A trope most common in the Romantic Comedy genre. Alice and Bob, by complete random coincidence, keep ending up in the same places at the same time, usually while pursuing a mutually shared objective. The basic chain of coincidence goes as follows-
- Meeting the First: I find you very annoying, yet also charming in a vaguely erotic way. Oh well, not like I'm ever going to see you again.
- Meeting the Second: OK, seriously? Are you stalking me? Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Perfectly logical explanation you describe? OK, let's just chalk this up to weird coincidence.
- Meeting the Third: According to the book of tropology, we are now legally obliged to make out.
In narrative, this is a specific variant of Meet Cute. It differs from the standard largely in that characters who meet via this method will feel compelled to give each other a chance, even though in other circumstances they probably would not consider it. Often uses a Double Subversion in that the third time they seem to meet, it will actually turn out to be a different guy- and then Bob strolls into the shot a few seconds afterward.
Note that while this trope is most commonly used for the sake of romance, it can also be invoked to set up the meeting of a band of True Companions, particularly characters who may not have much in common otherwise.
- A decidedly unfunny, sinister example occurs in The Secret Agreement. Yuuichi's uncle explains that the reason Iori has such an intense connection to Yuuichi that keeps driving them together is not that he loves him but because Yuuichi is built to steal Iori's life energy and Iori exists only to be consumed.
- Recovery of an MMO Junkie And how! Moriko and Sakurai hit it off while cross playing as Hayashi and Lily in the MMO Fruits de Mer. They live a few blocks away from each other without knowing it and are regular customers at the same convenience store. Sakurai and Moriko have their first real-life conversation after a Crash-Into Hello occurs when Sakurai is running to work late because he was up all night playing Fruits de Mer with Hayashi, while Moriko is on her way to buy cough medicine having gotten sick from not getting any sleep. Moriko and Sakurai have a shared acquaintance in Koiwai, which Moriko also didn't know about because she had only spoken to him on the phone, and he helps move things forward between the two of them. Finally, it's revealed that Sakurai and Moriko actually met years ago, since they were best friends in an MMO that shut down years prior to the start of the series.
- A non-romantic example also occurs, as it turns out that the guild leader Kanbe is actually the cashier at the convenience store.
- In one Archie Comics story, "A Date With Fate", Archie and Betty were supposed to go out on a date, but mutually agreed to cancel it because "absence makes the heart grow fonder". They both separately decide to spend their time in the mall and ran into each other on three separate occasions. Finally, they decide to put their cancelled date back on.
- Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Japan basically told Italy they were destined to meet after they discussed their shared dream.
"...In fact, I'm glad that child is you; that means we have met before, even if we didn't know it. And..." Red tinted his cheeks. "...us seeing each other means we must have had a shared dream; fate has great plans for us." He blushed. "Sore wa watashitachi no unmeidesu."The European quirked a brow. "Unmei? As in destiny?"
- The Star Trek (2009) fanfic Written in the Stars has this as a premise; no matter what universe, Fem!Kirk and Spock will meet and fall in love somehow.
- The Back Up Plan uses this trope. It was in the trailer.
- The first half of When Harry Met Sally.... Comes off as more plausible than most because Harry and Sally meet each other randomly twice over the course of several years rather than several days.
- Lalita and Darcy keep running into each other in Bride and Prejudice.
- In The Adjustment Bureau, fate literally exists in the form of a "plan" handed down by the Powers That Be for the titular Celestial Bureaucracy to carry out, and previous drafts of this plan are what keep driving David and Elise together.
- High School Musical: Troy and Gabriella. They meet at a ski lodge in Colorado, where a stranger literally picks them out of a crowd and forces them to sing together. They're totally smitten but think they'll never see each other again. Then voilà! Gabriella's transferred straight into Troy's form class in Albuquerque.
- Common (along with every other type of Contrived Coincidence) in the romantic comedies of P. G. Wodehouse; Something Fresh and Leave It to Psmith are two good examples.
