"Up until now, the only friends I had were the ones in my head!"There are a lot of Characterization Tropes that can be used to quickly and non-verbally introduce a character, and one of the sadder ones is the Friendless Background. The character will, through fate or choice, be presented as not having any friends, or at least not within easy visiting or communication range. He or she will eat lunch alone, look forlornly (or enviously) at others with friends and Love Interests, and usually be found immersed in reading, video games, or some other highly solitary activity. This is commonly because of a few of the following, sometimes in combination to really grind the alienation in:
— Mako Mankanshoku, Kill la Kill
- Newcomer: Be they a New Transfer Student in a new school, an employee at a new work place, or having escaped their Doomed Hometown as a refugee.
- The Loner: Might be because of preference or ostracism. Freakishness optional. Jerkass-ness optional.
- Homeschooled: Similar to Newcomer, the character has grown up or lived away from others. May or may not come with interesting psychological quirks.
- Trauma: Some sadness like parental abuse (often seen in Dark Magical Girls) or other kind of angst may keep the character from letting anyone close to them, can result in The Woobie.
- Shyness: Some characters (like in real life) are insecure of themselves for whatever reason and are not even able to talk to other people (sometimes temporary).
- Lack of self confidence: Similar to the one above, the character may believe he is not worthy of other people's friendship while craving acceptance. Or possibly they want to feel like they're important, but don't. Many Shrinking Violet characters are prone to this.
- Incompetence: A character may simply lack the social intuition required to connect with others, regardless of how willing or confident they are.
- Unattractiveness: The character is physically repulsive and avoided or mistreated because of that.
- Fear: The character is either deliberately intimidating or actually dangerous to be around, and others have learned to steer clear.
- Active ostracism: The character is actively shunned for whatever reason, be it real, misconstrued, or imagined. May coincide with any of the previous.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Haruhi Suzumiya starts off as a loner who finds most people boring; her making friends with the narrator basically kicks off the plot. The difference this makes in her personality is pretty impressive. She joins a group fairly quickly.
- 7 Seeds has Natsu, who used to be bullied so much in school that she stopped going to it and was so extremely shy and socially awkward that she couldn't even easily talk with her family if they were concerned. Her only friend was her cat.
- Koe no Katachi:
- Ishida Shouya and his entire class in bullied a young deaf girl who transferred into their school badly, ostracizing and tormenting her as often as they could, with the teacher allowing and encouraging it from the background. When confronted by the principal on this, his entire class used him as a scapegoat, feigning innocence and causing him to take the blame for everything. Ishida spent the next five years being ostracized by his entire school, constantly mocked, beaten and bullied, well also believing he deserved it completely for what he did to the deaf girl years before. He eventually decides his whole life is basically meaningless because of these factors and decides it would be easier and better to just kill himself. Thankfully he decides against it and slowly begins developing friends later. Shouya insists he had no friends in prior to the ostracization however elementary portions clearly shows him frequently hanging out with two boys. It's possible he did not consider them "real friends" as they abandoned him when he began being bullied.
- Shouko herself didn't have any friends growing up due to being ostracized due to her deafness. After she met Shouya she began making friends alongside him.
- Magical Project S Besides Sasami, Misao Amano has no friends and is most of the time alone. her parents are always working, which is the main reason that she is very shy. At the end she gets more confident.
- Dragon Ball featured Goku, who was raised alone by his adoptive grandfather and never knew anyone until the start of the series. Several characters from that series also qualify, but most of them because they start as dickish villains who eventually get reformed.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yugi Motou was one of these before completing the puzzle.
- Gaara never had a single person in his village who loved him - not even his own parents - because everyone (including his own siblings) was afraid of the tailed beast sealed inside him. As a result, he's a complete sociopath by age 12, but an encounter with Naruto helped him see the value of other people. After his Heel–Face Turn he mends his relationship with his siblings and after the timeskip it's shown that his village thinks quite favorably of him now.
- Naruto himself started as this, a perpetual social outcast who wanted to make friends but always failed due to parents telling their children to steer clear of him. Only after he graduated did he finally begin to truly befriend his classmates and others. However, flashbacks from his, Choji's and Shikamaru's point of view showed that they hung out together at times with Kiba as the "Dead Lasts". Shikamaru was Choji's first and only friend before that point, and his parentage didn't enforce Naruto's ostracism like other families did. So, how friendless Naruto (or Choji) was depends on who's telling the story, how close their association can be considered to friendship, and how much the author wants you to think their life sucked compared to who they're fighting.
- In the prototype pilot, Naruto is undeniably in this trope. The only person who even professes to be his friend in his village of Youkai (Naruto is a Nine-tailed fox in the pilot, rather than host to one) does so in an attempt to get out of Naruto's pit trap, before threatening to tell on Naruto if he doesn't let him out. As a result of this, the chief (who lost all eight of his friends while fighting Naruto's father) tells Naruto not to return to the village until he brings back a human friend.
- Despite being popular with girls and held in respect for his skills. Sasuke is not close to anyone, even before his family's massacre as the flashbacks to it show. Sasuke didn't hang out or was close to anyone outside of his family. This worsens as the series goes on due to Sasuke's Face–Heel Turn.
- Lucy of Elfen Lied was like this during her childhood spent in an Orphanage of Fear where she was frequently bullied by the other children for her horns and emotionlessness. The one person who it seemed like she was gonna become friends with at the orphanage later betrayed her and sold her out to the boys that had been bullying her. She then makes herself an Iron Woobie by making two more attempts to reach out to someone else and become their friend. The first ends in another betrayal, while the second ends in her new friend being killed and her being captured. After that it's sort of understandable why she stopped trying.
- Sailor Moon
- Queen Nehelenia reveals that she has no friends in a fight with Sailor Jupiter, who is protecting Usagi. Sailor Jupiter tearfully asks if she has anyone like Usagi to be there for her, and the queen gets angry and blasts her.
- On another note, at least in the movies, it's shown at least twice that all of the Inner Senshi had little to no friends before Usagi befriended them. However, the movies may be separate from the anime continuity. Anime episode 54 suggests that Rei is pretty popular at her school (she attends a different school from the others).
- Hotaru is similarly isolated until ChibiUsa follows in her mother's footsteps and makes pals with the other girl.
- In Natsume's Book of Friends, Natsume spent most of his childhood friendless because everyone (including his many foster parents) didn't believe that he could see spirits and assumed him to be a creepy pathological liar.
- Medaka from Medaka Box since she was so awesome that other people were intimidated by her. For a long time Zenkichi was her only real friend. Which is why she drags him along with her, she is desperate not to be alone again. Abnormals in general seem to have this sort of background; their Abnormalities make it nearly impossible for them to form connections with other people. "Minuses" also have these backgrounds, except they don't want friends either. The Abnormal Hinokage has it the worst though: people can't even remember him...because he is so awesome they forget him out of sheer fear.
- Durarara!!'s Shizuo Heiwajima spent the majority of his childhood with a grand total of one friend, as most people either were either terrified or resentful of him.
- Shinra and Izaya are in a similar situation. The only person Izaya was ever close to in his life was Shinra. Shinra had his obsession with Celty to keep him from caring that he has no friends outside of Shizuo and Izaya (both of whom are pretty lousy friends whatever their intentions, especially when in the same room.)
- Miharu from Nabari no Ou deliberately acts cold and indifferent to discourage people from making friends with him. Weirdly, his classmates all seem to adore him anyways.
- Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke starts the series as never having had a friend in her whole life, due to being very shy and looking (and unintentionally acting) like a classic Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl.
- How about Mr. Friendless England of Axis Powers Hetalia, bullied and beaten up as a child, (which probably have something or another to do with the current Mean Brit and Tsundere stance he projects) and was even subjected to humiliation and exclusion by his own brothers according to Word of God.
- Russia Used to Be a Sweet Kid bullied by everyone. He even got rejected by a hamster.
- Iceland was born and spent his younger years alone, with only vague sensations of an "older brother" that he dismissed as "his own delusions." In World☆Stars, Finland even mentions that he never really met Iceland until the 18th century. His discomfort at receiving attention, denial of his own loneliness, and aloof nature may stem from this.
- Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica never had any friends because she was very sick and spent most of her time in the hospital. It's probably why she goes to such extreme lengths to protect the one friend that she makes.
- Meanwhile, Mami is an orphan, and has to distance herself from people because she's magical.
- Barnaby Brooks Jr. from Tiger & Bunny has always been too preoccupied with revenge to develop any significant relationships, and was a complete loner until he was paired up with Kotetsu. Kotetsu is literally the first friend he's ever had.
- Kodomo no Jikan: As seen in a flashback, Rin started out completely friendless, as well as mute (due to the trauma of her mother's death combined with her blaming herself for it). By the time the manga/anime starts, she, Kuro and Mimi are True Companions.
- Saori from Wandering Son has been shown several times to have no friends before she met Nitori. She has No Social Skills and found boys to be too rambunctious but girls to be too snobby. Afterwards she makes a small group of friends however procedes to more-or-less ruin all but one of said friendships within three years of creating them. By the end of middle school they're close again but due to going to separate high schools she loses track of most of them besides Takatsuki.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: No one of the three main characters has friends at the beginning of the story, although Shinji forms some tentative friendships once he moves to Tokyo-3, and Asuka and Rei feel attached to Shinji.
- Kio from Loveless claims to be Soubi's first and, ntil the manga begins, only friend. And given Soubi's background -Parental Abandonment, physically psychologically and sexually abused as a child, essentially a slave to his sacrifice- this is hardly unlikely.
- In Saint Beast, thanks to Fantastic Racism Kira and Maya grow up in the shrine away from other angels. After they grow up Maya instantly makes friends with Gai who has a similar temperament and no prejudices whereas Kira attempts to stay a loner.
- From tsuritama, up until Haru basically stalked/mind-controlled him into friendship Yuki had always been alone thanks to a combination of crippling social anxiety issues, the frighteningly ugly face he pulls whenever scared, and need to constantly switch schools because of his grandmother's job.
- Tsubomi of HeartCatch Pretty Cure! started out like this, due to the fact that, like Misao above, her parents were constantly working, so she'd end up staying with her grandma and was so shy, she'd only consider the flowers she'd like to tend to her only friends. It isn't until she moves to Kibogahana that she starts making friends. Even if her first is a loud-mouth Jerk Ass.
- Kitano of Angel Densetsu doesn't have friends at the start because he looks like a walking waking nightmare, and rumours painted him as a violent drug addict. The joke is he's a sweet, kind boy who always tries to think the best of people, even when he's being beat up. His parents love him though.
- Averted in flashbacks to his old school though. Before his transfer, Kitano was actually very well-liked and highly regarded by both the faculty and student body of his old school. Its only transferring to Heikiku High that his friendlessness starts.
- L from Death Note refers to Light as his 'first-ever friend' (although he may have been lying.) Either way, he has never had a friend prior to the Kira case.
- Light himself may qualify. Although he's popular at school, he doesn't seem that close to anyone.
- In 3-gatsu no Lion, Rei does not have any childhood friends within his normal life outside of shogi, and was, as he narrates, "always the kid that got bullied." He implies that his teenage years were not that much different when he specifically requests that Hayashida not say anything about his professional career to his classmates. Later volumes elaborate on this.
- Kotonoha Katsura of School Days has difficulty making friends due to her shyness and attractive appearance; all the boys in her class fight over her and force each other to stay away from her, which alienates the girls in her class.
- Haruka Kotoura from Kotoura-san as seen in the first half of the first episode. Her telepathic powers plus Innocently Insensitive nature causes everyone to hate her, together with her parents. The first scene of the anime looks like this.◊
- In Girls und Panzer, Yukari had no friends while growing up because she was obsessively interested in tanks and could not find anyone who shared her interest. The "Little Army" prequel manga reveals that Miho had a similar problem while she was in elementary school.
- Blue Exorcist has two (and possibly three) main examples. First is Shiemi due to the Home Schooled reason. Second is Rin due to All of the Other Reindeer. Yukio also qualifies as due to being a) a Shrinking Violet Cute Bookworm when young and b) being Rin's younger brother, made it difficult for him to get any friends even before he started training early to be an Exorcist. Izumo also counts, as the only other friend she had before the Cram School was Paku; in fact, she originally didn't want any other friends, she just got dragged into it.
- All of the members of Haganai's Neighbors Club have varying incompetency in making friends.
- While it hasn't been explained, in Sakura Trick, Haruka reflected she has always been alone and Yuu was her first friend. It may be the reason why she's so clingy to Yuu.
- Rosario + Vampire: Before Tsukune came along, Yukari was often a victim of Fantastic Racism at Yokai Academy for being a witch, though her tendency to pull nasty pranks certainly didn't help matters.
- Haru Sakamoto of Hana the Fox Girl had no real friends growing up. Much of the issue is that she was a snake in human form who was Raised by Humans. This caused some of her behavior, such as catching frogs barehanded or attracting snakes to her on a field trip, to freak out her childhood classmates. Fortunately, through the Shimashima coffee shop in general and Fu in particular, Haru makes friends before starting class at Fu's school.
- Yuki of Gourmet Girl Graffiti is a Shrinking Violet with little skills in communication. At the time she was properly introduced, her "friends" include a cat and a bird.
- Hishiro of ReLIFE, resulting in her lack of social skills.
- This turns out to be the thing uniting nearly all the humans-turned-Legendary-Warriors of Digimon Frontier prior to their arrival in the Digital World. They all have different flavors, too: Kouji is the Loner, Izumi is the Newcomer, Junpei is socially incompetent, Tomoki is overly sheltered by his parents a'la "Homeschooled," and Kouichi is implied to be shy on top of feeling alienated from his family after learning he and Kouji had been Separated at Birth. Only Takuya doesn't seem to have this problem, which may be why he becomes the glue that holds the team together as they gradually becomes friends.
- Yuki from School-Live! has been shown to have had no friends besides her teacher Megu-nee prior to the Zombie Apocalypse. She was made fun of due to her cutesy looking Nice Hat and general oddities. Thanks to the apocalypse she is a part of a close-knit team alongside three (later more) other survivors. Yuki has hallucinations that she is going to school normally instead of being stuck in a zombie infested school, and in these delusions she's very popular instead of being friendless.
- Lyrical Nanoha:
- In the season finale of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Fate admits that she has no idea how to be friends with someone. In fact, prior to her encounters with Nanoha, Fate had never even met someone her own age.
- Hayate is an orphan who spent most of her childhood in and out of the hospital, so the only people she interacted with on a regular basis (before meeting the Wolkenritter) were doctors.
