For some reason, the character is mostly ignorant of and often confused by common social conventions and behaviors. They usually grasp enough to minimally function around other people most of the time, but any circumstances outside of their limited experience fluster, puzzle or (at worst) upset or enrage them.
Someone with no social skills is not necessarily stupid — just unfamiliar with how human beings act around each other. Consequently, they will tend to be blunt, straightforward and Brutally Honest. They will expect everyone else to be totally honest, too. From a writing point of view they are an asset: they say things that everyone is thinking but no one would dare say out loud.
One background that can lead to this trope is to be Raised by Wolves — growing up with animal parents. Alternatively, they may have had an isolated or abused childhood or Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training. Or all three. They may be bamboozled by the opposite sex and ask What Is This Thing You Call Love?. Alternately, they may have had social skills in the past, but after being away on The Quest or some other mission for an extended time, may find themselves unable to reintegrate due to being a Shell-Shocked Veteran or a Stranger in a Familiar Land.
Quite often a point is made of stating that this character is very intelligent or "learns fast" to make sure the audience doesn't just write them off as dense and to justify characters trying to help them adjust, or as an excuse for why they've adjusted as well as they did. However, it might just be an Informed Ability.
An extreme form of Fish out of Water, milder cases may result in Cloud Cuckoo Lander, Creepy Child, Innocent Fanservice Girl, or No Sense of Humor. Homeschooled Kids are usually portrayed this way.
Related to: Friendless Background and I Just Want to Have Friends when the character isn't happy about this situation.
In Real Life, people with dyssemia and nonverbal learning disorders fit this trope. Additionally, those with autism, such as people with Asperger Syndrome may fit this trope, but relatively few works are interested in portraying this with strict accuracy. A mild form is common in academia. That said, No Real Life Examples, Please! See Not Good with People.
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Anime and Manga
In Creo the Crimson Crises we have Kiki, who's never even worn shoes or underwear until she joins the main cast. Her idea of making friends is to grope the first pretty girl that walks by, announcing her intentions, and breaking off a store sign as a gift of friendship.
L: He's socially awkward, dresses like a bum, and is the greatest detectives on the planet. note Yes, plural. He's the 'three' greatest detectives, acting as himself and under the pseudonyms of two former detectives he bested.
Near is also quite awkward and seems unlikely to get by if he had to fend for himself in the normal world. Oddly, despite their practical problems, they both possesses great theoretical knowledge of people. His rival Mello left the Wammy's House orphanage where they were both raised at the age of 14 and is quite street-savvy in comparison.
Goku in Dragon Ball was raised by his grandfather in the wilderness until he was 12 and said grandfather died. He had been so sheltered that he never truly assimilated into society, and the division was very evident until he was an adult. The worst symptom, however, would have to be his complete inability to assess gender from sight, which led to some Accidental Perversion. Bulma was the first girl he had ever seen in his life up till that point, so she got the worst of it. His grandfather had told him to be nice to girls - but it was apparently up to himself to figure out how.
Nana from Elfen Lied is an innocent girl raised in a lab. She knows absolutely nothing about the world outside the complex where she used to live, to the point of burning a "bunch of papers" that turned out to be money. And being gullible enough to believe that the money when kept together would attack her in her sleep.
Sagara Sousuke from Full Metal Panic!. He's been in the military since birth. Someone once described Sousuke as that character in a Tabletop RPG who traded in all those "worthless" character points in social skills and instead put them into combat abilities. He is a nice guy, he just has no concept at all of what's expected of someone in a high school environment. Naturally, the writers put him in a high school environment, often. This turned out to be so popular that an entire season with this as the main premise was produced: Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu.
Sexy Mentor Shigure Kousaka of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is a borderline example. She spent her formative years in the wilderness with her swordsmith father; though he did love her he was so absent-minded that he never even bothered to give her a name. In the present, Shigure is shown to sometimes lack social graces and speaks very slowly, with a second or so passing between one word and the next, and she rarely ever reflects any emotion in her speaking habits outside of combat.
Lucia in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, is a mermaid in the human world. When she is in mermaid society she has a No Social Skills there either! In the manga she was raised on the surface, but in the anime, she was just as clueless about the society that she had been retconned to grow up in. What's more, she's the princess.
Naruto, from Naruto. He's an obnoxious brat who likes to shout and insult people who can blast him away without him as much as feeling it. He can't get obvious behavior signals such as Sakura punching him; to Naruto, this isn't a massive hint to back off, it means he should try harder. He didn't understand Hinata's shy behviour or the reasons behind it. For him it means "she's just weird".
When attempting to be sociable, Sai usually winds up insulting someone. He eventually learns his lesson; people seem to like it when you tell them the opposite of what you think of them.
Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion was raised by Gendo Ikari, leaving her with no idea how humans normally interact. As someone put it when this trope was still called "Raised By Wolves", she might have been better off with actual wolves.
Her male counterpart, Kaworu Nagisa, might know a bit more about human interaction, but he is just as oblivious as to how the rules work.
Shinji Ikari, Gendo's actual son, is not much better either. But at the very least, his denseness is not off the atomic scale like Rei is. Even being related to Gendo must kill your social skills like no tomorrow.
The title character from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water qualifies. Having spent thirteen years of mistreatment by a cruel ringmaster, she's suspicious of everybody, detests killing, and adamantly opposed to eating meat. As such, she doesn't know how to interact with other people. She either lashes out in a rage, misunderstands others' actions, and stubbornly refuses to see beyond her calls of judgment. Worse still, she is not able to admit what her problem is and expects her friends to just "read her mind." Nadia becomes a much more sociable and trusting character, however, as a result of her close relationships with Jean (arguably the complete opposite of Nadia), Marie, Grandis, and, to a lesser extent, the Nautilus crew.
Ryu, already motherless, lost his father when he was six years old in an accident at once tragic and stupid beyond belief: his father tried out a spine-snapping bear hug on the only pillar supporting their tumbledown dojo, crushing himself in the ruins.
Holo matches this trope to a glimmering 'T'. She is a wolf spirit/god of the harvest. She's a lot savvier about the way humans live than the others, though. She has lived with humans several times in the past, and spent centuries watching the people of a single village. Indeed, she often understands people better than they understand themselves, and isn't above emotional manipulation when it suits her. She is carefree about certain human conventions, but not because she doesn't understand them — she just doesn't care. She also goes centuries without interacting with humans, so her social awkwardness often stems from being so out of touch with the times.
