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Friendless Background

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Nothing cements loneliness like sitting alone on the Trauma Swing.
"Up until now, the only friends I had were the ones in my head!"
Mako Mankanshoku, Kill la Kill

There are a lot of Characterization Tropes that can be used to quickly and non-verbally introduce a character, and one of the sadder ones is the Friendless Background. The character will, through fate or choice, be presented as not having any friends, or at least not within easy visiting or communication range. They will be eating lunch alone, or looking forlornly/enviously at others with friends and Love Interests, and usually be found immersed in reading, video games, or some other highly solitary activity.

These are the most common causes:

  • Newcomer: Be they a New Transfer Student in a new school, an employee at a new work place, or having escaped their Doomed Hometown as a refugee.
  • The Loner: Might be because of preference or ostracism. Freakishness optional. Jerkass-ness optional.
  • Homeschooled: Similar to Newcomer, the character has grown up or lived away from others. May or may not come with interesting psychological quirks.
  • Trauma: Some sadness like parental abuse (often seen in Dark Magical Girls) or other kind of angst may keep the character from letting anyone close to them, can result in The Woobie.
  • Shyness: Some characters (like in real life) are insecure of themselves for whatever reason and are not even able to talk to other people (sometimes temporary).
  • Lack of self-confidence: Similar to the one above, the character may believe they're not worthy of other people's friendship while craving acceptance. Or possibly they want to feel like they're important, but don't. Many Shrinking Violet characters are prone to this.
  • Incompetence: A character may simply lack the social intuition required to connect with others, regardless of how willing or confident they are.
  • Unattractiveness: The character is physically repulsive and avoided or mistreated because of that.

The last five types can result in envy for more extroverted characters (like Misao from Magical Project S).

What's curious about this Dark and Troubled Past (or present) is that it's incredibly easy to fix. "When you have nothing to lose, you stand to gain everything", so to speak. In short order the character will Crash-Into Hello, get in a fight, drop their groceries or make a new friend through less quirky means. Before long they'll make loads more friendsnote  or join a group of them. Despite their lack of social skills or experience they'll magnetically gather new friends thanks to their at times strange but honest charm and learn to use The Power of Friendship to its fullest.

Of course you can expect the "genuine" loners who become one of the True Companions to moan about being stuck With Friends Like These... — all while secretly thanking them all.

In more tragic cases, a friendless character whose new friends turn out to be False Friends is very vulnerable to falling to despair or even worse things.

It should be mentioned that this can become implied against the author's wishes if the character never mentions or demonstrates having had friends before meeting their new ones, and/or never hangs out with anyone outside their Limited Social Circle. Fridge Loners, so to speak. If they had any friends, they're kind of like a set of living Forgotten Fallen Friends. Of course, this can be fixed by introducing a Beleaguered Childhood Friend, showing a photo album, or introducing Those Two Guys as friends.

Related to I Just Want to Have Friends and compare with Social Circle Filler when an author wants to prevent this initially. Compare Alone in a Crowd and Only Friend. Symbolic Distance, as seen in the page image, can be used to illustrate this trope.


