...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, pets, 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 Unresolved Sexual Tension, Belligerent Sexual Tension, and Will They or Won't They? 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 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.
See also The Matchmaker, Shipper on Deck, Everybody Knew Already, and Transparent Closet. Contrast Mistaken for Romance.
- 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.
- 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!".
- Sabretooth & Monet St. Croix in Uncanny X-Men & Weapon X with 7 characters insinuating or thinking that there's more going on between them that just comradeship.
- Psylocke was the first in Uncanny X-Men 1 when she notes how much they bicker, suggests they get a room, and thinks they may be flirting. In the finale, she compared them to Starkweather & Fugate.
- Callisto was next, mockingly calling Monet Creed's "little girlfriend" at first, and later during a spat, she cuts in to warn them of the situation but wryly apologizes for interrupting "whatever's going on" between them.
- Emplate says he detected affection from Monet when it came to Creed before guessing that she's bored with handsome, cultured men. Much later, he threatens to gut her with a warning that Creed will do it eventually which causes Monet to snark at him looking down on the guys she hangs around.
- Deathstrike in Weapon X. When Creed is briefing them on Monet and the mission to save her, she instantly notes Monet as his ex-girlfriend which makes Creed defensive.
- Domino becomes a Shipper on Deck as soon as she hears Deathstrike's comment, thinking it adorable. When she sees Creed shyly trying to speak with Monet, she gushes, tells Monet about how he wanted to save her, and how nobody believed his protests.
- After hearing Domino's Love Informant ramble, Deadpool promptly asks if they're going to kiss which causes Creed & Monet to tell him to shut up.
- Finally, Omega Red tells everyone to focus on love after they finish war. But later when Creed & Monet finally talk about what happened between them, Omega Red is watching them with a grin.
- 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.
- X-Wing Rogue Squadron: 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...
- 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 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". They did eventually get married in 2014 and had a daughter in 2018. Maria, one of the most ardent shippers on deck for them, turns out to be their Kid from the Future.
- 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.
- 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 do 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.
- Everyone ships Robin Hood and Maid Marian in Robin Hood (1973), although the pair is initially hesitant as they hadn't seen each other in years. Almost every character happily supports their romance and encourages them to be together. Deconstructed as Prince John is aware of it as well and uses it to his advantage to lay a trap for Robin Hood at the archery contest, seeing through Robin's disguise when he notices Marian's feelings for the "stork".
- 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 Superman: Doomsday Superman and Lois are dating, but he's reluctant to reveal his identity to her, for fear that it may 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).
- 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 The Swan Princess, by the time they were teenagers, Derek's friend Bromley teased him about being jealous of Odette, and the villagers and the servants were singing about how they can't wait to see the wedding.
- In Toy Story 2, we already knew that Buzz held a torch for Jessie and that she probably returned his affections. In Toy Story 3, it's obvious to the characters as well—especially when Buzz loses his memory and is accidentally reset into a Spanish mode:
Buzz: "<My desert flower! I have never seen true beauty until this night!>"
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Love Before Breakfast, Kay and Scott have this dynamic. Bill, Kay's fiance, even Lampshades it.
- Maggie & Annie: Maggie's friends notice quickly that she and Annie now are in love, before either of them admit it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- When Seol-A from Fluttering Feelings is talking about 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.
- Jinie from The Breaker, though she will always deny it.
- 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.
- "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).
- "Just Friends" by The Jonas Brothers is a variation in which everyone can see it (including the narrator), except for the girl in question.
- "Rumor Has It" by Clay Walker
- "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".
- "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This" by Toby Keith.
- "Rumor" by Lee Brice
- 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".
- 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.
- 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 the Danganronpa series, the closeness of Makoto and Kyoko, Hajime and Chiaki, and Shuichi and Kaede will often be pointed out by other characters.
- In Every Day's Different Yoko has has been holding a torch for the protagonist since they were little kids and is not fooling any of her friends about it. The protagonist doesn't twig until a ways into her route and not at all on other routes unless it's directly pointed out to him.
- Fate/stay night: EVERYONE can see that Sakura is absolutely head-over-heels for Shirou.
- In Ikemen Revolution, this happens in most Black Army routes with the entirety of the Black Army (except Luka, who's usually too innocent to realize what's going on) quickly catching on to the UST between the MC and the Black Army officer she has her eyes on. In Fenrir's route in particular, the Everyone Can See It nature of their feelings actually extend to Fenrir and the MC themselves who are fully aware of their mutual feelings for each other but pretend to be ignorant about them because they don't want to break the promise they made at the beginning to not fall in love so that the MC would be able to go back to her home in London at the end of the month with no regrets or sadness.
