Two characters have a difficult relationship not because of their differences, but because of their similarities. This is most commonly seen between parents and children or romantic couples, but there's plenty of room for it in other relationships.
This can be a sign of latent (or not-so-latent) self-loathing; the character hates himself, so he also hates people who remind him of himself. Or it can be a matter of certain traits' needing to be complemented rather than mirrored in a relationship: someone who talks all the time and someone who would rather listen are obviously better off with each other than with partners like themselves.
for a list of examples of how differing personalities can be better together. Compare Opposites Attract
, You Remind Me of X
, Hypocritical Humor
, You Are What You Hate
, Turn Out Like His Father
, Evil Parents Want Good Kids
, Your Approval Fills Me with Shame
, Doppelganger Dating
. Contrast Birds of a Feather
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Anime and Manga
- Art Spiegelman, the author/narrator of Maus, mentions this off-hand to his fiance, as he once had a girlfriend who was also Jewish and Middle-Class, but Art then mentions that because they were so similar that it was weird to get erotic with the girl.
- In Road to Perdition, Michael Sullivan, Jr., feels like The Unfavorite and eventually asks his father straight out if he liked Michael's murdered brother better. His father says that he didn't, and that if he treated them differently, it was because Michael reminded him of himself, and he didn't want his own son to Turn Out Like His Father.
- Fight Club: This is why the main character doesn't like the Love Interest, Marla, at first.
- Jo and Laurie from Little Women are one of the most famous examples, although when Jo turns down his proposal she also points out the things that are too different about them (she wouldn't like high society, and he wouldn't like her writing).
- In the Tortall Universe, Alanna's relationship with Liam doesn't work out because they're such similar people: stubborn and temperamental warriors with Chronic Hero Syndrome who aren't willing to adjust for each other, or for anything. George, the man she marries, is a much more laid-back, humorous type.
- In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie takes after her mother, Katie — striking her as ordinary — while her younger brother Neeley takes after their father, a handsome and loving but unreliable alcoholic. Katie devotes herself to making sure Neeley grows up to be like the man she fell in love with, but without his flaws, leaving Francie to fend for herself. She tries to hide her Parental Favoritism, but Francie understands her mother's motives instinctively.
- A key element of the novel The Stone Angel is that Hagar Shipley insists that her younger son John is just like her while his older brother Marvin is like their father. In reality, the opposite is true and Hagar is simply deceiving herself. The stodgy, proper Marvin is just like his mother which is probably why she dislikes him so much.
- Maya and Frank in the Red Mars Trilogy are attracted to each other, but they're both such Manipulative Bastards that it turns into a miserable time for both of them.
- One of the reasons why Katniss never considers having a relationship with Gale Hawthorne: they are so alike that Katniss cannot see him as a romantic interest not to mention everything that happened during the rebellion, particularly the fact that the bombs Gale designed killed Katniss' sister, Prim.
- Percy Jackson and Thalia Grace. As Annabeth says, " You guys are so alike it's scary. I mean, either you would've been best friends or you would've strangled each other."
Live Action TV
- In The Sims 3, most traits you can give a Sim strengthen the relationship when encountered in another Sim, but the "snob" trait conflicts with itself. Snobby Sims prefer someone with the "easily impressed" or "schmoozer" trait, who will agree that the snobby sim is superior.
- If (male) Shepard decides to break up with Miranda in Mass Effect 2, he uses this exact phrase.
- In Noob, Omega Zell is a misogynist and Gaea a woman who doesn't like being demeaned. Gaea, on the other hand, displays behaviours that Omega Zell tends to not approve of in general. Aside from this, the two don't get along simply from both being self-centered, ambitious and taking every opportunity they can to bring their goal closer. The situation is such that if one of them has a opportunity to make a big step toward their objective, they (often correctly) assume the other has the same idea in mind.