...except for them, of course.
This trope happens when two characters are just perfect for each other, but neither realizes it (or only one realizes it). However, everyone around them—their friends, family, and possibly even their enemies—can see their obvious feelings for each other. This can also happen when people (outsiders) mistake them for a couple when they're not together, resulting in a She Is Not My Girlfriend situation, designed to show the audience (and the characters) just how strong/obvious their feelings for each other are.
One of the popular ways to do this is to bring in the Romantic False Lead for an episode or a few, expressly in order to contrast this short-arc relationship with the long-arc relationship that's been developing. The Romantic False Lead will be the character to comment on how perfect they are for each other.
This trope will require Selective Obliviousness on both parts. Sometimes one or both of the prospective couple can see it, but nothing ever happens because they Cannot Spit It Out (to the great annoyance of all observers).
A sister trope (sub-trope?) of Oblivious to Love (in which one character is oblivious to the unrequited love of and potential happiness with another character), Everyone Can See It primarily has to do with the characters around the pair knowing how perfect they are for each other. It is also a frequent companion trope for Belligerent Sexual Tension. Compare It Meant Something to Me, where one character defiantly denies they feel anything for the other.
It can also be seen as an Idiot Ball or Idiot Plot, because the characters' stupidity about their feelings is what fuels the romantic (sub)plot. On the other hand, Shipping Goggles mean that "everyone else" is seeing feelings that really aren't there.
- Batfamily members Nightwing and Batgirl/Oracle are sometimes linked this way, though since they have a complicated story of being attracted to each other but never at the right time since they were teens, their occasional obliviousness can come across as willful blindness. After a one night-stand between Nightwing and Huntress:
Huntress: Fine. So you and Oracle have a "thing" going on. I'm not jealous, but I'd like to think you feel that you could trust me with—
Nightwing: What? A what? A "thing"? We—we're friends but but…
Huntress: Oh, I get it. You guys don't even know yet. How cute.
Nightwing: I... don't know what you're talking about.
- In Spider-Girl, we have May Parker and Wes Westin. He's crazy over her, and only one person in school can't see it. Unfortunately for him, this person is May herself. In Spider-Girl: The End, the finale of Mayday's series, Wes reveals he has deduced her identity and finally manages to tell her how he feels, Mayday returns his feelings, and they have remained a couple ever since.
- Sabretooth & Monet St. Croix in Uncanny X-Men & Weapon X-Force.
- Psylocke thinks their bickering is how they flirt & suggests they get a room. After their descents into darkness, she calls them Starkweather & Fugate.
- Callisto calls Monet Creed's girlfriend & after interrupting an argument, tells them she's sorry for interrupting "whatever's going on between" them.
- Emplate said Creed will gut her eventually, and Monet snarks at him looking down on the boys his sister hangs around with.
- Deathstrike calls Monet Creed's ex-girlfriend.
- Domino is instantly intrigued when she hears about them from Deathstrike & doesn't believe Creed saying she's just a friend. She becomes a clear Shipper on Deck the following chapter.
- Deadpool follows after Domino, asking Creed & Monet if they're "gonna kiss, or what?"
- X-Wing Series (comics): Ibtisam and Nrin Vakil. She was a Mon Calamari, he was a Quarren, their species traditionally didn't get along and they argued often when they first joined the squadron... but one of their wingmates predicted◊ that if they didn't kill each other, they'd take union vows. Their wingmates even basically played◊ matchmaker◊ with them. And what do you know, they did hook up◊. Pity that Ibtisam died a few pages after that...
- Mini Monsters has Frank and Henrietta. They have mutual crushes on each other, but they can't be a pairing because of their shyness and Henrietta's Kick-Ass alter-ego, Miss Hit. However, everyone thinks they are a couple, and whenever they say something about that, Frank, in denial, says: "She Is Not My Girlfriend!".
- In Safe Havens, Samantha and Dave used to tell anyone and everyone that they were Just Friends. Absolutely no one bought it, especially their circle of friends. They eventually progressed to dating and Official Couple-dom but balked at attempts to go beyond "just dating", physically or legally. In 2012, however, they announced their engagement.
- Lemont of Candorville writes a long-running newspaper serial that's implied to have very similar content to the comic itself. His Author Avatar and the stand-in for his female best friend are the Fan-Preferred Couple. Lemont calls Shipping Goggles on this, but accidentally undermines himself by talking about how the two characters make each other feel complete.
