I Just Want to Have Friends
"Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods."I Just Want To Have Friends, like The Four Loves, is a form of Wish Fulfillment answering to the desire that some members of the audience have to form many close friendships. A probable reason this is so common in fictional media is the fact that a high amount of people consider themselves to have very few or no friends at all.* As this is not limited to real life however, many fictional shy people and those with few or no friends look for the same fulfillment as the reader, leading to two variants of this trope: Type A While "doing something really cool" is the focus of most fantasies, they also tend to focus on the friendships the characters have. These fantasies often provide "idealized" friends that the audience presumably doesn’t have. While in Real Life a true friendship needs time and investment, in this kind of fantasy setting often the protagonist will obtain tailor-made deep bonds and friendships with little to no time or effort at all. This also happens in Real Life online, where e-relationships eliminate most of the usual hardships of making friends and they help shy people to open themselves and show how they really are without worrying about their self image. Type B Sometimes fictional characters do not so easily get friends handed to them with the plot. They are lonely from the start and desperately looking to make and keep friends. The reasons for their loneliness may vary but in the end a character who really wants friends may either try to go about it in the wrong way, make friends with the wrong people, or secretly angst about it behind a diffident facade. If they end up successful more often than not these fictional characters will turn out to have been sociable all along, especially for Shrinking Violets, Hollywood Nerds, Cool Losers etc. In Real Life, this trope is defined psychologically as the "need to belong". See also Wish Fulfillment, I Just Want to Be Beautiful, The Four Loves, I Just Want to Be Normal, I Just Want to Be Special, Friendless Background, You Are Not Alone, Et Tu, Brute?, False Friend, Imaginary Friend.
Type A Examples:
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Anime and Manga
- Gohan in Dragon Ball Z. He spent much of his childhood being home-schooled, and mostly interacted with people his parents knew. In his first day of high school, he got friends very easily and some dates.
- This is the wish Yugi Mutou made on the Millennium Puzzle.
- Usagi Tsukino from Sailor Moon developed her relationships with relative ease due to discovering a shared history through Reincarnation, and Because Destiny Says So. Since multiple True Companions are also her reincarnated Hero Secret Service, she's essentially the center of their social circle.
- Naruto kicks off with the titular character switching from Type B to Type A. Previously alone and desparate for friends, Iruka's encouragement and Team 7 helps Naruto finally succeed in gaining friends and respect. Often the friendships build slowly, but he is also noted to have the strange power to quickly become friends with anyone, even his enemies.
- Russia from Axis Powers Hetalia. Himaruya's new profile on him points out that he truly wants to have new friends
- This is stated to be Ayumu Nishizawa's original intention in confessing to Hayate in Hayate the Combat Butler. It seemed to have evolved into true affection for him by the second time, resolving back to simple friendship later as she realized that Hinagiku really loves him, and the acceptance that both Hinagiku, the rest of the Baka Trio and Nagi have accepted her and she no longer needs to fear being left behind by him.
- In opposition to the style of the trope type, it did appear that there is lots of work and effort being put into building and strengthing these friendships, since she's not the main character, it's not been focused on though.
- The main motivation for Nano, the Ridiculously Human Robot Girl from Nichijou, to want to be normal is this.
- Miho of Girls und Panzer is this in the prequel manga, Little Army, which reveals that her friends, Emi, Chihiro and Hitomi, are the only people she's known with any real interest in tanks, which is why she tries so hard to keep the group together.
- Luffy from One Piece is a walking definition of this trope, able to make friends with even the "Demon Pirate Hunter" Zoro, and Nami, a girl who harbored an intense hatred of pirates due to Arlong's occupation of her home town. Mihawk himself commented about how Luffy has "the most powerful ability of all; the ability to make allies wherever he goes".
- Twilight fulfills this wish. Despite not lifting a finger to gain friends, Bella being the audience avatar gets friends in high school remarkably easy. Even when she forgets her Muggle friends for Edward Cullen or Jacob Black (ignoring them for months in New Moon) these friends are always there for her regardless.
- Foundation and Empire: The Mule goes through childhood and adolescence without anyone ever liking him "naturally" (as opposed to being forced to do so by his psychic powers). Not until he's well into his twenties does he meet Bayta Darell, who has genuine affection for him (possibly because he's The Woobie). He's so overwhelmed by the feeling of just being liked that he inadvertantly, carelessly, lets her ruin his plans for conquering the Second Foundation.
- Kaori from Phantom's Reckoning 2 grew up with no real friends, the only person she could consider a friend was her father whom she loved, but he died tragically four years before the story's events. When she meets Yuki in the present day, this becomes her chance to make friends who can help her out in life. Kaori lets Yuki know multiple times that he's the first friend she ever had, and that she's glad to have him as a friend.
Live Action Television
- On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this is a main driving point behind Faith's actions. She really wants to be friends with Buffy but it never really happens. Then they do start becoming friends and she accidentally kills a man and pretends not to care, destroying the friendship they had been building. The comics touch on this, with her angsting over how she pushes away anyone who is the least bit decent to her.