- In Kill la Kill, Mako claims that the only friends she ever had were in her head, seeming to be a case of incompetence. Meanwhile, Ryuko makes no mention of any friends before coming to Honnouji, and as she references having been a drifter, she was likely a recurring case of the newcomer along with a bit of the loner.
- In Magic of Stella, Yumine when she was a child, mainly due to her status of an Ill Girl. This has gone so much that she became pretty cynical to the idea of friendship, but Tamaki helped her overcoming that.
- Rinichi Sagara of Kanojo Ni Naru Hi Another is an instructive subversion: At the start of the story he ticks practically all of the boxes: he's a deeply troubled loner with No Social Skills and a Dark and Troubled Past who has deliberately cultivated a tough reputation to compensate for his girly looks and to keep his classmates at arms length to protect his Dark Secret. His classmates (particularly The Heart, the Class Representative,and even The Gadfly) rally to his defense anyway at the behest of The Rival.
- Averted in FullMaPla. One would think that Makoto's bizarre method of communication would mean that she's never had any friends, but it's stated that she did have friends in middle school (they just all went to different high schools).
- Huntress; particularly emphasized in certain issues of Birds of Prey; a somewhat unusual example, in that she did have family, some of whom genuinely cared for her (although they were all evil), but until she teamed up with the Black Canary, she never had even one friend. There's some Fridge Logic to this: making friends with the daughter of a Mafia don is all very well, but if there's a serious falling-out, your face might appear on a milk carton. Although it really had more to do with the fact that the mafia assassins who raised her, the Asaros, deliberately kept her isolated.
- An example of the second sort: if Tintin had any friends at all besides Snowy prior to the start of his adventures, they are never mentioned. However, it does not seem to be from a preference to be alone, a lack of social skills or somesuch as a whole lot of characters Tintin encounters during his adventures become his friends, and some very close ones indeed (Haddock, Chang, Calculus) with no problem. One could theorize that Tintin's schoolmates etc. all got prosaic bourgeois jobs in Brussels which meant that there weren't any real chances of encountering them in Tintin's exciting world of adventure (most of which are set outside Belgium).
- Xavin has outright said that their parents did not allow them to have any friends growing up, and their arrogance and chauvinism did not help them in making friends after joining the team.
- Before joining the team, Klara had been disowned by her family, and her only source of human companionship was her husband... who horribly, horribly abused her and saddled her with a lot of trust issues. She did have the ability to talk to roses, and they would talk back, but her husband kept cutting and selling the roses for booze money. Molly Hayes appears to have been her first real friend, and incidentally, she is fiercely protective of Molly.
- In Superman: Brainiac, Clark is worried about her cousin because Kara feels very alone.
Clark: She was so frightened. And she feels so alone.
- Supergirl had this issue in the New 52 reboot. She was stranded in a strange planet, her family and acquaintances were all dead, she didn't trust her cousin, she had no friends and she felt very lonely and isolated. Her situation led to a Despair Event Horizon combined with a Rage Breaking Point and her becoming a Red Lantern for a while.
- In Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, Linda felt very alone and without friends until she met Lena.
Linda: It's just... I'm so alone, y'know? It's so hard to make friends... and I'm not sure I even like the people in this school anyway.
- In Superman: Brainiac, Clark is worried about her cousin because Kara feels very alone.
- In the original comic, Will Vandom of W.I.T.C.H. lost literally all her friends a year before the series due finding out what they really thought of her parents being divorcing by accidentally reading their minds and freaking out (losing even the one who, having divorced parents herself, was thinking "So what?"), also influencing her mother into moving to Heatherfield. In the series she has some friends aside the other Guardians, but the only one who isn't linked to her being a Guardian or the other girls is a childhood friend that moved to Heatherfield before the freak-out.
- While Harry himself is not this by the start of Child of the Storm, he didn't have any friends growing up. Wanda kept a watch out for him, and managed to intervene once, but to do any more would have put him in danger. His cousin Jean took him under her wing when her family visited, but Sinister acted to ensure that Harry wouldn't be taken from the Dursleys and thus Happily Adopted by the Grey family in order to maintain his experiment. He also tends to attract people like this.
- Carol's only two close friends are Jean-Paul and Lex, the latter of whom is a self appointed Knight Templar Big Brother for whom she is occasionally required to act as a Morality Chain. It's implied that the rest of her football team likes her, but they aren't what you'd call close. As for her family life, her father has a Stay in the Kitchen attitude and her mother is doormat. She's close to her Cool Uncle, Jack O'Neill, but he's a Brigadier General and thus busy most of the time.
- Jean-Paul's only friend at all prior to meeting Harry is Carol and possibly his possibly crazy twin sister.
- Diana, the Olympian ward, happens to be a remarkably talented warrior. She also had to endure Hera's repeated attempts to kill her due to her being a daughter of Hercules (which is why she's in Asgard in the first place as Hercules begged Athena and Loki to help him protect her) and tends to unsettle people thanks to her empathic abilities, which tend to make her come off as a more down to Earth and even more disturbingly insightful version of Luna Lovegood.
- Uhtred is implied not to have many friends due to his obsessive desire to stand out from his family and Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy attitude, which he later drops.
- When Vera is hospitalized for poisoning in Dirty Sympathy Apollo, Klavier and Trucy are the only people that visit her because her only family is dead and she was a Hikikomori, she doesn't have any friends.
Trucy: It's not like she has any friends besides us!Apollo (thinking): You mean she has any friends including us.
- They're Not Pussywillow Pixies: Poet is more or less friendless, being a, well, poet in a village where no one else is really interested in or cares about poetry.
- In Hope for the Heartless (which takes place after the events of The Black Cauldron) a young brush farmer named Avalina ends up befriending his jailer, the resurrected Horned King and his lackey Creeper. She's pretty much the first friend for both of them. The Horned King has spent his about a thousand years lasting existence doing evil for his own benefit. If he's ever had any friends, he has forgotten them. As for Creeper, he has been abused by everyone for his entire life.
- In The Witch of the Everfree, Sunset Shimmer had never bothered to make friends despite Celestia's pestering, which ended up leaving her without anywhere to go after getting kicked out of Celestia's castle.
Films — Animation
- The titular alien of Megamind (with the sole exception of Minion, his Non-Human Sidekick). Early scenes show his attempts to gain friends, all of which backfire miserably (in a combination of bad luck and Fantastic Racism), culminating in his decision to become a supervillain.
- In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, it has been implied that Melody did not have any friends and the only person she talked to was Sebastian. Also, she's shown to be mocked for talking to sea creatures.
- In Frozen, Anna and Elsa were raised in seclusion their whole lives and didn't have any friends throughout their childhoods. This may be why Anna was so naive to the point that she was willing to marry Hans, a guy she just met.
- From what we see of Hans's life before coming to Arendelle in A Frozen Heart, he didn't seem to have anyone except his family. Within his own clan, he was the proverbial Black Sheep and Extreme Doormat — his father and eleven of his older brothers saw him as a "weakling" and an incompetent coward who couldn't stand up and fight back at the abuse they throw at him, and would either shun him or bully him. In fact, three of his brothers even pretended he was nonexistent for two years, not to mention throwing glass at him just for daydreaming, being the victim of countless pranks, losing countless fistfights against his brothers, being shoved in the mud or tossed off moving carts. And by the time he's an adult, Hans has chosen to give up fighting, but this only worsened their abuse. The closest to support he had were Lars and his mother, but neither of them were close enough to help him get through life. Being neglected all his life, combined with the fact that he wanted to be recognized as a good son despite being ignored and belittled by his family, wound up becoming the source of his issues.
