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:
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.
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.
open/close all folders
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...")
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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!"
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.
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 all of its students 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.
Live Action TV
In 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.
Robbie in ''Victorious. His friends do like him, but they constantly act like jerks to him.
Pierce in Community. 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.
Played with at times when Pierce gets sick of being treated like a joke and angrily calls the group out on their poor treatment of him — however, while he does have a point, the group have the perfect comeback in that Pierce brings his poor treatment on himself by being a complete Jerkass most of the time.
It's not helped that Pierce is seen as The Scrappy in Real Life, and Chevy Chase, his actor, had a notable feud with showrunner Dan Harmon, with some fans going so far as to believe that Chase helped get Harmon kicked off the show for the fourth season.
Penny: How did Sheldon get new friends in the first place? Howard: *shrug* We like Leonard.
For those who haven't watched the show, 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.
However, flashbacks in "The Staircase Implementation" reveal that Leonard at least has a legitimate reason for tolerating Sheldon's annoying tendencies: Leonard caused a rocket-fuel explosion in the elevator, and not only did Sheldon pull him out just in time, he also lied to the authorities on Leonard's behalf. However, no one else in the group has any other reason for putting up with him, other than liking Leonard.
This is lampshaded in a season 5 episode where after Sheldon stops being friends with Leonard, the group, minus Amy, stops hanging out with him.
And even Amy lacks the patience to chauffeur him around the way he expects Leonard to.
Its a bit more complicated than that, despite complaining about him the group often implies deep down they do really like him. For instance on one occasion when they spend the night away from him, they end up spending the whole night talking about what Sheldon would do if he was there and clearly miss him. Likewise at least he and Leonard seem to have an genuine friendship, a lot of episodes start with the two happily taking part in some activity together only for someone else to come in and set Sheldon off. Leonard also admits on one occasion he doesn't mind do all the things Sheldon forces him to do, provided Sheldon shows him some recognition for doing it. It would more accurate to say the group do like Sheldon, but they will only tolerate his antics to a point, each one having a different level for when he becomes unbearable. Sheldon himself has admitted on several occasions he likes all of them in his own way.
"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."
Though it's worth noting that when he goes AWOL for a few days in Game Night, the others are openly worried about him.
In earlier seasons, most of the characters admit to having a "Barney limit". When Barney genuinely falls in love and sleeps with Robin after she breaks up with a New Old Flame, Ted (assuming he did it just to get laid) gets upset - not just because Barney slept with his ex-girlfriend, but because he had assumed Barney at least had some "limits" regarding their friendship.
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.
A stronger reason they keep him around was highlighted when Marshall got angry with Barney for ruining his bachelor party. Marshall doesn't even want Barney to come to the wedding until Lily reveals that Barney, when he supposedly bailed for a time to avoid Marshall's drama over Lily leaving him, actually flew out to San Francisco and convinced her to return to New York and salvage the relationship. He bought her a plane ticket, even.
Damon from The Vampire Diaries.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.
Jayne Cobb in Firefly, 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.
Screech in Saved by the Bell 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. This is something of an odd example, since Screech is a genuinely nice guy; he just has an unfortunate voice and some peculiar interests (although he exhibits some Stalker with a Crush tendencies with Lisa). He seems to have grown on the rest of the group by the end of the series though.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "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.
Cougar Town's 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...
Foggy from Last of the Summer Wine 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.
From Glee, Rachel and Santana were kept around for their musical talent and certainly not their personalities, though they did eventually warm up to everyone else by graduation.
Rimmer from Red Dwarf 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.
Although you could argue that most of the main characters from Misfits 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.
JP from Fresh Meat is this, and though the others warm to him a little over the course of the series he remains a source of constant annoyance.
C.C. Babcock, Maxwell Sheffield's business partner on The Nanny. 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.
Jane on Coupling. 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.
Almost every episode or situation of The Inbetweeners 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.
The Young Ones have Rick. No one likes him and have even told him that. When introducing the gang to his mother, Vyvyan called Mike and Neil his friends, but called Rick "a total bastard I know".
Michael Cole was this for the announcer team during his heel run.
Stand Up Comedy
Named for one of Dane Cook's stand up routines, quoted in part above. He finishes it by stating that if you don't know which one of your friends is this, chances are that you yourself are this trope.
Gabriel Iglesias often tells stories of one of his oldest friends, Felipe, whose inability to know when to stop messing around is frequently the cause of whatever mess Gabriel ends up describing.
Louis C.K. sets up a bit about Time Travel by mentioning a friend of his whom he hates talking to, but can't really avoid "because you can't break up with your friends."
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.
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.
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).
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.)
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.
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.
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 Dr 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.
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.
Face it, 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."