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  • 7 Seeds:
    • Natsu, who used to be bullied so much in school that she stopped going to it and was so extremely shy and socially awkward that she couldn't even easily talk with her family if they were concerned. Her only friend was her cat.
    • Matsuri used to have no friends either, as nobody ever took her seriously and thought she was just a shallow little Genki Girl. Unlike Natsu, though, she doesn't appear to be too traumatized by it.
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You: One of the common trends among the titular girlfriends is that the vast majority of them had very few, if any, friends before they met Rentarou.
  • Ah... and Mm... Are All She Says:
    • Toda didn't have many friends in high school, since her classmates all found her weird and unapproachable.
    • Tanaka is more well-adjusted, but flashbacks imply she had this experience too due to being self-conscious about growing up in a children's home, and the associated Perpetual Poverty. (She's also older than Toda, so she's had more time to grow.)
  • Kitano of Angel Densetsu doesn't have friends at the start because he looks like a walking waking nightmare, and rumours painted him as a violent drug addict. The joke is he's a sweet, kind boy who always tries to think the best of people, even when he's being beat up. His parents love him though. Averted in flashbacks to his old school though. Before his transfer, Kitano was actually very well-liked and highly regarded by both the faculty and student body of his old school. It's only transferring to Heikiku High that his friendlessness starts, which slowly fades away during the progress of the story.
  • Blue Exorcist has two (and possibly three) main examples. First is Shiemi due to the Home Schooled reason. Second is Rin due to All of the Other Reindeer. Yukio also qualifies as due to being a) a Shrinking Violet Cute Bookworm when young and b) being Rin's younger brother, made it difficult for him to get any friends even before he started training early to be an Exorcist. Izumo also counts, as the only other friend she had before the Cram School was Paku; in fact, she originally didn't want any other friends, she just got dragged into it.
  • The titular protagonist of Captain Tsubasa was this during his time living in Tokyo prior to the start of the story, according to the Memories prequel chapters. Despite being a rather nice and cheerful young boy, Tsubasa had trouble connecting with other kids his age because he was the only one who liked soccer (the only exception being Yayoi Aoba, his first girlfriend at the time). Once he moves to Shizuoka, he quickly becomes friends with pretty much everyone, now that he has a team to play with.
  • Kaoruko of Comic Girls, because she's social phobic. Her editor suggests that her lack of storytelling skills in the Schoolgirl Series genre comes from this.
  • Death Note:
    • L refers to Light as his 'first-ever friend' (although he may have been lying.) Either way, he has never had a friend prior to the Kira case.
    • Light himself may qualify. Although he's popular at school, he doesn't seem that close to anyone.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, that's a crucial point of Zenitsu's backstory. He had no true friends before meeting Tanjiro, so the guy really had a need to belong since Zenitsu had no family, which prompted himself to try being part of any group of people when he was younger. However, Zenitsu’s cowardly and crybaby moods either quickly made others want to stay away from him, or fake tolerance to later scam him. Nobody before his master, and later Tanjiro, bothered to notice Zenitsu’s good qualities beyond his apparent faults.
  • This turns out to be the thing uniting nearly all the humans-turned-Legendary-Warriors of Digimon Frontier prior to their arrival in the Digital World. They all have different flavors, too: Kouji is the Loner, Izumi is the Newcomer, Junpei has No Social Skills, Tomoki is overly sheltered by his parents a'la "Homeschooled", and Kouichi is implied to be shy on top of feeling alienated from his family after learning he and Kouji had been Separated at Birth. Only Takuya doesn't seem to have this problem, which may be why he becomes the glue that holds the team together as they gradually becomes friends.
  • Dragon Ball features Goku, who was raised alone by his adoptive grandfather and never knew anyone else until the start of the series. Several characters from that series also qualify, but most of them because they start as dickish villains who eventually get reformed. Pretty much everyone isn't bothered that they don't have friends, though.
  • Lucy of Elfen Lied was like this during her childhood spent in an Orphanage of Fear where she was frequently bullied by the other children for her horns and emotionlessness. The one person who it seemed like she was gonna become friends with at the orphanage later betrayed her and sold her out to the boys that had been bullying her. She then makes herself an Iron Woobie by making two more attempts to reach out to someone else and become their friend. The first ends in another betrayal, while the second ends in her new friend being killed and her being captured. After that it's sort of understandable why she stopped trying.
  • Fireworks: Nazuna's mother and the new fiance discuss how Nazuna won't be missed because she has few friends and definitely no boyfriend.
  • Erina Nakiri of Food Wars!. Despite being admired for her looks and talent as a chef, at the start of the story she had no friends, and the entire school admires and fears her on equal parts. The only people with a semblance of closeness to her are her assistant Hisako, who practically worships her and views herself as lesser to her, much to her chagrin), and her cousin Alice, who loves to tease the hell out of her. It's later revealed that this was because her father Azami submitted her to a Training from Hell and isolated her from everyone else (going as far to shred Alice's letters so Erina would never read them), rendering her with No Social Skills and growing up a haughty perfectionist with a mean streak. It's not until the intervention of Soma Yukihira that she more or less begins to fix her relationships with Hisako and Alice, and to make genuine friends with other students.
  • Subverted in FullMaPla. Kyou initially thought that Makoto's bizarre method of communication and standoff personality would mean that she never had any friends, but it's stated that she did have friends in middle school (they just all went to different high schools).
  • In Girls und Panzer, Yukari had no friends while growing up because she was obsessively interested in tanks and could not find anyone who shared her interest. The "Little Army" prequel manga reveals that Miho had a similar problem while she was in elementary school.
  • Yuki of Gourmet Girl Graffiti is a Shrinking Violet with little skills in communication. At the time she's properly introduced, her "friends" include a cat and a bird.