Lawrence's social skills are quite poor as well. While he's adept at communicating at others of his trade in the process of various business deals, he doesn't have much experience with people outside of the field of economics. He's especially ignorant of the courtship process.
Lawrence and Holo are good examples of different ways this trope can be applied. Lawrence knows a lot about contemporary society and social institutions, but isn't very savvy about human nature. Horo is the exact opposite, and both are intelligent enough to cover for each other as necessary.
Nia from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann falls between this and Sheltered Aristocrat, having been raised in isolation for her entire life until she was literally put in a box and left on a landfill. She's completely oblivious to any kind of negative mood... which isn't a good thing when one of the cast members has just died.
Tres Iqus of Trinity Blood displays this trope every now and then in his interactions with Abel. Especially in the manga, he is often heard uttering the phrases like, "Does not compute." Of course, it's questionable if this is because Abel has an extensive vocabulary or simply because he's crazy. However, Tres also fits into the "brutal honesty" classification quite snugly. Considering Tres is a robot, it is more like he is one of the wolves.
Cheza in Wolf's Rain, a "flower maiden" created by blending human and plant DNA, has grown up in a laboratory, spending most of her time semi-comatose in a glass vessel. Ironically enough, or perhaps appropriately, when she is finally released from the lab she is mutually drawn toward real wolves (albeit intelligent talking wolves who can pass for human) and leads them on their quest to find Paradise.
Shana from Shakugan no Shana. She was raised for combat, and her caretakers failed to see the importance of pretty much anything besides that, not even a name. This helps explain why she reacts to romance the way she does. At one point, she starts asking everyone about kissing and how babies are made, which makes for some really awkward moments...
One episode of the Pokémon anime, The Kangaskhan Kid, was about a kid who was raised by Kangaskhan. And in a loose manga adaptation of the Diamond and Pearl (but mostly Diamond) versions, the main character was raised by wild Pokémon. In the former's case, he was lost by his parents when they were on vacation. In the latter case, the kid was being watched by Professor Rowan, and the good professor decided that the boy should go live with Pokémon because he could sort of communicate with them. Let me rephrase that: Rowan sent a small child to live in the wild with Pokémon because he thinks the kid can talk to animals. In Rowan's defense, it worked.
Vinland Saga: Thorfinn is a violent, apathetic, antisocial Jerk Ass who can't even have a civil conversation with the man who knew him from before his time growing up in Viking band.
Princess Arika spent her whole life confined in the royal palace of Ostia, the result being that her social development was somewhat stunted, turning her into The Stoic. She didn't even know what ice cream was until Nagi showed her.
Kotaro, a half wolf who was abandoned as a child who has little sense of being polite, or ever spent time doing anything normal besides training to fight.
Sawako Kuronuma from Kimi ni Todoke is so unaware of how much other people care about her, she spends the entire 2nd volume of the manga ignoring her friends to preserve their popularity.
Natsu of Fairy Tail was raised by the Fire Dragon Igneel. While Igneel taught him things like Fire Dragon Slayer magic and speech, he clearly wasn't able to teach Natsu typical human social customs. Then Igneel vanished when Natsu was still little. Natsu was then taken in and raised by the mages of Fairy Tail, and all of them are to some degree crazy (awesome). Like Rei Ayanami mentioned above, he might have been better off with actual wolves.
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing's Heero Yuy is pretty arguable, given that he grew up a soldier. Anybody who rips up an invite to a girl's birthday party, wipes away the resulting tear, and then states that he will kill her hardly counts as normal.
Shizuo Heiwajima from Durarara!!grew up with very little in the way of positive social contact due to his anger and impulse control issues. As a result, he does not have much in the way of social graces.
Shin of Eyeshield 21 could pass as a football expy of FMP's Sousuke because of this trait. He was basically a complete loner until he joined the football team in middle school. It actually makes his dedication to football a rather unintentional Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, it was through football that he was able to make friends.
The heroine Eureka from Eureka Seven. She doesn't have any friends and doesn't open her heart to anyone prior to meeting the protagonist Renton. In the first episode, she did an insensitive thing by burning Renton's house down and she does not seem to comprehend why Renton reacted so miserable about it. She does not even know what is "cool", what love is and how to be pregnant with a baby. It is this lack of social skills that she had a hard time being a mother to her 3 kids. She eventually become a more sociable person towards the end of the series, thanks to the influence of her lover Renton.
Saori Chiba from Wandering Son is both a realistic example and example not Played for Laughs or cuteness. She has no friends at the start of the manga, later chapters reveal that she Hates Everyone Equally, and even when she becomes more friendly her social skills are rather awkward. She Cannot Tell a Joke and when she's having friendship issues her first thought is to destroy her two-year friendship and ignore that person.
Rei Kiriyama from Sangatsu No Lion isn't particularly good at socializing with people, especially at school. He opts out of class events, and every lunch, he eats alone at either the roof or the stairwell leading to it. If it wasn't for his teacher dropping by every now and then, he wouldn't be talking to anyone.
His successor Leo wasn't that much better, especially owing to a ratherlonely childhood. The first time he met Elliot, he snapped at him for disturbing him while reading a book, starts comparing him to the self-centered protagonist of said book, and eventually calls him a bore. Elliot, of course, did not take this very well. As time went on, they became Vitriolic Best Friends and Leo got better from this.
One Piece's Luffy, due to his simple-minded and straightforward thinking, often comes across as this. He has a habit of asking random strangers if they poop, and calling people idiot on their face.
Laura Kinney, AKA X-23, is the female counterpart to Wolverine in the Marvel ComicsUniverse. She is an example of the "synthetic" subtrope. She was cloned in large part from incomplete samples stolen from the Weapon-X project and raised as an assassin-for-rent. She is literate, multilingual, and a superb actress — when she sees the need. However, her post-escape attempt to go to ground at her aunt's place did not work out at first. Her first day at school was marred by faux pas and attempts to discuss matters far outside her peer's experience. She also failed to even pretend to be intimidated when called in to the Principal's Office.
