In a group of otherwise good friends, there's one character who's an unrepentant Jerkass to everyone else. Or, if they aren't downright mean or cruel, they may be so stupid or just plain weird that it's embarrassing to be seen with them. In either case, someone asking "Why are they even friends?" is a perfectly legitimate question. One that is usually answered by one of several reasons:
Dating — Someone in the group is dating the person and insists on including them. This could also involve there being one person who really does like them platonically.
Fear — The last thing you want to do is piss this person off by telling them they can't join in.
Pity — When the character is a total pathetic loser. The group just can't bring themselves to kick them to the curb.
Audience Popularity — Sometimes a jerkish Ensemble Darkhorse will start hanging around the group just to feature them more.
Supervision — The person is too dangerous or irresponsible to be left on their own without risking themselves or others.
Caring — Deep down, the group does care about the person too much to leave them, or vice versa.
It's not even that their friends aren't aware of their behavior, either. They're perfectly aware the person is a jerk, or a geek, or a ditz, and will frequently treat them as such based on their behavior. They still get included in the group nonetheless.
In some cases, it's discovered that the group really do care about this friend and vice versa. In other words, "They may be a pain in the butt, but they're our pain in the butt". Often uttered right before such lines as "You mess with them, you mess with all of us!" or "We're not leaving anyone behind!" The character may have a breakout episode that explains the reason for their attitude, or shows a human side that they never showed before (such as a cute hobby).
Compare Vitriolic Best Buds and With Friends Like These..., where this kind of attitude is usually limited to one or two select members of the group as opposed to being the opinion of the group as a whole.
If The Friend Nobody Likes is a protagonist or otherwise portrayed sympathetically, he may instead become The Woobie. The Friend may also be The Gadfly if they aren't an up-and-out jerk.
See also My Friends... and Zoidberg, No Accounting for Taste (when a romantic couple are similarly incompatible), and Token Evil Teammate.
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Anime And Manga
Tomo Takino of Azumanga Daioh hangs around with Yomi because they've been friends since grade school. The rest of her friends are classmates, and nine times out of ten her antics piss everyone else off. It's the same thing with Yukari and Nyamo. In their case, however, it's easy to see why the others hang out with them - they're likable enough.
Also by Kiyohiko Azuma: Yanda from Yotsuba&!. It doesn't help that the person he will pick on most is five years old. Although, he quickly evolves into a Sitcom Arch-Nemesis for Yotsuba (and later even Friendly Enemy) and his antics don't trigger more than mild annoyance in other characters. Also partially justified, as he's a coworker of Yotsuba's father.
Miu Matsuoka in Strawberry Marshmallow. She's usually included because she's Chika's oldest friend and next door neighbor.
Harou Niijima from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. He's a self-proclaimed evil genius, and is cowardly and manipulative. Even his "friends" often wonder why the heck they tolerate his presence. The only person who seems to genuinely like having him around is the resident Cloudcuckoolander Siegfried, everyone else was bullied, blackmailed, or otherwise manipulated into joining him... but at least he's good with information and a capable strategist, so he does make himself quite useful.
Russia from Axis Powers Hetalia. He's this through necessity for the Allies and fear for the rest, especially the Slavs and Baltics.
America can also fill this role. He's well-meaning, but tends not to notice the suffering he causes others. The other nations consider him young and inexperienced when they're feeling particularly charitable. Usually, they consider him an idiot who constantly gets into scrapes wanting to be "the hero".
On the Axis side, Italy falls into this. He's weak, stupid, and constantly needing rescued from trouble. Germany keeps him around through a combination of pity and a need for supervision (this being after he tried in vain to get rid of him). While Germany does seem to like him as the series goes on (and Germany/Italy is one of the most popular pairings in the fandom), he is constantly exasperated by Italy's antics. After WWII, the other nations don't seem to think much more highly of Italy ("At least he isn't shouting the names of random American presidents anymore...")
Prussia fills this role due to how obnoxious he is towards everyone around him, particularly Austria and Hungary. The person who tolerates him the most is Germany, who is in a constant state of exasperation with him and despite being Prussia's younger brother, acts more like an older brother and caretaker towards him.
In Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta falls into this during the Android arc due to most of the cast fearing him (with the exception of Goku, who's more of the forgiving sort). Thankfully, he lightens up enough as time goes on.
Kai Shiden in Mobile Suit Gundam started out as this. Late into the series, however, he got his breakout episode where he had a love interest only to see her die in the next episode. After this, he became a more sympathetic character. His cameo appearances in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam definitely showed a more mature Kai.
Medaka Box: Seeing as he's formerly Medaka's Arch-Enemy, Kumagawa gets this treatment at times. Despite annoying many of the characters, the Student Council keeps him around to keep him in check.
Subverted in Yu-Gi-Oh!. Kaiba isn't friends with Yugi and his crew, but he's not a complete stranger to them either. They don't really like him and the feeling is mutual. However, neither party makes any attempts to keep their distance from one another.
The "Loony Gang" in Maison Ikkoku which consists of Mrs. Ichinose, Akemi, and Yotusya.
