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False Friend

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"Suspicion that a character, once thought trustworthy, may not be trustworthy!"
Wealthy Successful Protagonist (Who Is Handsome), A Trailer for Every Academy Award Winning Movie Ever

This describes a person, be it a Manipulative Bastard, Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, Alpha Bitch or whatever, who gets close to you and pretends to be your ally, friend, lover, etc. Basically, they earn your trust, and when you least expect it, they betray you and reveal they've merely been playing you this whole time. Another variation on this is that the manipulative character may find himself Becoming the Mask, developing real feelings for the person he betrayed. Sometimes, the betrayer may turn out to be someone you've known pretty much your whole life.


If a character with a Friendless Background finally finds a person who appears to believe in him or her, and then that person turns out to be a False Friend, it's almost certain that the character will then have crossed the Despair Event Horizon, or at least is very vulnerable to such, especially if that character defended them against rightful accusations, leading to Post-Support Regret.

The Mole is perhaps the best-known practitioner of this brand of betrayal.

Closely related to Evil All Along, Was It All a Lie? and I Just Want to Have Friends. Can lead to an Et Tu, Brute? situation. If the False Friend turns out to be the guy behind everything, he's a Big Bad Friend. Contrast True Companions. The polar opposite of both Vitriolic Best Buds and With Friends Like These... if true friends are always mean to each other but still remain friends. If it's about a character revealing their hatred for another during a falling out, then it's Hidden Disdain Reveal.


Sadly,...Truth in Television.

Not to be confused with the term in linguistics for words in two languages which look similar but do not mean the same thing. ("Embarazada? But… I trusted you!")

