  • Peter Pettigrew in Harry Potter. He's friends with James, Sirius, and Remus until Lord Voldemort shows up. It's possible he only became their friend because they were popular.
    • Many students follow public opinion when it comes to Harry, being friendly when he's popular and cold when he's unpopular.
  • In Jan Guillou's Ondskan, the protagonist Erik Ponti is at the start of the story running several fairly successful rackets at school, one of which includes stealing records from record stores with the aid of his friends. Erik is clever enough to lay down two rules for his gang: they rotate which stores they hit next so as to minimize suspicion, and if caught they will admit to nothing so as to minimize their punishment and not get each other in trouble. Unfortunately for Erik, while he's busy with something else his friends decide to target the same store several times, resulting in them getting caught, and they immediately blame Erik for making them go through with it in order to save their own hides.

Music

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."

Visual Novels
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Hisao has this opinion of his old friends and would-be girlfriend Iwanako. After he suffers his heart attack in the opening scene and is diagnosed with arrhythmia, his class initially visits him, but after a while, only his friends come, then only Iwanako, and finally, even she stops visiting him. However, in Shizune's route, he realizes that his gloomy demeanor pushed his friends away, and concludes that he is at least partially at fault.

Webcomics

Western Animation
  • The Mighty B!: Penelope is Bessie's closest human friend, but will abandon her whenever that seems advantageous. Good thing Bessie's very tolerant.
  • In The Simpsons Rear Window episode Bart asks Milhouse to sign his leg cast but he just writes Mil..Pool and leaves for the swimming pool.
    • If fact, through the series, Milhouse has been shown to been occasionally fickle towards Bart, as he often abandons him, sells him out to avoid trouble, or attacks whenever a dispute breaks out him.
    • And this cuts both ways; when not friends with Milhouse, Bart is usually ignoring or outright bullying him. He once somehow got him set up as America's Most Wanted and turned him into a fugitive, seemingly all just for a cruel prank.
    • Bart of course isn't the only one with fickle friends: There is also Lisa's occasional one-off friend, Janey Powell, who is noted as "Lisa's fair-weather friend", and often laughs at her dilemmas.
      • Allison Taylor, who was Lisa's one-time friend, has also been reduced to this. Although she has no lines, she visibly does what Janey and other background children do.
    • In fact, the town of Springfield (consisting of all the major secondary and recurring characters) are like this to the Simpsons five, from Marge's gossiping acquaintances to Homer's beer buddies.
  • On The Proud Family, Dijonay was frequently this towards Penny, though she did get called out on it at least once in the series' run.
    • For that matter, the rest of Penny's friends constantly ditch her when the going gets tough as well, just not as much as Dijonay.

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