Rohan Kishibe in Part 4 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Even after his Heel-Face Turn and joining the group to hunt down Kira, he still absolutely hates Josuke, and Josuke and Okuyasu still think he's pretty creepy and insufferable and hard to be around. About the only person he gets along with is Koichi (who he tried to kill pre-Heel-Face Turn,) who's still a little uncomfortable around him for quite a while.
Ragdoll of the Secret Six is viewed as a complete weirdo by his teammates, who openly state how much he freaks them out, and they keep him around mostly for usefulness and it's implied partly out of pity. And even Ragdoll is squicked when new team member Black Alice develops a crush on him. Ironically, he's probably one of the most popular characters among fans of the series'.
From DC Comics, we have Batman for the Justice League. Pretty antisocial and a Jerkass, but he's one of the greatest heroes ever and the heroes would be screwed without him.
For the villains, we have the Joker. In fact, Lex Luthor is Genre Savvy enough to usually bring him into whatever group he is starting, mainly because snubbing the Joker tends to piss him off, which you really don't want.
Julie from Scott Pilgrim. The only reason the main characters spend any time with her is because she is Stephen Still's on-again off-again girlfriend. And she throws regular parties.
Scott himself to a minor extent. All of his friends regularly mention how much they dislike him, even if in a semi-joking manner. He doesn't seem to mind too much. Knives is the only person who truly fully likes him, and she has Stalker with a Crush tendencies.
The main reasons seems to be seniority and he's the lynchpin of the group. From an individual standpoint of each character, they've known him the longest compared to the others. Beyond that, he seems to be the main thing they have in common, being friends with Scott.
Sherman from Calvin & Hobbes: The Series starts out as this (though Andy, his owner, puts up with him), but he later strikes up a friendship with Calvin. He's still not too good with Hobbes or Socrates, though.
In Boys Und Sensha-do, Heishi is this among Shark Team, which is entirely composed of male OCs. The team isn't especially close (in contrast to most Oarai crews, which are composed of clubs or close friends)- only Akio and Masaru are friends with each other, as are the other two boys- but none of the two pairs of close friends especially like Heishi, thinking of him as an annoyance.
Eugenesis has Mirage and Prowl, neither of whom are liked by most (if any) of their fellow Autobots. Prowl is worse off because of his total lack of people skills or leadership abilities.
Syaoran in Shatterheart. Because of his clone's betrayal of the group, he is tolerated at best hated at worst by the rest of the group due to misplaced blame.
Films — Animated
In Ice Age, Sid the Sloth is this. Out of a combination of pity and the acknowledgement that he holds the herd together, nobody kicks him out. If there's one thing they can agree on, it's that Sid is a loser.
Bobby from A Goofy Movie and An Extremely Goofy Movie is a goofball, always happy, and not self-conscious in the least. His friends, Max and PJ, who can both be described as serious, angsty, and awkward but to different degrees, are far more likely to be disgusted, confused, and/or mortified by Bobby's behavior than they are to actually appreciate having him around. When they meet another friend in college, Beret Girl, who is also serious and angsty but not awkward, she goes even further, thinking Max and PJ are "cool" and that Bobby is a "fool." Max and PJ are closer to each other than they are to him in both movies. So why is it that they keep him around and treat him like a True Companion in the sequel? Because he's a Bunny-Ears Lawyer who is good at both rigging stage equipment and playing extreme sports, which helps the other two achieve Max's goalsnote Usually PJ's goal is to help Max with his goal.
Nick: You know how every group of friends has that one asshole? He's our asshole.
While Stifler is more of an outright antagonist in the first American Pie, he becomes this in the second since they're staying at his place in the summer, and works to redeem himself in the third. By the reunion movie, Stifler plays dumb when the other friends offer lame excuses as to why they didn't call him to hang out with them. Later, after they yell at him for mocking Finch's arrest, he calls them out on this, forcing them to realize that even though he's a jerk, he's also a true friend to them by virtue of being a dick and making things much less boring.
Cameron in Dead Poets Society - the others only hang out with him because he's part of the study group. In the end he's the one to betray them and Keating.
Leo Getz from the Lethal Weapon movies. Introduced in the second film, Leo was originally a federal witness that Riggs and Murtaugh are assigned to protect. The two cops not only hated the fact that they had to play babysitter but also that Leo was very obnoxious. Leo later returned in the following two sequels, now a friend of Riggs and Murtaugh but the two are still annoyed by him and sometimes even abuse him. In spite of this, Leo remains very loyal to them, and the two cops have shown to genuinely care for him at times.
"Did no one come to save me just because they missed me?" (None of the main characters reply. Calypso and Gibbs exchange long-suffering looks. Marty the dwarf, Pintel and Ragetti, Cotton the mute and the Monkey Jack raise their hands) "I'm standin' over there with them!"
Barry from Four Lions is kept around by the group because he's by far the most idealistic and enthusiastic about jihad. He's also a very charismatic preacher, and adds a fifth member to the team by radicalising him at an outreach event. Unfortunately, he's also a stupid, cruel, violent psychopath who Omar cannot control.