Related to Broken Pedestal.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Elfen Lied: During Lucy's childhood, she made friends with another girl who promised to keep the fact that Lucy was taking care of a puppy a secret from a group of boys who frequently bullied her. Eventually, the boys found out about the puppy and beat it to death in front of Lucy while making her watch. It turns out the girl Lucy made friends with had deliberately told the boys about the puppy, and while she's pretending to cry about it and feel bad about what she did, we see her smile through her crocodile-tears. Lucy then snaps forever and kills her along with the bullies. It is however left somewhat ambiguous if that was the case. It's possible Lucy imagined the smile and the girl really didn't know the boys were gonna do that to the puppy.
  • Peach Girl:
    • Sae to Momo for the first couple of volumes before the two genuinely become friends.
    • And Sae gets a taste of her own medicine when she falls for Ryo, who's just as manipulative as her. The betrayal part comes into play when he sets Sae up to do a porn video without her knowledge. Thankfully, Momo saves her.
  • Gankutsuou:
    • In the beginning, The Count seems to like Albert when in reality he only views him as a tool for his revenge. However, as time goes on, he finds himself developing real feelings for Albert which cause him lots of angst and heartbreak, but ultimately save him in the end.
    • Also, Peppo to Albert. Though she/he (?) eventually develops actual feelings for him.
  • Naruto:
    • Kabuto usually presents himself as this harmless, bumbling oaf with Nerd Glasses, but is, in fact, the subordinate of the Big Bad Orochimaru, and Naruto seems clearly angry and upset when he realizes this because he had originally believed Kabuto was on their side since he helped them by giving them information and the like.
    • Shiranami to Hotaru in the Six-Tailed Beast arc.
    • Also, Yashamaru, Gaara's uncle. At first, Gaara thought that he was the only one that cared about him. Yashamaru taught Gaara about physical pain, emotional pain, and love; concepts Gaara was completely unaware of in his childhood. He was commanded by the Fourth Kazekage to assassinate Gaara but was given the choice in deciding whether he wanted to proceed or not. Yashamaru willingly accepted the command in order to avenge his older sister's premature death. The assassination attempt, however, ended in a desperate suicide mission and ultimately failed. Before he died, he told Gaara that no one had ever really loved him, not even him. This left Gaara even more of an emotional wreck than he already was. His suicide bombing attempt on Gaara's life caused Gaara to become psychotic. Yashamaru's last words, to Gaara, were "This is it. Please die." It's revealed much later that he truly did it under the orders of the Fourth Kazekage (Gaara's dad) as part of a Secret Test of Character, and that he had objected to such a move but ultimately had no choice.
    • In the second Shippuden movie Shinnou turns out to be one for Amaru. Amaru is quite shocked but separates the person who taught her medicine and served as an inspiration to save lives and the person who is the Big Bad.
    • Tobi and Nagato worked as allies as the true powers of Akatsuki. But after Nagato's death, Tobi shows frank contempt for Nagato, saying that Nagato just too easily influenced and merely complains about needing another pawn. And later he revealed to Konan that he had been using Nagato's ideals and his quite understandable hatred against the people to control him.
  • Bleach: Aizen does this when stabbing Hinamori while hugging and praising her, as well as betraying everyone in Soul Society (who adored him) after revealing the fact that he has always been against them.
  • The first time you properly see Izaya Orihara in the Durarara!! anime, he spends most of the episode having a suicidal and unstable girl named Rio, that he pretended to sympathize with and be friends with online, kidnapped and then orchestrating her rescue, only to hold poor Rio over the side of a building, toy with her desire (or lack thereof) to actually commit suicide, and then wander off to watch from a distance as Rio's despair reaches its peak and she decides to jump anyway. Luckily for her, Celty was a little more worried about her safety and saves her.
  • Hot Gimmick: Azusa does this to Hatsumi, making her fall in love with him before trying to have his friends gang rape her out of revenge.
  • Death Note:
    • Light Yagami is quite fond of this trope. The most notable victims of his manipulations are Misa Amane and Kiyomi Takada. Each woman was incredibly in love with him, but Light, as with all of his allies, found them disposable.
    • L, as a heroic example, counts as that towards Light and Misa, probably. "So now I've gained yet another friend..."
  • Sakurako Sanjou of Boys over Flowers, who in all continuities (manga, anime, drama) befriends Tsukushi Makino and looks like a kind, shy, cutesy type... at least up until she has Tsukushi drugged, takes pictures of her unconscious in compromising positions and distributes them freely among the school, leading to her assault by other students. This is revealed to be her master plan for seducing/revenging herself upon Domyoji, Tsukushi's Slap-Slap-Kiss-y love interest, which also involved her spending a fortune on plastic surgery, dropping out of school in the past, and hiring professional goons to assault various characters (not only Tsukushi). The reason for all of this is that ever since she was in kindergarten, Domyoji bullied her and called her ugly. She does eventually get some much-needed Character Development, however, and becomes more of a Good Is Not Nice Jerk with a Heart of Gold case.
  • Griffith of Berserk was never a nice guy, even before his Face–Heel Turn. A good example of this is how he treats Princess Charlotte, who's genuinely in love with him, as a Meal Ticket while still pretending to be in love with her. The only person he was remotely honest with was Guts. He has a catastrophic breakdown when Guts tries to leave the Hawks due to wanting to stand on even ground with him and feeling that he was unable to as his subordinate. Griffith fights him again, but the breakdown comes from Guts beating him as effortlessly as Griffith beat Guts in their first meeting. From there, he sleeps with Charlotte, gets caught, imprisoned and tortured, and the realization he'll never be the man he was (what with most of his tendons missing, he can't even stand or hold a sword) is part of what drives him to call on the Godhand during the Eclipse and willingly sacrifice the Hawks.
  • Kyouko Mogami of Skip Beat! initially followed her childhood friend Shou to Tokyo to help him to get into a music career. Although Shou didn't help her at all and mistreated her, Kyouko still believed that all her efforts (doing several part-time jobs, paying for his training, being his de-facto unpaid maid) would be eventually repaid with love and gratitude. (Plus, Shou's parents were considering to make her the heiress of the family business instead of Sho.) Until she learns, from the mouth of Shou himself, that he has no feelings towards her, and the only reason he asked her to come with him was that he knew she would act as his personal maid for nothing. So she snaps, decides not to take it anymore, and makes the resolve to get revenge on him by trying to become as famous as him.
  • Otome's "friends" Natsumi, Minami and Kumi do this to her in School Days. Otome is betrayed by them twice: they first videotape her having sex with Makoto, the guy she likes, and show the tape to the whole school, note  and then they have sex with him behind her back.note  And they do this for no reason at all.
  • Betrayal Knows My Name:
    • Uzuki to Yuki. As he himself tells Yuki in episode 2 "You're a nuisance. I hate your goody-two-shoes, know-it-all act. I'm not your friend. I felt bad for you, so I thought I'd try being nice, but you misunderstood. No one needs you." But its refreshingly subverted when its revealed Uzuki was just deeply hurting from being abandoned by his parents and lashed out at others. He and Yuki become friends again after Yuki gets rid of the demon that was possessing Uzuki and feeding on his negative emotions.
    • And in episode 12 Kanata, Yuki's best friend, does this when he reveals to Yuki that he is actually the Big Bad Reiga.
  • Code Geass:
    • Rolo, Lelouch's fake little brother, was actually a teenage assassin charged with the task of keeping an eye on Lelouch in case he regained his old memories. When Lelouch found out, he continued treating Rolo kindly and orchestrated a situation where Lelouch could pretend to risk his life to save Rolo, winning his trust and bringing him over to his side. After Lelouch's real sister died or so we think, he admitted to Rolo that he was just using him, actually hated him, and had tried to kill him on several occasions. Nevertheless, without being asked or influenced by Lelouch's Geass, Rolo sacrificed himself to protect Lelouch, since he believed that even when Lelouch lied to him, his own love for Lelouch was sincere.
    • And Empress Marianne, Lelouch's mother, whom he looked up to and adored is revealed to actually be quite the Magnificent Bitch.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena:
    • Akio is The Casanova to the extreme and does this to a lot of people, most notably to Utena. Another example is when Nanami walks in on her beloved brother Touga making out with a member of her old gang, Keiko, and overhears him say he never loved her to begin with, and her ex-friend claims she has no connection to her anymore either.
    • Touga is actually very good at this, and his other victim aside of Nanami is Saionji. Yes, Saionji was a Jerkass, but not even he deserved Touga's horrible treatment.
  • In the yaoi manga Under Grand Hotel an inmate named Norman is in love with Swordfish, who is in love with Sen, but pretended to be in love/friends with Sen so he could get closer to Swordfish. He tried to persuade Swordfish to kill Sen but that didn't work. So, on one occasion when there was a scuffle going on he tried to get Sen out of the way by stabbing him with a pencil but accidentally ends up stabbing his inmate Walter instead who was trying to protect Sen in the hope of getting protection from Swordfish. When he finds this out, Norman holds a knife to Walter's neck telling him, "If you don't want to die, don't butt in again Walter!"
  • In PandoraHearts, Jack Vessalius turns out to be this to Arthur Barma in the past and Oz in the present. It can be argued that he was also this to Oswald/Glen, though it's very possible the two were genuine friends before Lacie's death drove Jack insane.
  • In Sakura Gari Sakurako passes herself off as a kind-hearted Satellite Love Interest to Masataka (who genuinely starts falling for her). Unfortunately for him, she's a scary and thoroughly broken Yandere who actually hates him and is incredibly possessive of her brother.
  • Lancia of Reborn! (2004) is a young Mafia boss who took Mukuro Rokudo in as a child. However, he was betrayed and brainwashed by Mukuro's Hypnotic Eyes, which forced him to kill his entire family.
  • One Piece:
    • Kuro does this to Kaya as part a lengthy scheme to gain her trust so he can claim her fortune and retire from piracy. When Kaya finds out his true nature, he freely admits that he hated having to act the kindly butler to her.
    • It is again used by the CP9 as they act friendly, become well-loved members of Water 7, befriend many members of Dock 1, including Paulie, but when they reveal themselves, they also reveal that they never had any attachment to the city or to the people inside it. Paulie can't believe it at first, and asks his traitorous good friend Rob Lucci:
    Paulie: ...I thought...!! I REALLY THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS!!!
    Rob Lucci: Only you thought that.
    • It was used during Alabasta by the crime boss and Shichibukai, Crocodile, with him pretending to be aiding the dying sand kingdom by killing any invading bands of pirates and purporting himself as fighting for the people, when in reality he was just goading them so he could use his organization known as Baroque Works to destroy them from the inside and have their king show him the Fantastic Nuke that their country is hiding.
  • When Riff from Count Cain has his confusing Face–Heel Turn and "dies," it is revealed that Riff, the manservant personality was never actually real. This is Cain's manservant, by the way, the only one who can "see his scars, make his tea, and tie his shoelaces." Epic Tear Jerker.
  • Haruko turns out to have been playing her friend from the start in School Mermaid as part of a horrific Batman Gambit.
  • Highschool of the Dead: The first chapter/episode has two girls, Toshimi and Misuzu, proclaiming their friendship while running hand-in-hand as they attempt to escape the zombies overrunning their school. That is until Toshimi gets caught unexpectedly and is promptly abandoned to die by her "friend" Misuzu, who kicks the other girl to force her to let go of her hand so she could save herself. But Misuzu is immediately caught and killed, as well.
  • Lupin III: Island of Assassins: Doc literally made a career out of ingratiating himself with various partners, only to stab them in the back once it was convenient for him.
    • Years prior to the start of the film, he was Lupin's old partner before meeting Jigen. That ended the day he shot Lupin during one of their escapes, with his own Walther P-38, then left him for dead.
    • He also spent years pretending to care about Ellen, despite being responsible for her brother's death (unbeknownst to her). Once he no longer needed her, he conspired with Gordeau to have her and the other defectors mass murdered.
    • Gordeau wasn't exempt either, since Doc knew he was planning to turn on him once everything was in place. So he beat him to the punch by giving him a fake antidote, then shot Gordeau while he was suffering from the toxin.
  • Sara to Yuuri in Kyo Kara Maoh!. However, Sara does save Yuuri after betraying him and they become friends again, subverting the trope.
  • In the backstory of Special A, Akira's childhood friend Sayo only hung out with Akira because she was rich. Yahiro, a real friend to Akira, drove Sayo away to protect Akira but let Akira believe he did it because he was just being a jerk to spare her the truth. In the present she still hates him.
  • Attack on Titan uses this as one of the major twists of the series, giving the cast and audience a solid Gut Punch in the process. It's made even more painful by the revelation that even though Reiner, Bertolt, and Annie were spies and responsible for much death and suffering, the bonds of friendship were genuine. Eren reacts about as well as can be expected.
  • Snow White with the Red Hair: At thirteen years old prince Zen finally made his first friend after his position had left him isolated from anyone who didn't want to use him for his title. Unfortunately this friend only befriended him as part of an assassination attempt and Zen couldn't try to kill him even after the plot was revealed and his "friend" was making a legitimate attempt on his life. He was saved by his older brother and the knight Mitsuhide, who became his true first friend even if Zen was unable to ever stop considering the traitor as such.
  • Hamatora: In the new season, it has Art, who used to be Nice's friend, but turned against him and his friends.
  • This trope was conversed in Chapter 8 of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, animated as the first half of Episode 4. Nozaki was initially unwilling to consult Tomoda when playing Mikoshiba's Dating Sim as he sees anyone who appears to be friendly to the protagonist in fiction to be this—after all, Nozaki is a Shoujo Genre author by trade. After a brief explanation of the trope itself by Nozaki, Mikoshiba complained Nozaki for being Wrong Genre Savvy.
  • An early chapter of the horror manga Presents focused on two girls, Rinko and Suzuko. Everyone said the two were great friends, but what they (and Suzuko) didn't know was that Rinko only befriended Suzuko because she thought Suzuko made her look better by comparison. As time went on though, Suzuko slowly started becoming more confident without losing her friendly demeanor, and Rinko became desperate to knock Suzuko down a few pegs. Although in all honesty, it's more that Rinko's inferiority complex coupled with the fact that she was now suffering from an outbreak of zits was making her more paranoid about Suzuko (not helped by Suzuko's naturally flawless skin). She gives Suzuko tainted perfume, which causes Suzuko to develop horrible boils on her face. Karmic Trickster Kurumi appears to help Suzuko, realizing Suzuko really is as innocent as she appears, and helps her deliver a "return gift" to Rinko. Kurumi reveals to Suzuko just how much of a giant bitch Rinko is, and the return gift is Suzuko's despair and feeling of betrayal transferred to Rinko. This restores Suzuko's face to normal and gives Rinko boils alongside her acne.
  • MOON – Subaru Solitude Standing has Minmin's friend from acrobat school. He was friendly towards her when she was homesick and showed her how much fun being an acrobat can be, as well as how it helps send money to her poor family. The two even start a romance going on, but Minmin realizes that his friendship was a setup by the school's higher-ups. He was supposed to manipulate her into not leaving, no matter how.
  • Manami from Life is introduced as a classmate who befriends the introverted and depressed Ayumu. It soon becomes obvious she is simply trying to manipulate and bully Ayumu. She's the closest thing to a Big Bad the manga has.
  • Franken Fran: One chapter has Veronica go to a school, where everybody picks on her except for one girl, who invites her to her home. She actually works for a pedophile ring, attracting young girls to be sold overseas. After Veronica slaughters the men, she spares the girl's life... leaving her to work out how to explain the corpses in her apartment.
  • In Brave10, Anastasia upon her Face–Heel Turn reveals the friendliness was all an act to get information.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Char Aznable spends years pretending to be Garma Zabi's friend, but sets him up for defeat and a brutal death at the hands of the White Base, and gleefully admits to the betrayal during Garma's final moments. It was all part of his plan to destroy the Zabi family one by one.
  • Natsu e no Tobira has one of Marion's three friends playing the trope to him: none other than Lind, who was so Driven by Envy regarding him that, when Marion became the lover of a married woman, he decided to sell him out to the lady's very high-ranked husband, hoping that the cuckolded man would complain to the school and get Marion expelled. It fails big time: not only the old man is more or less indifferent, but when his and Marion's friend Jacques finds out, he explodes on Lind himself.
  • Near the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection, it's revealed that Kyrie's Childhood Friend Iris has actually been pretending to be her friend since the day they met and was only using her as a pawn to get her revenge on Yuri. Detonation shows that Kyrie never actually stop viewing her as a friend (especially in light of learning the reasons behind her actions), and she (and Yuri) happily welcome her back after her incarceration had ended.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, it is later revealed that the seemingly friendly and innocent transfer student Rei Shingetsu is in fact Vector, one of the Seven Barian Emperors, who had set up a long, elaborate con that started from befriending Yuma and his friends, and ending once he reveals his true colors in the cruelest way possible, solely to mess with Yuma.