  • Haikyuu!!: Kageyama is heavily implied to fit this trope. Not only did he have a famously bad relationship with his volleyball teammates in middle school (with Kindaiichi later claiming that they've never been friends), but he'd been like this since he was a young child. He got hooked on volleyball when he was around three years old and focused on it so much, that he didn't develop any other hobbies and thus couldn't relate to his peers who were interested in things such as video games. His social awkwardness and intimidating appearance didn't help, nor did the fact that some people (mainly Oikawa) started to outright resent him for what they assumed was an undeserved natural talent, or just got tired of his devotion to the sport. He gets better in high school, forming a more or less friendly rivalry with Hinata and a close bond with his new teammates.
  • Haru Sakamoto of Hana the Fox Girl had no real friends growing up. Much of the issue is that she was a snake in human form who was Raised by Humans. This caused some of her behavior, such as catching frogs barehanded or attracting snakes to her on a field trip, to freak out her childhood classmates. Fortunately, through the Shimashima coffee shop in general and Fu in particular, Haru makes friends before starting class at Fu's school.
  • Happy Kanako’s Killer Life: In chapter 9, Kanako starts her day off by cleaning the toilet so it won’t be dirty when she has friends over, only to remember that she has no friends to invite.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • How about Mr. Friendless England? He was bullied and beaten up as a child, (which probably have something or another to do with the current Tsundere stance he projects) and was even subjected to humiliation and exclusion by his own brothers according to Word of God. Then he met America, a kid who didn't know anything about him before but who was the first to be friendly with him and happy to see him... and see how that turned out...
    • Russia Used to Be a Sweet Kid bullied by everyone. He even got rejected by a hamster.
    • Iceland was born and spent his younger years alone, with only vague sensations of an "older brother" that he dismissed as "his own delusions." In World☆Stars, Finland even mentions that he never really met Iceland until the 18th century. His discomfort at receiving attention, denial of his own loneliness, and aloof nature may stem from this.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • Killua grew up never having any friends as his family drills to his head that he's an assassin who only knows and cares about killing. When he tried to befriend Canary, one of the butlers in the mansion, his mother threatened her out of sight to reject the offer which she did out of fear. It isn't until he met Gon that he experiences having a friend for the first time, though it took him longer to warm up to Kurapika and Leorio.
    • Downplayed with Gon. While he's the All-Loving Hero who can be friends with anyone he encounters, he never had any close friends in his hometown since there are only a few natives who live there. It isn't until he met Leorio, Kurapika, and Killua that he made genuine friends and even proclaims that Killua is his First Friend in his age bracket.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • In the Stardust Crusaders arc, Noriaki Kakyoin wasn't able to make any sort of connection with other kids when he was younger due to the fact that no one else could see his Hierophant Green. He is reminded of this fact whenever he sees his Stand, but then expresses gratitude for being able to meet Jotaro, Joseph, Avdol, and Polnareff - four people who could see his Hierophant and be able to genuinely understand him.
    • Subverted in Golden Wind. Giorno Giovanna started out this way when he was young, due to the fact that he was a half-Japanese kid living in Naples and had a habit of trying to read other people, which was a result of his abusive father. However, after Giorno saved the life of a wounded gangster, Giorno was suddenly best friends with the all of the kids in town thanks to the gangster watching over him as repayment for Giorno's kindness.
  • Rinichi Sagara of Kanojo Ni Naru Hi Another is an instructive subversion: At the start of the story he ticks practically all of the boxes: he's a deeply troubled loner with No Social Skills and a Dark and Troubled Past who has deliberately cultivated a tough reputation to compensate for his girly looks and to keep his classmates at arms length to protect his Dark Secret. His classmates (particularly The Heart, the Class Representative,and even The Gadfly) rally to his defense anyway at the behest of The Rival.
  • In Kill la Kill, Mako claims that the only friends she ever had were in her head, seeming to be a case of incompetence. Meanwhile, Ryuko makes no mention of any friends before coming to Honnouji, and as she references having been a drifter, she was likely a recurring case of the Newcomer along with a bit of the Loner.
  • Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke starts the series as never having had a friend in her whole life, due to being very shy and looking (and unintentionally acting) like a classic Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl.
  • Kodomo no Jikan: As seen in a flashback, Rin started out completely friendless, as well as mute (due to the trauma of her mother's death combined with her blaming herself for it). By the time the manga/anime starts, she, Kuro and Mimi are True Companions.
  • Haruka Kotoura from Kotoura-san as seen in the first half of the first episode. Her telepathic powers plus her Innocently Insensitive nature cause everyone to hate her, together with her parents. The first scene of the anime looks like this.
  • In A Lazy Guy Woke Up As A Girl One Day, Igarashi, who eagerly tries to befriend Yasuda after the latter turns into a girl, is a case of Incompetence. She tried to befriend other girls, but got rejected for being annoying, and ended up mostly giving up on becoming friends with others. As a result, most of what she knows about girls having fun with each other comes second-hand.
  • Kio from Loveless claims to be Soubi's first and, until the manga begins, only friend. Given Soubi's background (Parental Abandonment, being physically psychologically and sexually abused as a child, being essentially a slave to his sacrifice) this is hardly unlikely.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • In the season finale of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Fate admits that she has no idea how to be friends with someone. In fact, prior to her encounters with Nanoha, Fate had never even met someone her own age.
    • Hayate is an orphan who spent most of her childhood in and out of the hospital, so the only people she interacted with on a regular basis (before meeting the Wolkenritter) were doctors.
  • In Magic of Stella, Yumine when she was a child, mainly due to her status of an ill girl. This has gone so much that she became pretty cynical to the idea of friendship, but Tamaki helped her overcoming that.
  • In March Comes in Like a Lion, Rei does not have any childhood friends within his normal life outside of shogi, and was, as he narrates, "always the kid that got bullied." He implies that his teenage years were not that much different when he specifically requests that Hayashida not say anything about his professional career to his classmates. Later volumes elaborate on this.
