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Friendship Denial
"These guys are just my servants!"
Mao, "Disgaea"

So you have two characters who seem to work well together and they seem to have a decent relationship going on. They are loyal to one another and seem to respect each other very well. You can tell that they're friends, right?

Well, in the case of one particular character, not exactly.

This is the trope where a character flat out denies his friendship with one or another for some reason. Perhaps the character is either The Lancer who has trouble getting along with The Hero and doesn't like working with him that much. He may be a natural-born loner who isn't concerned about intimate friendship. Or he's just a prideful Jerkass who thinks that having friends makes him uncool and less of a badass. But note that in spite of all of these reasons, that doesn't mean the person wants to wish death on him. When the chips are down, he still does help out his 'friend' because it's the right thing to do.

Sometimes, other versions of this trope would be that the character may not be in denial after all. Reasons being that the character doesn't fully know the hero since in order to be a friend, you must be intimate to know who they are; most examples of this would have a Nice Guy call the other "buddy", "pal", or "friend", but the offended character responds with "I'm not your buddy/pal/friend." A character in the workforce is appointed to work with a group of people, but friendship isn't a part of his job description since Being Personal Isn't Professional. Even to the extremes, the character in question is actually the hero's arch-nemesis either by honesty or revealance. Obvious, isn't it?

On a brighter note, there are high chances for the character to consider that the other character is truly their friend, and from that point on, the bond will become stronger and better than it was before. If they are not technically friends, they will soon become closer as the series progresses.

This is often common in crime scenes where a character denies friendship with the second party as a ruse to escape responsibility for his crimes, especially in a trial.

This is the character trait of one or two characters in duo of Vitriolic Best Buds. A group of characters can do this to one particular person in their group, which is The Friend Nobody Likes. Can be the kind of relationship the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits would have. Often related to Hidden Heart of Gold. Can be utilized as the tool to permanently end a friendship, which is We Used to Be Friends, or at least temporarily in a Feud Episode.

Compare She's Not My Girlfriend and Just Friends for the more romantic versions.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime & Manga 

     Film 
  • Jack of 48 Hours has this quote that comes in mind as he forms a grudging partnership with Reggie, a convict, to hunt down Ganz:
    Jack: Now, get this! We ain't partners. We ain't brothers. And we ain't friends. I'm puttin' you down and keepin' you down until Ganz is locked up or dead. And if Ganz gets away, you're gonna be sorry YOU ever MET me!
  • Oceans Eleven has the two Malloy twins having this exchange:
    Turk Malloy: "Watch it, bud."
    Virgil Malloy: "Who you calling bud, pal?"
    Turk Malloy: "Who you calling pal, friend?"
    Virgil Malloy: "Who you calling friend, jackass?"
    Turk Malloy: "Don't call me a jackass."
    Virgil Malloy: "I just did call you a jackass."
  • In Role Models, Wheeler begins a rather rocky bond with Ronnie Shields:
    Wheeler: "You ready, pal?"
    Ronnie: "I ain't your pal, vanilla."
  • Ray Jackson of Blood Sport has this memorable phrase:
    "I ain't your pal, dickface."
  • Vincent and Butch have a short conversation of this in Pulp Fiction:
    Butch: "You lookin at something, friend?"
    Vincent: "You ain't my friend, Palooka."
    Butch: "What's that?"
    Vincent: "I think you heard me just fine, Punchy."
  • Raising Arizona has the introduction of Leonard Smalls:
    Leonard Smalls: "Name's Smalls. Leonard Smalls. My friends call me Lenny... only I ain't got no friends."
  • From Jerry Maguire:
    Bob Sugar: "It's not 'show friends'. It's 'show business'."
  • Tombstone:
    Turkey Creek Jack Johnson: "Why 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 Pineapple Express, Dale and Saul fall into this trope after Dale got himself arrested for smoking a joint and selling weed to middle school kids, also escaping from the police. The two got into an argument, in which Dale tells Saul that they were never friends and never will be. The two did reconcile at the end of the movie, however.

     Light Novels 
  • In Baccano!, Chi tells Christopher that he doesn't consider him as a friend, but he considers him as somebody he wants to kill despite that he never gone through it due to circumstances.

     Literature 
  • In The Kite Runner, Hassan considers Amir a friend, but Amir considers him anything but. This is only because Hassan is Amir's servant as he points out to Assef. He's also a bit jealous of how his father treats Hassan.