- In iCarly, Freddie and Sam's lives are centered towards Carly. Without Carly there wouldn't be a friendship between them because Sam and Freddie dislike each other. However, neither of the two will hesitate to please her.
- In Smallville, Clark himself fulfills this wish as he easily befriends "exotic" people all the time. Not only are his close friends loyal to him but also their lives are also centered towards him (Cloe Sullivan, Pete Ross, Lana Lang, etc.).
- In Wizards of Waverly Place while Alex Russo might not be the most popular person, her friend Harper is a loyal best friend.
- In the "Reverend Jim, A Space Odyssey" episode from Taxi, it's clear that Jim, a burned-out hippie, is desperate to find one, so the rest of the cabbies decide to turn him into a taxi driver too. Needless to say, this also changed the show in many aspects.
- RPGs are in general designed in part to fulfill this desire as more often than not Because Destiny Says So the hero will be the leader and part of a group of True Companions. A specific example can be found in Marona, the main character of Phantom Brave.
"One day... everyone will come to like you, if you treat them with kindness."
- Subverted by most First Person Shooters as you almost always end as a One-Man Army Lone Wolf. 90% of the time you do have people helping you, they're generic soldiers that die just as easily as your enemies. For a glorious exploration to this approach, see Spec Ops: The Line.
- World of Warcraft. Believe it or not, some people are just in it for the social activities ('I just want to feel useful in the raid'), even if the game is one of the least conducive place to do so.
- The Sims. Don't have cool friends? Make Sims.
- Second Life
- Mass Effect 2 doesn't throw out destiny. You have to fight to earn your crew's trust, and to build your team's capabilities and the coherence of the group to a point where they will follow you through hell and back.
- Ron Stoppable from Kim Possible is both Type A and B, in that he wants to be popular. However, though he doesn't have many friends, the ones he has are very close.
- Actually, as 'So The Drama' pointed out at the end, both Kim and Ron have a lot of friends - as the crowd at the dance broke out in cheers for them when Bonnie tries to embarrass them by announcing that they're a couple.
- Phineas and Ferb
- The fireside girls are this to Isabella Garcia Shapiro, as they more often than not bend towards her desires (despite most of them being centered towards Phineas)
- Phineas is easily the most popular kid on the show, even being friends with the bully.
- The "bully" himself is this. He's not very good at relating to people, which makes him lonely and bored, both of which cause him to act like a fairly stereotypical bully. And no, not in the sense that he's "jealous of you." Some episodes make it clear that he's actually a subversion, though.
- In Winx Club, Bloom fulfils this desire because at the beginning of the show she was not very popular until she suddenly found she was actually a Magical Girl and quickly became the leader and center of attention of her True Companions.
- Not even the Princess of Snark, Daria Morgendorffer, is wholly immune from this. The "brain" at Lawndale High School, Daria is largely self-sufficent and content to watch and comment from the outside. But at a time when a guy called Tom is straining their friendship, Daria reflects that to be fully functional, she needs just enough friends. She frets, and is seriously concerned by, the possibility that she has lost her best buddy Jane Lane forever - all over some guy.
Type B examples:
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Anime and Manga
- Misao Amano from Magical Project S is very timid, though she desires to be more social like her friend Sasami and tried in the 1st episode to befriend a boy. She was ultimately very shy to even say hello but at the end of the series she got more confident.
- Sailor Mercury and Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon were both very timid and people (wrongfully) avoided them (Mercury because people thought she was arrogant, and Jupiter for being tall and strong) until they got deep true friends in their True Companions.
- Starrk and Lilynette from Bleach. That was their only reason for joining the Espada in the first place. Even more, it was the reason they split into two separate beings.
- Ichigo actually believes this was the reason Aizen wanted him to become his Worthy Opponent after their final battle, citing the loneliness he felt from their clash as proof. Kubo confirms that the vast power difference between him and his peers made Aizen distrusted in his youth, ostracizing him from others. At the same time, he also disregarded that he was beloved as a captain (especially by Hinamori), and he even pitted friends against one another to suit his plans.
- Shizuo Heiwajima from Durarara!! admits that he craves any sort of social interaction, but is terrified of exposing innocent people to his Hair-Trigger Temper and hurting them. Things start looking up for him from volume 4 onwards when he starts getting some control over his rage issues (he manages get through a small party without losing his temper, develop a couple Intergenerational Friendships, and go on something resembling a normal date with a girl — even if said girl is a bit Axe Crazy, In Love With His Carnage, and secretly plotting his murder), but he still has a long way to go.
- The very plot of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai and as the title name suggests, all the characters in the story have trouble making friends, so the heroine Yozora started a club for these kind of people.
- Many characters from Neon Genesis Evangelion (in fact, the moral of the show is arguably that the ENTIRE HUMAN RACE falls into this category), but particularly emotionally troubled, socially awkward and manically depressed protagonist Shinji Ikari.
- Russia from Axis Powers Hetalia is a Psychopathic Manchild version. He's scary, mean, childish... and really wants to have new friends, according to his profile and his Lighter and Fluffier portrayal in the latest strips.