  • Medaka from Medaka Box since she was so awesome that other people were intimidated by her. For a long time Zenkichi was her only real friend. Which is why she drags him along with her, she is desperate not to be alone again. Abnormals in general seem to have this sort of background; their Abnormalities make it nearly impossible for them to form connections with other people. "Minuses" also have these backgrounds, except they don't want friends either. The Abnormal Hinokage has it the worst though: people can't even remember him...because he is so awesome they forget him out of sheer fear.
  • Metamorphosis: The opening pages establish that Saki didn't make any friends during middle school due to being shy. She has her mother give her a haircut and some makeup tips to try to rectify this, and while it does seem to work, what it leads to is her being used and abused by several people that she's too naive and innocent to know to avoid.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid
    • Kobayashi grew up staying at home playing video games, while her parents were always busy working. As an adult, she used to live alone with only one friend she spent evenings getting drunk with. While she never resents her life, it took Tohru's arrival for her to realize how empty it was before.
    • Implied with Saikawa, given that Kanna is her Only Friend.
  • Nishimura Akane in My Clueless First Friend has been the class target of bullying for what is all-but-stated to be the entirety of her time in elementary school. She is teased and called "The Grim Reaper" by her classmates, who treat everything she touches as being cursed, and generally ostracized. The main plot of the series is Nishimura slowly leaving this behind after transfer student Takada Taiyo, decides that Nishimura's nickname and alleged curse powers are the coolest thing he's ever heard of and makes a point of befriending her.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Izuku Midoriya is an invoked example. He considers Katsuki Bakugo his childhood friend, but throughout all the flashbacks he has with him, Midoriya is constantly being humiliated by Bakugo and his cronies, which doesn't exactly paint them both as friends. Once Bakugo's Quirk started to develop during kindergarten, however, Bakugo's personality...took a dark turn in regards to the then-Quirkless Midoriya worrying about him. Flashing forward to the present day, and Midoriya hasn't made any friends since then and is constantly on the receiving end of Bakugo's assholery any time Midoriya makes his wish to become a hero known. It takes a miracle and an entry to UA for Midoriya to finally make honest friends with Uraraka and Iida (which by then it's assumed none of the other classmates have made friends in their own classroom yet, which is saying something).
    • Tsuyu Asui admits that she had trouble making friends before joining UA. One reason was that between taking care of her younger siblings due to her parents' busy work schedules and studying to get into a good high school, she didn't have enough time for a social life. The other reason is that her classmates were put off by her froglike appearance. The very first friend she made, Habuko Mongoose, was similarly friendless beforehand due to her awkward and creepy behavior and snakelike appearance.
    • Shoto Todoroki, much like Sasuke Uchiha, despite being a Big Man on Campus Chick Magnet Pretty Boy, had no friends. Made worse by his abusive father Endeavor forcing him to stay away from his own siblings as well, making him know virtually nothing about them and vice versa, so that he can train and be the number one hero one day. The first friend he ever makes is Midoriya, because he was nice enough to help him. This results in him making more friends slowly and accepting Midoriya and Iida as his friends. His No Social Skills means he even considers Bakugo as a friend, simply because they spent time together despite Bakugo seeing him as a rival he wants to beat one day.
  • Miharu from Nabari no Ou deliberately acts cold and indifferent to discourage people from making friends with him. Weirdly, his classmates all seem to adore him anyways.
  • Naruto:
    • Gaara never had a single person in his village who loved him - not even his own parents - because everyone (including his own siblings) was afraid of the tailed beast sealed inside him. As a result, he's a complete sociopath by age 12, but an encounter with Naruto helped him see the value of other people. After his Heel–Face Turn he mends his relationship with his siblings and after the timeskip it's shown that his village thinks quite favorably of him now. His father, Rasa, never expected that his youngest son would ever have friends, and when Rasa gets resurrected and meets Gaara again, he is shocked to learn that Gaara actually managed to get friends (and became beloved by his village and became the Fifth Kazekage). The resurrected Second Mizukage, Gengetsu Hozuki, points out how ridiculous Rasa's reaction is, since it's just natural for a boy of Gaara's age to have friends.
    • Naruto Uzumaki himself started as this, a perpetual social outcast who wanted to make friends but always failed due to parents telling their children to steer clear of him. Only after he graduated did he finally begin to truly befriend his classmates and others. However, flashbacks from his, Choji Akimichi's and Shikamaru Nara's point of view showed that they hung out together at times with Kiba Inuzuka as the "Dead Lasts". Shikamaru was Choji's first and only friend before that point, and his parentage didn't enforce Naruto's ostracism like other families did. So, how friendless Naruto (or Choji) was depends on who's telling the story, how close their association can be considered to friendship, and how much the author wants you to think their life sucked compared to who they're fighting. The Last: Naruto the Movie tries to retcon this by making him and Hinata Hyuga each other's Only Friend in childhood.
    • Despite being popular with girls and held in respect for his skills. Sasuke Uchiha is not close to anyone, even before his family's massacre as the flashbacks to it show. Sasuke didn't hang out or was close to anyone outside of his family. This worsens as the series goes on due to Sasuke's Face–Heel Turn.
    • In the prototype pilot, Naruto is undeniably in this trope. The only person who even professes to be his friend in his village of Youkai (Naruto is a Nine-tailed fox in the pilot, rather than host to one) does so in an attempt to get out of Naruto's pit trap, before threatening to tell on Naruto if he doesn't let him out. As a result of this, the chief (who lost all eight of his friends while fighting Naruto's father) tells Naruto not to return to the village until he brings back a human friend.
  • In Natsume's Book of Friends, Natsume spent most of his childhood friendless because everyone (including his many foster parents) didn't believe that he could see spirits and assumed him to be a creepy pathological liar.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: No one of the three main characters has friends at the beginning of the story, although Shinji forms some tentative friendships once he moves to Tokyo-3, and Asuka and Rei feel attached to Shinji.