     Live-Action TV 
  • The Cosby Show: A parental example has Cliff trying to tell Rudy that he's her friend, but Rudy responds that he's her dad.
  • The pilot episode of The West Wing:
    Laurie: "Tell your friend P.O.T.U.S. he's got a funny name, and he should learn how to ride a bicycle."
    Sam Seaborn: "I would, but he's not my friend; he's my boss."
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Lover's Walk" has Buffy telling Angel that they aren't friends and never will be just after telling him that she's not coming back.
  • In the Sherlock episode The Hounds of Baskerville, the interaction between Sherlock Holmes and John Waston skirts around this. Sherlock outright states to John that he has no friends, though he later amends that by saying "I don't have friends: I just have one.
    • And in The Blind Banker, when Sherlock introduces John to an acquaintance of his from university, Sebastian Wilkes, he says: "This is my friend, Dr John Watson," which John immediately corrects with "Colleague."
  • The episode "It's A Book" from Jon And Kate Plus Eight has the young Leah Gosselin saying this:
    "Don't call me buddy. Call me Leah."
  • At the end of the second episode of Luther, the titular character and Alice Morgan have this conversation:
    Alice Morgan: *doing 3-hand salute* "Brownies honor."
    John Luther: "One coffee doesn't make us friends."
  • From the episode "The Final Sacrifice" in Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    Satoris: Why don't you ask your friend when he arrives?
    Crow T. Robot: Ha. The joke's on you. I don't have any friends.
  • In the The Big Bang Theory episode "The Excelsior Acquisition", we have Sheldon and Penny introducing themselves to Stan Lee.
    Penny: "Hi. I'm Penny. This is my friend Sheldon."
    Sheldon: "We're not friends at the moment. Depends on how this goes."
  • That '70s Show examples:
    • In "Jackie's Cheese Squeeze" in where Eric tells Jackie not to tell anyone they're friends after their talk about setting things straight with Eric whom Jackie had kissed.
    • In "Bring It Home", when Jackie needs a place to stay:
    Eric: Donna, you have to let her stay with you. Come on, she's your best friend.
    Donna: She's not my best friend.
    Eric: Well, then who's your best friend?
    (beat)
    Donna: Oh crap. How the hell did that happen?
  • From the Two and a Half Men episode "An Old Flame With A New Wick":
    Alan: "Nice guy. Poker, buddy?"
    Charlie: "Yeah, I used to— And don't call me 'buddy'."
  • Merlin: Frequently between the titular character and Arthur.

     Music 
  • Lead singer of Alice in Chains Layne Staley states in his final interview before his tragic death that he never bothered to call the rest of his AIC members to help him with his drug addiction and states that said members are not his friends.
  • The opening statements of "Birdhouse In Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants implies that they are not a friend in a traditional sense, but their job as the protector of its owner is the closest thing to one:
    "I'm your only friend; I'm not your only friend, but I'm a little glowing friend, but really I'm not actually your friend, but I am."
  • This verse of "Automatic Stop" by The Strokes deal with the a guy and a girl who have ended their romantic relationship and realize that they aren't friends to begin with after knowing each other for a short period of time:
    Wait, I'm gonna give it a break.
    I'm not you friend,
    I never was.
  • Rapper 50 Cent has a quote similar to the one from 48 Hours in both of his songs "Life's On The Line" and "Get In My Car".
    "We ain't buddies, we ain't partners, and we damn sure ain't friends."

     Professional Wrestling 
  • Before teaming up with The Rock in a match, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin states in an interview that both arch-rivals are partners for the main event and do have respect for one another, but as for the friends part, "Hell No!". The Rock was thinking the same way, too.

     Religion and Mythology 
  • Older Than Feudalism: This trope was prophesied in the The Bible. Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him three times before the rooster crows, but Peter assures Him that he will never do that to Him. However, as Jesus was arrested that night, somebody in the crowd asks Peter was he with Jesus. Trying to avoid getting himself into further trouble, Peter responds with "No! I do not know Him!". As the rooster crows and with Jesus looking at him, Peter realizes that he was wrong.

     Theatre 
  • At the beginning of Wicked, Glinda has to deny her friendship with the recently deceased Elphaba for political reasons.