Tony Stark can be this guy to the other members of The Avengers. He's deemed selfish and arrogant by most of his peers (and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s dossier on him as well) and particularly Steve Rogers finds him to be abrasive and an un-heroic glory hound. However he's a good member of the team and did ultimately come around and win the respect of his fellow members.
In the backstory of Harry Potter, Peter Pettigrew is at least perceived as this by outsiders. He was the least able and respected of his group of friends. He eventually turned on them to serve Voldemort, and even worse is that it's clear that the Marauders themselves loved him, to the point where the Potters trusted him with their lives, which just makes his betrayal all the more heartbreaking.
Slytherin House is also this in Hogwarts. While the other houses are on good terms with one another, nobody likes the Slytherins. It doesn't help Slytherin's case that most of it's students, i.e. all of those whom we see, with very few exceptions are arrogant, racist, elitist snobs that come from pureblood families that think that they're better than anyone else. Pretty much every well-known Slytherin character's parents were also Death Eaters that only got out of going to Azkaban by claiming they were "bewitched."
In Unseen Academicals Andy Shank is described as having friends solely because it's marginally safer than being his enemy. It's specifically stated, also, that people follow him because it's safer than being in front of him.
There's also Carter "The Farter", who is described as not easy to like. Even Trev doesn't like him much, but he at least feels sorry for him and tries to give him some advice.
Francis Begbie in Trainspotting. Renton and the rest of the gang basically pretend to be Begbie's friend because they're scared of him. Renton details a list of lies that one must pretend to believe in order to hang out with Begbie and not get beaten up.
Bertie: But why, Jeeves? Dash it all, she's just had nearly two months of me. Jeeves: Yes, sir. Bertie: And many people consider the medium dose for an adult two days. Jeeves: Yes, sir. I appreciate the point you raise.
Bertie: Ah, well, we must see what can be done. Things may brighten. At any rate, you will be glad to learn that I am behind you in this enterprise. You have Bertram Wooster in your corner, Gussie. Gussie: Thanks, old man. And Jeeves, of course, which is the thing that really matters.
In A Song of Ice and Fire the Freys are this to their Northern allies and the Rivermen. Robb Stark only grudgingly agrees to marry a girl of their house to cement their allegiance since the Freys control the only reliable river crossing for hundreds of miles, but he breaks this off and marries another girl soon after. It's telling that they're less popular than another allied House, the Boltons, who regularly flay people alive. Even after betraying the Starks in the Red Wedding, a sickening breach of Sacred Hospitality by Westerosi standards, their newfound allies the Lannisters regularly make their distaste for them clear.
Both Lauren and Jessica fulfill this role to some extent in Twilight. Both are generally looked on with distaste by most of the other human friends Bella has (and by Bella herself, for that matter), yet the two continue to join in on group outings and the like. In fact, Jessica is one of the human friends who hangs out with Bella the most. What makes this all rather strange is that according to Stephanie Meyer, Lauren was the most popular girl in the school, before Bella showed up.
In the films, this is not the case. Lauren and Jessica are merged into a much more tolerable person who no one holds contempt for.
Arrogant chauvinist Charles Tansley from To the Lighthouse, whom most of the characters tolerate out of Edwardian politeness alone.
Semi and Miranda in Dr Franklins Island don't really have a choice, since they and argumentative, petulant Arnie are the Sole Survivors of a plane crash and must survive together on a desert island. Arnie resists any plans Miranda comes up with, even though he has to go along with them because they're usually good, refuses responsibilities put on him, eats their stored food and lies about it, comes up with insulting nicknames for both girls, and spends hard-won resources trying to build a poor excuse for a raft. Semi notes that in their time together she considered him a friend, but didn't often like him.
In The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Harvey hangs out with Tommy and co but does nothing but whine and argue with them. It's pretty obvious that none of them like him because of his behavior, yet they keep him around anyway. This goes further in the sequel, where Harvey goes from obstructive friend to antagonist, and even gets one of them suspended from school.
Penny: How did Sheldon get new friends in the first place? Howard: *shrug* We like Leonard.
Sheldon and Leonard are roommates... therefore wherever Leonard goes, Sheldon usually goes. And wherever Sheldon wants to go, Leonard has to take him because Sheldon doesn't drive. Since Sheldon is nigh impossible to reason with, nine times out of ten the other three friends end up caving to his whims about whatever's happening. This trope is lampshaded several times like a season 5 episode where, after Sheldon stops being friends with Leonard, the group, minus Amy, stops hanging out with him. Even Amy sometimes lacks the patience to chauffeur him around the way he expects Leonard to.
"Angel's our friend. Except I don't like him." Granted, Xander's problems with Angel were personal, and while the other characters were wary of him, they didn't outright dislike him, making their relationship to him lean more on Sit Com Arch Nemesis than this trope.
Spike is a better example in Season 7, who most of the Scoobies neither like nor trust (Lampshaded by Anya), but Buffy insists that he stick around because he's valuable. Though that's not the only reason.