Batgirl - Cassandra Cain, AKA Batgirl III, is arguably even more dysfunctional. The first eight years of her life was spent in a bunker learning the killing arts in isolation from spoken language. The next nine were spent on the streets, unable to comprehend spoken language and fleeing the man who raised her. It shows, even after telepathic intervention enabled her to speak and she got over her death wish.
Cassandra: (speaking into an audiorecorder/diary) "They say you are supposed to... dress up for parties," (looks at conservative business suit in mirror) "But this is just... wrong."
Watchmen - Rorschach is an extreme case. He never bathes, he thinks it's socially acceptable to break into people's houses and steal their stuff and has the nerve to tell Laurie that her mother almost getting raped by the Comedian could have been a moral lapse. Even Dan has problems dealing with him to the point where he finally lashes out at Rorschach. This leads to a handshake that Rorschach finds very awkward. The only time Rorschach feels at ease with anyone is when he's breaking people's fingers. He at least has the decency to try to avoid doing shit like that in front of children (probably because of his own past experiences with Abusive Parents). It's made clear to the reader that while Rorschach is ultimately a good person and genuinely wants to help others, his total lack of proper social skills and his abundance of disorders will probably end up destroying him. And they do in the end.
Cyclops. He rarely shows emotions, doesn't tell people the reasons behind his plans, and is incredibly paranoid. This is all justified: his childhood was spent with an insane madman who experimented on him, while allowing the other children in an orphanage to bully and ostracize him and his adolescence was spent with a man who treated him as more of a weapon than a child. Of course he has never been able to explain this to his teammates. Even when he does show emotions, it tends to be in a way that indicates that he's really not sure how to deal with other people.
Dungeon Keeper Ami: Jadite has shades of this, admittedly most of it is What Is This Thing You Call Love?. But if his description of the Dark Kingdom is anything to go on, it's a bit of Raised by Wolves as well. Snyder, a Light acolyte and Ami's advisor on wards and the Gods, is a straighter example in many ways. Particularly involving women, and Particularly involving Venna.
Subverted in Aeon Entelechy Evangelion, where Gendo didn't dare to neglect Rei — since unlike in NGE, in this setting he wouldn't get away with it. But since Rei is a Sidoci, the abnormal version of the Xenomix (human and nazzadi hybrid) where being stoic and emotionless is a default personality, his efforts were wasted.
A Hero takes Homura Akemi's lack of social skills and runs with it. To the point that Dalek Sec, the resident Imperialistic Space Nazi, is considered to have the better social skills of the two of them.
In Shadow Snark, due to self caused isolation The titular character has no way to gauge his normality.
Shadow Snark: My desire to run out of here screaming and possibly causing over the top violence is barely contained.
Rainbow Dash and Rarity: ...
Several of the characters in Brainbent, to varying degrees. Karkat has a decent amount of social insight, but his Hair-Trigger Temper trips him up a lot in his interactions with others. Jade was raised in the middle of the woods by her survivalist grandfather and has very little experience with modern mainstream culture or interacting with more than one person at a time. Nepeta is a very nice girl, in an eccentric sort of way, but has difficulty keeping up with social conventions. Gamzee is also very nice for the most part, but doesn't have much sense of personal space, is prone to Innocently Insensitive moments, and curses like a sailor even when he doesn't intend to.
Up until she came to the school, Cady from Mean Girls lived in Africa and was home schooled, thus winding up with absolutely no clue about how things worked in "Girl World." Her parents appear to be clueless every time they appear:
Mom: "Where's Cady?"
Dad: "She went out."
Mom: "She's grounded."
Dad: "Are they not allowed out when they're grounded?"
Stéphane from The Science of Sleep is an odd example. He uses his imagination to cope with a lot of the outside world but does have some friends... they are equally as strange as him but when meeting Stéphanie it becomes clear he lacks some very basic social interaction. He goes into Stalker with a Crush mode in sincere innocence unaware anything he's doing is bad.
Edward Scissorhands is an odd example: despite being taught by his inventor about manners and politeness, the title character has no idea whatsoever how to live outside his castle. On top of that, while he is very kind and gentle, his understanding of ethics is a bit... sketchy. Edward's "father," for lack of a better word, actually intended to fully educate him and would have left him with a workable, if outdated, method of interaction with people. Sadly he died before Edwards education was finished.
And for some reason, felt it was safer to give Edward large pairs of scissors for hands while teaching him manners, and then present him with proper replica working hands to replace the scissors only once the manners training had been finished. Because that would work so well...
The eponymous character of Nell. Raised completely isolated with only her mother, who had a speech impediment due to a stroke, she spoke a language called "Nellish" that was almost unintelligible to anyone else. Initially completely terrified of strangers, but gets better.
The anthropologists studying her eventually figure out "Nellish" is just English, garbled by the speech impediment and years of living completely alone. Once they figure this out, the ability to treat it as a cipher instead of a completely unique language makes communication much easier. It also reveals that, language barrier aside, Nell can be quite eloquent when she wants to be.
Griff The Invisible: Both Griff and Melody. Griff's very shy and childlike, so basic daily interaction with other people is quite a struggle for him, and he's so wrapped up in his own world that he's usually barely paying attention to anything else anyway. Melody's more confident, but has very little comprehension of social rules or other people, which makes it hard to communicate, or understand what others are feeling or why they're acting a certain way.
In Shine, David, after his breakdown — one notable example being that he thinks nothing of groping the breasts of the elderly lady who is looking after him in church while she is playing the organ (getting understandable stares from those present).
Chris in The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime. The author has said that the book is not about Asperger syndrome, and Chris' condition is not stated (although it's known that he attends a special school), but the blurb of the book commonly refers to high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome. Chris doesn't have any friends and he can't understand facial expressions.
Princess Ida from Piers Anthony's Xanth series was accidentally left with the nymphs by the stork. As a result (due to the magic surrounding the nymph territory that wipes the previous day's memories away), she has absolutely no memories past her 12th birthday, at which she was rescued and raised by the (never mentioned again) Otterbees (basically sentient otters with a typically punnish name). Other than her lack of knowledge about human culture (mostly courtship and mating), she's stunningly well-adjusted.
