Patient Childhood Love Interest

This is a character type that shows up frequently in Harem Anime and Visual Novels.

It is usually a girl, who grew up together with the main character, practically since infancy, and has been always in love with him, but instead of taking the initiative to become his girlfriend, she decided to take it slowly, developing a Like Brother and Sister relationship with him. In the most stereotypical examples, this trope is usually first demonstrated by a scene of her routinely visiting him in the morning, waking him up, walking to school with him, and giving him a box bento that she made just for him.

To the uninitiated observer, it'll seem like they're already dating, and even those who know better, like their parents, or best friends, expect that they eventually will.

At this point, the Harem plot or Love Triangle starts, and in face of the new rivals she realizes that it's time to get serious. Hilarity Ensues, sometimes involving fights over her earlier "privileges" like feeding the protagonist, or as a trump card, bringing up some sort of Childhood Marriage Promise.

Often the Girl Next Door, even more literally than that trope describes, living close to the protagonist.

In terms of personality, she tends to be either a Yamato Nadeshiko in training, as evidenced by their cooking skills, serene patience, and the serving, yet guiding the boy at the same time, or the long friendship turns her into One of the Boys, a Tsundere who seems to be Vitriolic Best Buds with the boy.

In that thing we call Real Life , this sort of situation is very rare, mostly due to the Westermarck effect; people who have known each other since they were small children tend not to fall for one another because they literally have more of a sibling relationship. There are exceptions to this rule, but they're very rare (and, sadly, almost always one-sided). Typically, the earliest you can develop a proper "crush" on someone is your "pre-teen" years; works that posit an introduction of the couple prior to this can push the bounds of feasibility for many viewers. It's more likely if the two have been apart for some time and they find each other after puberty kicked in, but the time that must pass for it to be realistic is, more often than not, way too long for fulfilling the trope anymore, so it becomes a case of She's All Grown Up instead.

Subtrope of Childhood Friends. See also Childhood Friend Romance for the more generic trope about people who knew each other since childhood falling in love.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Both Yayoi Aoba and Sanae Nakazawa are this to Tsubasa in Captain Tsubasa. Yayoi moves on and stays Just Friends with him and might end up with his friend Misugi instead, while Sanae eventually switches to Victorious Childhood Friend when she and Tsubasa are teenagers and they end up married.
  • Almost all of the main love interests in Detective Conan, especially Shinichi and Ran, Kaito and Aoko and Heiji and Kazuha. Shinichi and Ran are already a couple now (sort of), but the other two are just too stubborn to admit they're in love. Though it looks like Kazuha and Heiji are surely going that way.
  • Girls Bravo: Subverted in Kirie's case. Her first and only real attempt to get closer to Yukinari is in episode 4, where she fixes him a box bento in hopes of going on a lunch date with him. Which fails due to a series of unforeseen events and, with Lisa now entering the picture, along with Miharu, Kirie knew she didn't have a chance. So she calls it quits and settles for just being friends with him.
  • Sohara in Heaven's Lost Property. She's Tomoki's childhood friend, lives next door from him, often goes to his house in the morning to wake him up and despite usually beating him up with karate chops, she very obviously loves him and is always looking after him.
  • Highschool of the Dead zigzags the trope with Takashi and Rei, who both fill the role at different points in the series:
    • They used to date back in middle-school, but broke up after Rei was forced to repeat her junior year. During that time, Takashi began to ignore her since she wouldn't talk to him about it, causing her to think he had abandoned her. So she began dating Takashi's best friend, Hiashi, because he provided her with the emotional support she needed.
    • Despite the above, Rei still harbored feelings for Takashi, while Takashi tried to hide his resentment over Hisashi's relationship with her. But Hisashi was bitten during the outbreak and briefly became one of "them", which forced Takashi to kill him. Rei was left conflicted by her resentment towards Takashi over Hisashi's death and her lingering feelings for him. She soon decided on the latter and now hopes to rekindle what they once had.
    • However, the anime version complicates the issue with additional amounts of Ship Tease between Takashi and Saeko, which wasn't seen in the manga. Leaving Rei in the unenviable position of having to compete with Saeko for Takashi's affections. Though in episode 11, she and Takshi hook up again.
  • Tsubaki from Your Lie in April has liked Kousei since childhood, but their relationship has always been sibling-like. She's fine with it until Kousei begins to become closer to Kaori.
  • Isana from Yumekui Merry. Clearly has very strong feelings for Yumeji, and apparently has had them for some time.