- To a lesser extent, England. It's what motivated the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in the first place.
- Humorously averted with America. England thinks that America must fit this trope (and he has a point, America's character profile makes it pretty clear that he would have a Friendless Background if not for England and Japan), but apparently America is still confident enough to cheerfully reject England's offer of friendship.
- Greed from Fullmetal Alchemist, not that he would admit it out loud or even realizes it himself.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
Akemi Homura: "I'll repeat it. I'll continue to repeat it over and over. Visiting the same time again and again, searching for the single exit out. Searching for the path to save you from a fate of despair." "Madoka... my one and Only Friend. If it's... If it's for you, I have no problem being trapped eternally in this maze."
- "I'm not afraid of anything anymo-" *CHOMP* The line was said by Tomoe Mami, a Magical Girl who have been fighting witches alone for years. When she finally found a friend in Madoka, she was so happy that she dropped her guard in fighting a sandworm-like Witch, which then proceeded to chomp her head. Well, considering that according to a CD drama, She has teamed up with Kyouko, but they had a nasty fallout afterwards, which led to her fighting witches all by herself, which makes it sadder that she probably had trust issues with people, too.
- Naruto gives this type as the backstory for the titular character. Before the story proper began, the adults of the village scorned him because of the Kyuubi and told their children to stay away from him. As a result he spent the majority of his childhood desperately alone. His constant smiling and pranking were simply methods for gaining some form of acknowledgement.
- Arthur Barma from Pandora Hearts was a shy social outcast living in a foreign land after his family was overthrown in his home country, and he was extremely uncomfortable with his friendlessness. He finally made a friend in Jack Vessalius, though it turned out that Jack was only using him for what Barma could do for him.
- Beelzebub had a couple of examples. The main one was actually the protagonist himself, shown in flashback, before he met his best friend Furuichi. Oga even developed a dislike of people walking behind him becuase of it, since people used to talk behind his back and he couldn't protect potential friends from getting hurt becuase of his fights if they were back there. Furuichi's determination and statement that he would walk beside Oga instead of behind him is what would start their lifelong friendship.
- The other is Himekawa, who subtly shows that he envies Kanzaki for his loyal "underlings" and sometimes even Oga for having Furuichi around. Turns out his best friend as a kid betrayed him in middle school, messing him up. Oh, and said best friend turned out years later to be secretly female and in love with him possibly making things worse. He seems mostly-content with his current True Companions status with the group, though, and is willing to spend millions of dollars seemingly at the drop of a hat if they need him to. To the point that he played Fake Defector with a rival gang, bought a machine worth millions in order to cut off Oga from Beel and build up demonic energy. Then, when there was enough energy to beat the rival gang's boss, he broke the machine and dismissed the wasted money as "pocket change." However, the strongest indication of his True Companionship is when he is revealed to bear Beel's King's Crest, which is only bestowed upon those who swear their allegiance to a king (in this case, Oga and Beel).
- In Kotoura-san, this is how Haruka Kotoura really feels deep down paradoxically to her Jerkass Façade saying "Leave Me Alone". Deconstructed since she sees herself to be a Doom Magnet because of her inadvertent Telepathy and has a major Guilt Complex stemming from her once Childhood Friends abandoning her for "abusing" said Telepathy. Ergo, she feels unworthy to have friends in the first place.
- Played straight by Chihiro Watanuki from Yugami-kun ni wa Tomodachi ga Inai. Her family has moved around all her life and because of this, she decided to distance herself from others, not seeing a need to establish friendships when she'd soon be forced to move away again. By the beginning of the series, she's moved into a town where she'll stay for years to come and this turns her from indifferent to almost desperate for friends. While Chihiro plays this trope straight, Yugami averts it. He doesn't want or need friends and even shows displeasure when Chihiro eats lunch beside him in class.
- Tomoko from No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular expected to get Type A upon entering High School, because she had experienced High School Life so often in Dating Sim and Otome games. But she quickly realized that this was not the case and is now Type B, and lowering her initial goal of "becoming popular" to "becoming friends with someone" to finally just "talk to someone in school today". Her struggles of trying to get friends is a focus of the series.
- Persona 4: The Animation: Yu is revealed to have this fear. When he is trapped by Shadow Mitsuo's mind-altering power, he is forced to live out a nightmare where, with the investigation into the serial kidnappings in Inaba solved, his friends all go their separate ways, leaving as alone as the day he came into town. Later, in Episode 26 (the True Ending episode), Yu comes face-to-face with his own Shadow, that was born from the aforementioned fear and stated that he'd do anything to stay with his friends, even if it meant living in the fog's illusion.
- Eddie Bloomberg aka Kid Devil had very few friends his age throughout his early history, the closest people being his aunt Marla and the hero Blue Devil. His later efforts to gain super powers and joining the Teen Titans were partly from I Just Want to Be Special, but also because he desperately needed some kind of family unit. When he fears he's losing his friends, he ends up inviting fans of his over to the tower, which ends up in disaster and causes him to become even more alienated. This is used against Eddie by Clock King when he brainwashes him into a violent monster, and Miss Martian has to remind him that he does have friends in order to bring him back to sanity.