In Kelley Armstrong's Women Of The Otherworld series, Clayton Danvers was bitten and Changed into a werewolf when he was five years old. He spent two years as a Wild Child in Louisiana's bayous before being domesticated by another werewolf. He eventually relearned human customs such as "privacy" and "physical contact", but does not understand them and chooses not to observe them unless absolutely necessary. His thoughts are more wolfish than those of other werewolves, as he was Changed at five instead of fifteen. As a child, he was often assumed to be mentally retarded since he rarely spoke and even then rarely in complete sentences.
In Brooks' World War Z, this phenomenon becomes a lingering social problem after the Zombie Apocalypse which ravaged western society, as orphaned children who were separated from their parents (by death or worse) and who managed to survive in the wild grow up feral.
The eponymous character of Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land: Valentine Michael Smith. His naive approach to society makes him a strange saintly figure. He's coming to it all cold: as a baby was the only survivor of the first crewed mission to Mars, and was subsequently raised by Martians: Starfish Aliens.
The narrator of Karen Hesse's The Music of Dolphins was the only survivor of an airplane crash in the Caribbean as a very young child, and was taken in by a pod of dolphins. She's reasonably healthy when she's found by (aside from minor considerations, such as having barnacles all over her) and, unlike other Wild Children in the center that's taking care of her, she can connect with people and understand language, because dolphins are that awesome. However, the betrayals and confused feelings from the scientists studying her turn her away from them, and eventually she is allowed to return to the sea and her dolphin family.
In Jane Lindskold's Firekeeper novels, the eponymous character was Raised by Wolves, talking intelligent ones. She never manages to fully master elementary grammar, writing, or table manners, but elsewhere she's far from naive.
Dondi Snayheever from Tim Powers' Last Call is socially incompetent. He was walled up inside a giant Skinner box by his father for virtually his entire childhood, surrounded by oversized paintings of playing cards and books about poker. His father was trying to condition his child to be the ultimate poker player, but lack of human contact left Dondi unable to judge other players' intentions.
Death (The Grim Reaper) is notable particularly in the later novels for his fascination with, and often hilarious attempts to imitate, humans.
The appropriately named Hunter in the Gone series. After accidentally killing a friend with his mutant powers he is brutally hit in the head by Zil, leaving him partially brain damaged. Because of this he slurs his words a lot and doesn't understand some things. He is trained by the nearby coyotes (who are mutant, and can speak somewhat) on how to hunt, so is the primary food bringer for Perdido Beach along with Quinn and his fishermen.
Petaybee - Cita, a character in the second book, was raised by members of a cult and, for months after being freed, refers to herself as "Goat-dung".
Jenna in Jane Yolen's Great Alta Saga. She was raised in Seldan Hame, which, unlike the rest of the Dales, is largely untouched by the "superior" culture of the Garunian invaders.
In Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters Henry/Whistle is Raised By Deepmen. His lack of adjustment once on land isn't helped by the fact that he's also a Half-Human Hybrid.
Spider Robinson's Callahans Crosstime Saloon series - Reverend Tom Hauptmann from the short story "The Time Traveler", Hauptmann had spent more than a decade in a Central American prison; the decade in question was the 1960s, and upon his rescue/release, he was completely unprepared for the complete and bewildering sea-change the United States had undergone in that time.
Oskar in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Sometimes when they played "Reconnaissance Expedition," his father would deliberately set up missions in which Oskar was forced to talk to people, because his father wanted him to get better at it.
Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Harry Wong most certainly has this problem. He is rather rude, impatient, and violent. One time, he went to his pal Jack Emery's house in the middle of the night, knocked on Jack's door, kicked it in when Jack didn't answer it fast enough, causing an alarm to blare for the whole neighborhood to hear, and then Harry simply punched out the alarm system to make it stop! Harry got an appropriate talking to for that!
In The Dark Tower series, Roland spent a very long timenote Exactly how long is unknown, especially since space and time are rather fluid concepts in Mid-World, but it's implied to have been years, if not decades alone in the desert, obsessing over the tower and chasing the Man in Black. This causes him to forget how to deal with people. Lampshaded in an incident where he is being charming and funny while talking to some elderly villagers, and Susannah wonders if this is what he was like "before the desert turned him strange."
In Rally Round the Flag, Boys!, professional soldier Walker Hoxie spent his whole childhood being abused by civilians, explaining why he treats "feather merchants" with undisguised contempt.
Mr. Bean - Possibly the ultimate example is Mr. Bean himself who lacks a knowledge of social conventions, never demonstrates normal human thought processes, and even occasionally shows a lack of natural fear (shushing people whilst he's on a roller-coaster). In one set of titles he is beamed down from space, but possibly this is metaphor for his unearthliness.
The eponymous protagonist of Kyle XY. In the first episode, he awakes naked in the middle of the woods, with no memories or social skills.
Anya from was very much one of these characters. She was a 1,000-year-old demon trying to learn how to be a passable human. At least, at first it was that simple; later on it was revealed that she was born human (1,000 years ago in Sjornjost), and still later it was shown that she'd always talked and acted like an eccentric even in her original human life.
It was still extremely strange, and a case of writers not thinking the character through, when you consider that to do her job when she was a vengeance demon, Anyanka (her demon name) had to manipulate women into making vengeance wishes that began with the words "I wish...." It's hard to do that with no social skills. She is an example of this trope, but it was inconsistent with what she did as a demon to write her as one.
BuffyBot from Buffy the Vampire Slayer exhibited this behavior, though obviously it was because her programming was too limited to make her have natural responses.
Jayne, in Firefly. Joss Whedon compared him to Anya in that they both said things that everybody else might be thinking but would not dare say out loud.
Mark Corrigan in Peep Show is a neurotic mess in social situations of any kind.
Temperance Brennan is loner and a workaholic, she's completely ignorant of pop culture and responds to most movie and television references with "I don't know what that means." Her grasp on social niceties is also tenuous, but she sets herself apart from most TV characters by being willing and able to learn how to deal with people. She seems to be a combination of a mild degree of Asperger's, combined with an academic detachment from reality.
Zack Addy is another one with No Social Skills, a textbook loner nerd who understands that social politics are occurring, but can't figure out what to do with this information. note In the Pilot episode, Zack acted more like a very smart but slightly awkward young guy, and even made sarcastic jokes and used slang. He exhibits Asperger's Syndrome; which made the revelation that he was Gormagon's apprentice completely and totally out of character.
