They're sharing a drink they call lonelinessMisery loves company. Characters with nothing in common except their loneliness band together — as many or as few as are lonely. Anything from brief moments of A Friend in Need as they offer moral support to the formation of a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits from the Power of Friendship can ensue. Couples may get all the way to the Power of Love starting from here. May justify Pairing The Spares. Contrast Alone Among the Couples. Compare with its cousin Breakfast Club, for a gang of lonely and miserable people that are together because of it, and Commonality Connection. See also Twice Shy.
But it's better than drinking alone.
But it's better than drinking alone.
— Billy Joel, "Piano Man"
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Anime and Manga
- Kind of a running theme in White Album.
- England and Japan form an alliance at one point in Axis Powers Hetalia because of this. The strip featuring this event is even titled "The Anglo-Japanese Alliance Between Two Lonely People."
- Due to their histories of being isolationist, some fans have started to group America, England and Japan together as the "Lonely Trio".
- In fandom, the Russia/China pairing gets this, as the two are, in canon, the more outcast of the Allied Forces. It also helps that they were about the only major Communist forces during the Cold War and pretty much banded together against the rest of the world (for some time, at least).
- Prussia/Canada also gets this, as many fans like the idea of the lonely ex-nation finding a sympathetic ear in the forgotten nation and vice versa.
- In Bleach, despite their contrasting personalities, Starrk and Lilynette — two Arrancars that had been split from the same Hollow — have stayed with each other ever since out of their loneliness and desire for friendship. They even (possibly) died together while a flashback of when they met for the first time is shown
- Turns out this is how Gin and Rangiku met and became friends, too. Both of them were orphans from the Rukongai parts of Soul Society, Gin saved Rangiku from starving to death, Rangiku was the first person who treated him as a friend...
- Cowboy Bebop: None of them will ever admit it, but this is one of the biggest reasons the crew of the Bebop stay together.
- Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai is a series exactly based on this trope, starring seven social losers under the banner of the Neighbor Club, whose ostensible purpose is to help them open up to society.
- In InuYasha, this is how Kikyou and Inuyasha got together in the past. Kikyou was a very respected Teen Genius Miko, but people tended to not see beyond this facade and thus, save for her little sister Kaede, she was very lonely. On the other hand, Inuyasha was a half-Youkai and thus was ostracized ever since childhood by both humans and youkais. Kikyou treated Inuyasha with kindness, Inuyasha treated Kikyou without making distinctions... therefore, they started to fall in love and decided to wish on the Shikon no Tama so he would become a human, which would allow them to stay together. Then Naraku happened...
- In the manga version of Chrono Crusade, Viede guesses that Fiore and Joshua might care for each other so much because they're both "missing something" — that is, they've both been separated from a beloved sibling ( Satella for the former, Rosette for the latter).
- A rather popular "interpretation" for Doumeki and Kohane in Xxx Holic. It does make sense: they got along decently, they both loved Watanuki in their own ways, and it's likely that they chose to marry because he wanted to leave behind descendants to watch over Watanuki as he waits, unaging, for an untold amount of time for the chance to meet Yuuko again, and she probably agreed with his sentiments. So not only they were Genre Savvy, but they supported each other emotionally.
- In Koufuku Graffiti, Ryou and Shiina started their lunch sharing through this trope; they are the only people that are Eating Lunch Alone in the Cram School they attend.
- Naruto and Sasuke's bond is this, both knowing how painful it is to have no one else waiting for you at home and no friends to share your burdens with.
- In Power Pack, when their mother was in the hospital, Katie invited several characters they had met to have Thanksgiving with them. This infuriated her brothers and sister, and at the climax she explained that when they met the Morlocks, her sister had told her how she had realized it was better to be alone and miserable together, and so she had invited everyone else who had no one else to celebrate Thanksgiving with. Her older brother declares that they can have a party, if they're going to be miserable at it.
- In a recent issue of Wonder Woman, Diana and her frequent opponent, Giganta, take a brief time out in fighting to discuss their respective man troubles. As much as Giganta hates Diana, she does offer advice all the same.
- A Crown of Stars: Asuka and Shinji were in this situation at the very beginning of the story. They were drawn to each other since they were teens but they had been unable to open up and reach out to each other back then. After several years surviving in a post-apocalyptic world and being two dictators' plaything Asuka was so torn and soul-weary that she did not dare to love anybody (and she thought she was not worthy of being loved by anyone). However they stuck together because they were kindred spirits and thought nobody else in the world could understand their pain. However their relationship was very fragile and they expected and feared that it would eventually collapse. From that point the fic narrates how they and their relationship get gradually better.
- The theme of Mozart And The Whale .
- Lost in Translation. Bob, the over-the-hill movie star, and Charlotte, the tag-along wife of a busy photographer, have nothing in common except insomnia and loneliness. If they didn't happen to be staying at the same hotel, they'd never have met.