    Comic Books 
  • In the final part of Justice League: Trinity War, the Atom (Rhonda Pineda) who was first thought to be a sleeper agent for the JLA working on the Justice League, but was revealed to have put a small piece of Kryptonite in Superman's brain, poisoning him. She revealed that she was a sleeper agent from Earth 3. before this, she was one actually quite friendly to everyone.
  • Largo Winch: Largo finds himself in a Turkish cell framed for murder with a Swiss safecracker named Simon. When word gets out that he's the heir to an enormous fortune and company, the terrified higher-ups let him out, but the State Sec guy secretly has them shadowed to be murdered. This backfires on him, and with Simon and Largo now Fire-Forged Friends, they start looking for the person who had Largo framed in the first place. This leads to one of his company's CEOs, who... orders Simon to pull a gun on Largo, before revealing that he'd set up the entire thing, counting on the two becoming friends, to get Largo exactly where he wanted. What the CEO hadn't counted on was that his hold on Simon was guaranteed by holding Simon's adoptive mother hostage, which made Simon confess as soon as they were out of Turkey. Then Largo found out that the CEO's goons had tortured her to death... The CEO's death at Simon's hands was neither pretty, soundless or quick.
  • In The Smurfs comic book story "The Jewel Smurfer", Ganelon is revealed to be this to the Duke of Abelagot, having kidnapped the duke's son and held him hostage to extort a ransom from the duke. The Smurfs know about this and put on a Show Within a Show to expose Ganelon as a traitor.

    Fan Works 
  • When Erin Olsen/Sunflower in Project Sunflower starts bonding with the Mane Six, along with Meadowlark and her daughter Marigold, she’s afraid that she’ll become this, as she was sent to Equestria to find a potential home for humanity. When the truth comes out, and she explains herself, the Mane Six forgive her, but Meadowlark does not.
  • Ruby from Remnants was popular at her old school but this was only because of the silver eyes (which are associated with powerful huntsman) she inherited from her celebrity mother. Most of her friends only liked Ruby for her eyes, not her character.
  • Lila serves as one to Alya in Marinette Dupain-Cheng's Spite Playlist. As Alya is reeling from the shock and hurt of Marinette transferring to another school and calling her out for being a Fair Weather Friend, Lila convinces her that she's a much truer friend, when in reality, she's been taking advantage of her every step of the way.
  • In the Peggy Sue Arrow: Rebirth, once Laurel learns that Felicity was planning on murderering her so she could be with Oliver, she concludes that even in the original timeline they weren't really friends; as an actual friend would never do that. From the look into Felicity's mind we get, she's right.
  • In the Chick Tracts fanfic Whatever Happened to Elfstar?, Gina Frost allows Marcie into their circle of friends and their D&D sessions, only to single her out because she doesn't want Marcie getting too close to Debbie. When Marcie breaks down because of the ostracisation, Gina kicks her out of the group and shows no sympathy when told she's suffering.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Hercules the Big Bad Hades is unable to defeat his enemy Hercules because he is unaware of his weakness. So he instructs Megara to get close to Hercules and they both end up falling in love. However, before she can tell Hercules the truth Hades ends up telling Hercules about how Meg was working for him all along in the most cruel manner possible.
  • Gothel in Tangled tried to make Rapunzel believe that Flynn was this, that he was only after the crown and never cared for her. She nearly succeeded, until Rapunzel remembered her true heritage and realized that Gothel had kidnapped her and Flynn was going to be executed.
  • In Frozen Prince Hans eventually reveals that he simply wanted to get close to Anna in order to marry into the royal family. After learning that Anna is dying and can only be saved by true love, he has this to say.
    "Oh Anna... if only there was someone out there who loved you.”
  • Lil Lightning the Welsh Corgi from 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure,: He informs Thunderbolt that his character is being killed off the show, when in fact, it's soon revealed to be a lie just to trick the German Shepard into getting out of the picture in order so Lightning can have the spotlight for himself, having grown tired of being in Thunderbolt's shadow.
    Lil Lightning: [to a Thunderbolt Plush Toy] A whole new direction! What do you think of that, Thunderbolt, old pal? Finally, I'll be able to step out of your shadow, you overrated, overacting ham! "The Lil' Lightning Adventure Hour". Has a nice ring, doesn't it? What do you think? (chuckles)
    • Then upon hearing about Thunderbolt still gaining fame while on a real heroic mission, Lil' Lightning then decides to join forces with him, along with the pup, obviously just to stop them from succeeding as to prevent Thunderbolt from reclaiming the spotlight. Once they reach the bad guys' hideout, Lightning persuades them to go for an open attack to rescue the puppies instead of a stealth plan, which of course, fails and gets Patch and Thunderbolt locked up in cages along with the other puppies. He even reveals to them his true nature and intentions before leaving them behind in their cages.
    Thunderbolt: [about getting hit in the head with a paint can by Cruella] That hurt. That really hurt!
    Patch: I knew you were faking it.
    Lightning: (suddenly, out of nowhere, he appears and chuckles) Oh, he's been faking it, all right.
    Thunderbolt: Lightning, little buddy.
    Lightning: (angrily in Thunder's face) I am NOT your "little buddy!" And YOU are no wonder dog! This kid trusted you, and look where it's got him.
    Patch: What's he mean?
    Lightning: He's been lying to you all day, kid. He doesn't care about you, or your family. He was just trying to get his name in the paper, and SAVE his job. Ask him!
    Thunderbolt: NO! Well, yeah, but - but...
    Lightning: (mockingly) "But - but - but." HEY, GENIUS! You're no hero! You're a FRAUD! And by the way, there never was a plan to recast you. I just had to get you out of the way. [grins evilly at him, then starts to head back toward the exit with a wicked chuckle and a devious look on his face] And now, I get to go take your place on the show! MY SHOW!
    (laughs evilly, and exits, just as it is about to storm outside)

