Loving Bully

"Some guys do show their affection by teasing..."

When someone bullies someone else because they have a crush on them. This is usually because they aren't sure how to convey their feelings properly. Often the bully is a Type A Tsundere. The target of the bullying is generally under the impression that the bully is simply mean and has no clue the bully has a crush on them.

This is generally Played for Laughs and won't normally get into serious violence unless the target is Made of Iron. This sometimes overlaps with Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male. Romanticized Abuse is the less innocent Sister Trope, and Bastard Boyfriend is the Darker and Edgier one. Domestic Abuser is when it becomes very Dude, Not Funny!


Anime & Manga
  • In one FAQ of Bleach Rukia says that someone was a schmuck towards her in the Shinigami school because he couldn't tell her his feelings. Unsurprisingly, chapter -17 (a bonus chapter) seems to indicate that that someone was Renji.
  • The unnamed couple in Natsuneko's one-shot manga Her Desire, with a twist that the bullied girl actually likes it that way.
  • Semimaru from 7 Seeds starts off as a regular bully, teasing everyone but Natsu especially. He later mellows out and his teasing is definitely more good-natured when Natsu begins to improve herself and Semimaru falls for her.
  • Yuki Katsura in Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo, the leader of the two bullies at school, is really just acting on an immature crush, but he learns to show it a little better later on. Ultimately, he pretty much saves Wonderland by confessing to Cruje.
  • Deconstructed in Daily Lives of High School Boys: Habara was a feared The Bully known as "Archdemon" who terrorized every boy in her neighborhood, but especially Toshiyuki Karasawa, her next door neighbor, eventually giving him several large scars that would never go away. Fast forward eight years, and it becomes clear that she harbors a small crush on Karasawa, who, unfortunately for her, is traumatized by her bullying to the point where he can barely interact with her normally.
  • In Onihime VS, Arima and her girl posse relentlessly bully and molest poor Setsuna...because Arima is in love with him. It's exactly as messed up as it sounds.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Asuka's mistreatment of Shinji is an example of this that's very definitely not Played for Laughs. Keeping with the Deconstruction theme that the series is famous for, an inability to express attraction in any other way is treated very seriously, with all the sadness and horror such a mental state implies.
  • In Great Teacher Onizuka, Anko takes this to the extreme with Noboru, driving him to attempt suicide twice. Things might have ended up very badly if Onizuka hadn't been around to help her uncover her true feelings.
  • Nurse Joy from Pokémon suggests this about Ash and Misty.
    "What's the saying? You only hurt the ones you love."
  • This is how Seo acts towards Wakamatsu in Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun. He noticed she specifically targets him by throwing the ball at his face, stalking him on lunchtime, making him buy her things and carry her stuff...to then taking him to a diner and buying him some food and even buying him some souvenirs. Nozaki immediately can tell that she likes him.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan. As pointed out in the opening; all of the violence, torture, and death that Dokuro inflicts on poor Sakura is her way of showing affection.
  • Played with in Wandering Son. Doi doesn't bully Nitori because he likes her, he bullies her because she's feminine. This doesn't stop him from being attracted to her once she grow her hair out though. By high school the attraction disappeared over time as Nitori became increasingly masculine looking.

  • By the end of Hot Fuzz, the Andys have graduated from standard JerkAsses to this trope, where Angel's concerned.
  • In Welcome To The Dollhouse, Brandon likes Dawn and he treats her terribly.
  • In Le Placard, Felix Santini always picked on the protagonist Francois Pignon. When Pignon is about to get fired, his new neighbour advises him to let the firm "accidentally" think he's gay, so he could use discrimination charges to secure his position. Santini grudgingly starts befriending him not to appear homophobic, but goes overboard quickly, practically starts courting him, and becomes so obsessed it costs his marriage. Pignon's lack of interest visibly upsets him. After his divorce, he asks Pignon to be his housemate for practical reasons, but when Pignon refuses, he starts such an Unstoppable Rage he has to be restrained and sent to a hospital.
  • John Bender in The Breakfast Club acts like a dick towards everyone but to Claire he's especially rude. It's shown as the film goes on that's he's harboring a crush on her.

  • In Dragon Bones, Beckram bullies his cousin Ciarra by telling her that he finds her hair pretty - his brother explains it is not what he says but how he says it that scares Ciarra, who is mute and a bit childlike. They end up married in the sequel, when Ciarra has recovered from her psychological problems and can speak.

