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. Or both.
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.
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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.
- Loki's best and only friend in Loki: Agent of Asgard is Verity Willis. Loki is Loki so certifiable jerkass and Consummate Liar, Verity is a fellow misfit for the opposite reason, she is a Living Lie Detector with no way to switch it off. He is literally her only chance to any semblance of normality.
- Mortality Holmes and Watson are this for each other.
- In the Kieshara fic Gryphontears, the hybrid shapeshifter Agrippina is discriminated against and has no friends except for Riadne.
Most falcons my age refused to be seen near me- if I entered a room, they would leave it. Aside from Riadne, the peregrine in front of me, I had no friends. And because of me, neither did Riadne.
- Variation Modification: Dave becomes Karkat's only friend after saving him from a gang of bullies.
- In Necessary To Win, Sumire is Teru's only friend, as perhaps the only person who knows her from before her personality was altered forever and she became colder, more distant and estranged from her younger sister, Saki, making Teru something of an Alice-2. Sumire is a Bob-1, who was, originally, the Alice-1 to Teru's Bob-2, since Teru was the one who reached out to her, back when she was more social.
- In A Charmed Life Light feels this way about Ryuk.
- In Despair's Last Resort, it's made clear that Chiyo is Kumiko's only friend since they were kids. After Chiyo dies, Kumiko begins to make friends with the others.
- Shatterheart, Kurogane is initially Real!Syaoran's only friend since the rest of the group avoided him or hated him.
- 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?
- Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: Holmes and Watson are most likely this for each other.
- X-Men: First Class:
- Near the beginning of the film, Raven points out to Charles that she is his only friend. Presumably an affable fellow like Xavier would have numerous acquaintances, but his sister figure is sole person he fully trusts.
- Charles becomes this to Erik Lehnsherr.
- The Wolverine: Yukio was adopted from the streets with the specific task of serving as this to a young Mariko. Mariko, however, always saw her more as a sister.
- X-Men: Days of Future Past: After Past Charles isolates himself from the outside world due to his severe depression, Hank becomes his sole companion. Hank also doesn't seem to have a social circle, as he has taken it upon himself to be Charles' caretaker, which appears to be something of a full-time job.
- Chaitanya in Bad Words doesn't have any friends due to being a bit of a nerd (he initially thought that being a good speller would get him friends). He takes his friendship with Guy very seriously, so much so that he's willing to lose the spelling bee on purpose to prove that the friendship was real.
- The Book Of Life:
- Chuy to Maria when she was studying abroad for 10 years.
- La Muerte is heavily implied to be this to her husband, Xibalba. The realm he rules over has souls who just rot into ashes.
- The Imitation Game: Christopher was this to the young Alan Turing.
- 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 is pretty much been established as 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 was becoming a bigger jerk and delving into the dark arts with his Death Eater buddies, but the final drop came when 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.
- Works in reverse. Watson has very few friends, no surviving family, and is unmarried or a widower, so it's possible Holmes is one for Watson.
- 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.
- In The Mortal Instruments, Simon Lewis is the only mundane Clary Fray is ever seen interacting with.
- In Why We Took The Car, Tschick and Maik eventually become this for each other.
- Mannie is this to Mike at the beginning of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. His desire to make more friends is the main reason Mike becomes involved in the Lunar rebellion to begin with.
- In Calvin and Hobbes, Hobbes doubles as both Calvin's Imaginary Friend and his only friend.
- In FoxTrot, Marcus is basically Jason's only real friend. The only other peer he ever spends any time hanging out alone with is Eileen (on a few rare occasions), and his feelings towards her are so conflicted - partly because she's also an academic rival and partly because he's still convinced Girls Have Cooties - that it's hard to call it a truly mutual friendship.
- 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.
- In The Bug Pond, Eldwin is the only friend of Flash because Eldwin's the only one that can put up with him.
- In Homestuck, Karkat is Eridan's only friend (and even that's stretching the definition a bit) after Feferi breaks up with him. And even Karkat abandons him after he murders Feferi and Kanaya and hopesplodes the Matriorb.
- Kanaya is Vriska's only friend after the Incident that led to the split-up of Team Scourge, for reasons like this:
: Lousy st8
pid godd8mn supportive fri8nd!note
- In the Noob webseries and comics, Dark Avenger's only friend is his student Précieux. Sparadrap is more than willing to be a second one, except that Dark Avenger mistakes his attempts at cross-faction friendship for a "getting your enemy's guard down" strategy.
- Dan Vs.: Chris is Dan's only friend. Ted is occasionally mentioned, but has yet to actually appear on the show, probably because Dan is usually mad at him.
- The first season finale of Megas XLR reveals that Non-Action Guy Jamie resents being taken on dangerous missions, and the main reason why he doesn't simply leave is because Coop's his only friend.
- Daria: Daria and Jane (a rare combination of Alice-2 and Bob-1, respectively) are this to each other in the earlier seasons of the series. They eventually form other friendships, especially after Tom enters the mix...
- Well, Jane does - Daria only really has Tom and (sometimes) Jodie.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Although Leatherhead calls the four turtles his friends, only Michelangelo (the one who actually befriended him) reciprocates this. The others are at best trusting or at worst afraid (Donatello being the latter).
- By the end of Danny Phantom, Danielle still on the run from Vlad with the only friend or family she has is Danny, the boy she was cloned from who is the only member of his family aware of her existence. Of course, when it comes to Danielle, he won't hesitate to help her.
- Johnny Test may be Bling-Bling Boy's Arch-Enemy, but both recognize that he's the only person who can stand said Arch-Enemy. It helps that all of Bling-Bling's action are driven by the desire to get a date with Johnny's sister Susan, making him more sympathetic. At one point, when Johnny was captured by the other villains, Bling-Bling went and rescued him because of this trope.
- Archer: In "Heart of Archness", Archer tells Lana she is this to him.
- 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.
- Played with when one person has one friend and dislikes the friend's friends.
- Inverted with people who don't have one particularly close friend, but do have several acquaintances with whom they get along equally well.