- How to Train Your Dragon: Hiccup is ostracized and bullied by his entire community for being weak and relying on his brain rather than brawny. Even his own father openly tells him he has to change. The closest he has to a "friend" is Parental Substitute Gobber, who still views him as a nuisance most of the time and tells him it's what's on the inside of him that causes problems. His first true friend is Toothless, the titular dragon. Of course, as it's a forbidden friendship, Toothless's attachment only serves to make him more of an outcast.
Films — Live-Action
- The Heat: Ashburn. She grew up in foster care and then as an adult FBI agent, her need to demonstrate her intellect at the expense of others alienates them.
- Doc Holliday in Tombstone.
Turkey Creek Jack Johnson Why are you doin' this, Doc?
Doc Holliday Because Wyatt Earp is my friend.
Turkey Creek Jack Johnson Friend? Hell, I got lots of friends.
Doc Holliday I don't.
- In The Force Awakens, Rey was alone on Jakku for over a decade, and appeared to spend most of her time scavenging the wrecks old ships. Based on her initial reaction to having her hand grabbed by Finn, she was not used to being touched either
- Near the end of Tommy Boy, Richard confesses he thinks of Tommy as friend, even after all their misadventures.
Richard: It may not mean much to you, since you have so many... but I don't.
- Sin City has Marv, who fits the unattractive type in this trope. He mentions that, due to his looks, he was never even able to buy a woman. It may also have something to do with him being Ax-Crazy as well.
- Zero Dark Thirty: After Jessica establishes that Maya does not have a boyfriend, she asks Maya if she has any friends. Maya says nothing.
- All of Me. Edwina.
- X-Men Film Series:
- X-Men: First Class: Since Raven Darkholme is explicitly stated to be Charles Xavier's oldest and only friend, that means prior to their meeting in 1944, he had difficulty connecting with other children despite growing up in the lap of luxury. X-Men: Days of Future Past elaborates on this a little further by revealing that Xavier was considered to be "crazy" in between the ages of 9 and 12 due to the voices in his head, and was therefore a social pariah among his peers.
- The Wolverine: Mariko had difficulty making friends while she was younger.
- Pump Up the Volume, Mark just moved to Arizona, coming from East US, and doesn't manage to make friends (unless when he is HHH). He is even Eating Lunch Alone.
- The Wedding Ringer, Both Jimmy and Doug suffer from this. Doug's family constantly moved around when he was a kid, while Jimmy was just a loner. They end up becoming best friends and go on a trip to tahiti on Doug's first guy trip at the end of the movie.
- In A Brother's Price, Jerin Whistler doesn't have any male friends, as boys are very rare, and he doesn't like the neighbour's boy, Balin Brindle. The only non-related woman he has close contact with prior to the plot is his teacher. She's a kind of family friend, and Jerin had a crush on her. When he meets the young nobleman Cullen, they become friends immediately, as both of them are thrilled to finally have someone their own age to talk to.
- In Dragon Bones, Ward starts the story without any friends, which is mostly due to his Obfuscating Stupidity for the past seven years, which even estranged his younger brother.
- Gerard Freeman in The Ghost Writer has very few, if any, friends since childhood.
- Bella Swan of Twilight. Her best friend back in Arizona was her mother (or so she says.)
- Harry Potter.
- Harry. Prior to going to Hogwarts, he's bullied at his Muggle school because of the tatty hand-me-downs and broken glasses he wears (and because no-one wanted Dudley to think they liked him and become targets of his bullying too). Dudley's gang frequently beats him up, referred to as "Harry Hunting." He is pretty much friendless until Hagrid shows up in his life.
- Ron is mocked for being poor by the Slytherins, and of course is perpetually in Harry's shadow, so he's an outcast to an extent. Word of God indicates many wizarding children, including the Weasleys, are homeschooled before starting Hogwarts, so it seems they conveniently don't have much chance to make friends before they're eleven. You'd think the Weasley kids would have made friends with Luna considering how close she lives to them, but book 5 seems to be the first time she and Ron meet. No wonder Ginny got so entranced in that diary — she literally had no one to talk to other than her older brothers and parents.
- And Hermione... well, she was a stuck-up prissy know-it-all in the first book. To misquote Ron, "No wonder she hasn't got any friends!" But probably Neville has it worst in their year, until book 4 or 5.
- Luna also seems to suffer heavily from this trope. Being somewhat strange, she is heavily teased or just ignored. She loved being part of the DA because "it was just like having friends". When the trio happens upon her room they see that she hand-painted a magical mural of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Neville, all interlocked by a moving golden chain of "friends" repeated over and over.
- Remus Lupin is another character who suffered from this trope in his early years. As a result of his lycanthropy and the Fantastic Racism prevalent in the wizarding world, his parents had to hide and move him around a lot while they attempted to find a cure and keep him from infecting anyone else. It's the main reason why he was unable to prevent his friends' bullying of Severus Snape during their school years: he was so grateful to finally have friends that he didn't want to do anything that would turn them against him.
- 'Cita in the second Petaybee book. She grew up as a member of a cult that gave children names like "Nightsoil" and "Goat-dung", and even by that standard, she is was an outsider.
- The Secret Garden's protagonist Mary Lennox has gone through life with no friends because she is shown to be spoiled and sour and has No Social Skills. A good portion of her character growth involves her gaining friends. At one point she's talking about the number of people she likes, and says, "I never thought I should like five people." One of those five is a robin.
- Anne Shirley has one of these, having spent her childhood in and out of orphanages and foster homes. She is so lonely that she invents imaginary friends, to Marilla's horror.
- Chichikov in Dead Souls. He's more interested in making money than making friends.
- As children, both Vlad Dracula and Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess.
- At home on Alderaan before Galaxy of Fear, Tash Arranda didn't have no friends - at least, other kids would let her play on their speed globe teams - but it was noted that she was closest to her parents and had trouble making friends, since her untrained Force-Sensitivity made her seem strange.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Brienne of Tarth is treated pretty poorly by the men she meets, as they scoff at her for acting manly, but laugh on the rare occasions she's forced to act feminine. Brienne says that the women are worse. One of the reasons she falls so hard for Renly is because he was nice to her, and this goes double for Jaime.
- Sam has it even worse. Oh sure, he got along with his mother and sisters, but his soft, gentle demeanor was not only mocked by essentially everyone but was also a source of serious abuse from his father. Then he goes to the Wall where he becomes fast friends with Jon Snow and all of Jon's friends.
- Various characters in the Discworld series fit the trope in various ways.
- Rincewind seems to have made very few friends, except perhaps the exasperating Twoflower, if only because he's usually running too fast to get away from some kind of danger. (He says that his parents ran away from home before he was born.) Even once he settles down, he's something of a loner, if only because his new colleagues regard him with amiable contempt and use him for various purposes.
- Susan makes a couple of friends at school, but they're fellow loner/outsider types. Even at that stage, it's clear that she's a bit too weird and a bit too intelligent to get close to normal human beings. Once she learns that she's the granddaughter of Death, with all that implies, fighting the dangers of isolation becomes a full-time issue for her — though she manages.
- The trope is really central to the whole species of noble dragons, however. "Noble dragons don't have friends. The nearest they can get to the idea is an enemy who is still alive." Of course, they don't care.