NCIS - Ziva David is ridiculed by the moviephile DiNozzo for her unfamiliarity with pop culture references and idioms: she once wanted to take a quick "bat nap" and referred to a rare mistake as "once in a blue lagoon". It's hinted in one of the later seasons that she actually is learning these idioms, but keeps it up as Obfuscating Stupidity, leading people to underestimate her.
Data's android "daughter" Lal. She was well-versed in "book learning", but not in social interaction. When she saw a couple kissing in Ten Forward, she exclaimed "That man is biting that female!" Data had No Social Skills himself, during the early series.
"Suddenly Human" featured a human boy raised by aliens with a violent culture who couldn't fit in with human society.
In his youth, Worf was unskilled when visiting his family in the Klingon Empire, after being raised by humans. He's apparently gotten better as an adult, but is still considered rather uptight and overly serious. When he acts according to Federation values (like mercy, democracy, humility, etc) he tends to get odd looks and confused reactions though.
Earlier, there was the Holodoc, whose bedside manner in the early seasons could be boiled down to "Please identify type of pain: burning, stabbing, stinging..."
Star Trek: The Original Series: The episode "Charlie X" featured a human child raised by incorporeal aliens who has no concept of how to interact with his fellow humans, especially women.
Luke Smith from The Sarah Jane Adventures is at a loss in social situations. Thankfully he becomes more sophisticated so as time goes on. After all, he's being raised in a "normal" high school environment and is a quick learner due to both his age and his genes.
He was grown by aliens: human but created to be a "Human Archetype" so that they could do tests on him He has the absorbed intelligence of the thousands of people but not their social skills.
Charlie Crews in Life, having spent the last twelve years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. The most common is his unfamiliarity with the things like cell phones and instant messaging.
Walter Bishop in Fringe is awkward as a central character trait: he's locked up in a a mental institution, completely isolated from the world for the past seventeen years. And he is missing key parts of his brain - that he had someone else take out.
Cameron from The Sarah Connor Chronicles, since she is a terminator. Skynet's human disguise program: hot on the visuals, crap with the chat.
Interestingly, in the pilot, before she is revealed as a Robot Girl, she seems like a normal teenage girl, trying to make friends with John Connor.
Cameron's shown the ability to fake human interaction long enough to get information out of people. It's only when she's being herself that she struggles.
Hymie the robot from Get Smart. Despite having superhuman abilities, he has the tendency to follow orders too literally.
Jarod, the eponymous character from The Pretender, is a super-genius who was raised in a lab. When he escapes, he has to learn about common everyday things like Pez at roughly age 35. While his talents include picking up new skills quickly, he tends to be over-analytical about things like The Three Stooges (which he eventually decided was funny anyway).
Castiel from Supernatural is an angel who hasn't spent a lot of time down on earth, so he tends to lack basic knowledge of human etiquette, as well as failing to grasp the concept of sarcasm, rhetorical questions, and metaphor when he's first starting out. He also doesn't quite get the point of goodbyes or even of ending conversations in a conclusive manner. Once he's done saying what he wants to say, he goes poof, even if the other person isn't done yet.
Parker from Leverage. Quite possibly the world's greatest cat burglar; requires cheat sheets and extensive coaching to carry on a passing-for-normal conversation, and doesn't see why her male teammates freak out whenever she whips her shirt off in front of them to execute a quick-change.
As a child, she thought that being buried alive was an appropriate way to get over her fear of the dark. As an adult, she compared it to Eliot locking himself in a shed for a few nights to get over his claustrophobia. "That's NOT the same thing. What's wrong with you?"
Word Of God is she has Asperger's, explaining her behavior.
In the show itself, it's mentioned that Parker is capable of acting relatively normally (such as a wine-dispensing member of the wait staff at a formal party), but only when she's fully aware that it's an act designed purely to deceive a mark.
Monk struggles to have a normal conversation even with cue cards. A few episodes have subverted this, though, by showing that he can actually be reasonably personable at times, it's just buried under layers of neuroses. For example, a large part of the plot of "Mr. Monk Is On The Air" is devoted to Monk's concerns about his deficient sense of humour. The episode ends with him watching his wedding video, and in it, he's laughing uproariously. It doesn't help that Monk's mother is shown to have been far more obsessive compulsive, and raised her sons to fear and obey her obsessions. Monk's father left the family because of her obsessive behavior, leaving the two sons to be Raised by Wolves.
His brother Ambrose is even worse, to the point of being a shut-in.
Interestingly, there are rare times when Monk seemingly forgets his phobias and awkwardness and just acts like a normal person. However, this happens rarely, and he has no memory of it. This is revealed when a rapper (played by Snoop Dogg) shows up to ask for Monk's help in clearing his name. Monk starts acting gangsta and eagerly accepts the case. After the rapper leaves, Monk goes back to his old self and assumes he said "no".
An episode of The X-Files features the monster of the week as an entire feral family. It's hinted that the family has lived down through the centuries like this, and are the source of the legend of the Jersey Devil.
Doctor Who - The Doctor has moments of acting like this, more so in some incarnations than others. It's partly Obfuscating Stupidity, partly the fact that a time-traveling alien can hardly be expected to understand the social mores of every time and place he visits, and sometimes just the way he is. Particularly strong with the the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and the Eleventh (Matt Smith). For a classic example, see "The Lodger".
There was one My Name Is Earl where he found a guy he left out in the woods who seemed completely wild (even though he was a full grown adult when it happened). Part of the reasons for his behavior was eating berries in the forest, and things had gotten so bad that he married a raccoon. It drew comparisons between him and Tarzan, until the end when it turns out that the man had An acute case of schizoid or avoidant personality disorder, and would never be able to assimilate into regular society without drugs. Earl decided the best thing to do would be to release him into the wild where he was happiest.
Jan Kandou from Juken Sentai Gekiranger, raised by pandas and tigers. He calls himself a "tiger boy" and demonstrates incredible strength, such as having a tree fall on him with no effect. It takes him a few episodes to master the concept of things like doors. His defining trait, though, is that, while he can speak proper Japanese, he colours it with made-up babytalk words such as "nikiniki (happy) and "zowazowa" (danger).
The Gosei Angels in Tensou Sentai Goseiger suffer from this to some extent, though the Landicks are slightly less affected than the other three.