  • Haru from Ojojojo spent over a decade of her childhood isolated from her peers due to her Rich Bitch personality (which resulted in a viscous cycle of her becoming even more self centered as a coping mechanism only for it to isolate her even further). It's only by sheer chance that she ends up in the same class as a boy who is desperate enough for conversation and patient enough to put up with her self centered ramblings that she manages to make friends, shed her arrogant persona, and find love (not necessarily in that order).
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Tsubomi of HeartCatch Pretty Cure! started out like this due to the fact that, like Misao above, her parents were constantly working, so she'd end up staying with her grandma and was so shy, she only considered the flowers she liked to tend to as her friends. It isn't until she moves to Kibogahana that she starts making human ones. Even if her first is a loud-mouth Jerkass.
    • A slightly-more comedic variation happens in Hirogaru Sky! Pretty Cure as Sora was so laser-focused on training to be a hero that she completely forgot to even make friends.
  • Pretty Sammy Magical Project S: Besides Sasami, Misao Amano has no friends and is most of the time alone. her parents are always working, which is the main reason that she is very shy. At the end she gets more confident.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Homura Akemi never had any friends because she was very sick and spent most of her time in the hospital. It's probably why she goes to such extreme lengths to protect Madoka Kaname, the one friend that she makes.
    • Meanwhile, Mami Tomoe is an orphan, and has to distance herself from people because she's magical.
  • Hishiro of ReLIFE, resulting in her lack of social skills.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Before Tsukune came along, Yukari was often a victim of Fantastic Racism at Yokai Academy for being a witch, though her tendency to pull nasty pranks certainly didn't help matters.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Queen Nehelenia reveals that she has no friends in a fight with Sailor Jupiter, who is protecting Usagi. Sailor Jupiter tearfully asks if she has anyone like Usagi to be there for her, and the queen gets angry and blasts her.
    • On another note, at least in the movies, it's shown at least twice that all of the Inner Senshi had little to no friends before Usagi befriended them. However, the movies may be separate from the anime continuity. Anime episode 54 suggests that Rei is pretty popular at her school (she attends a different school from the others).
    • Hotaru is similarly isolated until ChibiUsa follows in her mother's footsteps and makes pals with the other girl.
  • In Saint Beast, thanks to Fantastic Racism, Kira and Maya grow up in the shrine away from other angels. After they grow up Maya instantly makes friends with Gai who has a similar temperament and no prejudices whereas Kira attempts to stay a loner.
  • While it hasn't been explained, in Sakura Trick, Haruka reflected she has always been alone and Yuu was her first friend. It may be the reason why she's so clingy to Yuu.
  • Kotonoha Katsura of School Days has difficulty making friends due to her shyness and attractive appearance; all the boys in her class fight over her and force each other to stay away from her, which alienates the girls in her class.
  • Yuki from School-Live! has been shown to have had no friends besides her teacher Megu-nee prior to the Zombie Apocalypse. She was made fun of due to her cutesy looking hat and general oddities. Thanks to the apocalypse she is a part of a close-knit team alongside three (later more) other survivors. Yuki has hallucinations that she is going to school normally instead of being stuck in a zombie infested school, and in these delusions she's very popular instead of being friendless.
  • A Silent Voice:
    • Ishida Shouya and his entire class bullied a young deaf girl who transferred into their school badly, ostracizing and tormenting her as often as they could, with the teacher allowing and encouraging it from the background. When confronted by the principal on this, his entire class used him as a scapegoat, feigning innocence and causing him to take the blame for everything. Ishida spent the next five years being ostracized by his entire school, constantly mocked, beaten and bullied, completely believing he deserved it for what he did to the deaf girl years before. He eventually decides his whole life is basically meaningless because of these factors and decides it would be easier and better to just kill himself. Thankfully he decides against it and slowly begins developing friends later. Shouya insists he had no friends in prior to the ostracization, however elementary portions clearly show him frequently hanging out with two boys. It's possible he did not consider them "real friends" as they abandoned him when he began being bullied.
    • Shouko herself didn't have any friends growing up due to being ostracized because of her deafness. After she met Shouya she began making friends alongside him.
  • Barnaby Brooks Jr. from Tiger & Bunny has always been too preoccupied with revenge to develop any significant relationships, and was a complete loner until he was paired up with Kotetsu. Kotetsu is literally the first friend he's ever had.
  • From Tsuritama, up until Haru basically stalked/mind-controlled him into friendship, Yuki had always been alone thanks to a combination of crippling social anxiety issues, the frighteningly ugly face he pulls whenever scared, and the need to constantly switch schools because of his grandmother's job.
  • Saori from Wandering Son has been shown several times to have no friends before she met Nitori. She has No Social Skills and found boys to be too rambunctious but girls to be too snobby. Afterwards she makes a small group of friends, however she proceeds to more-or-less ruin all but one of said friendships within three years of creating them. By the end of middle school they're close again but due to going to separate high schools she loses track of most of them besides Takatsuki.
  • Wonder Egg Priority: Ai was bullied at school due to her heterochromia, badly enough that when combined with her best friend Koito's suicide, she's become a shut-in. Also, Neiru makes no initiative to get to know others and at first is wary when Ai wants to be her friend, although she eventually warms up.
  • Yona of the Dawn has Shin-ah who grew up shunned by his village. The only one who would have anything to do with him was Ao, the previous Seiryuu who was a pretty harsh and damaged guy due to the shunning and the "curse" of the Dragon's Eyes. Shin-ah desperately wanted friends, but was repeatedly told by Ao how impossible that was. Ao died when Shin-ah was four, and the little boy spent the next 14 years all alone.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yugi Mutou was one of these before completing the Millennium Puzzle.
  • Yuugai Shitei Doukyuusei: Miyako is the first friend Reika has ever had.
  • Yuusha De Aru:

    Comic Books 
  • Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) did have family, some of whom genuinely cared for her (although they were all evil), but until she teamed up with Black Canary, she never had even one friend. The mafia assassins who raised her, the Asaros, deliberately kept her isolated.
  • Runaways:
    • Xavin has outright said that their parents did not allow them to have any friends growing up, and their arrogance and chauvinism did not help them in making friends after joining the team.
    • Before joining the team, Klara had been disowned by her family, and her only source of human companionship was her husband... who horribly, horribly abused her and saddled her with a lot of trust issues. She did have the ability to talk to roses, and they would talk back, but her husband kept cutting and selling the roses for booze money. Molly Hayes appears to have been her first real friend, and incidentally, she is fiercely protective of Molly.
  • Spider-Man's Peter Parker was portrayed as being fairly isolated throughout his high school years (not so much later on),. Adaptations that make Harry, Gwen, or Mary Jane his longtime friends tend to ignore that Pete didn't meet any of them until college, or that he didn't get along with the first two at all at first.
  • Supergirl:
  • Tintin: If the titular hero had any friends at all besides Snowy prior to the start of his adventures, they are never mentioned. However, it does not seem to be from a preference to be alone, a lack of social skills or some such as a whole lot of characters Tintin encounters during his adventures become his friends, and some very close ones indeed (Haddock, Chang, Calculus) with no problem.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Tailgate spent six million years in a hole in the ground moving in and out of consciousness (mostly out) because none of his co-workers actually noticed that he was missing.
  • W.I.T.C.H.: Will Vandom lost literally all her friends a year before the series due to finding out what they really thought of her parents being divorced by accidentally reading their minds and freaking out (losing even the one who, having divorced parents herself, was thinking "So what?"), also influencing her mother into moving to Heatherfield. In the series she has some friends aside the other Guardians, but the only one who isn't linked to her being a Guardian or the other girls is a childhood friend that moved to Heatherfield before the freak-out.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Calvin's only real friend is Hobbes, who may or may not be imaginary, but either way only appears as an inanimate stuffed animal to everyone else. Calvin's neighbour and classmate Susie occasionally tries to make friends with him, but Calvin's attitude towards girls and generally Cloudcuckoolander habits means she has mixed results. Every other kid tends to think Calvin is either a weirdo or an idiot.
    • In one discussion between Calvin's mom and his uncle Max, she asks if he had any imaginary friends as a kid like Calvin, to which he says he thinks all of his friends have been imaginary (and not in the same way as Hobbes).
  • Garfield: Zig-zagged with Jon Arbuckle. While he initially had a roommate named Lyman, the latter was written out of the comics, leaving Jon alone for a long period of the strip run, until he became the boyfriend of Liz. Jon is usually painted as a dork who nobody likes in most adaptations.