- In Kyon Big Damn Hero, Tsuruya used to be one of these.
- Drawn With The Night: Celestia, underneath her regal exterior, eagerly desires to have friends, rather than ponies who treat her like a goddess. She is downcast when Klein, a smart and resourceful individual, coldly tells her he wants nothing to do with her after being mistreated by Twilight and Luna, and treats her with all the fear and reverence one would expect to be given to a Physical God. The Tears of Remorse start to flow when Fancy claims to be doing work for "Celestia", and not the "Princess".
- Mortality Watson unremorsefully lampshades this with a boast when Holmes is captured and tortured with an inch of his life.
- "If your master's actions destroy him whom I regard as-as the best and wisest man I have ever known, make no mistake that I shall hunt down, to a man, everyone who played a part in his destruction."
- Toby from the film Shorts wants friends so badly he makes a wish on a wishing stone for friends "as interesting and unique as I am" and gets a bunch of extraterrestrials for friends.
- The eponymous main character from the horror movie May is a strange girl who doesn't have any friends, but ends up making one...
- It is suggested by The Social Network that Mark Zuckerberg (the character as well as the real-life person) falls into this category, and is hardly subtle in demonstrating the irony of a man (or man-boy) creating a revolutionary tool for connecting friends and in the process driving away his own.
- At the beginning of the 2000 remake of Bedazzled, Elliot's blatant desire for friends is made painfully obvious, to the point where everyone actively avoids his ham-fisted efforts.
- Holmes and Watson in Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows were this. At the end of the second film, Watson says "He was the best....and wisest man I have ever known." after Holmes's sacrifice for Watson.
- Kane from Citizen Kane is an example very similar to The Social Network. He ultimately drives away all his friends with his egotistical personality and self-centeredness, becoming Lonely at the Top.
- Chip Douglas from The Cable Guy is a villainous twist on this trope, as his desperate attempts to become the main character's friend gradually shift from mere social awkwardness to obsessive stalking.
- Oh from Home desperately wants to have friends, and is all too often disappointed by the other Boovs dislike of him. After his journey with Tip he gets one not only in Tip, but also in a number of other Boov, who finally realize what a great guy he is after he stands up to Captain Smek.
- The King in The Little Prince is implied to be this. Note how desperately he tries to get the Little Prince to stay.
- Sherlock Holmes and Watson were this. Holmes never bothered to make friends and Watson had few friends, and no surviving family, and is either unmarried or a widower, though Holmes panics when Watson is shot and is the ONLY person of all people to keep his friend safe from harm which is very sweet and very awesome. It's awesomely sweet.
- In Harry Potter:
- Remus Lupin comes off a bit like this. There are more than a few instances where he goes against his own better judgement because he really likes to have people like him, partly due to his ostracism over being a werewolf.
- Luna Lovegood painted the main gang as her friends on her bedroom ceiling. This demonstrates how lonely she must have been before meeting them, considering her and the gang weren't particularly close. By the time she painted Harry & Co., it's arguable that she actually was that close to at least some of them. She often supports Harry when no one else will, and she seems to spend a lot of time with Ginny. The evidence placing her in this trope comes sooner than this, in Half-Blood Prince when she says of the DA meetings, "It was like having friends".
- According to Word of God, Snape hung out with the Death Eater Jr. gang and went on to join Voldemort with them partly because of this trope.
- As noted below, this is an accurate representation of how cults and terrorist organizations recruit.
- Also, similar to Snape, Quirinus Quirrell went in search of Voldemort (maybe to defeat him in his weakened state) because people constantly laughed at him and teased him so he wanted to do something amazing to show them up.
- Likewise, Ginny and Hermione started off this way. Ginny was very shy and meek and didn't have many friends, and the guy she had a crush on was way out of her league (she thinks). Hermione was an Insufferable Genius for two solid months, before she chilled out and became friends with Harry and Ron. because of her status as the Insufferable Genius, nobody wanted to be her friend, nobody liked her much.
- In Still Life with Crows, the real Serial Killer is a Psychopathic Manchild, hideously deformed from a broken back when he was little, monstrously strong thanks to a lifetime spent climbing a cave network. Since his only contact with the outside world was with his mother, all he wanted are some friends — even if that included "playing" with them with lethal results.
- Jane Eyre. Jane is so desperate for love and affection that she tells Helen Burns she'd happily let herself be kicked in the chest by a horse if it meant Helen and the Headmistress would care for her. Helen then shushes Jane and tells her to put more faith in God than in human companions.
- Another Charlotte Brontë example: Lucy Snowe in Villette is overjoyed to be spending so much time with Dr. John despite the fact that he is a pretty big Jerk Ass to her because she has felt so alone all her life.