Live-Action TV
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show: There's a girl in Richie's class who bullies him because she likes him.
  • Karofsky of Glee towards Kurt. He even gives him a Forceful Kiss in the episode "Never Been Kissed".
  • On Malcolm in the Middle Reese tries this with a girl in school that he has a crush on, and then doesn't understand why she hates him as a result and cries in his room after things go badly. Malcolm then tries to help by telling him to do things to her that wouldn't make her cry, so he joins her cheerleading squad. It's far from the only time Reese has ever done this, since bullying is his go-to approach for everything.
  • In Good Luck Charlie, Jo Keener bullied Gabe because she liked him.
  • I Carly: Sam to Freddie. They do become a couple at one point, but it doesn't work out and they ultimately decide that they're Better as Friends.
  • In a rare case of this being the case of both parties, Vince and Howard are hinted to be this to each other in The Mighty Boosh.
  • In an episode of Living Single, Regine found out that her childhood tormentor Vinnie (of the rap group Naughty by Nature) only acted that way because he had a crush on her.
  • Spike to Buffy in Buffythe Vampire Slayer, though he goes quite a bit further than most. When he first starts to sense that he might be attracted to her in Season 4, he sets out to kill her immediately, but comes to accept it after he gets the opportunity and finds he doesn't have it in him.

Newspaper Comics
  • Calvin And Hobbes: Calvin does this to Susie from time to time. Hobbes calls him on it but Calvin claims he really does hate her.
  • Linus in Peanuts once told Charlie Brown about meeting a cute girl once. He claimed that he was so nervous around her that he couldn't think of anything to say...so he opted to hit her instead.

Video Games
  • A quest in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim involves scaring off a girl who's picking on a boy. When you go talk to her, you discover that "If he'd just kiss me, I wouldn't beat him up."
  • Not a romantic example, but in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Sebastian states that Lili's bizarre obsession with tormenting Asuka is a "show of affection" on her part.

Web Comics
  • In El Goonish Shive, Grace suspects Tony is trying to hide "his obvious attraction to [Tedd]".
  • Ruth behaves this way to Billie in Dumbing of Age. It's also deconstructed as both of them realize the relationship is not healthy.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Helga towards Arnold in Hey Arnold!. It's so infamous that it's become the Trope Codifier in all but name — hence the picture on this page.
    • A flashback reveals that Arnold's paternal grandparents were like this when they were his and Helga's age.
  • Chuckie once had a suitor like this in Rugrats. After trying to be nice to her and it failing, he becomes a Loving Bully for her as well. Then he sees her picking on another boy...
  • An episode of Recess had a boy who was harassing Gretchen admit he was this trope after being confronted (the other half of the episode had him acting as a Dogged Nice Guy/Stalker with a Crush).
  • Phineas and Ferb: in a Precocious Crush example, Buford does this to Candace when he can get away with it.
    Buford: I saved your life. That means you're my servant now. It's the Bully Code.
  • The Simpsons: when Bart develops a crush on a girl, Nelson gives him advice which amounts to "bully her to win her love." Nelson gives Bart a piece of gum to stick in her hair, then adds an additional piece of gum. "Who knows, you may get lucky."
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: The Kanker Sisters are utterly head over heels for the Eds, as well as their worst tormentors. Somewhat unique in that their amorous feelings are completely known to their victims, and the bullying usually involves the girls forcing themselves on the Eds.
  • The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius: It becomes blatantly obvious early on that Cindy's rivalry with Jimmy is just her attempt to mask and deny her massive crush on him — something Jimmy himself goes through in regards to her. As the series goes, this gradually fades out as Jimmy and Cindy become closer friends, and by the time of the last episode, they were openly flirting, footsie and all, which served as great gossip fodder for Libby's talk show segment on the news (the main plot of the episode).
  • There was an episode of Totally Spies! where a boy that used to pick on Clover when they were in grade school asked her out on a movie date, because he liked her and wanted to make up for all the crap he put her through. She spends a good chunk of the episode trying to figure out how to get her revenge during the date, until coming to the conclusion that, maybe, he's actually means it. Right after the movie starts, he pulls ''another'' prank on her, revealing that he never really changed. She dumps her drink on his head and storms out.
  • In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy called One Crazy Summoner, the gang's helping a Harry Potter parody named Nigel Planter win the love of a girl he has a crush on, and at one point in the episode, Billy suggests that Nigel give the girl a noogie or throw a kickball at her—explaining that's what the boys at his and Mandy's school do when they have a crush on a girl.

Real Life
  • Truth in Television for many young children, who lack the concept of relationships and usually grow out of it.