  • Deconstructed in the Homestuck fic I Will Not Let This Consume Me. Eridan is too afraid of rejection to confess his feelings. He ends up resenting his friendship with Feferi and pushing her away.
    Eridan: I can't tell her, okay? I don't want to mess things up. What if I weird her out and she doesn't want me around anymore? What would I do then, Kar? No. I just need to think about it...clear my mind...think of the best way to approach this. Wait for the right moment.
    Karkat: What moment exactly? The one when she'll randomly reveal to you that she's been longing to touch you indiscreetly all along? Or the one when she'll finally notice you and fall for the red solicitations you're not even making because you're too scared? Answer me that. Because I can't even tell if you believe the rubbish that comes out of your mouth anymore.
    Eridan: What the fuck, Kar? I don't need this kind of bullshit from you.
    Karkat: Okay, sorry. But if you're waiting for me to tell you what you want to hear, you're talking to the wrong troll. Listen, dude, I get that it's pretty fucked up and complicated. But what's your plan? Wait your own feelings out? Wait for things to magically solve themselves?
  • Chiyo of Despair's Last Resort fell in love with a boy from her childhood and decided to wait until they were older to confess. She never gets the chance. He dies of a terminal illness before she can.

  • In The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, Norval and Trudy are childhood friends and at one point Norval confesses that he was always in love with her but couldn't spit it out all this time.
  • In Preacher's Kid, Wynton has been patiently waiting on Angie for years, but she sees him as nothing more than a friend, and her father refused to grant permission to date her because she's too busy with the Lord's work.

  • A variation in ½ Prince. Since Zhou moved away 8 years before the events of the story he found Lan in an online game and became her husband there, at least until she looses interest and goes on to a new game. When he finds her again in both the real world and the new MMORPG she switches to she's developed to the point of no longer wanting to hide behind a man, and he has to adopt a more aggressive strategy to win her over. He can't, and ends up losing her to Gui.
  • Eva Luna had strong feelings and slight whiffs of the trope for Huberto Naranjo, the local Street Urchin and Jerk with a Heart of Gold, ever since they met as kids no older than 10. As a pre-teen, she was this to a T towards him, and was frustrated because he told her "Youre Just a Kid" many times which was a Jerk Ass Facade since he always held a torch for Eva but didn't want to admit it. When they did get together, they only saw each other counted times yet she pantiently waited for him. Unusually for the trope, Eva is critisized for it by her Cool Big Sis Mimi, who also knows Huberto from childhood and loudly wonders "What Does She See in Him?". And in the end, they break up amiably and she gets together with Intrepid Reporter Rolf instead.
  • In The Good Student Nic acts like this to Dizzy. After they are separated he works his butt off to get accepted into the prestigious academy she intends. The plot unfurls from there.
  • Initially, Tommy Beresford to Tuppence Cowley, who remained somewhat oblivious and insisted that she and Tommy were just good mates until the Love Epiphany hit. For his part, Tommy treats Tuppence as a friend and does not make the full extent of his feelings known even to the reader until she is believed dead and he launches into a "The Reason You Suck" Speech on a lesser suitor who claims to mourn her deeply despite having known her for a matter of days.
  • Starflight from Wings of Fire is this to Sunny. According to Glory, Starflight had been in love with Sunny since they were little. However, when he confesses, Sunny is unsure of how she feels. She ultimately decides that they're Like Brother and Sister, and that their relationship is too familial, since they were raised together from birth despite not being actual siblings. It's implied that Starflight is now in love with Fatespeaker, but it's unknown whether he moved on.