     Video Games 
  • Falco has something to say to the lava birds in Star Fox 64:
    Falco: "I ain't your buddy! Go away!"
  • Mao seems to have this kind of attitude in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice. He would throw a temper-tantrum whenever someone offers kindness or friendship. He also denies having an arraigned Friendly Rivalry with Raspberyl.
    • The whole series runs on this. Characters are almost always on better terms than anyone would ever admit.
  • Jade Curtiss of Tales of the Abyss seem to have this sort of opinion about the other protagonists despite actually learning about The Power of Friendship:
    Jade: I don't know about "friends," but we do have an awkward bond of sorts.

     Western Animation 
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: On occasions, Spongebob just can't take a hint of the fact that Squidward is everything but his friend.
  • In South Park, we have this hilarious dialogue in the episode "Canada On Strike":
    Stephen Abootman: "Look, guy. We have to stay strong. If you don't stand with your fellow Canadians, then you are a rat!"
    Terrance: "Don't call me a rat, buddy."
    Stephen Abootman: "I'm not your buddy, friend."
    Phillip: "He's not your friend, guy."
    Stephen Abootman: "I'm not your guy, buddy."
    Terrance: "He's not your buddy, friend."
    Stephen Abootman: "I'm not your friend, guy."
    • Another example is in the episode "The Death Of Eric Cartman" where the other boys deny Eric as their friend and that they will start ignoring him from this point on:
      Token: "Ignoring him? How come?"
      Token: *beat* "Oh yeah."
  • The Boondocks has Huey being interviewed about about him teaming with Uncle Ruckus after they decide to leave town and go to Canada due to the election of Barack Obama:
    Huey: "First of all, we're not a team. Second of all, we're not a team. I've got gas money, he's got the license. We're just gonna drive to Canada and to go on separate ways."
  • Family Guy: In one episode Peter and Meg are forced to spend time together and realize that they actually like each other; but they agree that Peter will still act like a jerk to her when they're not alone.
  • Arthur: Arthur and Molly (one of the Tough Customers bullies) spend time and get along together when Molly's mom makes her let Arthur & DW use their backyard pool. They agree to act like they hate each other when there are other people around.
  • From The Pebble and the Penguin:
    Hubie: "Hey buddy, looks like we're two birds of a feather."
    Rocko: "Don't call me buddy!"
    Hubie: "And, gee, it looks like I got me a friend!"
  • Fluttershy does this to Discord in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Keep Calm and Flutter On" after he starts causing havoc in Ponyville. This actually pivots his Heel-Face Turn as he realizes he actually wants her friendship (being the first he's ever had due to his callous pranks), after which she is perfectly happy to take him in.
  • At the beginning of Ice Age, Manny denies being friends with either Sid or Diego. Eventually he comes around.
  • Animaniacs: An arrogant business man sitting next to the Warners on a plane declares that "I'd rather be eaten by cannibals than be your 'special friend'!" He soon comes to regret his words. Doubles as a Brick Joke when he escapes the plane to land on a desert island.
  • From the episode "Unjustly Neglected Drama" of The Life & Times of Tim, an actor is interrogated by a detective whether or not is he friends with Tim. He denies it. In fact, the denial was a line that was used from a play:
    Chipper: "He's not my frieeeend. He's not anything to meeeee."
  • The Simpsons:
    • In an episode set on the first day of school, class nerd Martin greets class bully Nelson as an old friend, since they had spent their summer together at space camp; but Nelson tries to downplay their relationship.
    • In another episode, the kids of Springfield go to Shelbyville to find their missing lemon tree, and Nelson & Martin are paired up. When Martin gets in trouble, he calls upon Nelson for help:
      Martin: No one manhandles the bosom chum of Nelson Muntz. Spring forth, burly protector, and save me!
      *long pause; the kids look around*
      Nelson: Aw, jeez. I never hang out with him, normally.
    • This was hilariously subverted in "Treehouse Of Horror XX":
      Marge: *Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein's monster and the Wolfman are at the door* Friends of Homer's?
      Homer: They're not my friends.
      Count Dracula: We brought a bottle of booze. Booooze!
      Homer: Come in, come in.

     Real Life 
  • It is used to hide some aspects of an individual that aren't mainstream of the social group like hiding that the individual likes X series or that hobby that isn't that well viewed in society. Reasons vary but the most common in this tropers opinion is the hiding of a factor.
  • Real Madrid football player Xabi Alonso admitted that he has no friendship with fellow Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, but in the football field, there is, as he quotes, "appreciation" and "professional respect" for each other.

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