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Acts of Vengeance: Strode seems like Valera's friend at first, giving him sympathy over the loss of his wife and daughter. He's the one who murdered them, and secretly loathes Valera. Later he discovers Strode had been stalking him before and they got close to facilitate the murders.
  • In The Adventures of Tartu, it's Played for Drama and Averted. Terence admits to Marushuka (part of La Résistance) that he's a British spy sent to sabotage a German gas plant, but she becomes suspicious of him when his actions led to the deaths of several underground members. Because of this, she then believes him to be a False Friend, but in reality, he's really is a British agent.
  • Ajnabee: Vicky and Neeta were planning to frame Raj and Priya for their crimes the moment they moved in, and only faked being their friends.
  • Berkshire County: When Kylie calls 911, she gets in touch with a woman named Barbara, who gives her tips and guides her to avoid the intruders. However, she herself is one of them, and has had all of Kylie's 911 calls rerouted to the radio in the intruders' van.
  • In Black Swan, Nina sees Lily as one of these, but the truth is anyone's guess.
  • Blood Pi: The Omega sisters (minus Stephanie) invited Agnis into their inner circle simply to break off Agnis' friendship with Amber. And their ultimate plan is to utterly humiliate Agnis.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Elsa Schneider is ordered to seduce both Jones to steal the Grail but ends up falling in love with Indiana.
  • The Mask. Intrepid Reporter Peggy Brandt, who pretends to be Stanley Ipkiss' friend so she can get the $50,000 bounty for betraying him to Dorian Tyrell. While she did seem to believe that Tyrell wouldn't kill Ipkiss, she never tries to help him after the fact.
  • The Truman Show. Truman's "best friend" since childhood (who is really an actor) at one point appears to truly be listening to Truman's plight and confusion, almost seeming to really want to help his buddy understand the crap that's going on with his life. However, he allows himself to be instrumental in the biggest Mind Screw the studio pulls on Truman in bringing his "father" back from the grave. He later leads the hunt to capture Truman once he starts escaping.
    • There are deleted scenes that indicate that Marlon/Louis does, in fact, feel guilty about what he's doing to Truman, and the (actual, real-life) actor said that the character has a drug addiction from the stress.
  • 10 Things I Hate About You. Chastity, who is supposedly the best friend of the second leading lady Bianca, not only goes out with her original date Joey but even rubs her face in it afterwards by revealing that Joey only took her out on a bet with his buddies in the first place.
  • In Searching, it turns out two of Margot's friends who she still keeps on Facebook and in her contacts, Abigail and Derek, are this. Abigail admits to David that she is just using Margot as a fake best friend so she could get into Berkeley while Derek is just exploiting Margot's disappearance for his own petty ends.
  • Janus, the villain of the James Bond film GoldenEye turned out to be ex-MI6 00-agent Alec Trevelyan, who was presumed dead in a spy mission gone wrong. He is now on a revenge mission against England for past grievances, namely the fact that his parents, who were Lienz Cossacks, killed themselves out of survivors' guilt after WWII.
  • In Plan B, Bruno befriends his ex Laura's new boyfriend Pablo with the intent of sabotaging their relationship so that he can win Laura back. His Relationship Sabotage centers on getting the reportedly bisexual Pablo to fall for him by feigning an attraction to him. What Bruno doesn't count on is his feigned friendship — and attraction — becoming real.
  • In All About Eve, Eve initially appears to be a sweet Ingenue who just wants to be Margo's best friend and assistant but gradually reveals her true colors as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who wants to steal Margo's acting role and husband away from her.
  • The Fugitive. Richard Kimble is stunned and enraged to realize that Charles Nichols, his friend since medical school, is not only responsible for his wife's murder, but was planning to kill him as well.
  • In The Hobbit, this is how Thorin sees all elves after Thranduil the Elvenking refused to help the dwarves when Smaug invaded Erebor.
  • In Training Day, street wise cop Alonzo is friends with a local neighborhood drug kingpin named Roger, and has been using him as his go to drug contact for information and arrest of minor dealers for over ten years. Later in the film, Alonzo robs Roger of all the drug money he saved up over the years and then murders him as a way to cover it up. When rookie Jake is shocked by this and calls Alonzo out on killing his friend, Alonzo explains this trope, claiming that just because they were on a first name basis doesn't mean anything. He was using him the whole time until he was given permission to take him out by his equally corrupt superiors.