- The background of quite a few Circle of Magic characters. Briar was part of a gang as a kid, but they seemed more like 'allies' then friends with any really degree of concern for one another. Sandry also had a lot of trouble making friends; her parents moved continiously, other noble parents didn't want their children associating with such a strange family, while commoner kids regarded her with great suspicion. This made her just very, very determined to make friends. Tris, however, was by far the worst off, being neglected by her relatives and bullied by almost all her peers.
- In Why We Took The Car, Maik is stated to have no friends at all. Tschick appears to have no friends either when he enters Maik's school, and never makes any there.
- In Rolitania, Samuel is friendless in either timeline. In the first timeline, the equally lonely Kuro befriends him. In the second timeline, a more friendly, (and friendless no more) Kuro befriends him in a more unconventional way.
- In the Schooled In Magic series, Emily left nothing she valued or missed behind on Earth (relationship wise), such as a loving family or friends. In fact, she feels like her life only just got started now that she's left Earth behind.
- Christian Ozera from Vampire Academy had no friends until warming up to Lissa and Rose. Went with his status as a social outcast.
- In The Belgariad and its sequels, a friendless background is par for the course for the Salmissras - it's very hard to make friends in a court where everyone is trying to poison everyone else in order to increase their own power and influence, and the royal pharmacologists (who are the real power behind the throne) prefer to keep their queens lonely and codependent so that they'll constantly seek to get drugged out of their gourds.
- Ishmael from Don't Call Me Ishmael! is bullied and doesn't have any friends at school until New Transfer Student Scobie makes him join the debate team.
- Aya in Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note can't, and Hates Small Talk. This pretty much means her social circle is limited to the KZ and Sunahara.
- Michael, protagonist of The Traitor Game, was bullied at his old school and had no friends until he met Francis.
Francis: Do you always hit people? Is that how you make friends?Michael: I don't know. I don't have any.
- The Southern Reach Trilogy: The biologist is an extreme introvert who'd much rather observe plants and animals than interact with people and has never had any friends. The closest thing she had to that was knowing the friends of her husband.
- Game of Thrones: Brienne of Tarth is ostracized by Westerosi society due to her unattractiveness, large size, and her pursuit of a traditionally masculine occupation.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Faith. Her parents were worthless and the only person who never treated her badly died before she showed up in Season 3. This leads to her becoming evil after her tough girl act makes her push Buffy away when they accidentally kill a guy.
- Genevieve, due to being homeschooled.
- Most of the main characters on Community, for various reasons: Britta is a hypocritical buzzkill, Abed is weird, Annie was an awkward nerd in high school, Pierce is a Jerkass and Chang is certifiably insane.
- During the flashback that showed how Carly came to know Sam, Carly was eating alone. Probably justifiable since Carly had moved to Seattle from her existing home in California. Not friendless before that though, as she had Missy, her best friend back in California.
- Freddie apparently came to know Carly and Sam either during the last year of elementary school, or their first year of middle school. Whatever friends Freddie had must have moved to different schools, as it was shown in the earlier episodes his only real friend was Carly. Eventually, he started joining various school clubs and became friends with a handful of other students.
- Sam was a bully, even in her younger years, and her only 'friend' was likely to be her twin sister Melanie, who left on a boarding school scholarship, as well as being a grade ahead due to Sam falling behind. Carly pushed back when Sam stole her sandwich, and their friendship was born.
- Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series. It's mentioned in the series (and shown in both the animated series and the 2009 movie) that he was bullied as a child, and it's implied that Kirk is his first real friend. In the episode "The Naked Time" he mentions being ashamed of his friendship with Kirk, so it's possible Vulcans don't generally have friends in the way humans do.
- Though they do at least have some variety of friendship; in "Amok Time", Spock formally identifies Kirk and McCoy as his friends to T'Pau, and mentions a legal right to have them present for his wedding in that capacity. General consensus is that he didn't have any friends because of his mixed racial heritage.
- This seems to initially be the case for Brian Krakow in My So-Called Life. The closest things he has to friends are Angela and Sharon, who are both often rude to him and who he doesn't seem to be very close to anymore. This changes later as he seems to develop a close friendship with Rickie, and the last few episodes seem to foreshadow a possible new friendship with Jordan. An apparent friend named Brad is mentioned once, but only in a lie Brian is telling his parents, so it's not clear if Brad even actually exists.
- Veronica Mars half-willingly ejected herself from her own social circle and plummeted down to the bottom-most rung (outside of freshmen) at Neptune High after her father, at the time the sheriff, accused the father of her murdered friend Lilly of killing her. She remained there until Wallace Fennel arrived, and she helped him down from the flag pole...
- Lex Luthor from Smallville. The most poignant scene is actually very short, but drives home the point that Lex has been a loner all his life, probably because he was considered a freak by the other kids (not to mention his twisted upbringing): Adult Lex flashes back to his childhood, to a birthday party where he sits alone at a table surrounded by cakes and paper streamers, crying silently.
- Beth from Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. She's been kicked off multiple anti-terrorism taskforces in the past for being too blunt, and when she joins the team, she has nobody to put down as an emergency contact until Cooper volunteers himself.
- Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock. Until John comes along, he didn't have any friends at all — Mrs Hudson being more of a Parental Substitute and Lestrade a Friend on the Force of sorts who, while quite a nice man, isn't willing to be the Cloudcuckoolander's Minder that any friend of Sherlock's inevitably ends up becoming. Intelligence Equals Isolation combined with his Byronic Hero persona are the likely causes, though he makes little effort towards befriending anyone anyway. As Mycroft points out in the very first episode:
John: I'm guessing you're not friends.Mycroft: You've met him. How many friends do you imagine he has? (...) I am the closest thing to a friend Sherlock Holmes is capable of having: an enemy.
- Or, as Sherlock himself puts it:
- To an extent, John as well. At the beginning of the show he's living alone in a depressing little flat after being invalided home from the Afghan war, he hardly even talks to his sister (from whom he is estranged for reasons that aren't specified, but may be related to the drinking problem that gets literally Sherlockscanned in the pilot), and the only friend (or even acquaintance) of his we see is Mike Stamford, towards whom he acts rather aloof (though Mike himself is affable enough); and that was merely a chance meeting. Before Sherlock, he also appears to have been entirely alone in the world, as stated by him during his one-sided conversation with Sherlock's headstone:
- Amy Farrah Fowler of The Big Bang Theory is this trope personified. She has a preoccupation with friendship activities, especially with Penny, because this is the first time in her life she's been able to experience anything of the sort. Sheldon didn't have any friends back home either, but he's less concerned about it. (Perhaps because his family, even though they didn't understand him, loved him. We don't know anything about Amy's family.)
- Friends ironically. Although by the time the series starts the gang - in their early twenties - have formed their tight-knit True Companions, several of them are hinted to have been this growing up. In particular Chandler never mentions any friends from when he was younger and is upset he has hardly anyone to invite to his wedding.
- Subverted concerning Rachel and Monica. In high school Rachel was the popular Lovable Alpha Bitch and Monica, her Fat Best Friend, was implied to be this trope. However, during the series Monica mentions or even dates several friends, including her fellow Formerly Fat friend Will (played by Brad Pitt), her childhood friend who helps Chandler enter advertising, Lewis Posin her "fifth grade best friend", an exchange student whose mom gave her food, and two cousins she was close to growing up. By comparison, all of Rachel's wealthy "friends" ditch her early on and everyone from their old school seems to hate her. It's also worth mentioning that Monica is the rock of the gang who brought them all together, and it was only because of her they accepted Rachel initially. Ultimately it's the awkward Monica rather than the outgoing Rachel who made real friends, despite her apparent unpopularity.