- In Överenskommelser by Simona Ahrnstedt, Beatrice and Seth keep bumping into each other. But they don't get the chance to actually say what they feel for each other before Hell breaks loose...
- In one episode of 30 Rock, Liz Lemon meets Wesley Snipes (no, not that Wesley Snipes. Seriously, is that name not so much more logical for a British guy to have?) at the dentist's office while she was under novocaine, and puts him in her cell phone as "future husband". After a disastrous first date, they go on a second when they meet by complete coincidence at a store buying tickets for Hot Tub Time Machine. This date goes even worse. When they meet a third time at a taxi cab, all Wesley can stammer is "you...witch!", before catching up with Liz and suggesting maybe they're "settling soulmates" and proceeds to try and convince her every time they meet that they should get married, despite increasing evidence that they are not just ill-suited but hate each other.
- This is how Carrie meets Mr. Big in Sex and the City.
- There's an episode of Friends where Phoebe comments on having run into this guy everywhere she goes, including the laundromat, coffee shop, and adult bookstore. She eventually decides to give him a chance after she reads her tea leaves and interprets them to mean she's about to meet a guy. He ends up being a total jerk, who makes inappropriate comments about her breasts over dinner.
- On The Secret Circle, Adam and Cassie's relationship. Fate and destiny is a driving force of their relationship. It has been repeatedly stated throughout that Adam and Cassie are destined and fated to be together.
- The same was said for Cassie's mother Amelia and Adam's father Ethan.
- On The Vampire Diaries, Stefan unexpectedly meets Elena for the first time at a car accident scene and rescues her to safety. Elena unexpectedly meets Stefan for the first time after bumping into him outside of the men's washroom. Also, Stefan and Elena coincidentally end up bumping into each other at the cemetery, where Elena was alone writing in her journal. All of their first meetings have been seen as fateful, synchronistic, or coincidental.
- Subverted in an episode of Mysterious Ways. Peggy keeps running into an engaged man who asked for a sign that he was marrying the right woman right before he saved Peggy's life. He thinks it's fate; she disagrees. Eventually they figure out that the man's fiancee was also in all those places, but Peggy kept getting in the way. When Peggy wonders why she was even there, Miranda points out that maybe she needed to realize there might be another soul mate out there for her, too.
- Noah's Arc: How Noah and Wade happen to run into each other in the bar (as well as other times).
- Lampshaded in Winter Begonia by Cheng Fengtai, when he starts seemingly running into Shang Xirui everywhere.
- Also, when Shang Xirui remarks that if it weren't for his performances, he and Cheng Fengtai wouldn't have met, Cheng Fengtai assures him that their meeting was fated, and even if Shang Xirui hadn't become a performer he's absolutely sure they still would have met and become friends.
- In Halloween Otome with Emma and Mr. Bandages during their day off. In addition, both seem mildly annoyed by the other's presence.
- Ikemen Sengoku:
- In Yukimura's route, after he and the female main character have run into each other multiple times, he thinks to himself that it must be fate that they've met this many times but is too embarrassed to tell the MC this. Subverted when he learns that she's working for his enemies and realizes that her just happening to pop up in the same places as him wasn't fate but her accompanying his enemies who were scouting out his allies' locations.
- In Shingen's route, when he meets the MC for the third time, he says to her, "We've met three times now. Whim, inevitability, and finally fate. Are you anticipating our fourth meeting as much as I am? When it happens, I'll make you mine."
- The Simpsons uses this in a future episode dated in the far-off year of 2008. College-age Lisa is constantly being inconvenienced by a rude British student, first at the drinking fountain, then a vending machine, then when it turns out he's checked out the same library reserve book that she needs. Naturally, they make out. The librarian questions the logic of this, since they spent most of the day hating each other. The janitor points out that of course she doesn't understand love, she's a robot. The librarian then explodes when she cries in response.