  • In the Changeling trilogy by Sean Williams, the young protagonist runs away from home with the help of a more worldly friend who he eventually realizes has been manipulating him all along in order to take advantage of his developing magical gift.
  • The Silmarillion:
    • Sauron pretends to be Ar-Pharazôn's... well, not exactly friend, but more servant. Pharazôn believes him. Cue Númenor turning to worship of Morgoth, Pharazôn trying to attack Valinor because he thinks it'll give him immortality, and the destruction of Númenor.
    • Played with in the story of Beren and Lúthien. Daeron starts out a true friend, but then his love for Lúthien and jealousy of Beren leads to him betraying her to Thingol.
  • 1984: O'Brien tricks Winston and Julia into thinking he's their friend and gets him to trust them, especially as far as identifying himself as a member of the Inner Party but is really a member of La Résistance. He then organizes the raid to capture the protagonists, brings them to the Ministry of Love and oversees their torture and brainwashing.
  • In one of The Southern Vampire Mysteries novels, it's revealed that Bill was ordered by his queen to seduce Sookie, as part of a plan to use her telepathy for whatever it is a vampire queen needs a telepath for.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: Herald Myste had this pulled on her as a child three times by guys using her to get close to her best friend (the most attractive girl in the neighborhood). Prince Karathanelan tricks Selenay into wedding him but doesn't survive the "betrayal" part.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Wormtail does this when he betrayed Harry's parents to Voldemort, even though they were his best friends - though he was more of a Fair Weather Friend who sold out his buddies in order to save his own life. When his remaining friend Sirius, chased him down after James and Lily's deaths, Wormtail shouted that Sirius had been the one to sell out the Potters, caused an explosion that killed a dozen innocent people, and faked his death before escaping, pinning the murders of himself, the Potters, and all the other people on Sirius.
    • Tom Riddle is a more straight example, doing this to Ginny and, to a lesser extent, Professor Slughorn. There's also the fact that he refers to Death Eaters as his friends, although in reality, they are nothing more than disposable pawns to him
  • The 39 Clues: Ian Kabra pretended to like Amy so he and his sister could steal the clue from right under Amy and Dan's noses... Only... it isn't quite that simple.
  • In The Traitor Game, Michael comes to believe that Francis has spent their friendship laughing about their games with his friends. The consequences are nothing short of disastrous.
  • The fox and the cat in The Adventures of Pinocchio, upon discovering Pinocchio has several gold pieces, proceed to mooch off of him, try to rob and hang him, and later swindle him, all while pretending to be his friends. Unlike the Disney version, however, they do get their comeuppance in the end, and when they beg for Pinocchio to help them, he shows no forgiveness.
  • In Arthur Hailey's Hotel, St. Gregory hotel owner Warren Trent is facing serious financial troubles and may have to sell. Curtis O'Keefe offers to buy the place for his massive chain but Trent is unsure as it's not just him but his employees, who he sees as family. He cites Tom, the hotel's chief bartender for 30 years who Trent would trust with his life. To his shock, O'Keefe produces a report revealing that Tom "has been bleeding you white" almost that entire time. Trent confronts Tom on this and fires him. At which point, Tom sneers that he never saw Trent as anything more than a high and mighty boss and he (and others) are going to enjoy seeing him go out of business. Trent marvels at how he could never realize in 30 years how much his "close, personal friend" hated his guts.
  • Kij Porter in A Brother's Price, the worst kind.
  • In Castle Hangnail, Molly never thought Eudaimonia was a good friend, but did think she was a cool older girl who taught her some magic and was simply a bit of an Alpha Bitch. Over the book Molly realizes that Eudaimonia had been manipulating her, stealing her power, and was actually seriously evil.
  • ForceFlow, actually a pseudonym for the Big Bad to Tash in Galaxy of Fear. She wasn't the first one, either. It was all in hopes of finding Force-Sensitive people and stealing their Life Energy. Later, Grimpen does something similar, acting friendly and kind so she would wrongly consider him trustworthy.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Ser Dontos acts as a friend and confidant to Sansa and promises to help her escape the Lannisters to repay her for saving his life. In actuality he's working for Littlefinger and is willing to sell her out to whoever will pay him for it.
    • Shae to Tyrion, she acts as she cares about him but she's really just a Gold Digger who's more than happy to accuse him of crimes he didn't commit for the promise of riches and status.
    • One of the themes of Daenerys' storyline is the constant presence of these and her doubts to tell her real allies from those who seek to use her or will at some point betray her. The appendix section dedicated to her in A Dance with Dragons event lists "Her uncertain allies, false friends, and known enemies."
    • Lancel Lannister, Falyse Stokeworth, the Kettleblack brothers and poor Sansa (again) should have run the second Cersei smiled at them in either a friendly or seductive fashion. Yup; just using you, suckers. Mind you, Cersei also gets suckered herself: Taena Merryweather and Aurane Waters basically suck up to her primarily to try taking her to the cleaners.
  • The first Night Huntress book has a classmate cozying up to Cat, only to try to kidnap her for a white slavery ring. Turned out she did this to a lot of girls.
  • Poor Neru from REAL doesn't have much luck when it comes to friends: he manages to befriend his longtime online crush Likaï, only to get his heart broken when Likaï steals his account to enter the Future Tournament in his place. When Neru manages to contact his three teammates to ask them for help, they all turn their back on him: as it turns out, they just hung out with him in The Metaverse for the bonus points and glory that they got thanks to his talent for video games.
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Jason, to everybody given his hidden motivations, but most clearly to Theo. He openly admits that the only reason he hung out with Theo was that that way he could keep an eye on his father.
  • In Worm, Taylor tries to become this to the supervillain gang the Undersiders but finds herself Becoming the Mask.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Oz Schillinger arranges for Chris Keller to meet Tobias Beecher, Schillinger's former sex slave, with the intent of gaining his trust and seducing him. A mutual attraction instantly forms between them, and the two eventually exchange confessions of love. Unfortunately for Beecher, he finds out that the man he fell in love with was working with his arch enemy all along (and informs him that he never loved him right before breaking Beecher's arms and legs). Keller clearly enjoys the beating but is briefly seen experiencing a moment of regret when he returns to his empty cell and eventually realizes that he has fallen in love with Beecher.
    • Ryan O'Reily and pretty much everyone he ever purports to be friends with, but probably the biggest example is the way he ingratiates himself with Nino Schibetta while secretly slipping ground glass into the man's food.
  • Morgana, with Uther and Arthur, since the beginning of Merlin season 3.
  • Columbo admits to doing this (once) at the end of one of the ABC TV movies.
  • Nina Myers on 24 is the show's biggest example of this, being Jack Bauer's primary confidant at CTU in season 1 until she killed his wife while trying to escape after being outed as a mole working for the bad guys. She would then go on to become a recurring villain in seasons 2 and 3.
  • On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ward turns out to be this when it's revealed mid-way through the first season he's a member of HYDRA. Interestingly, in season 2, Ward seems to still think he'll be Easily Forgiven but the team makes it clear they now see him as just the enemy. A telling bit is when Fitz is amazed Ward thinks an "I'm sorry" makes up for nearly killing Fitz by dumping him out of a plane. When Ward states that he "still considers us friends," Fitz snaps that he now knows Ward was never their friend but just playing a role.
  • In Robin Hood, Marian cultivates a "friendship" of sorts with Guy of Gisborne so that she can pass on information to Robin. She even goes so far as to pull off a perfectly executed Decoy Damsel ploy, which Guy falls for hook, line, and sinker. Guy was something of a False Friend himself considering he seems more than ready to have Marian punished if she disobeys him, and when he learns that she's in love with Robin Hood, he stabs her to death.
  • HG from Warehouse 13 does this using the other agents to get an artifact so she could destroy the world though she does somewhat become the mask, getting talked down from doing this when her friend tells her to shoot her instead of being a coward and killing her with the rest of the world.
    Myka: If I am wrong, then kill me. Do it! Kill me now! I mean, we're all gonna die anyway right, so what's the difference? So shoot me! Shoot me now. Kill me. But not like this. Not like a coward. I want you to look me in the eyes and. Take. My. Life.
  • In Kamen Rider Fourze, Ryusei/Kamen Rider Meteor at firstnote .
    • JK establishes himself as a "friend" who takes advantage of others and isn't ashamed to admit this. Gentarou accepts him anyway and makes An Aesop about how you have to accept a person's worse sides too if you want to befriend them. JK ends up getting better.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Ramsay Snow, aka "The Boy", pretends to be Theon Greyjoy's only friend and ally. He helps the latter escape his torture, kills several of their pursuers who are trying to gangrape him...only to lead him back to the torture chamber. Why did he do all of this? Because it was fun. He also razed Winterfell to the ground on his father's orders, despite supposedly being there to save it.
    • Locke joins the Night's Watch and pretends to befriend Jon Snow as part of a plan to kill or capture Jon and find Jon's half-brothers Bran and Rickon and do the same to them, fooling Jon into genuinely believing that he is a new Night's Watch recruit. As Locke dies of a broken neck, courtesy of Bran warged into Hodor, his plan to betray Jon and what he planned to do to Jon's brothers is never discovered because his true intentions are never revealed. Locke's dead body is then later ceremonially burned, with Jon, Grenn, Edd and the others all believing that he had died as a loyal brother of the Night's Watch, at the hands of the mutineers.
  • An episode of Monk sees Andy Richter play a man who pretends to befriend Monk in order to obtain a piece of evidence Monk unknowingly has that could implicate him. Even after discovering that he's a criminal, in the end, Monk still considers him a better friend to him than many people he's met in the past.
  • In Roots and its 2016 remake, Missy is seemingly established as Kizzy’s closest friend from childhood. She even goes as far as protecting Kizzy from racist relatives and teaching her how to read. However, when Noah was revealed to be carrying papers forged by Kizzy, she doesn’t bother protecting Kizzy from being sold to another slave owner. She later has the gall to feel betrayed for Kizzy helping out some abolitionists.
  • In How to Get Away with Murder, it's eventually revealed that on the day of her death, Lila admitted that she only hung out with Rebecca because she felt sorry for her and because she wanted a distraction from her stressful life. She ends their friendship by stating that she's too good for Rebecca, a "trashed-out druggie whore", to hang out with.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Abduction", Cody Phillips claims that everyone that he knows, including his so-called friends, blame him for everything in life.
  • The final arc for Catherine in CSI is her old friend Laura runs into her at a party and soon lets Catherine know her husband Mark is into some major criminal deals. Laura appears to be among those killed in a bombing and Catherine is convinced Mark did it to shut her up. However, when Catherine's own life is in danger, she soon realizes someone is trying to make it look like she "quit" the team to take revenge on Mark before vanishing. Catherine is confused as every clue seems to show that Mark actually has no idea of the illegal stuff happening in his company or his wife's death. Sara points out how Catherine is ignoring Occam's Razor: That this whole thing started when Catherine's "old friend" who she hadn't seen in years just happened to run into her at a party, just happened to "let" Catherine know about her husband being a crook and then is killed. Sure enough, Laura was the real mastermind of the scheme, faking her death and trying to trick Catherine into a scheme to get her husband. Arrested, Laura claims she picked Catherine because "I know you" and how she goes for what she wants in life and sees nothing wrong with using Catherine.
    Catherine: You're never gonna see the outside world again. Tell me whose life you'd rather have now. Oh and you do know me but not as well as you think. Because when you chose me, you should have known it would end like this.
  • On Shark, Jessica's old friend Laura Fields, a medical examiner she's worked with for years, gives her word on who killed a reporter. The problem is, the supposedly sure suspect has an airtight alibi. Another M.E. says there's something wrong with this report as it turns out the reporter had been investigating a man in prison who's long claimed innocence in a murder where Fields was the M.E. It turns out Laura killed the reporter herself before she could expose that Fields had faked the evidence in that earlier case. Jessica is hurt by this but still wants to back Laura as making a mistake...until, at the trial, Laura throws Jessica under the bus by claiming that not only was she fully aware of this when prosecuting the man but even encouraged Laura to lie about it so Jessica could get the win. Jessica is rocked by how her "friend" is ready to ruin Jessica's career just to save herself.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "The Shadow Man", Danny Hayes knows that the Shadow Man will never hurt him as the person under whose bed he sleeps. His apparent bravery in going over to Lianna Ames' house at night earns him many false friends, including Lianna and various popular students who used to either ignore him or make fun of him. In the process, Danny ignores Peter, his one true friend, and takes no action to prevent the Shadow Man from hurting anyone else.
    • In "The Trunk", Willy Gardner finds an old abandoned trunk in a room of the Hotel Winchester, of which he has the manager, and soon discovers that it can grant his every wish. He uses it to fill his small room with expensive clothes, pieces of electronic equipment and bottles of wine and invites the hotel guests and the locals Candy, Danny, Rocco and Cap to a party. He comes to think of them as his new friends but it does not take him long to realize that they are merely using him because of his apparent newfound wealth. The only person who truly likes or respects him is an elderly guest named Mrs. Kudaba.
  • The short-lived series Traveler has best friends Jay and Tyler visiting a museum with their college buddy Will Traveler. They pull a huge prank skating through it while leaving bags behind and as they leave, Will calls them up to say "sorry." The museum is rocked by an explosion and when Jay and Tyler reach their hotel, they see the news blaming them as the bombers. They try to find Will only to realize that not only is there no record of him ever existing but in all the photos taken over the years, Will has made sure his face is never seen. It hits Jay and Tyler that from the day they met him, Will has been setting them up specifically for this bombing and everything he's done was just to win their trust.
  • The Barrier: Iván, a government official's son considers that all of his father's friends are the false kind. Since he's making that statement in response to being told that his father lost a friend who was his one remaining true one, Iván's father doesn't take kindly to it at all.
  • Alma Gêmea:
    • Cristina pretends to be happy for Rafael and Serena despite being attracted to him, which makes her earn his friendship and respect. Rafael keeps telling her all of his plans and asking her for suggestions. She also pretends to be Serena's friend, and she easily trusts her. She exploits both of her false friendships with the couple to manipulate them, turning them against each other, and to obtain information.
    • Cristina also pretends to be Dalila's friend, but she's just helping Raul to string her around. She uses her fake niceness to convince her to marry another man, one willing to assume the parenthood of her child in Raul's place.
  • Love Alarm: Despite supposedly being Jo-jo's best friend, Jung-go takes a picture of Jo-jo and Sun-oh kissing and spreads it through the internet, in order to ruin her relationship with Il-sik, who she has a crush on.