- A Running Gag in Jessie is that Ravi doesn't have any friends besides his pet lizard, Mrs Kibblings.
- Doctor Who: While it isn't mentioned too often, The Doctor himself apparently had a very lonely and miserable childhood. He once remarks on the unpleasantness of being "the only kid left outside", and when asked if he knows what that's like emphatically replies that he does. In fact, all indications suggest that he had a grand total of one friend his own age growing up, and that was The Master.
- Galavant never mentions any friends from his childhood, and when he dies and Death gathers all the people who care about him to sing their goodbyes it includes his ex-girlfriend Madalena, now an evil queen who despises him, and "some random guy", seemingly included to stop the song being too short.
'Galavant: What happened, I just ran out of friends?
- Unlike most professional wrestlers, Seleziya Sparx had no prior athletic background. She didn't identify with any group growing up and continued to struggle to make friends in her chosen profession, though she found a group very eager to bring her into Ring of Honor: The House Of Truth. Unfortunately the HOT were not just made up of bad people but were already on the path to collapse. Her efforts to appease HOT's top prospect Matt Taven were taken for granted and she drifted in the promotion without the purpose Truth Martini's stable gave her until she again found a group eager to take her in, the Darker and Edgier Paint It Black second coming of the HOT.
- Wicked's Elphaba Thropp:
Dr. Dillamond: Miss Elphaba, don't worry about me, go along and enjoy your friends.Elphaba: (breezily) Oh, that's all right, I have no friends.
- The manga for Persona 4 fleshes out the protagonist's character quite a bit, and depicts him as friendly and polite, but distant. Because his parent's work causes them to move around a lot, he tries to avoid getting attached to other people, so he won't disappoint them when he leaves, essentially like a perpetual "Newcomer" version of this trope. Naturally, a large part of the game involves him getting over that and forming social links with various people around Inaba.
- Geo from Mega Man Star Force is also one (being a combo of types 3,4 and 6).
- According to the Official Fanbook, Raidou Kuzunoha grew up friendless, since he never had spare time or energy from his training everyday. He consequently became a Heroic Mime because he cared little for his own emotions and never thought his words would be worth hearing.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, Morrigan may be the most horrific example of the home-schooled variant (to the point of being nightmarish). She explicitly says, if you get close to her (either platonically or romantically), that she is unused to such things as friendship, but is grateful for yours.
Alistair: Oh, let me guess, this is the part where we find out you've never had a friend in your entire life—
- Alistair even lampshades this:
- Alistair is from something of a Friendless Background himself. Until he joined the Grey Wardens, he was ostracized his whole life; everyone he knew near his age either disdained him for being a bastard or thought he was stuck up because he was treated with favor and protected by the local nobleman. And then AFTER he joined the Grey Wardens, they all got killed at Ostagar. Poor guy. It's for this reason that he has so much Undying Loyalty to the PC; s/he is the only other Warden left in the entire country.
- Invoked by Dorian in Dragon Age: Inquisition if he's in your party when you find an abandoned fortress in the middle of a jungle.
Dorian: Ah, Tevinter architecture. Doesn't it just scream "I hated my parents and had no friends as a child"?
- Mass Effect 2 has probably every variety of the trope you can find:
- Jack grew up in an experimental facility, and after escaping actively avoided making friends.
- Grunt was grown in a tank, only being 'born' when you recruit him.
- Garrus lost all his friends to a mercenary attack.
- Thane and Samara never bothered making friends, both being Married to the Job.
- Miranda ran away from home, cutting ties with everyone she knew. And the one person she trusted betrays her on her loyalty mission and ends up getting killed.
- The majority of the options in Shepard's Multiple-Choice Past leave him/her with few friends and family.Details
- When Laharl fom Disgaea was asleep for two years people just assumed that he was dead or simply forgot about him. No one cares beyond that, except Etna who wanted to use him for her own gain, and one of his vassals who expressed disappointment that she didn't get to use the grave she dug for him. Granted, everyone are demons and thus clearly aligned Evil, it's only in their nature to abuse, backstab and use each other. Laharl doesn't even care for his own father aside from disappointment that he found out too late that his father died and thus the competition for his father's Overlord position had been going on for quite some time before he woke up.
- Marona in Phantom Brave never had friends in her life because the way society treats her and only have Ash in her own life. So it's really heartwarming when Marona made her first friend in her life with Castile.
- Marche in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a new transfer student, shy, and lacks confidence in himself. He is mostly quiet on his first day at the new school, but he does become friends with two other kids. Marche is also not sure of himself during his time in the fantasy Ivalice, but he sheds his shyness and confidence issues as the game progresses and becomes more determined to achieve his goals. It is revealed in the story that Marche didn't have many friends to due always having to take care of his sick brother.
- Your partner in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. Interestingly, he notes that he was part of the problem, as he were worried he would end up making a False Friend.
- Kiyotaka Ishimaru from Dangan Ronpa has difficulty making friends prior entering high school (and meeting Mondo Oowada) because of his overtly serious attitude due to him spending time on studying and encouraging school rules and student's behavior.
- He's not the only one. Sakura Oogami was ostracized because of her frightening and intimidating appearance, outright saying in her suicide note that the other students were the first real friends she'd ever had. Touko Fukawa was severely bullied her whole life (leaving her with a severe persecution complex). And depending on how canon you consider the manga adaptation to be, Celes might have had one, seeing as she was so plain (even her name, Taeko Yasuhiro, was ordinary) that she was completely ignored in school, only taking on her sophisticated persona of Celestia Ludenberg after discovering her skill as a gambler.
- The Courier of Fallout: New Vegas appears to be from such a background.
- Of course, since The Courier is the player avatar, this depends on how the player wants their background to be.
- Bombshell's protagonist, Shelly, was a deliberate example in her youth, due to "prioritizing success over sociability". Later, however, she became close to her bomb team, thinking of them as family.
- Agent 47 grew up in a lab with his only social interactions being mostly fighting other clones. He did have a few pets, however, something that the other clones never did.
Agent 47: "Names are for friends, so I don't need one"
- In Grisaia no Rakuen's Prologue of Grisaia Yumiko spends the entirety of the story thinking of everyone as mere classmates because she's never had a real friend before, so when she realizes how much she cares about them and how much they care about her she actually cries with happiness.
- Little Busters! has Mio and Haruka. Mio because, as a child, she preferred escaping into other worlds through books and make-believe and then ended up meeting a not-so-imaginary friend Midori she dedicated herself to as an older sister. After a while her parents became worried and took her to a therapist, giving her medication to stop seeing Midori. Years later, she suddenly remembered Midori, and was so upset that she became determined to live a life of solitude in penance for her sin, ultimately trading places with Midori and letting her live instead. Haruka because her family abusively kept her under their control as the 'lesser' twin, including forbidding her from going to school. Beyond that, for whatever friends she could have made her wild, socially awkward personality didn't drive away, her crippling insecurity probably did the job.
- In Katawa Shoujo, there are a few cases of this.
- Hisao loses touch with all his old friends, including the girl with whom he shared a mutual crush, during his stay in the hospital, and as such, has no friends upon entering Yamaku.