- The Station Agent is an essay on this trope, showing us characters who are all lonely but in completely different ways. Train enthusiast Finn has been so thoroughly mocked and belittled for his dwarfism that he's emotionally isolated himself, and jumps at the chance to physically isolate himself when he inherits an abandoned train depot in the middle of nowhere and promptly moves in. He strikes up a reluctant friendship with Olivia, who is battling depression after the death of her young son, and Joe, who was forced to leave his life in Manhattan to care for his sick father and run his food truck.
- The Yellow Handkerchief has three strangers becoming friends over the course of a road trip. They're all lonely at the start of the film, which is why they're drawn together.
- My Summer of Love's two protagonists are neglected by their families and start an affair over it.
- From Here to Eternity has Lorene invoke this trope with Prew. She says they won't be married or have kids, but they're good for now because they both need each other. She's a Hooker with a Heart of Gold who wants to be respectable one day, and he's a soldier ostracised by the rest of his men.
- Poul Anderson's "Losers' Night": The Old Phoenix, the Inn Between the Worlds, has a night where all the guests are failures. Unusually for the inn, this night allows people to magically understand each other — so they can commiserate.
- In an Outlander novel, Claire and Lord John got married and slept together because they both thought Jamie was dead.
- In Robert E. Howard's "Shadows In The Moonlight" Olivia uses this on Conan the Barbarian.
"You are a barbarian, and I am an outcast, denied by my people. We are both pariahs, wanderers of earth. Oh, take me with you!"
- This is how P. G. Wodehouse's Psmith got his start as a character; he and pre-existing character Mike Jackson were pulled out of their respective schools and exiled to an obscure school called Sedleigh. Wodehouse also used this trope in his romantic fiction to set up young couples; Something Fresh is a good example.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has a Friendship Moment like this near the end: Harry is mourning the death of Sirius and doesn't feel like being around anyone. He runs into Luna, who is basically friendless and currently looking for items stolen by other students. They take a minute to talk about losing loved ones, marking the first time that Harry really thinks of her as someone other than "that weird girl."
- In The Hunger Games, Katniss and Madge (the mayor's daughter) are loners at school and so end up partnered together for school events and projects by default.
- Initially when Semi and Miranda become close in Dr. Franklin's Island it's partly this. They were friendly before, and Semi needed Miranda, but it's when the third member of their party vanishes and they are otherwise completely alone that they really end up close, and finding that there are similarities after all.
- Malazan Book of the Fallen has the human Seerdomin and the Tiste Andii Spinnock Durav who meet every evening in Scour Tavern to play Kef Tanar, get drunk and be miserable together. When Spinnock falls in love with a human priestess Seerdomin even calls him a fool for not acting on his feelings, but it still amounts to nothing.
Live Action TV
- From Scrubs, after J.D. and his girlfriend realise their incompatibility;
J.D.: So I guess...this is over.
J.D.: So, you'd rather hang out with someone you don't even like than be alone?
Danni: Yeah, pretty much.
J.D.: Yeah, me too. I mean, come on, how many couples out there actually have fun together?
- Heroes: Sylar and Peter as of Season 4 episode 18 (or around there), The Wall. Rather forced on them since spending five years with only each other as company would suck pretty badly, especially if it's with the guy who killed your brother. It appears that their reluctant alliance will last into the real world.
- On NCIS, after a story arc where they both gain significant others, Tony and Ziva note that no matter what happens, at the end of the day, they're always the ones sharing drinks alone in a bar together.
- Happened once in That '70s Show, when Jackie was lonely, Hyde suggests that she find someone to spend time with (specifically, Donna, or someone that's not him). However, Jackie mentions that he's alone a lot too, before stating:
Jackie: You're alone. I'm alone. We could be alone together!
- Friends: Chandler and Monica have a moment in Season 4. Chandler is in love with Joey's girlfriend, and Monica is boyfriendless and ill. On finding each other wearing pajamas and wrapped in blankets, they curl up miserably together.
- On Babylon 5, Lennier and Vir are shown sitting at a bar commiserating on a number of occasions, having similar concerns about their jobs and various ongoing situations. It is implied that this is something they actually do on a regular basis, despite their bosses spending a significant portion of the show on opposite sides of the larger conflict.
- Comes up a few times in Cheers. In particular the episode Thanksgiving Orphans, where the gang can't be with their loved ones on Thanksgiving and instead eat dinner at Carla's. In the end, they declare they're thankful for all the people they miss, (Norm's wife, Cliff's mother, the recently-deceased Coach) since it does mean they have people they care about.
Coach: Y'know, loneliness is a great thing to share.
- Viudas E Hijos Del Rock And Roll: Piojo is a complete loser, so much that he's still a virgin. Estela is another loser, who can't even get 10 people to go to her birthday, and even those leave one by one. But, as Pipo points out, she will not be left alone, he will left her with Piojo, and, as the background music says, "hay química entre los dos"
- The reason for Lu Xiao's desire to be with Long Wei in Infinity Game, as he's just as cripplingly lonely as she is, but she never has the courage to tell him.
- Billy Joel, "Piano Man," as seen in the page quote.
- Owl City, "The Christmas Song"
I don't have anyone at home to talk to
And you don't have anything to do
So I'll spend my Christmas with you
- The Barry Manilow song "Lonely Together" could possibly be the Trope Namer, although the song is really Pair the Spares. Video here.