  • Dice Funk: Jayne hates Rinaldo so much that she tries to sell him into slavery.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Kevin Steen and El Generico used to be friends, but not quite as close of friends as Generico thought they were, and Steen slowly but surely drifted apart from him until, well...Steen was this trope.
  • Jimmy Jacobs acted this way towards Ta'Darius Thomas in Ring of Honor for the purpose of expanding his Power Stable Decade and breaking up rival Tag Team Adrenaline Rush, which Thomas was apart of with actual friend ACH.
  • No one in Valkyrie treated Su Yung any better than a dog, except for unofficial member Sweet Saraya, who treated Yung the way she treated her kids. Allysin Kay was the only member who pretended to respect Yung as an independent human woman, simply to get Yung to let her guard down so that it would hurt more when Kay inevitably showed her true colors.
  • After the Bro-mans caused the The Beautiful People's second TNA disbanding when Robbie got Velvet Sky fired, Angelina Love, who had tried to rejoin the group early into her fourth TNA run, was happy to see Sky go.
  • After breaking up The Shield, Seth Rollins claims he was this to Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Though he tends to slip and show that he may have cared about them more than he'd like to admit.

  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Given the shallow Parisian society at The Cavalier Years, this play is full of them:
    • De Guiche pays a fine court of obsequious noblemen, but the nobles really distrust and despise him because he is a Gascon. They only bow to him because he is successful.
      Second Marquis: Faugh!...Another Gascon!
      First Marquis: Ay, but the cold, supple Gascon—that is the stuff success is made of!
      Believe me, we had best make our bow to him.
    • The poets who frequent Raguenaus company claim to love Raguenau’s poetry, but they only want to leech him off.
    • Cyrano defies this trope with all his will, as lampshaded in Act II Scene VII:
      People (crowding round Cyrano):
      My friend! friend...
      Cyrano: Meseems that yesterday
      I had not all these friends!
      Le Bret (delighted): Success!
      A young Marquis (hurrying up with his hands held out): My friend,
      Didst thou but know...
      Cyrano: Thou!...Marry!...thou!...Pray when
      Did we herd swine together, you and I!
  • Iago of Shakespeare's Othello pretends to be the titular character's trustworthy adviser while secretly plotting his demise out of jealousy and For the Evulz.