Sion in Mirai Sentai Timeranger, an alien who was raised on Earth in a laboratory. He has a strange sense of what's socially appropriate, including, in one memorable incident, stating that he "loves" Domon - right in front of a crowd of girls that Domon was trying to pick up.
Hiromu Sakurada in Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, who is blunt, rude and Brutally Honest often with no idea that he's said or done anything wrong; and has little idea of how to interact with others. Interestingly, he is the only team member who grew up outside of EMC, whereas Yoko and Ryuji (who have spent most of their lives there) are fairly normal. However, they do show occasional signs of this, such as in one episode where they don't seem to know how to dress outside of uniform and wear very outdated clothes to go to an amusement park.
Many of the characters on The Office are ... awkward, but on the American version, Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute seem tangentially acquainted with human society at best. Michael was clearly raised by pop culture, and expects everything to work out in real life the way it does in movies and on television. Dwight was raised on an insular beet farm without most of the niceties of civilization:
Dwight: She introduced me to so many things. Pasteurized milk. Sheets. Monotheism. Presents on your birthday. Preventative medicine.
Dwight's cousin Mose is even worse. On the U.K. Office, David Brent isn't quite as bad as Michael Scott. Gareth Keenan is almost as bad as Dwight, though more militant than rural.
The Thick of It contains several examples. Olly, himself book-smart but not streetwise, asks hapless press officer John Duggan "I'm not being horrible, but are you actually autistic?". Further along the autism spectrum is unseen Prime Minister Tom Davis, whose social skills are so lacking that the press officers doubt that they should let him out in public.
Maura Isles, of Rizzoli & Isles, is very much this trope. She's also very sweet. Luckily, she has her street smart best friend Jane Rizzoli to help:
Jane: Did you ever like the same boy as your best friend?
Jane: Did you ever have a best friend?
Maura: (beat) No.
Jane: (laughing) You would tell me if you were a cyborg, wouldn't you?
Claudia also has a lot of social awkwardness and has no idea how to behave with a boy she likes. Being locked up in a mental institution for years probably has something to do with it, as well as her being a genius.
The Outer Limits episode The Human Operators features a sentient spaceship that keeps a lone human man as a slave to repair and maintain it when needed. One day, a female slave is brought on board and the ship orders them to mate and beget the next generation of slaves. The man, having lived on the ship his whole life, has no idea what to do and has to be coached by the female. There's a hilarious/cute scene where, after the woman guides his hand over her breasts, the man double takes and looks down at his first Raging Stiffie.
Power Rangers RPM has Doctor K, who was raised in a top-secret government think tank where her entire life consisted of research ever since she was a toddler. It shows.
Fast forward a bit in the series and you have Sheldon's Distaff Counterpart Amy, who doesn't quite understand that making weird pseudo lesbian comments about her "bestie" Penny is a tad bit uncomfortable for her, and Leonard's mother who is also just like Sheldon — the irony being that she's a psychologist and frequently calls out social problems in others.
Sheldon's mother, too, in her own way. She's the sweetest, kindest, most caring person on the planet—but she lives in such her own little bubble that she doesn't realize how offensive the things she says are. (To her credit, when the offensiveness of something she says is pointed out to her, she'll try to avoid saying it, although it is clear she doesn't quite understand why.)
Gary: I do lie, I've been practicing. It's a social skill. Like the other day when I said I was gonna have a pudding pop, I was lying 'cause I don't like pudding pops. ... That was a lie, I do like pudding pops. I just knew we didn't have any.
Taking the above a step further, Big Brother had Bonnie Holt, from Leicester, East Midlands, United Kingdom, who may or may not have Asperger's Syndrome, but her behavior indicates traces of it, if the YouTube footage of her is anything to go by.
Saga from Bron Broen, an extreme By-the-Book Cop with no apparent understanding of jokes, unwritten laws or comforting lies. She refuses to promise a missing girl's relative that they'll find her alive, picks up a guy in a bar by asking if he wants to have sex, and has no idea why her partner's weirded out when she his eighteen-year-old son spends the night at her place. She doesn't even get why she should tell him they didn't actually have sex until a co-worker suggests it - at which point she explains in front of everyone.
In a week long Garfield storyline Jon fell in love with a woman in a rec center who had been Raised by Wolves. She had only been in civilization for a week and she had tendencies like scratching her head with her foot, messily devouring her food, trying to bite off her foot when her shoe was too tight, and howling at the moon.
Cartoonstock.com has a number of single-panel cartoons on the subject, including one about a guy who was raised by a pack of wolves, and the cleaning lady who came in twice a month. That's right, in an apartment.
In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, one breed of Garou werewolves, the lupus-born, were actually wolves who could take human form, with all the foreseeable consequences when they tried to blend into human society. Oddly enough, it was usually assumed that after their first transformation most of them could automatically speak whatever language was prevalent in the country were born in, just as human-born werewolves instinctively knew wolf language, but they couldn't necessarily speak it well. It's a lot of fun to tell a Werewolf NPC that the Lupus was raised by wolves when he shows a distinct indifference to conventional standards of politeness. Or hygiene.
The degrees to which Lupus Garou assimilated human customs and language varied with the individual. Red Talons, a human-hating all-Lupus tribe, were generally the least knowledgeable about humans and preferred to stay that way. The other tribes all include both Lupus and Homid Garou.
The other shapeshifting Changing Breeds also get their share of this, as all of them include animal-born members as well. Given the Changing Breeds include rats, reptiles, spiders and sharks, things can get... interesting.
In the Arthaus Ravenloft product Heroes of Light, a caliban (= mutant) paladin born with a tiger's head was abandoned at birth in a Japanese-themed domain, and was raised by the kami animal-spirits that found him. Although they taught him the idealized conduct of a samurai and holy man, they couldn't teach him how to deal with the less-than-ideal behavior of ordinary folk.
AI characters and the occasional transhuman in Eclipse Phase have the Real World Naivete trait, which causes them to hugely misunderstand ordinary events.
The Silencers from the Crusader games may like this. Depending on which version of their creation and training is true, they may be either taken from their parents in their youth and trained in a completely isolated facility or grown in vats, and then raised and trained in a completely isolated facility.