Xander and Willow sometimes skirt the edge of this trope, with various characters disliking the former (Giles has a subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, dislike of him in early seasons) and distrusting the latter, after she went Ax-Crazy in the previous season. They both stick around because they're Buffy's closest friends.
Cordelia, in the second and third seasons, qualifies as this, hanging around only because she's "in the know" and because she's dating Xander at certain points.
Depending on the Writer, Cliff. In many episodes, it's just Carla who hates him, but in others it seems like no one can stand his presence, and even Norm just puts up with him.
Diane had very strained relations with the gang sometimes. Again, Carla moreso than most, and that might have been partly due to envy over Diane's relationship with Sam, but Diane didn't have a lot of true allies at the bar.
Community: Pierce. His necessity is revealed when, in his absence, the study group begins to fight amongst itself for incredibly petty reasons just because they no longer have Pierce to kick around. It's not helped that Pierce is seen as The Scrappy in Real Life too.
Tom, who lives on the other side of Jules from Ellie. He's incredibly creepy such that him walking up to a table at a crowded restaurant and asking for sugar will make everyone flee. The group tolerates him because he's a neighbor and also because he'll do anything they ask.
Holly is almost this. Holly is only around because she's Grayson's baby mama. Laurie likes her because they were already good friends and Travis likes her because she's hot and they made out once but no one else likes her and Jules outright despises her. But she's Tampa Jill's mother so...
Coupling: Jane. The other five characters were connected fairly well. Jeff was good buddies with Steve, who became good friends with Patrick, who was Amicable Exes with Susan (who was dating Steve and co-workers with Jeff), whose best friend was Sally. Jane was Steve's ex, but they were far from amicable; in fact, Steve would be happy if he never saw her again. Patrick and Jeff were mostly indifferent to her (although Jeff did develop feelings for her later, and Patrick slept with her once, as he did every other bipedal female in London), and the girls weren't especially fond of her (Susan kept comparing herself and her relationship with Steve to her, and Sally just found her annoying). The only real reason she was still around was because she was so self-obsessed she honestly didn't know how much everyone else disliked her.
Firefly: Jayne Cobb, to the point where the others don't even bother with the "wait until they're out of the room" part. When the crew is discussing what to do with River, a mentally unstable girl who may or may not be a living weapon, Zoe says she's never hurt anyone. When Jayne points out she sliced him in the chest with a butcher knife without provocation, she just amends it to "anyone we can't spare." He remains on the ship because he gets money, and they keep him because he's good with weapons and doesn't usually sell them out.
Fresh Meat: JP is this, and though the others warm to him a little over the course of the series he remains a source of constant annoyance.
"If you moved away, I'd have to follow you. Then Marshall would follow me, and Ted would follow Marshall. The only upside is that we might lose Barney."
This is actually the topic of an entire first season episode, where Ted tries to recall exactly why they were friends with him. He concluded that it was because the zany antics that Barney invariably got them into tended to make life entertaining. This trope is played straight especially in earlier seasons as most of the characters admit to having a "Barney Limit." When Barney slept with Robin, Ted explained his anger at Barney wasn't simply that he slept with his ex but that he assumed if Barney had any sort of "limits" it would have been anything regarding him. It wasn't until after they reconcile that Barney starts being treated more as a real friend and less of a nuisance.
iCarly: for Freddie and Gibby and anyone else who might be friends with Carly, Sam is this through Seniority, Fear and Audience Popularity.
The Inbetweeners: Almost every episode or situation has one of the four lads being this. Will for being too geeky and an annoying newcomer to the group; Simon for obsessing with Carli at inappropriate times, often being a "hos before bros" kind of guy; Jay for just being a Jerkass who is bullshitting the others with made-up sex stories; Neil for being too stupid to understand basically everything. In general, Will and Jay are the worst offenders. The reason they are hanging out is, exactly, that they are all "inbetweeners": They seem to be the only students at the school who are neither complete losers nor popular or socially adept - so they only have each other.
Foggy is definitely this most of the time. He's bossy, delusional, pompous and hypocritical, and unlike the likes of Blamire, Seymour and Truly, seems to have no sense of humour most of the time
Compo:(about Foggy) Nice fella. Nobody likes him.
Even worse with Howard, who is constantly badgering Clegg to be his go-between for him and Marina - the woman he's cheating on his domineering wife with. Not to mention he's misogynist, whiny, cowardly and always ready to leave Clegg holding the bag if they're ever caught. Even Foggy finds him annoying, and the trio is always willing to drop Howard in his own mess in return.
Misfits: Although you could argue that most of the main characters are this to some extent (they're a bunch of kids on community service, so they have literally no choice but to spend time together) Nathan is the one who causes the most flinching and eye-rolling among the others due to his loud personality and anti-social behavior.
The Nanny: C.C. Babcock. Nobody in the Sheffield household particularly likes her, especially Niles, whose frequent verbal sparring with her is one of the funniest aspects of the show. Though this gets turned on its head in the last season as C.C. and Niles find themselves falling for one another and actually marry in the finale.
Bulk & Skull from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers only hung out with the Rangers due to proximity and Skull's crush on Kimberly. However, for as often as they were disgusted with each other, they still occasionally showed genuine friendship.