    Video Games 
  • There's an odd version of this in the Ace Attorney series. Dahlia Hawthorne tricks Phoenix into thinking she's in love with him, just so she can get a piece of evidence back that incriminates her for a previous murder. She tries to kill him when it doesn't work. It's subverted when Dahlia has her sister impersonate her for a while, and her sister actually does fall in love with Phoenix.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Kristoph Gavin became Phoenix's "friend" only to closely monitor his activities after Kristoph got him disbarred, and ends up framing him for murder. Phoenix was aware of this, however.
  • In Child of Light, Aurora's stepsister Norah turns out to be the Big Bad's younger daughter and a sociopath who had deliberately put on a façade of a loving older sibling so she could manipulate the young girl for her own benefit. Aurora does not take it at all well.
  • In the Civilization series, rival leaders' AI not only has a Loyalty stat determining how likely they are to turn on you, even if they've made a Declaration of Friendship with you, but also a Deceptiveness stat that can mean that their listed "Friendly" demeanor towards you is just a front. In Civ V, leaders like Napoleon, Wu Zetian, Dido of Carthage, and Enrico Dandolo are notorious backstabbers, while in Civ IV, Catherine the Great of Russia is unique in that it's possible to bribe her to attack another nation she is on friendly terms with.
  • In Dragon Age II, it's possible for Hawke to do this to Fenris when he finally confronts his former master Danarius by handing Fenris back to him. This will devastate him so much that he'll simply submit without a fight. However, this act is considered a Moral Event Horizon by the other companions save for Anders, who hates Fenris.
  • The backstory of Ensemble Stars! gives an interesting case: Eichi deliberately reached out to Tsumugi to be part of fine and then used him as a scapegoat. However, he never really felt that he was being deceitful, believing that they were both just using each other and that Tsumugi couldn't possibly think he was actually sincere. Unfortunately for him, he did. Tsumugi doesn't bear Eichi any ill will over it, as he is an Extreme Doormat, but Eichi's regrets over what happened and his awkward attempts to actually befriend Tsumugi define their relationship from then on.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend sequel Holiday Star makes it clear this was the case for Hitori Uzune and the original Nanaki Kazuaki, a quail whose clinical depression was exploited by Hitori to double-cross him in a suicide pact and steal his identity. The betrayal caused Nanaki's spirit to become an Eldritch Abomination hell-bent on eternal companionship.
  • Magical Diary: Damien. That bastard.
    • If you get his good ending, it turns into Becoming the Mask... maybe. If you believe anything he says by that point!
      • If you've ground White magic enough to have gotten the spell Empathy, you can use it on him when you next talk to him. He's telling the truth about how he feels now.
  • In Mega Man 7, Bass presented himself as a possible friend and ally to Mega Man. When he is hurt fighting Shade Man, Mega Man allows him to go to Doctor Light to get repaired. Once all the Robot Masters are defeated he discovers that Bass has betrayed him, wrecked the lab, stole his upgrades, and hurt Doctor Light. Wily then brags about how Bass was his creation to get close to Mega Man and how he was going to use his own upgrades on Bass to destroy him. Needless to say, Mega Man is pissed and this is probably one of the reasons why he is willing to kill Wily at the end of the game.
  • The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, before defecting, was Snake's mentor and one of his closest friends. She celebrates her Face–Heel Turn by beating him up and stealing his rescued hostage.
    • Subverted and played straight, however, as The Boss was really a Fake Defector sent in by the U.S. government to play the False Friend to Big Bad Colonel Volgin. A devastated Snake only learns the truth after he's completed his mission to kill her.
  • In Persona 5, Goro Akechi is a traitor gaining your trust while secretly plotting to hand your heads on pikes to the Conspiracy. It eventually turns out that he gets just as bad as he gives, if not worse; the Phantom Thieves are on to him from the very beginning and are using him to get to his boss, his boss is planning to dispose of him as soon as he outlives his usefulness, and the being who granted him his powers is using him to usher in an Orwellian dystopia with itself as its god. It's not an exaggeration to say that there is not a single character in the game who legitimately has his best interests at heart.
  • Sly Cooper: Penelope feigns being a Nice Girl to get the trust of the Cooper Gang for her world domination ploy, even going as far as to pull Bentley into a fake romance for his potential in profiting from weapon designs. Since she sees no potential in Sly or Murray, just objects towards her goals, Penelope tries to murder them to have Bentley to herself. She gets caught red-handed, and is kicked out of the Cooper Gang and declared a sworn enemy.
  • After dominating a player in Team Fortress 2, one of the Spy's Bond One Liners is "I never really was on your side."
  • Touhou Kaikidan ~ Mystic Square features the fire and ice magicians Yuki and Mai as a Dual Boss. If you defeat Mai first, Yuki will be furious and crank up the heat. But if you defeat Yuki first, Mai will smugly declare that her comrade was nothing more than "dead weight" dragging her down (though ironically Mai's regarded as the easier of the two). Mai's leitmotif is appropriately named "Treacherous Maiden ~ Judas Kiss."
  • A variation occurs in Specter's ending in Twisted Metal: Black; the man of her dreams has been forced to marry her by way of some brain surgery, but he's still able to tell her "I... will... never"
  • In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Harry Flynn does this to Nathan Drake at the end of the Museum mission, leaving poor Drake to rot in prison for 3 months.
  • Ellen to Viola in The Witch's House. Ellen tricked Viola into sympathizing with her by telling her about her illness and the way her parents neglected her. Ellen just wanted to be "friends" with Viola because a bond of genuine trust was required for the demonic spell which would allow Ellen to pull a Grand Theft Me on Viola to work.
  • Yoku's Island Express: Turns out your companion/occasional helper Kickback is The God Slayer — the Big Bad of the game.

  • Possibly Six in Little Nightmares II. According to one interpretation she let Mono fall into the depths of the Signal Tower as soon as it became clear she would no longer need his help to escape the Pale City.