- In Toy Story 2, we already knew that Buzz held a torch for Jessie and that she probably returned his affections. In the third movie, it's obvious to the characters as well—especially when Buzz loses his memory and is accidentally reset into a Spanish mode:
- In The Swan Princess, by the time they were teenagers, Derek's friend Bromley teased him about being jealous about Odette and the villagers and the servants were singing about how they can't wait to see the wedding.
- Hugo and Rita from the Danish movie series Jungledyret Hugo. It's so obvious to pretty much everyone so that they've to endure a lot of teasing from others, much to their embarrassment (or in Rita's case, annoyance when her younger siblings does the teasing). Even the bad guys can see it, like when Hugo and Rita have a heartwarming reunion, a couple of stray cats Hugo antagonized earlier mocks them for being out to "take a look at the moonlight", or like when Cupmann blames Hugo's defiance on Rita's "bad influence" over him, and so wants to kill her to break that defiance.
- In Strange Magic, Marianne and the Bog King so much so that a crowd song of their subjects breaks out to encourage them to admit their feelings.
- In The Secret Life of Pets, Gidget's crush on Max is blatantly obvious to everyone, except Max himself (at least until near the end of the movie, when he starts to return her feelings).
- In Hercules, the song "I Won't Say (I'm In Love)" has the Muses pointing this out to Meg while she protests in typical tsundere fashion.
- In Superman: Doomsday Superman and Lois are dating, but he's reluctant to reveal his identity to her, for fear that it my compromise her safety, noting that it's the same reason they've never gone public with their relationship. Lois then shoots that excuse down by telling him to read a gossip column once in a while because practically all of Metropolis thinks they're dating anyway (everyone except for Luthor, it seems).
- When Harry and Sally finally hook up in When Harry Met Sally..., their respective best friends remark to each other, "Finally." It's not that easy, sadly.
- Mu Bai and Shu Lien from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, who decided to remain Just Friends despite what they really wanted. Everyone, from their old friend Sir Te and the main character Jen, either urged or wished for the two of them to just get together.
- Justified in this case, as both openly acknowledged their mutual attraction but, due to loyalty to Shu Lien's dead husband (who was Mu Bai's best friend) they remain Just Friends.
- Sarah and Karl in Love Actually, to the point where her boss called her into his office to specifically talk to her about what she was going to do about it.
- In Star Wars, everyone (including Luke, who has by this point gotten over whatever crush he supposedly had) knows that Leia and Han Solo are perfect for each other, even if Leia tries denying it.
- In Far and Away, the entire whorehouse knows that Joseph and Shannon aren't "brother and sister."
Molly: *after watching them argue* Oh, why don't you shag her and get it over with?Joseph: She's...my sister!Molly: And I'm your mother.
- In Gilda, everyone can see that Johnny and Gilda have something going on.
- In Love Before Breakfast, Kay and Scott have this dynamic. Bill, Kay's fiance, even Lampshades it.
- Will and Layla in Sky High (2005) insist that they are Just Friends, but everyone (including the villain) can tell that Layla has a crush on Will—except for Will himself. He doesn't even realize it until it's pointed out to him by his archenemy.
- This is a source of embarrassment for Linda in Mogambo, since she is carrying on an adulterous romance with Vic. When she points out that everyone can see how he looks at her, Vic replies that while everyone else can, her clueless husband Donald can't.
- It seems like the entire country of Genovia has been waiting and hoping for Queen Clarisse and her devoted bodyguard Joseph to hook up when they finally get married in The Princess Diaries 2.
Clarisse: My lord Archbishop, I would like to take this man as my husband, if you please.Archbishop: Finally.
- In the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man, Peter has been in love with Mary Jane from the moment he laid eyes on her, and Mary Jane is about the only person in the film who doesn't see it. Aunt May even points this out, when she says "Tell me, would it be so dangerous to let Mary Jane know how much you care? Everybody else knows." It also leads to an Oh, Crap! moment when Peter realizes that "everybody else" includes the Green Goblin.
- Jinie from The Breaker, though she will always reply "He Is Not My Boyfriend!".
- Everybody can tell Jung Hyun has a crush on Rose in Welcome To Room 305 except Rose herself, nobody in their class wants to be the one to tell her.
- When Seol-A from Fluttering Feelings is talking her new friend No-Rae she doesn't realize she's gushing and rambling about her. Her friend on the other hand does. At this moment in the webtoon Seol-A hadn't realized she liked No-Rae yet.