- The main four characters of the Circle of Magic series, although three of them would probably hate to admit it. They all come from a Friendless Background. Sandry is very cheerful and friendly, but her family constantly travelling made it difficult to form permanent relationships. Then almost all of her family was killed in a plague. Daja also probably had friends on her trader ship, but then everyone died in a storm and she was made an outcast from her society for being bad luck. Tris is naturally cranky and a jerk, and magical powers which made her seem like a possessed demon didn't help her. Finally, Briar Moss was a street rat who didn't seem to have very close friends. When they're all forced into a house together they do not get along very well, and only Sandry tries tries to make peace. Eventually through months of Character Development they become True Companions. (Although, Sandry magically tying their magic together so they became psychically linked probably helped, too.)
- The chief motivation of the sapient supercomputer Mike in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. All he wants are some more "not-stupids" to talk to — and he participates in the Loonie rebellion purely out of loyalty to the few friends he does have.
- Hector, protagonist of the Web Serial Novel The Zombie Knight. Combined with his crippling shyness, it has caused him considerable difficulty, culminating in his suicide prior to the start of the story.
- Rachel from Worm wants to have friends, but her superpowers have overwritten her social instincts with canine ones and she tends to brutalize anyone who gets near her as a reflexive defense mechanism due to spending years on the run. It isn't until Taylor, who is similarly friendless, comes along that Rachel actually gets a friend, because Taylor actually buts in the effort to get to know her and refuses to back down.
- In Victoria Forester's The Girl Who Could Fly, Piper's dream at the Fourth of July picnic. A brief moment of Commonality Connection is broken by her previous isolation and the stories that are told about her.
- Finding Snowflakes has this as one of the main goals for the main character, a Socially-Awkward Hero who is avoided due to his bad reputation and Face of a Thug. Actually a deconstruction; unlike many examples of this trope, said main character doesn't just automatically get friends, as he would wish. Nobody welcomes him into a group they have already established, obviously, and it is not likely a person will welcome someone with bad credentials just because of a kind act. Poor Eliott is algo to blame since his No Social Skills status make it exceptionally difficult to actually interact with people, and when he does, it isn't always nice.
- Wind on Fire: Mumpo spends much of the first book, The Wind Singer, friendless and shunned by both his peers and the rest of society. He wants desperately to have friends and becomes infatuated with Kestrel simply because she speaks to him. Even when she is outright hostile to him he clings to the hope of friendship.
Live Action Television
- Family Ties: "It's My Party" — an episode that aired during the summer of 1987, even though it was produced during the fourth season) — sees 14-year-old Jennifer in a funk in making friends, and bored with her unspectacular one. Pining to be one of the popular girls, falling in with a group of snobbish rich girls that seem to be the most popular clique. Instead of being "cool," they prove to be a bad influence on Jennifer, as she skips school, stays out past curfew and begins disrespecting her parents. It's only when her friends try to host a beer party at the Keatons, and they also press their luck by trying to make her spurn her friend, that these aren't the friends she wants to have, and is best off with that nerdy, unspectacular friend.
- Step by Step: The Season 3 episoce "Bad Girls" sees Al, desperate to make and keep friends, fall for a bad group of girls who wear military fatigues. Al tries standing her ground, which makes her father very angry, but Al finally sees her new friends for who they are when they talk her into stealing Cody's air guitar. Cody — and a cooled-down Frank — help Al understand that choosing good friends is important and that those friendships aren't cultivated overnight.
- Sherlock: Sherlock and John were this. Sherlock's a rude, unpleasant, obnoxious arsehole and John's a shy, quiet, nice depressed war-veteran looking for a purpose in life. Dang.
- In Smallville while Lex Luthor genuinely wants to trust people, his position in power plus the fact that he tends to be overprotective leads to him losing the few friends he has, making him fall into this. Tess Mercer too , according to her actress Cassidy Fremman: http://www.kryptonsite.com/season10-cassidyfreeman.htm
- Ned from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide wants to be a popular kid and manages to be in the popular table, but at the end he realizes that the popular table is where his friends are. Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Taxi: Louie DePalma earnestly tries to make everybody think that he feels good alone, but in many occasions its demonstrated that he needs to belong to some group, specially after not having a single friend during his high school years. Subverted with the fact that Reverend Jim considers him his "best friend".
- Michael Scott from the American version of The Office exemplifies this trope. Episode after episode is based around the principle that he desperately wants to be loved by everyone, especially his employees, and that he's really rather lonely outside of the office. This is, in fact, the justification for most of his outlandish behavior — he's trying to be a crowd-pleaser.
- The Doctor from Doctor Who has elements of this trope. Hundreds of years old, a genius, the last of his race- all of this makes him very isolated. Even when he does get friends, it's inevitable that he'll lose them eventually, either from old age, death, alternate dimensions, mind-wiping or just moving on with their lives or falling in love.
- The fact that he was shown to plead with his arch-nemesis not to leave him probably shows just how lonely the Doctor really is.
- In Glee Rachel Berry, mostly in the second half of season one onwards. And each attempt goes horribly, horribly wrong. Improves in the second half of season two with her friendship with Kurt, Mercedes, and Blaine.
- Barney from How I Met Your Mother.