    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Ferron befriends Refan during the Great War but does so only for two reasons: to avenge his lover who died by Refan's hand and to use Refan to get rid of The Dragon who had also wronged him (hoping that the two weaken each other enough in battle so that he can finish both of them off).
  • Felix in the 12th season of Red vs. Blue. It turns out that he'd been working with Locus all along, and was hired to wipe out the entire population of Chorus.
  • Hanson in End Times pulls a major one of these.
    Charlie: You needed my help!
    Hanson: Or else I never would have been here.
  • RWBY: Emerald Sustrai seems friendly and chatty in her conversation with the eponymous heroines at the beginning of Volume 3, but the moment they part ways, Emerald makes very clear to Mercury how much she really despises them and finds their constantly happy, positive attitudes annoying. She's the one responsible for framing Yang and tricking Pyrrha into destroying Penny.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia:
    • Subverted with Sasha. Anne's description of her friendship with Sasha leads the audience to believe this, but once the character is properly introduced several episodes later, it's made very clear that Sasha does legitimately see Anne as her best friend. She just has a twisted idea of how friendship works, being incredibly manipulative, possessive, and controlling.
    • Played Straight with King Andrias, who presents himself as The Good King of Amphibia who mentored Anne's friend Marcy and is happy to help the three human girls get back home by restoring the Calamity Box, the Interdimensional Travel Device that brought them to Amphibia. Once he gets the restored box, Andrias reveals that he wanted the box because it's an Artifact of Doom that belonged to his ancestors, who were Multiversal Conquerors that he wishes to honor their legacy by completing their work. He was playing the girls and their allies for fools the entire time, and esentially admits he saw Marcy as nothing more than a pawn to his master plan.
      Marcy: Andrias, this wasn't the plan! You said no one would get hurt!
      King Andrias: I would have said anything if it meant you'd deliver the Box to me fully charged. Hate to break it to ya kiddo, but you've been duped.
  • A Heel–Face Turn example occurs in Avatar: The Last Airbender. In "The Boiling Rock", Azula gets this after Mai and Ty Lee turn their backs on her. It is possible that they were never friends with her in the first place since they were scared of her. It's also possible that she just went too far this time and they weren't willing to put up with her any longer.
  • In an episode of the animated adaptation to The Berenstain Bears the new kid, Ferdie, befriends the popular girl, Queenie, not knowing that she's just using him to get his homework answers. It isn't until Ferdie sees Queenie laughing at him after he took a football to the gut that he realizes the truth. Queenie eventually apologizes to Ferdie, both for laughing at him and pretending to be his friend.
  • Captain N: The Game Master flanderises the Castlevania character Alucard, who was a sworn enemy of Dracula, as this. Rather than continue helping them, Alucard chooses to betray his friends during the raid on Dracula's Castle.
  • Bill Cipher in Gravity Falls was this to The Author (aka Stanford "Ford" Pines). The Journal's original entry on Bill describes him in glowing terms as the nicest, most trustworthy being in the universe. After he discovers Bill's true nature, he crosses out the whole entry and describes him as the most dangerous and evil being in the universe, to never be summoned at any cost.
  • Hilda: After her friendship with Hilda and David got severely strained due to the events in episode 9, Frida befriends a teen named Kelly. Kelly is a Marra (a creature that gives people nightmares), and clearly doesn't have the best intentions with Frida. She actively prevents Frida from reconciling with Hilda and David, sees to it Frida comes to a nighttime meeting of the Marra instead of going to the Sparrow Scouts camp, and when the Black Hound shows up, she doesn't hesitate to use Frida as a distraction for the beast.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures episode "Tale of the Demon Tail", Hsi Wu the Sky Demon invoked this trope as part of a gambit; he changes into the form of a human boy named "Seymour" and befriends Jade Chan, gaining her trust so that he can be allowed entrance into Uncle's shop, and then retrieve his lost severed tail that they seized from him. Jade, who's a lonely kid at her school, is very happy to make a new friend, and she even grows a crush on him... too bad that "Seymour" has to inevitably reveal his true identity and not-so-friendly intentions in the climax.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which (obviously) focuses on friendship, has several antagonists who are this:
    • Tirek plays this role to Discord in the episode "Twilight's Kingdom - Part 2".
    • Trixie starts off like this in "No Second Prances", where she pretends to be Starlight's friend just to get back at Twilight. But as the episode goes on, Trixie starts to consider Starlight a friend and she eventually pulls a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Gladmane from "Viva Las Pegasus" claims to be a "friendship connoiseur", and his employees laud him as kind, genuine and compassionate. However, it's later revealed that he willingly sows discord between his employees so they're too busy fighting with each other to take their acts on the road, all so they'll keep making money for his resort.
    • The Season 8 finale, "School Raze" reveals Cozy Glow as this. Being not so different from her pen pal, Tirek, the manipulative and sociopathic filly believes that friendship is a means to gain power, and gaining many friends to her means getting more power.
  • In one episode of Recess Gretchen befriends a little girl named Becky while getting ready for the school science fair, only to find out that Becky was pretending to be her friend so she can steal her project.
  • In the Samurai Jack episode "Jack and the Warrior Woman", Jack meets and befriends Ikra, who claims to have a similar tragic backstory like he does, and joins him on a quest to find a magic jewel so that Jack could return home... only for Ikra to betray him by smashing the jewel, and then reveals that "she" was actually Aku in disguise all along; much to Jack's shock, rage, and sorrow.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Bart's Girlfriend", Jessica Lovejoy serves as one to Bart Simpson. She pretends to befriend and fall in love with him, only so she can act as bad as she wants; knowing that if she gets caught, she can always blame Bart and let him take the fall. If not for Lisa, it would have worked.
  • Sponge Bob Squarepants:
    • "F.U.N." is all about Plankton pretending to befriend Spongebob as part of yet another scheme to obtain the secret recipe for the Krabby Patty.
    • "Porous Pockets" involves a large crowd of people leeching off of Spongebob after he earns a small fortune. Once it dries up, they instantly abandon him.
  • In South Park, Butters considers Cartman to be a friend that he can hang out and do fun stuff with. Cartman takes advantage of this and frequently manipulates Butters into being a pawn for his latest scheme, uses him as a scapegoat for to pin his actions on, or even outright bullies and embarrasses him at school.
  • In Storm Hawks, Master Cyclonis disguises herself as a crystal expert named Lark in an attempt to infiltrate the Storm Hawks and learn more about Piper in the aptly-named "Best Friends Forever". Piper originally connects with her thanks to Cyclonis saving her life in a storm and their shared passion for crystals and sees her as her new BFF, though she figures out the deception around the two-thirds mark and they fight it out. Interestingly enough, Cyclonis herself becomes impressed enough by Piper during all of this that she offers her a place in her empire and as shown by her failure to kill Piper with a crystal that, in Piper's own words, doesn't work on friends "even those who were only friends for a moment", a part of her did consider a Piper a genuine friend at least briefly.
  • Tangled: The Series: The Enchanted Girl to Cassandra. She just sees the latter as a tool in her Evil Plan, promising her glory and revenge just to snatch it all away later. Whether she genuinely saw Cass as a kindred spirit is debatable, but she's still not the friend she claims she wants to be.
  • Brought up once in the original Thunder Cats. "Better an honest enemy than a false friend."
  • In ThunderCats (2011), Pumyra.
  • Terra in Teen Titans, though sympathetically so.
    • She's much, much nastier in the comics, as Terra was not a lost girl brainwashed by Slade. She was a pure psychopath that Slade was almost scared of (You read that right). Worse is that she was also Slade's underage girlfriend. What makes it especially hilarious is that at no point in the lead-up of the comic arc does she ever really pretend that she doesn't dislike nearly everyone on the team nor isn't lying constantly to them, so the Titans, in retrospect, were Too Dumb to Live.
    • Malchior is this to Raven in the "Spellbound" episode. He pretends to be the hero unjustly sealed by the evil dragon as a Last Breath Bullet and manages to play on her insecurities to worm his way into her heart in order to get her to free him, revealing he is the evil dragon who was Sealed Evil in a Can instead once she does.
    • And Blackfire, Starfire's sister, who pretended to care for her sister while framing her for the crimes she committed so Starfire would get taken to jail instead. Starfire eventually finds out the truth and engages her in battle which leads to Blackfire rightfully getting captured by the police.
  • In The Venture Bros., Jonas Venture Sr. and the Blue Morpho teamed up on a few adventures together and seemed to be good friends. But then it's revealed that Jonas had recorded the Blue Morpho cheating on his wife and used the tape to blackmail him into becoming Jonas' personal attack dog. Then after the Blue Morpho's death, Jonas "revived" him as a mindless cyborg, used him as a butler when he lost interest in him, and finally uncermoniously tossed his "friend" into the garbage after the cyborg snapped and attacked Rusty. Also, it's heavily implied that the "fertility treatments" Jonas gave the Blue Morpho's wife to help her concieve was actually just him sleeping with her.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): I Was Only Pretending To Like You


Scumbag Fan

Tina meets some friendly equesticles, unfortunately, Bronconius is among them and he pretends to befriend her in order to take away her doll.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / FalseFriend

Media sources:

Main / FalseFriend