- "Everybody Knows (Except You)" by The Divine Comedy is a variant, in that everyone can see that the singer is in love with the girl, except the girl herself. Of course, this IS because he just went around telling everybody and everything about it (to the point of driving his friends away and making a small boy cry).
- "Something To Talk About" by Bonnie Raitt plays the trope straight. The singer hears rumors about her and a friend, and starts to realize that said friend is in love with her and she with them. Once they recognize the mutual attraction, the narrator suggests they give the rumor-starters "something to talk about".
- "Just Friends" by The Jonas Brothers is a variation in which everyone can see it (including the narrator), except for the girl in question.
- "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This" by Toby Keith.
- "Rumor Has It" by Clay Walker
- Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing revolves around this trope. While Hero and Claudio are happily in love with their perfect romance, Beatrice and Benedick never lose an opportunity to mock each other (with sex jokes) or deny their feelings for one another. It takes a bit of manipulation on Hero and Claudio's parts to bring them together.
- In Pokémon Live!, Brock can easily tell Misty loves Ash, though Ash himself is clueless.
- Anastasia: As in the animated film, the last people to figure out that Anya and Dmitry are in love are... Anya and Dmitry. Lily has her suspicions, Vlad definitely sees it, and the Dowager Empress calls refers to Dmitry as "your young man" and Anya's "different kind of prince."
- In the musical Anne and Gilbert (based on Anne of Green Gables) there's an entire song based around how obvious it is to everybody in Avonlea that Anne and Gilbert love each other. It is appropriately called "Gilbert Loves Anne of Green Gables". In fact this observation is considered as unremarkable as more mundane truths like "dogs bury bones" and "preachers talk a lot".
- Fate/stay night: EVERYONE can see that Sakura is absolutely head-over-heels for Shirou.
- The entire orchestra in "a2 ~a due~" thinks that Hao and Sona like each other. Depending on your choice out of two dialogue options, they're all either very wrong, with Sona thinking to herself that she and Hao are only close friends, or they're very right, with Sona silently admitting that they might have a point.
French Horn Player: It's because you love us, don't you, Sona?Cello Player: But not as much as you love Hao~.Sona: You're getting your face punched in first, just so you know.
- In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, everyone can see that Junpei and June are infatuated with one another.
Lotus: (after having to tell Junpei that a stack of plates are for seafood) If you ever take out a lady to dinner, you're going to embarrass yourself. I feel sorry for June.Junpei: Wh...wh...wh...why the hell are you bringing up June!?Lotus: The lady doth protest too much, methinks. You are not terribly subtle.
- A Ho Yay example would be Ryo and Hibiki from Lux-Pain. It seems obvious to a lot of people that Hibiki has an obvious crush on Ryo but the latter is either oblivious or purposely leading him on.
- Eri of Nameless is involved in one of these with both Red and Yuri in their respective routes. It's both painful and cute. Tei gets mixed up with both of them, accidentally with Red and intentionally with Yuri.
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials & Tribulations it takes everyone roughly 5 seconds of seeing Phoenix and Iris around each other or talking about each other to notice their feelings. Unusually for this trope "everyone" does include both of them. However in addition to trying to solve a murder case Phoenix is also trying to figure out Iris's secret( she actually dated him in the past while pretending to be her twin sister. Said twin later tried to kill him) while Iris thinks that Phoenix hates her because of it(he doesn't).
- In the furry webcomic Divided Sky, Kittifox and Stryde are a good example of this trope, where the mute friend picks up on this and a blind angel says bluntly, "You love her."
- Tonya mentions this to Lance in Shape Quest.
- Parley and Andrew Smith from Gunnerkrigg Court. She's all over him (literally); he puts up with it because he thinks she's "hotter than hell", but he's oblivious to (or in denial over) the fact that she likes him. It takes a homicidal ghost chastising Parley for precisely this for them to see it.
- Taken to a hilarious degree when her friends see the two merely in the same room, pretending too hard they have absolutely nothing to do with each other...and simultaneously jump to the correct conclusion.
- Reika and Eiji were so obvious in Red String that their friends actually say "finally" when they—finally!—hook up.
- Agatha Heterodyne and Gilgamesh Wulfenbach from Girl Genius. Partially subverted in that they themselves know, but just Cannot Spit It Out.
- Also subverted in that Gil proposes to Agatha at the end of the first story arc and later goes on campaign when she "dies", clutching his engagement "ring" close to his heart.