Power Rangers Dino Thunder: Cassidy & Devin were basically Bulk & Skull's arc condensed into 38 episodes, and by the end they each earned a genuine friendship from both Ethan and Kira.
Power Rangers Mystic Force: Leelee initially only hung around to try and get into Nick's pants. However, after The Reveal, they all outright hated her, but were stuck with each other when Leelee was hired at the record store.
Red Dwarf: Rimmer is essentially a combination of answers 1-3. He and Lister are roommates, Lister would probably go mad from loneliness if they tried to live apart, Lister's only other alternatives for conversation are a Human Alien whose personality can be summed up as "dumb, self-centered and vain" and a fawning robot whose idea of fun is hanging out laundry, and Rimmer is the last lingering connection Lister has to his life before everything went to smeg. Besides which, depending on the episode, either Rimmer has hidden most/all of the other hologram recordings, or else Lister is such a laidback slob that most other crewmembers would rather be dead than be his hologramatic partner. In essence, Rimmer gets left online because it'd be even worse to have him switched off.
In a rather sad example, Adam Rhodes ends up as this later on, when the poor guy doesn't deserve it. Jeff excludes him as much as possible, when not outright mocking him. Russell does outright mock him, as does Timmy at times. Audrey seems apathetic to him, and it seems the only reason he's dealt with is that he's engaged to Audrey's best friend Jennifer. The worst part is he's one of the only (along with Timmy) Nice Guys in the cast.
Saved by the Bell: Screech is good friends with Zack but merely tolerated by the rest of the group (and outright despised by Lisa). They all like Zack and Screech is part of the baggage. He seems to have grown on the rest of the group by the end of the series though.
Seinfeld: Newman. He and Jerry have a mutual animosity and the only one who seems to hang out with him in any friendly sort of way is Kramer.
That '70s Show: Jackie, at first, was only in the group because she was the girlfriend of one member, Kelso. Later though she became a regular friend.
The Vampire Diaries: Damon. The only reason anyone puts up with him is he's Stefan's brother. Alaric and Elena eventually grow to like him, but Bonnie, Caroline, Jeremy, and Matt still hate him.
Edward Kenway from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. His selfishness leads him to acquire this reputation throughout the game. He drives everyone away, including his wife, his first mate Adewale, James Kidd, his own crew, the Templars and the Assassins, as well as fellow pirates Charles Vane and Benjamin Hornigold. The latter even warns him that the course he's walking will leave him alone. It is only when he realizes how much his actions have hurt other people and how much he depends on them that he starts to change.
Morrigan from Dragon Age: Origins plays with this this. Hardly anyone in the party actually admits to liking her (and vice versa) except the dog, but he likes everyone. And the male Warden can choose have a romance with her, while a female Warden can befriend her to such an extent that Morrigan admits to thinking of her as a sister, though both cases take a lot of work and Morrigan is initially not receptive. Oghren, Sten and Shale seem okay with her as well, but no one else likes them, either (and Oghren obviously just thinks she's hot). Thinking she's hot - and dangerous - is also one of Zevran's motivations for being more friendly too, especially considering they both count as a Token Evil Teammate. She is only actively disliked by Alistair and Wynne.
Loghain, if he joins the party, which is understandable given his prior actions.
In Dragon Age II, Anders/Justice fulfills this role later on in the game due to his obsession with the Templar/Mage conflict alienating him from everyone who's somehow involved, and annoying those who aren't. Even Merrill, who theoretically could have been on his side, except the two can't stand each other due to thinking the other is reckless. Fenris grates on everyone that isn't Varric or Isabela, and Carver tends to annoy Fenris and Anders.
Inverted with Varric and Bethany, who are the only companion characters to be on amicable terms with everyone. It helps that Varric has no stake in the conflict and is the Team Mom, while Bethany is friendly and personable, but cautious enough of her magic to earn Fenris's respect.
Hilariously, Hawke him/herself could be this if they have everyone at rivalry instead of friendship. However, this requires the player to go out of their way to antagonize party members and be an utter jerk. Considering that some Rivalry choices will get you friendship with others (if you anger Fenris by helping out the mages, Merrill and Anders will approve).
In World of Warcraft, Gallywix, leader of the Goblin cartel loyal to the Horde, is seen as this by the rest of the Horde. In the Tides of War novel, Garrosh only keeps him around because he, being motivated by profit, is easy to keep in line.
Sylvannas also, though she's part of the Horde, most of the Horde view her with suspicion and her more questionable actions really don't attract trust. Her primary goal is to create a future for the Forsaken, and only for the Forsaken, and is only using the Horde as a stepping stone in her schemes.
The Forsaken in general don't get along well with the rest of the Horde and are members out of mutual necessity rather than any genuine friendship or respect. The Trolls, Blood Elves, Tauren, and more honorable Orc Clans distrust the Forsaken due to their increasingly Scourge-like behavior, while the villainous Orcs look down on them as being weak and cowardly. But the Horde needs a presence on the Eastern Kingdoms that the Blood Elves aren't strong enough to provide, and the Forsaken need support against the Alliance, so they put up with each other.
