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Fair Weather Friend

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Someone who's your buddy when things are going well, but isn't when things go poorly.

Friends are good, especially when they are True Companions who will stick with you through thick and thin. But not all of your "friends" are reliable people. Some of them are fickle sorts who will abandon you the moment you get into trouble and actually need a friend to help. That's a Fair Weather Friend.

Sometimes a Fair Weather Friend will bookend a story, palling around with the protagonist at the beginning, disappearing when difficulties arise, then coming back as though nothing had happened when the trouble is over, attempting to regain their place.


Often a part of an Ineffectual Loner's backstory. Compare this to a False Friend. A False Friend is someone who is never actually your friend, but pretends to be because it will work to their advantage. A Fair Weather Friend is a genuine friend to you at first, but they'll abandon you as soon as it puts them at a disadvantage. Inverse of Power of Friendship. Contrast A Friend in Need. Do not confuse with Social Circle Filler, who are friends that drop out of the story because the main character got better, more plot-relevant ones (which would make the main character an unspoken one of these).

Compare this to With Friends Like These... and I Fight for the Strongest Side, which often overlap with this trope.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ange's intramural teammates from Cross Ange turn on her after she is revealed to be a Norma, all of one day after she makes a heartwarming speech about teamwork.
  • Haruo from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, a fair weather friend with an ever-present arrogant smirk on his face who enjoys getting Kenichi into trouble...
    • He and Kenichi have even dubbed each other their "bad friends".
  • Nanami's Girl Posse from Revolutionary Girl Utena is revealed to be this to one another in Episode 21 after Keiko is punished by Nanami for being caught sharing an umbrella with her brother, Touga, by banning her from all clubs and associations. When Keiko turns to Aiko and Yuuko for help, they simply look at her blankly before asking each other aloud if they had just heard something and then leave her behind. By the end of the episode though, after Keiko manages to make up with Nanami, the three are back together again on apparent good terms.
  • In A Silent Voice when Shouya Ishida is scapegoated for all the horrible bullying of Shouko Nishimiya (he was the ringleader and the worst of them, but all the blame is placed on him) all of his friends abandon him, even Ueno, the girl who had a crush on him and largely bullied Shouko out of jealousy of the attention Shouya paid to her. His supposed best friends Shimada and Hirose even join the rest of the class in bullying Shouya in turn, suggesting they never really liked him in the first place and mainly hung around with him because he was cool.
  • In the soundtrack for season 1 of Yu-Gi-Oh!, the song "I'm Back", which plays during the show, has the lines "Now I see those close to me/They were just fair-weather friends". This is how Kaiba views anyone that claims to be loyal to him in the show as well.

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts:
    • Referenced in this strip.
      Linus: "It's fair weather today, Charlie Brown."
      Charlie Brown: "So where are all my friends?"
    • In this one Snoopy bemoans the loss of his snowman to a bright, sunny (if cold) day. "There's one thing for sure...he was no 'fair weather friend.'"
    • In the book I Need All the Friends I can Get Charlie Brown says "I need all the friends I can get. I'd even settle for a fair-weather friend."