    Live Action TV 
  • Willow is this to Xander in the first seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • In British sitcom The Inbetweeners, Simon is this to Carli.
  • During the run of the 11th Doctor on Doctor Who we find out that Rory was essentially like this to Amy Pond. They spent their childhood as friends, and as soon as they were old enough Rory fell hard for her and never even showed interest in anyone else. It was Amy that always had doubts and occasional longings for others, until they were actually married.
  • The Flash (2014): Barry Allen has been in love with his best friend Iris West practically all his life, before he even knew what love was. He waited years for her to notice his feelings, but after she got herself a steady boyfriend, decided that he couldn't keep lying to her and confessed. Unlike most examples, Barry did try to move on from Iris — but none of his attempts ever stuck. It takes a while, but he and Iris finally got together in Season 3.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Akari from To Heart, who contributed to the popularization of this archetype, especially the waking him up in the morning part.
  • In CROSS†CHANNEL, the Genre Savvy Taichi comments that Nanaka's personality fits the Patient Childhood Love Interest trope, so it must be a flaw in the plot that she isn't really his childhood friend. She's actually his mother.
  • Kei Shindou in ef - a fairy tale of the two. is a classic Tsundere variation.
  • Kaede from SHUFFLE!. Sia and Nerine are childhood friends too, but Kaede's the one who fits the definition to a T.
  • Brass Restoration has a rare twist on this where the childhood friend, Minori, is a Cloudcuckoo Lander. Much humor is milked from the way she seems to follow many of the traits in the trope description, in the worst ways possible, such as making lunch for Ryo...except it's all rice.
  • Mizuka Nagamori from ONE ~To the Radiant Season~ is probably as straight as an example as it gets, possibly even exaggerated, considering the extent to which she takes care of protagonist Kouhei Orihara, who is a troublesome combination of a Jerk Ass and Cloudcuckoo Lander.
  • Da Capo has Sakura Yoshino, who's actually the protagonist's cousin but often called such by him. His adopted sister Nemu has more of the stereotypical characteristics of this trope, though - waking him up in the morning, going to school, long standing love, etc.
  • Subverted with Otome Katou from School Days, who triples as none other than Alpha Bitch and Jerk Ass.
  • Sumika from Muv-Luv to Takeru. She's content with their masochism tango until the very aggressive Meiya came into the picture. Meiya herself may also count even though she wasn't with him for most of her life.
  • Sayaka Maizono from Dangan Ronpa seems to be headed to this direction, even when she and Naegi knew each other mostly in passing. Subverted in that Sayaka had decided to frame him for murder in the Hope's Peak murderous atmosphere... but then she was killed instead.
  • Mikae Morikawa from True Love Junai Monogatari. Very cute, a tsundere, and the main guy's childhood friend. And she has never forgotten the Childhood Marriage Promise they made.
  • Tokimeki Memorial 4 has Miyako Okura, the boy's best friend and Info Woman. She can be unlocked as a Love Interest, but...

    Web Animation 
  • Nora from RWBY is attracted to Ren, but doesn't pursue a relationship with him because, in her own words, it would just be weird. (It's unclear whether he reciprocates or not.)


    Western Animation 
  • In Danny Phantom Sam had been Danny's friend since they were little kids, and despite her obvious attraction to him she Can't Spit It Out until the finale.
  • Young Justice introduced Barbara as Dick's friend in season one, with a hint that she has a thing for him. Nothing really comes of this in the show, but the post-Time Skip issues of the tie-in comic have her this way. Dick even likes her back, but he's also a massive horndog, and she says that she's willing to wait until he matures a little more. (The end implies they may be Friends with Benefits, though.)

Alternative Title(s): Osananajimi, Harem Childhood Friend