The Pyro from Team Fortress 2. The rest of his team (which consists of 8 different kinds of Badass mercenaries) are scared witless of him(?). They're even hesitant to speak about him.
Javik from Mass Effect 3 is a sociopathic jackass who enjoys saying the most outrageous things and laughing at everyone else over it. However, he's also the last living prothean and has been fighting the Reapers longer than the rest of the crew, possibly put together thanks to his empathic abilities. Though a few former squad members - Zaeed and Wrex - actually do like him well enough, precisely for the reasons everyone else doesn't.
Miranda from Mass Effect 2 can stray into this for players leaning towards the paragon side of things. From the moment you encounter her she's an arrogant Alpha Bitch who firmly believes that Cerberus can do no wrong - and if they do, it wasn't really Cerberus proper, just idiots working for them. There doesn't seem to be anyone who actively likes her, but most of your more renegade-leaning teammates (with the exception of Jack, of course) seem to be indifferent to her, respecting her abilities but not much past that.
The Ace Attorney series has Larry Butz, who is pretty much considered annoying by everyone who's come across him. His penchant for getting into trouble has caused a saying, "When something smells, it's probably the Butz". His friendship with Phoenix is explained as a result of him standing up for Phoenix in the class trial when they were children, and Phoenix is not happy to learn that this friendship came about because Larry committed the crime Phoenix was accused of, at that time. It's never exactly explained why Edgeworth put up with him, which gets a lampshading in the last cast of the third game, when Edgeworth's description of Larry's profile ends with him admitting that he has no clue how they became friends. Seems to be a combination of seniority (being a childhood friend), pity (he's not actually a bad person, he's just oblivious, unfortunate, and irresponsible, and would no doubt cry if they ever abandoned him), and supervision (since every time he shows up it's because they need to bail him out of trouble).
The Baldur's Gate series has a cast of characters. Some like each other, and some don't, some will come to blows over it. However, all of the NPCs dislike Edwin for his arrogance. Viconia is similarly disliked by just about everyone that isn't Minsc, although he's too stupid to know the difference. Korgan is also despised.
Edgar is a resourceful young king who comes across as abrasive to both the ladies and his male friends alike. The only ones who have no friction with him at all are his brother Sabin (out of fraternal love) and the young girl Relm (who is infatuated with Edgar, to his dismay).
Nagito Komaeda from Super Dangan Ronpa 2. He quickly makes it known that he's completely insane and would be perfectly willing to kill anyone, or even be killed by anyone. As such, even though he's possibly the most intelligent character in the game, often figures out key elements in a murder long before everyone else, and straight up idolizes the other characters, the others absolutely hate him and don't like being around him, and even when someone tries to figure him out, his view of the world is so bizarre that they just can't.
Byakuya Togami from Dangan Ronpa is also an Insufferable Genius and a complete Jerkass, who quickly distances himself from the other characters and makes it clear that he's willing to kill if he has to, but still figures out important elements of any murder before anyone else, and even ends up taking Naegi under his wing as a protege of sorts. About the only person who enjoys his company is Fukawa and her Split Personality, Genocider Syo, who has a massive crush on him, though the feeling is definitely not mutual.
Mike from the Walkyverse is a bizarre example - his relationship with other characters is so strong because he's a major Jerkass. Hell, he married a character who loves him for (possibly in spite of) who he is.
Candy from Girls with Slingshots is in the same boat as Sheldon above; no one really likes her all that much, but she's attached to Jameson, whom they do like, so they have to live with her. At least until her repeated efforts to sabotage his relationship with Maureen come to a head at the wedding and he wakes his ass up that Candy is possibly the worst friend in existence.
Seth from Sorcery 101 is more or less tolerated by the characters because one of them is bonded to him and he's pretty good at manipulating people in a way that's beneficial (though usually very messy, and in poor taste as he is almost always the last resort).
Miko Miyazaki, of The Order of the Stick, could be seen as this for her entire Paladin order. She's a loyal and skilled Paladin, but her zealous nature and Jerkass tendencies prompt her fellow Paladins to send her on missions that take her as far from home as possible whenever they are able.
Belkar gets this treatment at times, particularly in earlier stories and especially from Vaarsuvius (who is enough of an arrogant know-it-all to inspire this to a lesser extent him or herself). Miko's biggest beef with the Order of the Stick was that a sadistic, homicidal, Chaotic Evil maniac like Belkar was a member of their team when he should be in prison - the team agree to an extent (although Roy makes a strong case that Belkar would be worse if he was left to his own devices, since at least the Order can point him in the right direction), and he has done some seriously cruel and horrifying things to them and others (up to and including murdering innocent people For the Evulz) but Roy and Vaarsuvius say they hate Miko even more.
Roy's assertion that keeping Belkar around makes him slightly more likely to kill the bad guys then innocents is confirmed when Roy dies and tries to get into heaven, He's shown a graph comparing Belkar's current level of evil, and his project level without Roy around. Said projection climbed higher then the hypothetical love child of Cruella De Vil and Sauron.