- Moloch von Zinzer's feelings for Sanaa—usually causing all mental and motor activity to go haywire on sight—were (surprise!) rather obvious to other prisoners of the Castle:
Moloch: Did everyone know about that?!Dr. Mittelmind: Hm? Oh, not everyone...just those of us who noticed that anyone who got to your kitchen after Sanaa was served boiled sponge with gravy.
- Haley and Elan in The Order of the Stick. Exhibit A.
- Mike and Lucy in Bittersweet Candy Bowl. Very far gone. Until suddenly, it is gone. When Lucy finally realizes this, she is not a happy kitty.
- Questionable Content:
- Faye and Marten for the first 400+ strips. Then they have "The Talk".
- Later, Faye and Angus, though it's more Faye saying that "nothing had been decided yet" when she likes him, he likes her, and everyone knows they're going to get together. As of Number 1736, they're official.
- And after their breakup, Faye and Bubbles. In this case, "everyone" includes Bubbles, who believes a double case of Incompatible Orientation is in effect (Bubbles not only being another woman, but a robot as well) and thus keeps quiet about her feelings believing they can't ever be reciprocated. By the time something actually happens between them, Dora has got an emergency code in place for "It finally happened and one (or possibly both) of them is freaking out about it".
Dora: No offense, hon, but the writing's been on the wall for a while. In neon paint. Sixty feet high.
- Penny and Aggie: Aggie and Penny. It builds slowly, but by the evening they finally get together, everyone present seems to have realized there's something there.
- Sequential Art's Valentines' sequence: pleasant surprise, blush, awkwardness, facepalm.
- Karkat and Terezi in Homestuck, to the point where even the humans, who have just met them, comment on it.
- This is echoed with Kankri and Latula—Aranea mentions that, by the end, pretty much everyone was aware there was some Unresolved Sexual Tension between them, even though Latula was apparently happily in a relationship with Mituna. Latula seems to know what's going on, but Kankri, as a dedicated Celibate Hero, very much doesn't.
- Between Elliot and Susan in El Goonish Shive. Not only do each of the main characters have at least some inkling of it, but the in-universe fandom for their movie review show ships them as well.
- Split Screen: Jan and Jeremy. Even someone who's only seen them react to a picture of the other can see it. Jan doesn't outright say she love Jeremy (to him), but she doesn't try to hide it. Jeremy insists there's nothing there, but his reactions are...mixed.
- Jackson and Olga from Sister Claire. They act secretive for a time, but everyone knows. Even Azi, a wolf witch can tell mere moments after meeting them.
- Mel Odious and Greta Goode in Everyday Heroes. They're eight years old and can't stand each other; and of course, you know what that means.
- Sun Jing is head-over-heels for Qiu Tong in Their Story. She barely makes an attempt to hide it around her. In one comic even a convenience store owner notices the chemistry between the two girls.
- Star Mares has rivals Moontear and Wind Whistler, who while not necessarily romantically attracted to each other (the author has stated that it's supposed to be up to the reader whether they are or not) certainly put a higher value on one another's opinions than anyone else's. Everyone, including ponies who haven't actually met one of them, knows that they're more than just rivals. Moontear, of course, continually denies that they're even friends.
- Never Satisfied:
- Linkara and Marzgurl on That Guy with the Glasses. Whenever they appear together, about 90% of the comments will point this out. Apparently it's just good chemistry (and Ship Tease), because Linkara later proved to have a real-life girlfriend known as "Iron Liz".
- The Nostalgia Critic/The Nostalgia Chick. It's one of the reasons why Nella forces her to go on the date with him, Mara wanted to kill the Chick because she needed to punish Critic more, and an earlier draft of To Boldly Flee had even Mechakara trying to test 7-of-11's loyalty by making her shoot Critic. Of course, they know it too (and history with sexings have been confirmed by Word of God), but Critic is scared of what she could do to him and she hates admitting emotions.
- Starwalker: A lot of characters have noticed that Starry and Elliott mean a lot to each other but both of them show Selective Obliviousness when someone tries to bring up the subject.
- Thalia and Apollo in Thalia's Musings. Let's see, Apollo and Thalia have feelings for each other. Hephaestus sympathizes with her during the Daphne debacle, Eros and Aphrodite keep offering to set them up together. Even Artemis knows that her brother becomes afflicted with a case of Love Makes You Stupid when he's showing off for Thalia. Also everyone in Olympus speculates about them.
- In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, upon finding out Bulma has a kid, Gohan and Krillin immediately guess it's Vegeta's. So do Goku and Piccolo, but they might not count-they already know thanks to said kid coming back in time and telling them.