- Community explores this through its various damaged characters, all of whom fit this trope to a certain extent. Pierce has given up on having friends and acts aggressive, rude, and racist to cover up his loneliness; Jeff has hidden himself beneath layers of Hipster-y irony and detachment so that he won't be hurt by rejection (which goes back to various childhood traumas); Abed can't connect with other people except through pop culture but desperately wants to; Britta tries to make herself look smarter than everyone else so they'll respect her; the list goes on. It takes a good chunk of the first season for them to open up to each other. It's somehow all still hilarious.
- In the episode "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" this is Dean Pelton's reason for conspiring with anyone who offers.
- Also likely the reason that Chang is so desperate to join the study group.
- On Teen Wolf, Boyd accepts the bite when Derek offers it because he's tired of not having any friends, and becoming a part of Derek's pack means that he won't have to be alone anymore.
- On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this is Jonathan in spades. He starts off as a depressed loner trying to commit suicide, then he creates a spell which makes him a talented superstar that everybody loves. After that fails, he teams up with Warren and Andrew, the only friends he's ever really had, before being promptly murdered by the latter. Poor guy just can't catch a break.
- Voldemort in A Very Potter Musical: "You think killing people might make them like you, but it doesn't. It just makes people dead."
- Ill Girl Marion from Dragon Quest IX is like this.
- In the Puyo Puyo series, Seriri the Siren desperately want friends, but her paranoia that people may want to eat her flesh so they become immortal prevents her from achieving her wish.
- The fact that Arle and the rest of the cast do little to convince her that her paranoia isn't entirely justified — on occasion, Arle seems legitimately interested in eating her, less for immortality than because she's technically fish — certainly doesn't help.
- The new Water-type starter Oshawott from the upcoming 5th Generation Pokémon games has been the target of this (though it's starting to turn around) on a certain Image Board, with pictures ranging from the other two starters trolling him into thinking he's unliked to him being the last one to be picked (a fairly long time after the others)... by a trainer who likes and wears blue as well and asks him to be his friend.
- Kingdom Hearts has Namine, who was not only born alone, but was captured and locked away by the villainous Organization the moment she came into existence. Her desperate longing for a friend is what fuels most of her actions throughout the series, particularly Chain of Memories.
- Ōkamiden has Kurow. In fact, it's one of the reasons for his Face-Heel Turn.
- In the Visual Novel Katawa Shoujo This is revealed to be major motivation for Shizune late in her path. Due to a combination of her deafness and her upbringing, she found it very hard to make friends and form relationships with others, resulting in her becoming a Lonely Rich Kid. When she came to Yamaku, she turned her efforts towards making other people happy in the hopes that would make them like her, which is the main reason why she joined the Student Council. However her drive combined with her competitiveness eventually caused her to drive nearly everyone else in the Council away except for her only friend and interpretor, Misha.
- In F.E.A.R. and its sequels, this is really the driving force behind everything the insane, apocalyptically powerful Alma does: she wants a family. In the first game, she's calling her long-lost sons to her, unaware that she'd kill them if she touched them, due to her overwhelming psychic power. In the second, she constantly pursues Beckett out of a desire to have a child with him, again unaware that he wouldn't survive contact with her. Throughout both games, she continually makes anguished cries, wondering why everyone, even those she loves, run from her and try to harm her.
- Shin Megami Tensei's Alice has this problem. Which makes it quite the Tear Jerker when you understand her motivations are genuine, except the poor girl has literally no idea of how to get friends due to a certain magical accident from which she Came Back Wrong From the Dead (specifically, she remains an eternal girl, unable to grow or understand pain or death). She assumes this means not leaving her, ever, equals being friends with her. Given her massive magical power, this is a very bad thing.
- Your partner in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. The entire reason he's building Paradise is to attract like-minded Pokémon that he might befriend.
- In Borderlands The Presequel we learn that Claptrap is basically a desperate, nearly-friendless loser in spite of his excessive gregariousness and obnoxious cheerfulness. One skill tree is designed to make him a useful support character in the hopes that the other Vault Hunters will have more reasons to like him (they still don't, naturally). He has a skill where he requests high-fives from his allies and gains and shares buffs if they reciprocate (or keeps them for himself if left hanging), and which will trigger even if he gets punched in the face by a bandit because he's just that needy for any sort of acknowledgement.
"I'll take what I can get!"
- In Ultra Fast Pony, Princess Luna. It's mentioned a few times in season one that no one ever visits or writes to her. In the episode "Utter Lunacy", her attempts to meet new ponies are hampered by having no idea what normal ponies talk like. When she stops trying so hard, she finally does befriend most of Ponyville—but this just makes her angry because she has no idea what she did differently.
- Ventus in Kingdumb Hearts: Bored to Sleep, a parody of Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, in which he basically just flies around from world to world asking people "Do you want to be my friend?"
- In Questionable Content Hannelore's initial attempt to befriend Marten came across as awkward and forced due to her limited social skills (since she grew up on a space station), and took a bad turn when Marten found out she'd been stalking him for some time. It turned out fairly well in the end though, and she's genuinely glad to have friends (it helps her deal with her OCD).