Differences of opinion lead the Order of the Scribble to disband, but the group seemed to unilaterally despise both Soon Kim (whom Dorukan and Girard nearly came to blows with) and Girard Draketooth (whom only Serini seemed to get along with)
Homestuck: Eridan, pre-flipout. It says something about him that even Kanaya and Equius can't stand him and Feferi actively resigns from being his Morality Pet. Among their ancestors, Eridan's counterpart Cronus is the sleaziest scumbag anyone has ever seen, and nobody willingly hangs around Kankri if they can avoid it, due to his interminable lectures.
Even after being talked down from his psychotic killing spree, the only thing anyone has to say about Gamzee is "fuck that guy". He even ruined the one semi-positive relationship he still had by ending his moirallegiance with Karkat.
Vriska, by the time the trolls get to the meteor. It's especially clear during the Alterniabound segment, where the only person who seems to get along with her is Equius. Everyone else either hates her, distrusts her, or is just scared of her.
To seal the deal, JohnEgbert has confessed that after meeting her in person, he really hates her for being so incredibly unpleasant.
Gai Gin's Kitsunefoxy is a compulsive liar who makes a hobby out of attempting to break up the relationships of the rest of the gang for no apparent reason. Pyon still hangs out with her out of pity.
Gnoma from Pewfell - an extremely self-centered, rude and obnoxious gnomenote As we find out later, those are normal gnomish traits and Gnoma is considered a gnome among gnomes who is only tolerated in the Pewfell housefold because she helped Tina - Pewfell's wife - through a rough patch when they were schoolmates (what that "rough patch" was has yet to be revealed.)
In Better Days, Rachael serves as this for her housemates. Lucy initially doesn't think highly of her cheating on her boyfriend, then Rachael exasperates the others with her hatred of Lucy after Lucy steals her boyfriend away. The reason she's kept around mostly seems to be necessity, namely for financial reasons. ("Are we sure she's worth one fifth of the rent?")
The sequel, Original Life, has Angela serve as this. She gets on the nerves of her friends and even Elizabeth by expressing a support of her parents' new-age spiritualism, global warming, Justin Bieber, and many other things the author dislikes. She herself doesn't seem too attached to Janie, but justifies keeping their friendship as knowing the value of having connections. It's unclear exactly why Janie remains friends with her, though.
Bladezz in The Guild, at least in the first season:
Clara: He's like the retarded cousin of the Guild! The right thing to do is to let him play tag, even though he runs around hitting people.
Amir in Jake And Amir, although Jake often denies that they're friends, at other times he doesn't and there are multiple episodes that feature them doing something together (be it with more people or just the two of them) so they at least have some sort of friendship going on. All reasons except for dating and necessity apply to Amir in some way.
What's-Her-Face in Teen Girl Squad is explicitly called the "pity friend" and is the one the other three are most likely to ditch or relegate to least-desired roles. Generally this just makes the other girls look mean, especially Cheerleader.
What's-Her-Face: Can I not get stuck playing bass? Other Girls: NO WAY!
She's a deviation from the trope because there's nothing particularly wrong with her personality. She's actually the nicest (and arguably sanest) of the four. This is why the other three look mean when they interact with her; it's because they are.
The crew in Binder of Shame is a group made entirely out of these people. Since they're the protagonist's only social contact, though, he actually goes into denial for a time and convinces himself that this is what friendship is (he gets better).
Puddy in Tales of MU is this to Mack for as long as she's Mack's room mate.
Kaya: Why are we friends with her again? Todd:That's a good question. That's an excellent question.
Yamcha from Dragon Ball Abridged isn't any more a jackass than most of the other characters and less a jackass than some, but everyone likes to belittle him because they see him as weak.
Raditz and Guldo are treated pretty much the same on their respective teams, leading to the line "I don't know what this Yamcha is, but it sounds a lot like Raditz".
Vegeta's status as this is lampshaded in episode 38, after Future Trunks realizes just how much of a jerkass his father is:
Trunks: How are these people friends with you!? Tien: Makin' a lot of assumptions there.
The Tumblr and Tickld name for this type of person is "Moon Moon", due to a post where someone got "Moon Moon" on a wolf-name generator and commented that she would be the wolf no one likes ("OH SHIT WHO BROUGHT FUCKING MOON MOON ALONG?")
In the Key of Awesome's parody of "Somebody that I Used to Know", Tony gets this through Necessity, since while he's sold all their other instruments and at least one person's set of shoes to pay his drug debts, he's the only one able to drive the van. There's also a measure of Supervision:
Hey guys where did Tony go? You all know that Tony can't be left alone.
In Monster Island Buddies, Gorosaurus was one of the original Monster Island Buddies, but Godzilla and company didn't care much for him and didn't even give a crap when he was kidnapped by Kong and taken to Skull Island. Even after he's back, the other characters still seem to dislike him, Rodan even says he scares the shit out of him. On the villain side, there's Gigan, who constantly tries his best to make friends, but is perceived by everyone else as annoying and stupid. Titanosaurus counts as well, due to his insane, psycho behavior.