- In Ikemen Sengoku, this happens in several routes with the female main character and the warlord of her choice:
- In Ieyasu's route, all the other Oda warlords (except for Mitsunari) simultaneously realize in one scene that Ieyasu has developed a crush on the main character and give him knowing grins.
- In Hideyoshi's route, it's revealed after he and the main character finally resolve their UST that his subordinates had been making bets on just when they'd get together.
- In Mitsunari's route, Mitsunari and the main character's feelings for each other are so painfully obvious to everyone else that Hideyoshi and Ieyasu repeatedly make excuses to leave them alone together before and after they actually get together and Masamune and Mitsuhide go, "Finally!!" when Mitsunari tells them that he and the MC are in love.
- 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.
- Minotaur Hotel: By the 15th chapter of the Main route, several people comment on the close relationship between you and Asterion, and how they're surprised they're not romantically involved. The protagonist is annoyed by this, not because he doesn't want to be with Asterion in that way, but because he doesn't want to force it onto Asterion unless Asterion himself says he feels the same towards the protagonist.
- 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 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.
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and 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 Sable's Grimoire: Man and Elf, the one person who can’t tell that Sable and Lisha like each other romantically is Sable himself. Even complete strangers can tell they’re a couple within seconds of meeting them.
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl: Mike and Lucy. Very far gone. Until suddenly, it is gone. When Lucy finally realizes this, she is not a happy kitty.
- 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."
- El Goonish Shive: Between Elliot and Susan. 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.
- Everyday Heroes: Mel Odious and Greta Goode eight years old and can't stand each other. Of course, you know what that means.
- Girl Genius:
- Agatha Heterodyne and Gilgamesh Wulfenbach. Partially subverted in that they themselves know, but just Cannot Spit It Out. 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.
- Gunnerkrigg Court: Parley and Andrew Smith. 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 an extreme 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.
- Early in Act 5, Kanaya is nursing a major crush on Vriska that she doesn't really admit to herself, but which most of the other trolls have picked up on. This is commented on when Eridan refers to Vriska as Kanaya's crush, Kanaya denies it, and Eridan remarks that that's a laugh and everyone knows it.
- Karkat and Terezi develop a very obvious mutual crush, 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.
- Leif & Thorn: Hyacinth and Hazel are "technically not dating", according to Hyacinth's mother Tansy, but no one expects this state of affairs to last.
- Never Satisfied:
- January's needled by several characters for her crush on Philomena, who doesn't seem to notice.
- Seiji is unaware of his own crush on Sylas until his mom points it out. He doesn't take it quietly.
- 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.
- 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".
Bubbles: You have an operational code for this situation?
Dora No offense, hon, but the writing's been on the wall for a while. In neon paint. Sixty feet high.
- Red String: Reika and Eiji are so obvious that their friends actually say "finally" when they — finally! — hook up.
- Sequential Art's Valentines' sequence: pleasant surprise, blush, awkwardness, facepalm.
- Sister Claire: Jackson and Olga. They act secretive for a time, but everyone knows. Even Azi, a wolf witch can tell mere moments after meeting them.
- Spinnerette: Spinnerette and Mecha Maid have recently become girlfriends. Spinnerette is shy about revealing the fact (she only recently realized she was attracted to Mecha Maid and isn't used to the idea of being lesbian/bisexual). When the superhero team gets into an artificially-induced argument, Mecha Maid snaps out, "Are you ashamed to be gay, or just ashamed of me?!" Green Gable's response: "That [their relationship] was a secret?"
- 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 loves Jeremy (to him), but she doesn't try to hide it. Jeremy insists there's nothing there, but his reactions are...mixed.
- 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.
- Their Story: Sun Jing is head-over-heels for Qiu Tong. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Linkara and MarzGurl. Whenever they appear together in videos, 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.
- Downplayed in RWBY with Blake Belladonna and Yang Xiao Long. While a number of characters remark on how important they are to each other, their support is less about convincing them to hook up and more about helping them overcome their obvious doubts that they're good enough for each other. A particularly comical moment crops up when Lie Ren refers to them as 'friends,' which his partner Nora Valkyrie immediately calls him out on, leading to an argument on what they actually are. Jaune later joins in on this in Volume 9. After seeing Blake and Yang have their first kiss, he snarks, "Feels like I've been waiting forever for that." He really has been too.
- Spanish Literature Nobel Prize winner Jacinto Benavente invoked this trope in one of his most memorable Real Life quotes, which nowadays is considered a proverb in Spain: "Love is like fire. People on the outside usually see the smoke before the people on the inside see the flames."note