Victor von Gerdenheim, of the Darkstalkers series of fighting games, is a Frankenstein's Monster who was barely raised at all before the Doctor's untimely death. Victor is so unacquainted with the very concept of death that he takes his "father"'s unmoving silence to be disappointment, and is extremely perplexed at his "sister" Emily's refusal to wake up. In the comics, Victor and Emily both mistake the Professor's lack of movement and silence as sleeping, then after a few months feel it must be sickness.
Rozalin from Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, due to her being raised in complete isolation from the real world. Which was intentional on the part of the Big Bad so she would remain a socially retarded idiot completely devoted to him for her entire life.
Several of the main cast members of Final Fantasy VIII spent at least part of their childhoods in the training academy of a mercenary company. The ones who enrolled around the age of ten or so got away with relatively mild emotional issues, but Squall, who enrolled at about the age of five or six, was given no help getting through his separation trauma, and immediately began a form of training which eroded his long-term memory, might as well have been Raised by Wolves. Atypically for the trope, Squall is perfectly aware (and frankly doesn't care) that he's not behaving according to social norms... but having never bothered to learn how to act like a normal human being, when he tries, he's generally horrible at it.
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance - Ike fits this trope. He's a common mercenary raised by his father Greil to be honest and treat others equally, which is all very good until he arrives at Begnion with its divided classes and strict customs. He ultimately ends up yelling at their beloved apostle before the entire senate without even knowing the gravity of his actions. Fortunately his Raised by Wolves nature makes him one of the few beorc to gain the laguz's trust.
To a degree, Lyndis aka Lyn from the Blazing Sword games. Being the daughter of a Lorca chieftain and a Lycian princess, she found herself at quite the loss after meeting her Lycian grandfather and staying with him in court. more information is in her supports with Eliwood.
At one point in Neverwinter Nights 2, Duncan comments to the PC that the latter's foster father Daeghun is so inept at dealing with such things as "people" and "emotions" that the PC might have been better off if he/she had been Raised by Wolves. In this case the trope may or may not apply to the PC, who adhere to it depending on background choices such as "Wild Child" or subvert it with other, more socially adept ones that the player can choose during character creation, but without a doubt applies to Daeghun.
Persona 3: It's never exactly clear how Elizabeth was raised, but she has no idea how the world outside the Velvet Room functions when you take her out on dates in FES. Among other things, she thinks you're supposed to kill the people on a Wanted Poster, believes a manhole is a pitfall trap, and gets trapped inside a jungle gym when she tries to play on it.
Elizabeth's younger brother Theodore in Persona 3 Portable is similarly clueless. Considering that he can drink a can of machine oil with no ill effects and tell to the degree the temperature of water by dipping his hand in it, it's a reasonable bet that he and his sisters aren't human to begin with.
Their eldest sister Margaret in Persona 4, on the other hand, seems well aware of how the world works, although she only leaves the Velvet Room once (to speak to the protagonist in private). Whether her savviness is due to greater experience with the world or whether Elizabeth and Theodore are simply quirky by nature is left open to Wild Mass Guessing.
It is possible that Theodore and Elizabeth told Margaret about the real world.
Fina from Skies of Arcadia fits this perfectly, having no concept of things like shopping. Her big brother, Ramirez, ends up suffering some pretty tragic consequences due to his similar upbringing.
In Tales of Legendia, Jay was raised by a ninja, and then hundreds of talking otters. He's an antisocial "information dealer".
Morrigan of Dragon Age: Origins was raised alone in a swamp by her mother Flemeth the Witch of the Wilds. Flemeth taught her two things: 1) Shapeshifting, and 2) that she could trust nobody except herself in order to make it easier for Flemeth to steal Morrigan's body. Small wonder Morrigan isn't very good with people (to put it lightly).
If you earn high approval with Morrigan as a male character but do not romance her, she will comment that she literally did not know it was possible to befriend a man.
Merrill in Dragon Age II is a Dalish elf with absolutely no experience with humans. She is somewhat socially inept among her own people, but among humans with no grasp of concepts like 'laws' she has a lot of trouble. It doesn't help that she's casually using Blood Magic.
Fenris of the same game spent the entirety of his life, as far as he remembers, as a slave to one of the horrifically evil Tevinter Magisters and only recently escaped. As such, he has difficulty relating to other people at best, plus a lot of rage issues, especially with mages. This is most evident with his often hostile interactions with Merrill.
Béluga of Solatorobo has such poor social skills that even just asking the locals simple questions ends up with them all mad at him. However, when interacting with his teammates, he doesn't seem all that awkward. Once he does his Heel-Face Turn, he decides to leave missions involving socialization to Red and Elh.
Arcueid Brunestud, the vampire princess in Tsukihime has an abnormal way of interacting socially. She was created as a living weapon. Despite living for centuries, she's only been awake for a year or so; and she tended to erase her memories when going back to sleep. While she does get some cultural information via psychic osmosis, she remains awkward.
In Little Busters, Natsume Rin is incapable of having anything even remotely resembling a conversation with anyone except her brother and Childhood Friends, and even then, her behaviour seems extremely awkward at times. When someone who isn't her brother or childhood friend attempts to talk to her, she will either try to hide behind Riki's back or run away. If you make the right choices, however, she can get better.
For a subtle example, Haruka tends to act very wild and weird and insensitive to other people. She admits in her route that this is because she hardly ever met any other kids her own age when she was a child, being forbidden from going to school, so she finds it hard to understand how she's expected to act in social situations.
In Magical Diary, Toad and Snake Halls are reserved for 'strange' characters, including melodramatic goths and basement-dwellers fascinated by watching mold grow. The semi-Secret Character Big Steve appears completely unable to deal with social situations or even talking to people unless it's about one of his odd favorite topics. Like coffee.
Vera Misham from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is a Hikikomori of the highest caliber. She and her father have lived in their apartment for all of her life. He only ever went outside when it was absolutely necessary, and she had never been outside her apartment except for one time when she was taken to see a troupe of performing magicians. As a result, she usually expresses her very basic emotions by drawing them in the form of a smiley face on her art pad.
Danganronpa: As shown in the page quote, Ishimaru is so wrapped up in being a good student that he's inexperienced with regular social interaction and makes his first real friend at his new school. It's too bad that friend is convicted of murder soon afterward.