- Hanako had a few friends before the house fire that scarred her and claimed the life of her parents, but they abandoned her because of how she looked
- Shizune has difficulty keeping friends from communication problems related to her deafness and her tendency to come off as overbearing and abrasive.
- Surprisingly, Misha, who gets along well with most of the other students, says she has no friends from her previous schools whom she misses or hopes to reconnect with, and vaguely hints at being bullied for being a lesbian.
- Tower of God - Twenty-fifth Baam had absolutely no human contact before he met Rachel, even the name he was given by somebody refers to his birthdate. His loneliness is what made him so caring about human beings and eager for friendship, while it also makes him quite the stalker.
- Magisa - Eman Cruz has no friends. And if he gets one, they either leave him or die.
- The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!: Galatea, who was raised as a lab specimen, was like this when she first escaped.
- Oddly induced in The Good Witch; in her original timeline as a transgirl, Angel had one friend, Tommy. In her new timeline as a genetic girl, Angel has no friends, with Tommy barely even knowing her (apparently a warning sign about her personality)—so she uses her magic to turn him into her new best friend Molly.
- Tnemrot has almost all its main characters like this. Dae was a homeless scavenger all on his own, Mia was sheltered in her father's home and never received much attention and Angel was a slave unable to move a muscle without her owner's say so.
- Abel of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures is shown to have grown up this way in his origin comic, having been shunned by the other people in the town he was born in because of his wings, neither he nor his mother knowing that his father was actually an Incubus, growing up thinking he was a normal Being who just happened to have been born with wings, possibly due to magic his father had encountered as an adventurer. It seems like the only people who cared about him in his hometown were his parents and babysitter, his babysitter being a young woman who was similarly shunned for having a third eye-on her hand. The local school won't even allow him to enroll because of him being different. This prompts his parents to move to a demon-run city, where he seems to make several close friends and feel accepted, until his headwings come in, causing his father to reveal his real self and take him to SAIA, where the only friend he seems to have was his guide Mink due to the crushing depression he felt at having to abandon his home and mother, along with having seen one of his best childhood friends-and some not so close ones- murdered right in front of him and learning that everything he thought he was is a lie causing him to be distant with everyone. The fact that he is the last of his clan doesn't help either.
- In Questionable Content, this is a bonding point between many of the main cast:
- Hannelore grew up on a space station, surrounded by scientists and military personnel and developed crippling Super OCD at an early age. It becomes apparent that she only really bonded with the space station's sentient AI. When she becomes friends with Marten & Co., she seems genuinely surprised at having friends and is not sure if her parents paid them to hang out with her.
- Also the case with Emily. She seems no worse for wear about it, though. Presumably because her brains have been keeping her company.
- Pintsize reveals that Marten was this for years before finding his feet in a new social group.
- Marigold is an otaku and full-time video game geek who has to be coaxed out of her apartment by her Robot Buddy.
- Antimony Carver of Gunnerkrigg Court is a combination of the first three. She grew up with and was taught by her mother in a hospital due to her mother's illness, starts attending school in the Court in the middle of the school year, and does not do a very good job of making friends simply due to her temperament. In fact, even after she makes friends with Kat, she remains her only friend for most of her first year. Although Kat is the Red Oni to Antimony's Blue, there are signs that Kat was fairly solitary as well before befriending Antimony.
- Ruby, the nerdy business major, Broken Bird, and troublesome younger sister figure of Sticky Dilly Buns, has a generally spiky attitude and a suspicion of men, and her social relationships are initially limited to family (and she's comically bad at "bonding with her sister") and a favorite teacher (who. it's rapidly pointed out, seems to have been abusing her trust). She is quite surprised when someone offers to do her a favor. It turns out that she apparently lost the one friend she had at school to a couple of bullying contemporaries, and even after at least two other cast members have declared themselves her friends, she remains uncertain if she has any.
- Asia Ellis of morphE. She was raised under very abnormal circumstances. Once her adoptive father attempted to normalize her and bring her to public school she was not received warmly. It took her until she was in college before she was comfortable enough to meet people without the presence and guidance of her guardian.
- Herz from Friends Till Death is this. He is an Eldritch Abomination with a slightly unusual appearance. His shy disposition doesn't do much to dispel the students fear of him either. This changed, however, when Jura and Vanilla befriended him.
- In Alice and the Nightmare, both main characters:
- Alice was raised by the Queen and the Rabbits, meaning she had no real contact with anyone of her age before entering Phanty U.
- Edith stands out as one of the few people who didn't go to the Phanty U with friends they've known since childhood. She does apparently have siblings working at the Uni, though.
- Lydia reveals herself to have one of these in Cobweb And Stripes. It's half the reason (the other half being Parental Obliviousness) that she became so attached to the Maitlands; with them gone, she more or less only has Betelgeuse, who isn't winning any popularity contests either.
- Qiu Tong from Their Story admits to Sun Jing that she hasn't had many friends in her life, due to not knowing how to interact with other people. Because of this, she's grateful that Sun Jing actively sought her out to befriend her (though unbeknownst to her, this was because Sun Jing not only wanted to be friends, but also had a crush on her).
- Alexis from A Grey World
- Part of The Nostalgia Critic's backstory. Although, not to defend the evil of kids and teenagers, it's been established that he was a seriously Troubled Child. Sounding like he needed a hug immediately yes, but not the best to hang around with.
- Abel lived alone in a house for his entire childhood with effectively no contact with the outside world until his later teens. The upside? It gave him enough free time to absorb an unearthly amount of information through books and, later on, the internet. The downside? His social skills were limited to what little contact he had with a temporary tutor he spoke with at a very young age. As for the reason of his isolation, both of his parents were underground crime bosses that didn't want their son growing up to be like them. They succeeded, but died before getting a chance to see Abel grown up and self-sufficiently independent.
- Kurai from Land Games.
- Tim of Marble Hornets apparently had no friends until college, thanks to spending most of his life up till then in a psychiatric hospital.
- The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Jane had one true friend Helen who died of cancer when they were at school. She doesn't have any other friends of her age and her step-aunt's family and other people at school were abusive. Poor Jane expects this trend will continue and in some of her vlogs her longing to have friends is painful to watch. She doesn't even have a place she could call home. It's implied she uploads her entries as a safety net of evidence, because she can't ask anyone else for help or advice, and there are some seriously weird things happening in the Rochester household.
- Parodied in Tsuki Desu. The protagonist mentions having no friends only for directly afterwards her best friend Sakura pops up and greets her.
- Jane Dean in The Veronica Exclusive outright states she doesn't have any friends. Even after she gets with Veronica, she doesn't seem to interact with anyone else (unless she's assaulting or murdering them). Whether this is a result of her moving around so much or her psychopathy is up for debate.
- Kim Possible. Despite being a hot, popular cheerleader and involved in just about every activity in the school, Kim has no real friends outside of Ron and Monique, and she meets Monique during the series. Ron on the other hand, despite being a Loser Protagonist, seems to be able to run in multiple circles with friends all over the school, and he has no less than three Action Girls after him, though he spends most of his time with Kim.
- Both title characters in the animation for grown-ups, Mary and Max.
- Sari Sumdac from Transformers Animated is the home-schooled type (her Dad was probably afraid she'd accidentally find out she wasn't quite human). The only kids who come to her birthday parties are the ones whose parents work for her Dad, and they aren't very happy about it. Of course, she gets to be the Tagalong Kid and later sixth ranger to the Autobots, so it works out.