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl has Lucy, who was ostracized by everyone in preschool; Mike was her first real friend, and when he later abandoned her in pursuit of his crush, then took her back, she became rather clingy. Augustus, likewise, has no friends at school (and a tough life in general) and fell in with a bad group as a result. Tess also had no friends before the main cast showed up, having lost them all after being a bully's girlfriend, then being dumped by (or dumping) said bully before she is introduced.
- In M9 Girls! Vero really wants to be included in the M9 team, while team leader Any keeps leaving her out.
- In El Goonish Shive it was revealed that this is one of the motivations behind Diane's behavior toward Nanase - she just did a really bad job of going about it.
- In Roommates Jareth tries really really hard to make friends and fit in with the other members of the main cast. The problem is: Two of them have Friendless Backgrounds with not much desire to make friends, and Jareth a highly alien nature and not much clue. It takes time, effort, and a whole lot of death threats, but they end up with a somewhat dysfunctional but ultimately real friendship.
- In Ava's Demon, Ava makes it very clear to Wraitha that what she bargained for was a life with friends, and she will ruin Wraitha's part of the bargain if she doesn't get it.
- Pluto in Nebula is torn between his desire for friends and his extreme shyness- unfortunately, by the time he musters up the courage to go talk to the rest of the cast (i.e., at least several centuries), they've decided that while he hasn't tried to pull something yet, they don't know anything about him and can't trust him. So they leave him out there alone. And then he starts to hear a voice in his head...
- The premise of the MGM Oneshot Cartoon "Little Gravel Voice"; the protagonist is a cute, friendly little donkey—who unfortunately suffers from having a bray so dreadfully obnoxious, that it scares away all the other animals he tries to make friends with. Ironically, his bray ends up harming and scaring away a hungry wolf, which earns him the friendship of the other animals—once they tie up his snout with his ears, of course.
- Family Guy: A recurring plot with Meg. While she indeed has some friends — geeky losers, just like her — Meg clearly wants friends who belong to the popular group, including those associated with her arch-nemesis, Connie D'Amico.
- The eponymous character of Casper the Friendly Ghost desperately wants to have friends, something hard for him as everyone is scared of him because he is a ghost.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy has Jeff the Spider and Nergal.
- Starfire from Teen Titans was very lonely before joining the team, and still lonely even after she joined. When she thought she was being replaced by her sister Blackfire, it affected her deeply as she isn't very fond of losing friends. However, she's more worried that Robin might like Blackfire more than her.
- Raven also qualifies. Though very solitary and anti-social, she truly wants friends and is very protective of the Titans once she considers them such. Just because it's true doesn't mean she'll ease up on Beast Boy, though.
- Timmy Turner from The Fairly Oddparents doesn't really have many friends (he has only two human friends). In one episode he pretended to be a cool rich kid to be accepted in Trixie Tang's social group, only to discover that he wasn't being loved for being himself but for the stuff he wished for.
- Randall from Recess had this coupled with a Heel-Face Turn; though at the end he preferred being the teacher's pet, abandoned all his friends; and had a Face-Heel Turn.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Toph. In her own words when she made her debut: "...I know you were just trying to protect me, but I'm twelve years old and I've never had a real friend."
- Aang himself had this, despite being among the most social member of the main cast. When Sokka and Katara were going to abandon him looking for their dad, Aang hid their map because he was scared of being alone. This may be due to every friend he's ever had and everyone he knows (other than Katara, Sokka, and Bumi) has been dead for a hundred years, and most of them were burned to death in a genocide that started the global-scale war Aang has been charged with ending.
- Azula thought she had friends, until "The Boiling Rock" where her "friends" (who only ever hung around because she scared the crap out of them) betrayed her.. In the last episode, she basically went insane out of paranoia because she was unable to trust anyone.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- Candace in one episode believed her friends are ignoring her and she falls into this trope, replacing them and becoming the queen of Mars — It Makes Sense in Context. At the end it turns out they weren't ignoring her, so she gets back with her friends.
- In another episode, she turned out to be a loner: She had an argument with Stacy, so she tried to call another friend. The problem was, the only contacts in her phonebook apart from Stacy were Candace's boyfriend, her mum and Crazy Dove Lady.
- Mighty Max had Max having to work with a geeky kid who simply would not shut up. Turns out the kid's motivation was because he wanted friends, prompting Max to have to deliver a wake-up call for him.
- Danny Phantom
- Danny himself. Although he already has two best friends, he constantly has needs to fit in with the popular crowd. This becomes more apparent in the episode "Attack of the Killer Garage Sale". In "My Brother's Keeper", Jazz Lampshades this. He eventually gets better.
- Klemper who unlike Danny doesn't get better from this (since he's only a minor character) and constantly asks anyone to be his friend.
- In The Simpsons, Nelson is revealed to have no friends at all. Due to this, he becomes obsessed with Bart Simpson.
- Lisa, Depending on the Writer, is sometimes portrayed as as a lonely outcast.