    Fan Works 
  • Motoko runs afoul of this in An Alternate Keitaro Urashima. When she goes through a major Humiliation Conga and is at her lowest, her Girl Posse decides she's not as strong as they thought she was and ditch her. Naru also turns on her because when Makoto lost her duel, she was mildly inconvenienced and took a slight blow to her ego.
  • Burning Bridges, Building Confidence paints most of Marinette's classmates as these, as despite praising her as their 'Everyday Ladybug', they're quick to side with Lila and her exciting yarns, believing her Malicious Slander. This is especially true of Alya and Adrien. Alya is the loudest and most vicious about confronting Marinette with all of Lila's accusations, while Adrien is well aware of Lila's true nature, but chooses to blame Marinette and insist that she needs to stop trying to expose her, as her lies 'aren't hurting anyone'... aside from Marinette herself, who apparently doesn't count.
  • For His Own Sake deals with everyone at the Hinata Inn facing serious consequences for their actions, and friendships fraying at the seams. When some of the girls start taking more responsibility for their own problems, the more stubborn and hard-headed among them prove that they're nothing more than fair-weather friends even while accusing the others of being 'traitors'.
  • Heidi counts as this to Lo in Hanging Ten. While at first she seems nice enough, Heidi soon abandons Lo since she considers Lo a "surf nut". Lo then comes to the sad conclusion that all of her school friends are like that and that she never had any true friends before meeting the other surfers. Subverted in a sequel story, Hanging Ten: My Cyber-Sweet Sixteen, where another friend from Lo's school, Flor, shows up and immediately proves herself a true friend by making Heidi apologize for her behavior.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: Goh several times over:
    • While he claims that he's always been there for his Childhood Friend Chloe, in practice, the two of them never spend any time together. When she calls him out on this, he retorts that he's been busy chasing his dreams — adding that she can't possibly understand what that's like because she doesn't have any. This serves as the catalyst for Chloe running away and boarding the Train.
    • Similarly, Goh didn't make any effort to find out why Tokio wasn't able to meet up with him like they'd planned, leaping to the conclusion that he'd deliberately ditched him.
    • Over time, Goh convinces himself that Chloe was a fair-weather friend to him, since she stopped trying to reach out to him and repair their fraying friendship. The fact that HE didn't make any effort until after she boarded the Train, and has mainly concerned himself with 'saving' her so everything can go back to exactly how it was before, is completely lost upon him.
    • He also turns on Ash after learning that Ash has gotten together with Trip, getting incredibly jealous of the notion that HIS friend could be close to anybody else. He even considers outing Ash in hopes of hurting him and ruining his reputation.
  • In A Sky Of A Million Stars: All of Bakugou Katsuki's lackeys prove to be this when he briefly returns Aldera Junior High after Izuku's suicide attempt. Despite him clearly not being alright and still trying to cope with the situation, they avoid him and instead join in on the growing rumor mill. Obviously, after Katsuki hits his Rage Breaking Point and blows up the cafeteria, it's not hard for him to skip out on school altogether and enroll in Aldera's Correspondence Course a few months later. The situation ultimately feeds into Katsuki's Guilt Complex, as it proves an Awful Truth: despite Katsuki treating him like shit, Izuku really was his Only Friend.
  • Leave for Mendeleiev:
    • Adrien takes an interest in Marinette and her friends when he starts suspecting that they might be connected to Ladybug, zeroing in on her in particular. After seeing Future!Ladybug checking on Marinette during the Timebreaker incident, he decides he must have been wrong and immediately starts ignoring her, Aurore, and the rest.
    • Nino also shows shades of this. While he promises Marinette that Chloé isn't involved in his movie-making project, he decides not to warn her when this changes, as he knows Marinette is trying to avoid her long-time bully and wouldn't want to come if she knew she was there. He blames Marinette for this, acting entitled to her help, and generally trampling over the boundaries of everyone involved with the project. The whole debacle leaves Marinette seriously questioning the nature of their friendship.
  • Ichigo doesn't call his friends this, but the narrative implies they are after they abandon him in Wanderlust after he loses his powers. It leads to Ichigo having to deal with the trauma of the Winter War by himself with no one to turn to.

    Films — Animated 
  • Kaa accuses Mowgli's friends of this in the Disney version of The Jungle Book.
  • Derek in Monsters vs. Aliens breaks up with Susan when he thinks she'll overshadow him due to her transformation, but then tries to hook up with her again when the public opinion of her skyrockets and being her husband would give him extra fame.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Battle Royale, two female students, Kaori and Mizuho, forced into the titular game give tearful goodbyes to each other before they're forced to enter the battlefield out on the island they've been put on. Later on, we see a shot of their dead bodies impaled with either a harpoon or spear and you see a lifesaver between them. And because they fought over who gets to escape the island as a matter of survival regarding the dangers of the ocean such as freezing temperatures, strong currents, etc. this is about as literal as this trope can get.
  • Taken to the nth degree in Brazil, where Michael Palin's character is willing to perform Cold-Blooded Torture on longtime friend Sam when circumstances turn against Sam.
  • Crash: Employed in one of this film's subplots as part of the anti-racism aesop. Sandra Bullock's character, a lonely woman married to a wealthy but frequently absent husband, has previously shown hostility to a Mexican repairman. Later on, she takes a fall in her home that leaves her unable to walk and she calls one of her white upper-class lady friends for help. Her "friend" ignores her plea, but her Mexican maid does come to her aid.
  • Creed II The Russian elites are shown as this to Ivan Drago. In Rocky IV They praise Ivan as their champion, but after his loss at Rocky's hands, they abandon him, exile him to Ukraine and his wife Ludmilla abandons him and their son to remarry a wealthy man. His son Viktor even calls him out on this, upset he was desperate to earn the approval of the same people who threw him aside when he needed them most.
  • The Dark Crystal: When skekSil the Chamberlain makes his move to take the throne, many of the other Skeksis whisper that they're all with him. After losing the trial by stone, they all gleefully turn on skekSil on skekZok's command.
  • In San Andreas, it's more of "Fair Geology Friends" where the protagonist's daughter and her boyfriend part ways as soon as an earthquake hits and debris is trapping the girl in a parking garage as while the boyfriend bolts for his own safety refusing to go through another near-death experience.
  • In Trading Places when Winthorpe is framed for drug use and being with a hooker, he instantly is turned on by all his friends. He doesn't grasp it until he comes to the club to ask them to be character witnesses at his upcoming trial only to be coldly told by all of them (including his ex-fiance) that they want nothing to do with him anymore and just leave.
  • Dylan Gould in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. He at first seemed like a cool person to work for to the film's human protagonists Sam and Carly, but when the Decepticons take over, Dylan reveals that he defected to them out of cowardice. Dylan then sells out Sam to Soundwave, and kidnaps Carly to be his wife (or sex slave, if you'd call it).