Girl-chan and Swirly Glasses in Girl Chan In Paradise. The two almost never appear alongside the other party members, but when they do they're almost never acknowledged except in disgust and annoyance. At least until Swirly Glasses turns out to be "Captain Taisho Bushido Blaster Buster #1".
South Park. Eric Cartman, due to Proximity, Seniority, and occasionally Supervision (at least on Kyle's part...). This is the kid whose crowning moment was getting a kid to eat a bowl of chili made from his parents. Yet he'll frequently be included in the activities of the other boys when he isn't busy being the active threat. To quote Chef from "The Biggest Douche in the Universe"
Chef: Cartman is your friend whether you like him or not!
Lampshaded even more in "Scott Tenorman Must Die"
Kyle: We just wanna warn you: Eric Cartman, the fourth grader, is goin' to try and trick you somehow into getting your wiener bitten off by a pony who lives at Denkins' ranch. Scott: How do you know? Kyle: 'Cause, we're his friends. Scott: Then why are you telling me? Kyle: 'Cause we hate him.
Also summed up in "The Death of Eric Cartman," where the other boys declare that he's not their friend and that they will ignore him from now on:
Stan's diagnosis of cynicism causes him to become this in "You're Getting Old."
Craig points out that the whole group are seen like that by the rest of the 4th graders. Technically, they are still friends, but their Weirdness Magnet antics are getting old in the eyes of the rest.
Butters, to an extent (or just Depending on the Writer), though in this case it's because he's an overly-cheerful loser. This is especially evident while he was "the new Kenny" and the others constantly abused him. Tweek suffered from this for a while after replacing him. In both cases however, the other boys end up admitting some preference to them over Cartman.
This is especially true in The Looney Tunes Show where he's portrayed as a penniless leech with no stable source of income and mooching off his more sensible roommate Bugs Bunny.
As mentioned, Zoidberg in Futurama, who is a friend through Proximity (he works for Planet Express).
As of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Jar-Jar Binks. Even the people who like him are aware he's a clumsy idiot who is probably going to mess things up. This portrayal is actually a step up for him, letting him be an actual character instead of just a punchline.
Harry The Werewolf from Scary Godmother. Obnoxious, annoying, rarely stops talking, rarely stops eating, and is basically a general nuisance to everyone else.
Klaus of American Dad! is often ignored and openly disliked by the Smith family, but are stuck with him (Proximity and Supervision) due to the CIA turning him into their pet goldfish. Roger has bouts of this due to being a Token Evil Teammate.
In Young Justice Nabu, the real Doctor Fate, who needs a host for him to inhabit. Nobody really likes him because he won't release his host, and he needs to keep them for life; even if they're dead, their souls are trapped in the helmet, until he gets a new host. Captain Marvel flat out argues for Fate's expulsion from the Justice League at one point, since despite his tactical usefulness, Fate is essentially performing a Demonic Possession on one of their old teammates.
In Family Guy, Meg is usually treated as this by the family, depending on the episode.
Post Heel-Face Turn, Discord becomes this in season 4 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. He and Fluttershy are real friends and she's the only one who can rein him in, but the rest of the Mane cast tolerate him at best. He doesn't deserve any better, since he still acts like a Troll around them. As of the season 4 finale, even though it took him a rather harsh way, he's becoming more accepted by the ponies.
In the series version of How to Train Your Dragon, none of the teen teachers of the Dragon Academy particularly like Snotlout Jorgenson, thanks to him being a dim-witted, bullying, arrogant, brash, hotheaded, smug pest.
Alexandra in Josie And The Pussy Cats, she does nothing to help out the gang and deliberately tries to sabotage anything they do when she gets the chance.
You or anyone you know may have been this at times.
Some countries that are allied to others can be this. One sterling example: North Korea. Even though they're allied with China (and even "allied" is a very strong term considering that trade with China pretty much is the only thing keeping their economy from collapsing) its government is arrogant, hotheaded, constantly threatening its neighbors, repeatedly attempting to build nuclear missiles in defiance of UN sanctions, and likes to talk about how it'll one day destroy South Korea and the United States. Pretty much the only reason North Korea hasn't been invaded and annexed into South Korea is because China might intervene (though that appears to be void if North Korea attacks first) and the undoubtedly massive loss of life that would result from the apparent Undying Loyalty that the country has to its rulers after decades of being spoon fed propaganda about how powerful North Korea is. Even China supports the UN sanctions against it and has more than once talked about how important the sanctions are. Numerous Chinese officials have even referred to North Korea as "a spoiled child."
Every workplace has at least one person who thinks they're well-liked by their colleagues when in fact people can't stand them but tolerate them in the spirit of workplace harmony. The problem is when these people lack self-awareness, so they interpret their colleagues' reactions as actual affection, which encourages them to be even more obnoxious.
In this article, people who went to high school with Dharun Ravi portray him as being this. Apparently he was personable, but also "boastful, untruthful, and obsessed with being perceived as wealthy," and had a knack for alienating people, which explains why there was no great rush to defend him when he went on trial after roommate Tyler Clementi committed suicide.