In El Goonish Shive, Grace spent most of her life in a laboratory, where she was treated as a something between an experimental animal and a weapon project by most of the scientists (as were her brothers). After Damien 'freed' them, she spent several more years more or less imprisoned in an underground base. She is implausibly well-adjusted despite this, but is unfamiliar with many aspects of mainstream culture, and is often quite naive.
In Pandect, almost all the Ace characters from wild animal species are like this at first.
Antimony spent her childhood, up to about age eleven, wandering Good Hope Hospital while her mother was bedridden. Her only company was her parents and various incarnations of Death. As a result, upon beginning school at the Court, Annie has more difficulty engaging in normal small-talk with students her own age than she does dealing with mythological beasts and other weirdness.
Red is ignorant of haircuts and words like "chair" and "room", due to being a fairy for most of her life. However, it's implied that she would be able to fit in had she paid better attention during her "So You're a Human Now" orientation classes.
Zimmy was forced to raise herself in the back alleys of Birmingham, due to the immense psychological trauma her uncontrolled powers can inflict on the people around her.
In Misfile Ash tends to blame her failure to grasp even basic social dynamics on the fact that she's not really a girl but that doesn't even begin to cover it. Then there is Rumisiel and Vashiel, but of course Angels are different.
In Sluggy Freelance Aylee is a Justified case since she is an alien from another dimension. Her social blunders range from the awkward: thinking that women check out guys' butts because they want an efficient pooper, to the highly dangerous: forgetting that humans need to breathe, or thinking that driving a car works like the video game Carmageddon.
The eponymous Dawn of Time: her behavior is far more primitive than other humans in her time period. One strip implies that she was raised by a Neanderthal.
Black Adventures plays N this way. He's never heard of Christmas and isn't doesn't understand how to deal with jealousy.
Jade Harley, Nepeta Leijon and Gamzee Makara in Homestuck. Though in Gamzee's case it might just be the effects of Faygo and sopor slime. Though he's muchworse when he doesn't have the slime...
Also, Meenah, who is the Brutally Honest type. Rose lampshades this in the first Act 6 Act 3 Intermission walkaround flash by telling her that she isn't very good with other people, is she, but admits that she isn't really as well, though that might just have been politeness. Either way, Meenah completely ignores the comment. Aranea could be seen as this as well, given that she admitted she never really had any friends other than Meenah because she was kind of a wordy show-off who always turned conversation back to herself.
Jake is similar to Jade due to their near identical upbringings, but Jake's tendency to ramble on about his own problems and remain oblivious to other's feelings is to the point that it resembles some sort of disorder and colossally annoys the people around him to an extent never seen with Jade.
Kankri, who is completely oblivious to the way his preaching grates on the other players in his session.
Taku from Mitadake Saga has no tact whatsoever. Not to mention he continues to pop up at the most inopportune of times.
In Worm, there are several characters who demonstrate their incompetence at interpersonal stuff, but the case that stands out the most is Rachel Lindt — an neglected and abused foster child who ends up gaining dog-related powers and becoming the supervillain Bitch. (Her social incompetence is exacerbated by the way her power overwrote her human social instincts with canine.)
Jobe Wilkins of the Whateley Universe. What happens if you grow up the son of a supervillain who has his own country? You're a Crown Prince with no one to tell you 'don't do that'. Add in that he's possibly the most brilliant bio-inventor on the planet (it runs in the family), and you have a guy with no social skills, no need to acquire social skill,s nad no interest in acquiring social skills. The closest he had to 'friends' were when other supervillains let their kids come over for 'playdates', and even they found him insufferable.
The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Jane Eyre, the protagonist of this Setting Update web series. She's really shown to behave a bit strangely around people, and she openly acknowledges it to camera when she's shooting. She has troubles to come up with a good opening line.
Jane: First I'm awkward to people, now I'm awkward to inanimate objects, too...
Rocko's Modern Life features Heffer the steer, who has constant trouble with social conventions. He was literally Raised by Wolves, in this case a dysfunctional family of lupine suburbanites.
Superboy from the animated series Young Justice is a clone of Superman who was grown in 16 weeks and fed information via telepathic genomorphs. Suffice to say he finds it difficult to deal with people, particularly his new teammates, when he's just beginning to adjust to life outside of CADMUS.
Also, M'Gann who had learned about Earth by watching TV and is ignorant of more common social behaviours and struggles to learn what is appropriate with regards to telepathy and privacy. This comes up with an in-universe case of Values Dissonance when M'Gann shapeshifted into Black Canary while kissing Conner. J'Onn says that it's common to shape-shift for a partner since everyone can read minds and wouldn't be confused. Black Canary was still very upset.
The Earl of Lemongrab from Adventure Time definitely fit this trope. Lemongrab has no social skills because he's mentally unadjusted from being the product of a failed science experiment.
The Ice King is insane. His only friends are penguins, and even Finn and Jake, the main characters, find him to be an obnoxious jerk even though they have a grudging friendship.
Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Hell, half the reason she's in Ponyville is so she can learn about friendship. (And let's not even get into the fact that she needed a book to tell her what a slumber party was and how to throw it...)
In the episode "Baby Cakes", she casually (and innocently) tells Pinkie Pie that she pretty much expected Pinkie would be out of her depth caring for twin babies. She doesn't appear to notice that Pinkie is offended by this statement even as Pinkie kicks her out of Sugarcube Corner.
And possibly by the (apparent) lack of artificial light before her banishment, making a huge difference in who would be awake after sundown and why. Prior to the existence of "night life" almost all her interactions with ponies would either involve herding groups of terrified ponies (behaving badly) or dealing with the sorts who would be up (and probably behaving badly). This would explain a lot about her personality and mannerisms.
Zuko and Azula from Avatar The Last Airbender were raised in a royal court and have little experience with casual interaction. Zuko, mainly through Character Development, is better off, but Azula is far worse, to the point that it's almost painful to watch-she has NO ability to socially function outside of a battle.
In The Legend Of Korra, Korra, Avatar Aang's reincarnation, was whisked away to a compound deep in the south pole where she could master the four elements in complete safety and security. The only problem? After coming to Republic City with only her best friend Naga (a Polar-Bear Dog), she is almost completely tactless when it comes to dealing with the locals of the city and proves to be Innocently Insensitive when she winds up involved in a Love Triangle. A lot of people are able to influence her because of this.