  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Nick Drew abandons his friends when the going gets tough.
  • In Debt of Honor, China, who had earlier formed a secret alliance with Japan as part of their plot to seize the Northern Resource Area, are quick to throw Japan under the bus once Yamata's plan starts unraveling.
  • A literal example in Oscar Wilde's The Devoted Friend: Hugh Miller visits Hans during the spring, summer, and autumn, but not during the winter when Hans is left to endure the cold weather. Lampshaded by Hugh:
    Hugh: There is no good in my going to see little Hans as long as the snow lasts, for when people are in trouble, they should be left alone, and not be bothered by visitors.
  • The Diabolic: Gladdic wants to have good relations with Sidonia (she says she expected them to marry eventually), but he's a coward who quickly buckles when someone more powerful is around. Notably, in his first appearance he tries to warn Nemesis that she's going to get date-raped... but shuts up because Elantra glares at him. Nemesis quickly decides he is not worthy of Sidonia.
  • In Harriet the Spy, the titular character's inner thoughts are shared with her classmates when her diary is taken from her. Her close friends, offended by her unflattering (yet not intentionally harmful) thoughts, join a club devoted to ruining her life. (Unlike some other examples here, they learn better by the end.)
  • Alluded to in the novel Joust. After a new Jouster screws up big time, Ari comments that the Jouster's noble friends won't be hanging around to console him.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Many students follow public opinion when it comes to Harry, being friendly when he's popular and cold when he's unpopular. This is highlighted in the fifth and sixth books. During the fifth book, the Ministry of Magic actively attempt to discredit Harry, pressuring the wizard newspapers to portray him as a lunatic, causing many students to shun him. In the sixth book, the Ministry and newspapers portray Harry as some sort of hero and the only one able to defeat Voldemort. This resulted in Harry being swarmed by fangirls, one of whom even tried to poison him with love potion.
    • Peter Pettigrew is this very much, only befriending those he can get the most out of. In his youth, he was friends with James, Sirius and Lupin, the former two being among the most popular students of the school. When Voldemort starts his first reign of terror, Peter is quick to align himself with the dark wizard, as staying befriended with his schoolmates, who all actively fight against Voldemort, would almost certainly result in trouble.
    • Inverted with Ron and Hermione in the last few books. After Harry realizes he has a long and dangerous quest ahead of him to defeat Voldemort, he almost begs Ron and Hermione to leave his side, not wanting to drag them along with his troubles and endangering their lives. Both of them make perfectly clear Harry is stuck with them during his quest.
  • Gimli in The Lord of the Rings expresses a dislike for these sorts of people during the Council of Elrond.
    "Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens"
  • In the book The Man in the Ceiling, the main character abandons his friends who need his help when the most popular boy in school takes an interest in him. He claims that all of them, being outcasts, would have done the same thing in his place.
  • In Jan Guillou's Ondskan, the protagonist Erik Ponti is at the start of the story running several fairly successful rackets at school, one of which includes stealing records from record stores with the aid of his friends. Erik is clever enough to lay down two rules for his gang: they rotate which stores they hit next so as to minimize suspicion, and if caught they will admit to nothing so as to minimize their punishment and not get each other in trouble. Unfortunately for Erik, while he's busy with something else his friends decide to target the same store several times, resulting in them getting caught, and they immediately blame Erik for making them go through with it in order to save their own hides.
  • A recurring motif in Olivia Goldsmith's books will be a character hitting low and quickly realizing who their real friends are.
    • The First Wives Club has each of the wives realizing how fast their society pals can turn on them once their husbands divorce them.
    • Marrying Mom reveals that the supposed con man who had been a Riches to Rags type is actually still very wealthy. It seems when he lost his money the first time, he quickly discovered how his wife and others were willing to desert him. Thus, he keeps his new wealth secret to know how folks truly feel about him.
    • In Young Wives, Michelle's husband is arrested for drug dealing. It takes Michelle a while to grasp how she's now a pariah at the PTA and other neighborhood events despite how she knew nothing of what her husband was up to.
  • Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive): Adolin is disturbed to find that all his friends want nothing to do with him now that his family's political future is uncertain. Part of this is Adolin's fault, as he was friendly with pretty much everyone but didn't try to forge meaningful relationships with anyone besides his brother. Mostly, it's a sign of how shallow and corrupt the Alethi elite have become.