- Harry Chapin, "A Better Place to Be". The refrain says it all: "If you want me to come with you then that's all right with me / 'cause I know I'm going nowhere and anywhere's a better place to be."
- The main characters of Get Set Go's song "Lonely World" don't particularly care about each other, but they're lonely, and they can get together, so why not.
- Air Supply's "Even the nights are better" is about two persons who first got together due to loneliness and then fell in love for real.
- "Alone Together" by Justin McRoberts
- Masked Intruder's "I Don't Wanna Be Alone Tonight", predictably.
- Fall Out Boy's "Alone Together". "I don't know where you're going, but do you have room for one more troubled soul..."
- Subverted in Moby's music video of "Are You Lost in the World Like Me?," which depicts an old-timey cartoon world where modern technology addiction exists to dystopian levels. Given the title, you'd assume that the two main characters—a boy desperately trying to connect to people and a girl whose humiliating video went viral—would meet and comfort each other. Instead, they only "meet" in the sense that the boy witnesses the girl's suicide.
- The music video for Hayley Kiyoko's "One Bad Night" tells the story of a miserable valet and a woman down on her luck who meet after both are injured in a mugging. They wind up sharing a meal at a diner together and having a good time, and she even helps him flirt with a waitress he likes.
- In the musical Promises Promises, Chuck and Marge, acquaintances from work, sing "A Fact Can be a Beautiful Thing" while hanging out in a bar on Christmas. (I'll add more info after I get the libretto out again. It's been a while.)
- A song in Spamalot titled "I'm All Alone" starts with King Arthur singing about how alone he is, and Patsy reminding him that he's right there, while the king is singing the song. Then the chorus comes in and sings "We're all alone," leading to:
King Arthur: We must be lonely side-by-side. It's a perfect way to hide.
- In Peanuts, Charlie Brown once befriended a lonely boy at camp.
- Promethean: The Created in White Wolf's World of Darkness. It doesn't matter if you can barely stand your Throngmate... he's not trying to kill you just for existing!
- If you choose Otacon's ending in Metal Gear Solid, it's basically this. Otacon has no friends because he's a painfully unlucky Otaku and Snake has no friends because he killed them all. In later games, they fight Metal Gear proliferation.
- In League of Legends, Kindred was once the singular incarnation of Death, before splitting itself into Wolf and Lamb so that it could always have a friend.
- In Sinfest, explicitly invoked. And another attempt.
- In Freefall, Winston considers the problems he and Florence might have, but concludes they might as well spend the rest of their lives alone, together.
- This is what really drives the bond forming between Lydia and Betelgeuse in Cobweb And Stripes. She comes from a Friendless Background and he's arguably the least liked person in the entire Neitherworld. Helping to ease her loneliness is forcing him to acknowledge how lonely he's been too.
- In Twig, Lillian befriends Mary while the later is locked up undergoing debriefing at Radham Academy, where Lillian, a scholarship student who gets her credit hours by acting as The Medic for the Lambsbridge Gang, is isolated from both the other Lambs and her fellow students, and Mary has lost the semblance of a family created by the man who cloned her after he left her to die.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: "Whaddya say we both be independent together?"
- In Futurama's "Xmas Story" (The Trope Namer):
Leela: You didn't need to buy me a present, Fry.
Fry: I just wanted to do something to make you happy. I mean, I miss my family but you never even had a family.
Leela: It's OK. You're lonely and I'm lonely. But, together, we're lonely together.
[They hold hands]
Fry: Merry Xmas, Leela.
Leela: Merry Xmas.
- In the Justice League episode "Hereafter", Vandal Savage and a time-displaced-and-depowered Superman are stuck on a barren future Earth devoid of all other human life. The driven-to-sanity Vandal Savage is overjoyed to meet a fellow person, even if he is an old enemy, and invites him to his house for lunch. And to show him all the self-help books he's read over the millennium to cure his megalomania.
- A group of villains in My Life as a Teenage Robot, the Lonely Hearts Club Gang, are based entirely around this. Their goal, apparently, is to make everyone in Tremorton as miserable and loveless as they are.
- The Thanksgiving episode of Hey Arnold! does this to Helga and Arnold, even though they have families, they feel alone like they've never truly celebrated Thanksgiving before, so they bond with each other as they try to find the perfect Thanksgiving.
- Rugrats reveals that Chuckie's mother died not long ago, and Chuckie barely remembers her. Chaz is reluctant to show him her things until this exchange.
Chaz: I'm just afraid he'll miss her.Didi: Then you can miss her together.
- On Total Drama Revenge of the Island—Zoey and Cameron both have Friendless Backgrounds and become close friends over the course of the season. It's only Played With, however, since they both also get other friends (and in Zoey's case, a boyfriend) over the course of the season.
- Bojack Horseman and his agent Princess Carolyn have maintained an on-and-off personal and professional relationship for decades because it beats being alone. Even though they both know it's not going anywhere. Bojack eventually fires her, so this isn't an option for either of them anymore.