Listen - what I said before, John? I meant it. I don't have
friends. I've just got one.
Some characters have True Companions
. Some characters have social circles (however limited
they may be). Alice doesn't have that. Alice has Bob. Just
There are two possible variations on the Alice character here:
- Alice is shy or a bit of a misfit, but ultimately a nice person. Bob is the only one to take the time to get to know her and realize that she's actually pretty cool.
- Alice is a Jerkass or otherwise hard to get along with. Bob is the only one willing to put up with her shenanigans.
There are also two variations on the Bob character:
- Bob is a fellow misfit who was drawn to Alice because neither of them had any other friends.
- Bob is the one with all the social skills, and may try to help Alice make more friends and/or smooth over situations where her behavior has caused problems.
While Alice-1s often go along with Bob-1s and Alice-2s with Bob-2s, they can be mixed and matched: a shy Alice might have a social Bob who tries to draw her out of her shell, while a mean Alice might have a shy Bob who's stuck with her because he's lonely or doesn't have the nerve to ditch her.
In many stories, an Only Friend doesn't stay that way for long: a nice Alice will usually have learned to make friends by the end of the story, while a mean Alice will often find Bob finally getting fed up and leaving her.
Compare with Living Emotional Crutch
, which might be at play in an extreme form of this trope.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Helena Bertinelli, aka the Huntress, had only one friend, the Black Canary. This was primarily because Huntress was a borderline-sociopathic misanthropic loner, so she was an Alice-II. Eventually, Huntress seemed to be forming friendships with a couple of other characters, notably Renee Montoya (the new Question), and Oracle. All this, of course, was in the old DCU; now we're back to Helena Wayne.
- Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Brainstorm is a quirky Mad Scientist with a Lack of Empathy, a penchant for making weapons so utterly unethical he's built up a reputation for them, and a Heroic Comedic Sociopath streak. Chromedome is his only friend, a fact he acknowledges to have Brainstorm do him a few favors. Brainstorm actually cares for Chromedome, and tries to talk him out of erasing all the memories of his now dead lover Rewind to spare himself the pain. He admits to seeing him do it 3 times before, and is concerned about him, worrying about his mental health and his lack of coping abilities. He gives Chromedome Rewind's last message, and leaves him to do what Chromedome thinks is best.
- In Watchmen, Rorschach's only friend is Nite-Owl, and even his patience is really tested with Rorschach's personal habits and extreme opinions.
- Jenny to Forrest Gump in their youth. And Bubba to him in the war. And then Lt. Dan for a time after the war.
- Back to the Future: Marty McFly is all Doc has, except for his dogs. Doc is an Alice-1, a decent and loyal man who happens to have the reputation of being a Mad Scientist. Marty himself is implied to be part Bob-1 and Bob-2, as he is a Cool Loser who nonetheless knows enough about making friends to have the fellow members of his garage band.
- Dante to Randal in Clerks and Clerks II, which is why Randal is so rattled by the thought of Dante leaving in the second one.
Randal: You think I wanna start making friends at my age? Christ, who would want me as their friend? I hate everyone, and everything seems stupid to me, but you were always the counter-balance to that. The guy who was the yin to my yang. Now what the fuck am I gonna do for the rest of my life?
- In the first Harry Potter book, Ron is Harry's only friend. Harry probably isn't Ron's only friend but since it's Harry's story we don't see Ron outside his interactions with Harry (though Harry probably is Ron's best/most important friend, since while we don't see the story from Ron's point of view, we do know that Harry spends most of his time with Ron, and hence the logical inference is that Ron also spends most of his time with Harry). Hermione begins the year friendless and isn't friends with Harry and Ron until midway through the book.
- It's hinted that Ron's younger sister Ginny was this to Luna Lovegood, as one of the few people who didn't straightforwardly reject her for being odd.
- From what we see of Snape's memories, it's made clear that his only real friend was Harry's mother, Lily, until she ended the friendship at the end of their fifth year because he called her racist epithets when she was trying to help him.. In his adult life, if he has a friend, it's Dumbledore; he's certainly the only person who truly knows and likes him.
- Sherlock Holmes' idiosyncrasies and general lack of interest in other humans except as puzzles ensures that Watson is his entire social circle.
Watson: That was surely the bell. Who could come to-night? Some friend of yours, perhaps?
Holmes: Except yourself I have none. I do not encourage visitors.
- By "The Final Problem," Holmes appears to have some Character Development, writing in his note to Watson how his coming death will cause grief to Holmes' friends, and in "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons" enjoys the regular visits of Inspector Lestrade.
- John Cleaver from the I Am Not a Serial Killer trilogy is friends with another social outcast Max in order to try and avert falling into Loners Are Freaks. Despite his sociopathic nature, John makes other friends in the sequels but is so focused on his quest he pretty much still only has one friend at a time, leaving poor Max friendless.
- In The Princess Bride, Fezzik and Inigo are each other's only friend (at least until they team up with Westley and Buttercup). However, as these things go they both seem fairly easy to get along with, so it probably has more to do with that they're busy doing Vizzini's bidding, Inigo is obsessed with avenging his father, Fezzik is used to being an outcast, and it emphasizes their Heterosexual Life-Partners relationship.
- Francis is Michael's only friend in The Traitor Game. Not the other way round, though; there are mentions of Francis's other friends. They're both a mix of the two types. Michael don't easily make friends (and when he does form a friendship, he manages to break it), but that's only because he was bullied at his previous school. And while Francis is a Nice Guy and a Cool Loser, he's also a bit of a misfit - possibly because of his friendship with Michael and his homosexuality - and he too sees Evgard as an escape from everything else.
- Before the main events of The Hunger Games, Katniss's only friend was Gale, unless you counted the sort-of-friendship she had with the mayor's daughter, Madge, as they both were loners at school and therefore got paired up together in activities by default.
- The Mortal Instruments: Simon Lewis to Clary Fray.
- A Running Gag in the one man play "Shylock" is that Tubal is Shylock's best friend - well, his only friend.
- In Chess, Florence is Freddie's only friend, although by the end of the first act even she has gotten fed up with his Jerkass behavior and left him. (Which, given what we see of their interactions, is less surprising than the fact that she was with him in the first place.)
- In Wicked, Elphaba is a mix of Alice-1 and Alice-2, while her only friend Glinda is a Bob-2.
- In Katawa Shoujo, Lilly is initially Hanako's only friend, until Hanako falls in love with Hisao in her own route, and befriends Hisao and the members of the Newspaper Club in Lilly's route.
- Shizune and Misha are also this to one another unless you take Shizune's route, although Hisao says in Lilly's route that he considers both of them his friends.
- In Bionic Heart, the only friend Luke seems to have at work is Tom, who is the social type trying to help Luke get out more. This makes it all the worse when Luke learns that Tom was having an affair with Helen, his girlfriend. And then if Luke chooses to tell him about Tanya, the fugitive android hiding in Luke's apartment that was manufactured by their company, Tom sells Luke out to the company to ensure his own safety.
- Many people who are autistic or have other neurological disabilities, especially if they are in their school years, will often be Alice-1s, though sometimes this is combined with the Jerkass aspects of Alice-2 and either have nice neurotypical Bob-2 friends or else act as Bob-1s to others like themselves.
- True for many people who are naturally shy, or who are perceived as "weird" by most of their peers.
- Some people are just plain asocial and don't see a point in huge amounts of friends. Some people are more than happy with just one friend.