    Live-Action TV 
  • ER's Kerry Weaver repeatedly proved herself to be this the moment she realized that supporting someone would be detrimental to her—she screwed over Mark Greene to become ER chief, she ditched her girlfriend when the latter was falsely accused of sexual harassment, and she allowed her protegé to take the sole blame for a patient's death so that she herself would incur no punishment.
    • Mark himself had a bad habit of being unable to support anyone who needed it.
  • In the Season 6 finale of Game of Thrones, Lady Lyanna Mormont gives a dress-down of all her fellow northern lords assembled, all adult men, for being this to House Stark, and then reaffirms her own Undying Loyalty by becoming Jon Snow's kingmaker. The lords of the three strongest remaining houses contritely admit she's right. They all swear fealty again, joining Lady Mormont in declaring Jon the King In The North.
    • Jon's younger sister and regent Sansa Stark hangs a lampshade on the flip-flop nature of the Northern lords:
      Sansa Stark: "Yes, they turned their backs on Jon when it was time to retake Winterfell, and then they named him their King, and now they're ready to turn their backs on him again. How far would you trust men like that? They're all bloody wind vanes."
  • Our Miss Brooks: Sometimes, when the going gets tough, Walter Denton gets going, i.e. "Trial By Jury".
  • On a first-season episode of The West Wing, while dealing with the public fallout of his alcoholism and pill addiction coming to light, Leo invites Simon Blye, whom he regards as a friend, to meet with him at the White House. President Bartlet considers Simon a fair weather friend, and unfortunately for Leo, is proven right, as Simon basically tells Leo he needs to resign.


    Video Games 
  • Drakengard 3: In the backstory, Zero's boyfriend tried to be as nice as possible until she came down with an incurable illness. Then he tried to sell her into slavery. Hence the homicidal insanity.
  • Sera from Dragon Age: Inquisition is be by far the hardest companion to maintain positive approval with, due to her Hair-Trigger Temper, her Fantastic Racism towards mages and the Dalish, and having very few opportunities to raise her approval outside her romance.
    • Said romantic approval is also much harder to raise and much easier to lose for an Elven Inquisitor due to Sera's many issues with elven culture and Dalish elves. Many of the same flirts that earn high approval for other Inquisitors earn small approval for an Elf, and making any elf-positive statements and actions upsets her far more than doing so as a non-elf. This culminates after the Temple of Mythal, where Sera will break up with an Elven Inquisitor unless they say they agree with her that the elven religion/culture is fake/worthless, but she'll agree to disagree with every other Inquisitor.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the trope is called by name and defied. Following the legionnaire Hadvar out of the bedlam of the Helgen attack all the way to Riverwood leads to meeting his Uncle Alvor, the village smith, and his family. Like his nephew, Alvor is pro-Empire and says that true Nords aren't just fair-weather friends to the beleaguered Empire.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Tenko accuses Angie of this during the second trial, as Angie is the first person to point out that Himiko is suspicious because the Ryoma's body was discovered during her magic show, while failing to acknowledge that said show was her idea. Angie retorts that they have to question Himiko or they might end up getting killed, but Tenko's criticism still isn't exactly wrong - Angie is very quick to turn on the Blackened after Shuichi figures out who did it, asking if they were just pretending to be friends to gain everyone's trust, which is ironically something Angie does in the third chapter when she decides to set up a "Student Council" that answers to Atua, which conveniently means that she is in charge.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Hisao has this opinion of his old friends and would-be girlfriend Iwanako. After he suffers his heart attack in the opening scene and is diagnosed with arrhythmia, his class initially visits him, but after a while, only his friends come, then only Iwanako, and finally, even she stops visiting him. However, in Shizune's route, he realizes that his gloomy demeanor pushed his friends away, and concludes that he is at least partially at fault.
  • Depending on the route, Makoto is this in Song of Memories. They can end up as either selfless, selfish but harmless, malicious, or downright reprehensible depending on who you romance.