- Surprising as it may seem, Eddy from Ed, Edd n Eddy has this. Despite the fact he is a megalomaniac con-artist, it's actually a Jerkass Façade, as he thought if he acted like his older brother, people would like him, when it actually has the opposite effect, although he does eventually realise this.
- Adventure Time:
- Marceline the Vampire Queen is implied to be like this. She acts (at least in early seasons) Always Chaotic Evil, but is really well-meaning (as we see in "Henchman"). She's 1000 years old and the only people who are still around are her Dad and her ex-boyfriend Ash. She's actually happy to find out that Princess Bubblegum kept the shirt she gave her as pajamas in "What Was Missing" and when Finn reveals that she didn't lose anything and just wanted to hang out she gets mad. This seems to have been mostly cured as of her appearances in the last few seasons.
- An idea on how well she interacts with people, her advice to Finn for talking to Princess Bubblegum in "Go With Me" is to wrestle her and set rabid wolves on her.
- This is further supported by Marceline's song in "Marceline's Closet", which is "based on 500 years of journal entries," where she says that she'd talk about her friends, but she doesn't have any.
- THE ICE KING. ALL of the crimes he commits relate to his desire for companionship.
- In the Spanish dub of Adventure Time, Lemongrab is implied to be this. At the end, he mutters "No one loves me. Everyone hates me" while riding away from the kingdom. There could be some truth to that.
- Princess Luna, in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. She just wants to make friends with other ponies and be as well liked as her sister, but her intimidating demeanor, creepy motifs, social awkwardness, and hair trigger temper leave her ostracized. It was so bad a thousand years ago, that she literally became a monster to deal with her feelings of loneliness and jealousy. The comics have it that her transformation was due to her accepting the power of nightmare creatures who lived on the moon, after they offered her the power to be loved by her subjects. The show has neither confirmed nor denied this version of events, only making reference to a "dark power" that Princess Luna had before Twilight and her friends cleansed her.
Discord: (defeated) Well played, Fluttershy. Well played...
- There's also Discord in the episode "Keep Calm and Flutter On" when Fluttershy, the only one of the Mane Six willing to put up with his antics and consider him a friend, ends up pulling a Rage Quit and trots off after he kept pulling pranks. It isn't until he goes into an Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap! that he realizes My God, What Have I Done?
- In My Little Pony G3: Twinkle Wish Adventure, this is Whimsey Weatherbe's reasoning both for kidnapping the wishing star Twinkle Wish and eventually for giving her back. She felt that by having Twinkle Wish that people would want to be with her and be her friend. She gave Twinkle Wish back when she realized that the ponies weren't going to stay and be friends with her because she was keeping Twinkle Wish.
- This has become Porky Pig's main character trait in The Looney Tunes Show—he's so lonely that he puts up with constant abuse from Daffy Duck just because Daffy calls him a "friend". He even untied Daffy, after Daffy had bankrupted him completely and bought a yacht with his money, simply because he was sweet-talked and promised a hug.
- Lucinda the witch from Sofia the First is this. She wants friends very badly (spending much of her episode brooding about it in some fashion or another), and explains to Sofia that and the only reason she hexes people is because she comes from a family of witches and that's all they do. She finally gains friends at the end of her episode after undoing all of her hexes and apologizing.
- M'gann from Young Justice. She was a White Martian who suffered extreme prejudice against her from the dominant green martian majority. Even after she achieved her dream of going to Earth, and even became part of a close-knit team, she was terrified of losing that friendship for any reason, and was willing to do some not-that-good things to keep them. She gets a little better as time goes on.
- Emmet in The LEGO Movie. He's shown to be trying to connect with all of his neighbors and co-workers, and he's constantly eager to receive some sort of acknowledgement. He undergoes a Heroic BSOD when Bad Cop shows him video of the same neighbors and co-workers describing him as a mere acquaintance, unimportant, and in some cases not even remembering his name.
- The titular character in Bojack Horseman, is a selfish narcissist, jaded by Hollywood, Abusive Parents, and the guilt of selling out his best friend. His bad attitude and increasingly desperate attempts to keep what few acquaintances he has close to him end up chasing most of them away until he's standing before he memoirist, the one person he's ever really opened up to but far from his best friend, outright begging her to tell him that he's a good person.
- South Park: This is why Cartman turned out the way he did: his mother spoiled him to make up for the fact that she had no friends.
- In We Bare Bears, one of the main reasons the bears, mostly Grizzly, try to integrate into human society.
- This trope is how people get sucked into cults and even terrorist groups. They don't let you in on the really crazy stuff until your entire social circle is comprised of other members. At that point, walking away means abandoning all of your friends. Also, although not necessarily how they suck you in, some people do cite this as a reason for why they're reluctant to leave a more standard church. For many people, the people in their church consists of a large social circle of their friends.
- Similarly, people will stay in bad or even abusive relationships because they're afraid to go back to being single.
- On a more positive end of the spectrum, this is sometimes what coaxes people into joining the military. Depending on what unit they end up with, this can either end well or badly.