- Adventure Time
- Lemongrab is HEAVILY implied to be this. Word of God states that he doesn't have any friends, and that he lives in an isolated castle outside of the kingdom walls. His reason for being friendless? He's a mentally/emotionally unadjusted jerk with an almost total inability to read social cues. It's only partially his own fault; on one hand, he has serious mental problems. On the other hand, he's a sourpuss, and mean as hell to everyone he talks to.
- The Ice King. Although he has Finn and Jake as friendly rivals, and his penguins, he's actually very lonely, because his insanity has resulted in his social skills being more or less flushed down the toilet. Although he probably had friends as Simon Petrikov, considering he had a fiance.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Zuko has the emo/parental abuse/woobie type background. For the first two seasons, the only person he could trust was Iroh, and he wasn't even very nice to him most of the time. Flashbacks suggest he didn't have many friends as a kid, and for the first part of the third season, the only person keeping him in the Fire Nation was his Victorious Childhood Friend Mai. Fortunately for both of them (and Ty Lee), turning good tends to earn you true friends.
- Also Toph Beifong, for the first twelve years of her life. She was confined to her Big Fancy House, with her existence kept a complete secret by her parents, due to her blindness. However, this is remedied quickly, when she joins the protagonists at the end of the episode she is introduced in.
Toph: (to her parents) You were doing it to protect me, but I'm twelve years old and I've never had a real friend.
- The titular character of The Legend of Korra grew up in an isolated compound (located in the South Pole) populated only by guards and teachers. Her only friend before arriving at Republic City was her polar bear dog.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- The loner background seems to be the case for Twilight Sparkle, who starts off as being too wrapped up in her studies to make friends. Before the series starts, her social circle was limited to her older brother Shining Armor, her assistant Spike, her mentor Princess Celestia, and her old baby-sitter/surrogate-sister Princess Cadence (who she likely saw rarely to begin with). In fact, the entire series is kicked off when her mentor, Princess Celestia, tells her to "stop reading those dusty old books" and go make some friends already. (Granted, this was part of a gambit to stop Nightmare Moon, but still...)
- This is outright stated as part of Discord's backstory, as he himself states that Fluttershy is the first friend he's ever had. In his case though, he was a jerkass always out for himself who never stopped to consider the feelings of others - it was Fluttershy's determination to reach out to him despite his rougher traits that taught him to appreciate how good having a friend is, and when he pushes her too far he realises how important her friendship is to him.
- Sunset Shimmer from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls may also qualify, because at the end of the movie after being defeated, she admits that she doesn't know anything about friendship, implying that she never had any real friends prior to the movie.
- This is a part of Cheese Sandwitch's back-story in the episode "Pinkie Pride." It's shown that his only companion was his rubber chicken, and as a colt, he had to deal with a lot of bullying and wasn't happy until he saw Pinkie Pie.
- Moondancer from "Amending Fences" had an insubstantial social life before her birthday party, which occurred at the very start of the series. Twilight's skipping the party basically turned her into a recluse who did nothing but study... pretty much like Twilight would have been if she never moved to Ponyville. Worse, Moondancer believed that she didn't have any value or true friends, something she tearfully reveals to Twilight at the end. Fortunately, Twilight convinces her to try friendship once again.
- Starlight Glimmer's backstory is all about this. As a filly, her friendship with Sunburst, another unicorn, broke apart because he received his cutie mark, and was sent to Canterlot by his parents to study magic, effectively abandoning her. This left her so scarred that she never made friends again out of fear of losing them to cutie marks as well. Instead, she warped into a fanatical cutie-mark hating dictator who manipulated others into giving up their cutie marks under a false guise of friendship. Starlight never truly understood friendship until she is befriended by the Mane Six and is taken in as Twilight's new student.
- Starlight Glimmer is also a deconstruction of this trope. Because she barely had friends growing up, her self-esteem, sanity, and social skills deteriorated terribly. After her Heel–Face Turn, episodes focusing around her seem to attempt to reverse these effects..
- Gus Griswald from Recess. Due to constantly moving from town to town (not to mention also being very shy), he was never able to make any friends at any of his schools (and it's also been suggested that he was bullied a lot in the past as he is now)...until he moved to town in his introductory episode (1B, "The New Kid"), and got the best friends he could ask for.
- The title character of Daria, unless you count Beavis And Butthead or Amelia. Probably Jane as well.
- Neither Max Goof nor PJ Pete on Goof Troop had any real friends before meeting each other. Max got along okay by having a loving, supportive home nonetheless run by a very strange father... PJ was not so lucky, being strictly controlled by an emotionally abusive father. They are initially apprehensive of each other, but become best friends almost instantly after Max uses Loophole Abuse to help give PJ a chance to play, and when PJ's dad tells them they aren't allowed to see each other, Max is determined to find a way for them to stay friends. They boost each other up, tell each other the truth about themselves, and help each other out of tough situations for no fewer than seven years. Even when ostracized by everyone else, they are totally committed to each other, and later, Bobby too.
- Archer has made it into a Running Gag of sorts, where occasionally the scene will cut to a young Sterling sitting alone on a bench hours after winning the big lacrosse game, showing both his lack of real friends and Malory's total neglect of her own child.
- Skips' cousin, Quips, from Regular Show, constantly tell terrible and unfunny jokes that he absolutely has no friends. But in season five, "Bachelor Party! Zingo!!", he managed to find a woman who can tolerate his jokes and they are planning to get married. But because he has no friends, Skips is only his best man for this reason and he has a bachelor party with just Skips, Mordecai, Rigby, Muscle Man, and Hi-Five Ghost, despite the four latter hesitating at first.
Quips: (asking a request from Skips) At the end of the night, I want to eat wings on a hill with my best buds! Well, your best buds. Can I borrow your best buds? Just to reiterate, I don't have any friends.
- Cosmo from The Fairly OddParents!. He was bullied a lot in high school, and Wanda was the only one that signed his yearbook.
- Stanley Pines from Gravity Falls. His only friend was his twin brother, Stanford, and after an accident in high school, their bond was shattered and Lee became homeless with practically no family or friends. Even as an old man, he still has no friends. This explains why he's so protective of his family. It's the only thing he has left, and he's afraid he'll lose it again!
- Implied for Code Lyoko's Yumi Ishiyama in the prequel; when she and Ulrich break up their sparring match, he remarks that his friends (newly gained ones) will be wondering where he is and suggests the same is true for her. She replies "I don't have any friends."
- In "Echoes", Jeremie states this was true for him before finding the Supercomputer, saying he didn't have even one friend. It's why he doesn't want to turn off the Supercomputer; he's afraid the others will abandon him.
- Steven Universe gives us Connie, who has apparently never had a single friend in her life. This only changes when she meets Steven.
- True of both Herry and Odie in Class of the Titans. Herry is a Farm Boy who had a somewhat isolated upbringing in the care of his grandmother. Odie's specific background isn't discussed, but in an episode where the seven teens are preparing to separate, he gloomily notes that "All my friends are in this room."
- Camillot from Mixels was raised in royalty in preparation to be heir to the throne, leaving him stuck in the castle for his entire life, to the point his only companion was Paladum, his pet horse. This makes him incredibly awkward throughout his journey through public school, where his biggest wish is to just make new friends. Eventually, he succeeds through Booger and Jamzy becoming his new friends.