    Fan Works 
  • Arc Corp: Jaune was raised not to have any close relationships, in part because his family (who aren't really fond of his existence) doubts he'd be able to handle the loss of a friend without fully transforming into an anomaly, as the death of his mother triggered a partial transformation into a fire creature when he was younger. As such, Jaune is uncharacteristically touched and overjoyed when Blake vouches for him as her friend when they visit Menagerie, since the amount of people who actually care for him beyond his usefulness as an ARC Corp employee can be counted on one hand. There's also Ruby, but he's hesitant about letting her get too close due to hating the idea of actively letting people he likes get involved with ARC Corp business (Blake basically hired herself when they first met).
  • Bakery "Enemies": In addition to his canon lack of friends, Adrien never went to public school and found friends there. Worse, he did find friends among the Miraculous heroes... but lost them all when the kwamis went dormant and he had no way to contact them.
  • Blue Au-niverse: Unlike her canon-counterpart, Nora Universe is not a Magnetic Hero and has trouble socializing with people. This leads to Blue Pearl giving her an Amber (a gem-type made to help "overcooked" gems acclimate) as a birthday gift.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • While Harry himself is not this by the start of the fic, he didn't have any friends growing up. Wanda kept a watch out for him and managed to intervene once, but to do any more would have put him in danger. His cousin Jean took him under her wing when her family visited, but Sinister acted to ensure that Harry wouldn't be taken from the Dursleys and thus Happily Adopted by the Grey family in order to maintain his experiment. He also tends to attract people like this.
    • Carol's only two close friends are Jean-Paul and Lex, the latter of whom is a self appointed Knight Templar Big Brother for whom she is occasionally required to act as a Morality Chain. It's implied (then revealed in the sequel) that the rest of her football team likes her, but they aren't what you'd call really close. As for her family life, her father has a Stay in the Kitchen attitude and her mother is a doormat (in fact, she's nothing of the sort). She's close to her Cool Uncle, Jack O'Neill, but he's a Brigadier General and thus busy most of the time.
    • Jean-Paul's only friend at all prior to meeting Harry is Carol and possibly his mildly crazy twin sister.
    • Diana, who happens to be a remarkably talented warrior. Since she is an initially pre-teen version of Wonder Woman, this is not surprising. She also had to endure Hera's repeated attempts to kill her due to her being a daughter of Hercules (which is why she's in Asgard in the first place as Hercules begged Athena and Loki to help him protect her) and tends to unsettle people thanks to her empathic abilities, which tend to make her come off as a more down to Earth and even more disturbingly insightful version of Luna Lovegood.
    • Uhtred is implied not to have many friends due to his obsessive desire to stand out from his family and Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy attitude, which he later drops.
  • A Deceptive Game Of Chess: Weiss has no friends and falls for Blake so easily in Chapter 1 because she wants a relationship so badly.
  • When Vera is hospitalized for poisoning in Dirty Sympathy Apollo, Klavier and Trucy are the only people that visit her because her only family is dead and she was a Hikikomori, she doesn't have any friends.
    Trucy: It's not like she has any friends besides us!
    Apollo: [thinking] You mean she has any friends including us.
  • The poem Does Marge have friends? revolves around Marge being a lonely housewife with no friends. Her closest thing to a friend was her neighbor and acquaintance Maude, who died prior to the poem.
  • Flowing Star: Stella remarked she wanted to make a friend, implying she wasn't popular in her country. Fortunately, she forms a small friendship with Luna and a partnership with Lincoln.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Both Germany and Japan have these because they distrusted other countries too much to get close to them—and their siblings don't count. Until they met Italy.
  • In Hope for the Heartless (which takes place after the events of The Black Cauldron) a young brush farmer named Avalina ends up befriending his jailer, the resurrected Horned King and his lackey Creeper. She's pretty much the first friend for both of them. The Horned King has spent his about a thousand years lasting existence doing evil for his own benefit. If he's ever had any friends, he has forgotten them. As for Creeper, he has been abused by everyone for his entire life.
  • NWR Hidden Stories: Before he came to Sodor, Thomas only had two friends during his time on the LBSCR: Lawson, a K Class Mogul, and Ivy, a C 2 X 0-6-0 tender engine. All the other engines, even his siblings, bullied or outright ignored him.
  • Supergirl (2015) fanfic my youth is yours: Lena has very few friends that are not directly connected to Kara. Most of them are employees who she is simply on good terms with. There's her secretary Jess, her head of technology Lana Lang, and her CFO Sam (though she knew Sam before she was an employee).
  • Pretty much all the Kiryuin sisters in Natural Selection grew up with no friends outside of each other. Much of it stems from Ragyo teaching them about mankind's inferiority to them and the Life Fibers, but there are other reasons for it aside from that. Satsuki's self-appointed position as Ryuko and Nui's Morality Chain and her own prideful self-reliance regarding the mission her father gave her kept her from opening up to anyone, Ryuko's superhuman abilities as a Life Fiber hybrid meant most children refused to play with her for fear of getting hurt, and Nui was homeschooled and raised as an assassin/enforcer for REVOCS.
  • In Resurrected Memories, It's stated that due to moving around a lot growing up and being severely bullied at school, Ember had no real friends to aside from her sister call her own. She even goes as far as referring to Kitty (who she only met after she died!) as her first friend.
  • In Rise of the Minisukas, Shinji shocks Asuka when he confesses that he never had any friends until he came to Tokyo-3. Asuka admits she considers him a friend, but she is not sure what it exactly means since she had not friends either before leaving Germany.
  • Scarlet Lady: Adrien and Marinette both suffered from this for different reasons prior to the start of the series:
    • Having been homeschooled and generally isolated from the world his entire life thanks to his Control Freak father, Adrien has never had any friends besides Chloe, who really doesn't qualify as a real friend by any stretch of the imagination. When he reveals this to Nino on his first day of public school, the other boy immediately offers to be his friend.
    • Before Alya stood up for her, none of Marinette's classmates were willing to be friends with her due to her status as Chloe's favorite punching bag. This left her with such deep seated insecurities that she believes that Alya would break off their friendship over a video she accidentally deleted, and that all of her other newfound friends would follow suit.
  • Son of the Sannin:
    • Downplayed with Naruto. Most of the other kids avoided him during his early childhood, but he befriends Hinata shortly after they enter the academy and is shown to be on good terms with most of his classmates.
    • Sasuke is hit with this a lot harder than his canon counterpart, since after the Uchiha Coup, the only three students who actually like him are Sakura, Karin, and Tamaki (the former two having crushes on him and the latter's family being a longtime ally of the Uchiha clan).
    • Fu didn't have any friends until she met Shino, Kiba, and Tamaki (and later the rest of the Konoha 15) and didn't even have teammates growing up. The reason for this is mentioned to be a combination of her status as a jinchuriki, her personality, and her attachment to the village leader.
  • They're Not Pussywillow Pixies: Poet is more or less friendless, being a, well, poet in a village where no one else is really interested in or cares about poetry.
  • Total Drama All-Stars Rewrite: Owen is revealed to have this background in the four part special, to the surprise of all the other contestants (since he's liked by nearly everyone on the show for his positive traits). He admits that his negative qualities have made him unpopular at his school, and for that reason, all the friends he made on the show mean a lot to him.
  • Twinning With a Twist Sammy, as per canon. It turns out that this is also the case for Ella.
  • In Velma Dinkley's Beginning, Velma had no friends prior to moving to Coolsville. Due to her family moving around a lot and getting bullied for being a nerd. She hoped for a fresh start at her new school, but immediately gets picked on by a Girl Posse. But she eventually befriends Fred, Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby who help her after learning she's being bullied.
  • When She Smiles (Fresh C): At one point, Misato confesses that her inability to help Shinji and Asuka is partially because she cannot go for advice to anyone: She hardly had any friends as growing up, and she has lost what few people she ever befriended.
  • In The Witch of the Everfree, Sunset Shimmer had never bothered to make friends despite Celestia's pestering, which ended up leaving her without anywhere to go after getting kicked out of Celestia's castle.
  • You Are (Not) At Fault: As wandering around the empty ruins of Tokyo-3, Asuka feels Shinji's absence more acutely than other people's because he was the only potential friend she had ever gotten since she was three.
    For almost her entire life, Asuka had felt lonely and abandoned. She had spent so much time perfecting her piloting skills, desperately seeking praise from those around her, and almost no time simply trying to make friends. Hikari had become a close acquaintance, Rei was merely a co-worker, and Misato was just her guardian and superior officer.