    Western Animation 
  • Danny Phantom The A-Listers are shown to be willing to cut each other from their group without remorse.
    • In the Season 1 episode "10 Shades of Gray", when Valerie's father lost his job and her family become poor, Dash, Kwan, and Paulina are completely unfazed by the misfortune that befalls their friend and do not even pretend to care about what happen to her and just cut her out for being poor when she need her friends' support.
      Valerie: "Things are kinda tight now, ya' know?"
      Dash: "No."
      Paulina: "Nuh-uh."
      Kwan: "Not really."
    • In the Season 1 episode "Lucky in Love", when Danny temporarily becomes popular when he starts to date Paulina (who at the time was possessed by Kitty, who's using Danny to make Johnny jealous), Danny took Kwan's place in the group, with Dash kicking Kwan out despite it appearing they are close friends.
  • DuckTales (1987): Referenced in the episode "Down and Out in Duckburg", when Scrooge loses his fortune. After the group walks out of the mansion, fed up with its new owner Fritter O'Way, the triplets propose that they should ask Launchpad or Gyro if they can stay with them. Scrooge refuses, saying that Launchpad and Gyro will treat him like he treated the regular citizens of Duckburg when he was wealthy.
  • The Mighty B!: Penelope is Bessie's closest human friend, but will abandon her whenever that seems advantageous. Good thing Bessie's very tolerant.
  • In The Simpsons' "Rear Window" Homage, Bart asks Milhouse to sign his leg cast after he's forced to stay inside due to his leg injury while the other kids play in the family's swimming pool, but he just writes Mil..Pool and leaves for the pool.
    • In fact, throughout the series, Milhouse has been shown to be occasionally fickle towards Bart, as he often abandons him, sells him out to avoid trouble, or attacks whenever a dispute breaks out between them.
    • And this cuts both ways; when not friends with Milhouse, Bart is usually ignoring or outright bullying him. He once somehow got him set up as America's Most Wanted and turned him into a fugitive, seemingly all just for a cruel prank.
    • Bart of course isn't the only one with fickle friends: There is also Lisa's occasional one-off friend, Janey Powell, who is noted as "Lisa's fair-weather friend", and often laughs at her dilemmas.
      • Allison Taylor, who was Lisa's one-time friend, has also been reduced to this. Although she has no lines, she visibly does what Janey and other background children do.
    • In fact, the town of Springfield (consisting of all the major secondary and recurring characters) are like this to the Simpsons five, from Marge's gossiping acquaintances to Homer's beer buddies.
  • On The Proud Family, Dijonay was frequently this towards Penny, though she did get called out on it at least once in the series' run.
    • For that matter, the rest of Penny's friends constantly ditch her when the going gets tough as well, just not as much as Dijonay.
  • In The New Scooby-Doo Movies, celebrity guest, Jerry Reed, accuses Shaggy and Scooby of this when they refuse to help him retrieve his guitar. Daphne and Velma join in as well.
  • Obsidian and Strika from Beast Machines say that they’re loyal to Cybertron and it’s ideals above any one person. In practice, this means they devoutly serve Cybertron’s current ruler, no matter who they are, only to ditch them the second things go south. When Megatron is seemingly defeated, they don’t even last a day before trying to join the Maximals instead of trying to hold his empire together. Thrust calls them out on this, asking if they can really be loyal to anybody if they’re loyal to everybody. His words strike a nerve and the two ultimately decide that he’s right, standing with Megatron in the face of defeat.
  • An somewhat odd example can be seen in the Rick and Morty episode, "Total Rickall." The Smith house has been invaded by alien parasites that tamper with everyone's memories, making Rick and his family believe that they're old friends of theirs. They multiply exponentially, overwhelming the Smiths, and even having them turn on each other. However, Morty eventually comes to the realization that their fake friends are only capable of creating good memories, while their real ones were there for the good and bad.


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