    Films — Animation 
  • Frozen:
    • Anna and Elsa were raised in seclusion their whole lives and didn't have any friends throughout their childhoods. This may be why Anna was so naive to the point that she was willing to marry Hans, a guy she just met who turned out to be an usurping scumbag.
    • As for Hans, the creators have confirmed that he indeed grew up without love and had nobody in his large family whom he could confide in. Over time, he became bitter and envious of his twelve older brothers, all of whom were successful. After his attempted putsch was foiled, he's deported back to the same hell he tried escaping from, is in an even worse condition than before, and remains friendless. The Schrödinger's Canon Tie-In Novel A Frozen Heart expands on his backstory, revealing it to be much worse than what he told Anna.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Hiccup is ostracized and bullied by his entire community for being weak and relying on his brain rather than brawny. Even his own father openly tells him he has to change. The closest he has to a "friend" is Parental Substitute Gobber, who still views him as a nuisance most of the time and tells him it's what's on the inside of him that causes problems. His first true friend is Toothless, the titular dragon. Of course, as it's a forbidden friendship, Toothless' attachment only serves to make him more of an outcast.
  • In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, it has been implied that Melody did not have any friends and the only person she talked to was Sebastian. Also, she's shown to be mocked for talking to sea creatures.
  • The title characters of Mary and Max are both explicitly stated to have this background.
  • The titular alien of Megamind (with the sole exception of Minion, his Non-Human Sidekick). Early scenes show his attempts to gain friends, all of which backfire miserably (in a combination of bad luck and Fantastic Racism), culminating in his decision to become a supervillain.
  • Shrek: Shrek deliberately shuts himself off from everyone else by settling in an isolated hut in the woods and scaring people who trespass, so he starts the series without friends. It is revealed that he once wanted to socialize, but people kept getting afraid of or hostile to him because he is an ogre, so he figured out that, well, so be it.
  • Turning Red:
    • Ming seems to have grown up this way given her declaration that she never went to concerts and put her family first. Ming's lack of support network outside of her family in contrast to Mei having close friends explains why Ming ended up being so repressed.
    • At first, Tyler is shown by himself and has no known friends, with Priya even directly stating that no one likes him. When Abby turns him away at the classroom door, no one objects; the next kid in line just pushes him out of the way. When he asks Mei to come to his birthday party, he says, "If you're there, everyone will come." At his party, it is clear that everyone is there for Mei instead of him. As he looks for Mei outside at his party, he is the only person by himself; everyone else is in small groups. He even goes to the 4*Town concert by himself. He finally makes friends when Mei and her friends adopt him into their group after discovering at the concert that he is also a 4*Town fan.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Bumblebee, Charlie Watson had no friends until she met Bumblebee. Its apparent that the depression she was in after her dad died, combined with the fact her family is evidently quite poor (and thus, she has to work a dead-end job at the local amusement park), makes other kids treat her with scorn, with a group of bullies regularly antagonising her any time they see her. Its her lack of friends that makes her connect so strongly to Bee upon meeting the lost Autobot, as they're both completely alone and rely on each other for support.
  • In The Force Awakens, Rey was alone on Jakku for over a decade, and appeared to spend most of her time scavenging the wrecks old ships. Based on her initial reaction to having her hand grabbed by Finn, she was not used to being touched either.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) has Starlord lampshade this when he's chewing out Drax and Rocket for starting a bar fight, citing their Ax-Crazy Jerkass mentalities as the reason they're friendless (and by extension, the rest of the group as well). Starlord doesn't exactly have what would traditionally be considered friends either, but is still the most socially adjusted of the group.
    Starlord: (after Rocket as threatened to kill them again) You see!? That's exactly why none of you have any friends!
  • The Heat: Ashburn. She grew up in foster care and then as an adult FBI agent, her need to demonstrate her intellect at the expense of others alienates them.
  • Killer Diller (2004): Wesley grew up in an orphanage, and the one person he was close to is dead. Vernon's father is so overprotective that it would have been hard for him to make friends even if he hadn't been autistic.
  • InThe King's Speech Lionel Leech offers a drink to George VI, jokingly saying "What are friends for". The King replies "I wouldn't know" ; growing up with a rigid upbringing , he has never had a friend.
  • My Animal: Heather apparently has no friends when she meets Jonny, due most likely to her lycanthropy, which could endanger other people and her family has kept her apart from others as a result.
  • Nightbooks: Alex wasn't popular in school for his love of scary stories. He ended up stopping writing them because of that.
  • Pump Up the Volume, Mark just moved to Arizona, coming from East US, and doesn't manage to make friends (unless when he is HHH). He is even Eating Lunch Alone.
  • Doc Holliday in Tombstone.
    Turkey Creek Jack Johnson: Why are you doin' this, Doc?
    Doc Holliday: Because Wyatt Earp is my friend.
    Turkey Creek Jack Johnson: Friend? Hell, I got lots of friends.
    Doc Holliday: I don't.
  • Sin City has Marv, who fits the unattractive type in this trope. He mentions that, due to his looks, he was never even able to buy a woman. It may also have something to do with him being Ax-Crazy as well.
  • Ted: John was such an outcast as a kid that even the kids who were getting beat up by bullies would shun him. The reason he made his wish for Ted to come to life was so he could finally have a real friend. It was such a traumatic experience for him that he refuses to ditch Ted, even as Lori points out he has other friends now.
  • Near the end of Tommy Boy, Richard confesses he thinks of Tommy as friend, even after all their misadventures.
    Richard: It may not mean much to you, since you have so many... but I don't.
  • The Wedding Ringer, Both Jimmy and Doug suffer from this. Doug's family constantly moved around when he was a kid, while Jimmy was just a loner. They end up becoming best friends and go on a trip to tahiti on Doug's first guy trip at the end of the movie.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: First Class: Since Raven Darkholme is explicitly stated to be Charles Xavier's oldest and only friend, that means prior to their meeting in 1944, he had difficulty connecting with other children despite growing up in the lap of luxury. X-Men: Days of Future Past elaborates on this a little further by revealing that Xavier was considered to be "crazy" in between the ages of 9 and 12 due to the voices in his head, and was therefore a social pariah among his peers.
    • The Wolverine: Mariko had difficulty making friends while she was younger.
  • Zero Dark Thirty: After Jessica establishes that Maya does not have a boyfriend, she asks Maya if she has any friends. Maya says nothing.

  • Anne of Green Gables: Anne Shirley has one of these, having spent her childhood in and out of orphanages and foster homes. She is so lonely that she invents imaginary friends, to Marilla's horror.
  • In The Belgariad and its sequels, a friendless background is par for the course for the Salmissras - it's very hard to make friends in a court where everyone is trying to poison everyone else in order to increase their own power and influence, and the royal pharmacologists (who are the real power behind the throne) prefer to keep their queens lonely and codependent so that they'll constantly seek to get drugged out of their gourds.
  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin Whistler doesn't have any male friends, as boys are very rare, and he doesn't like the neighbour's boy, Balin Brindle. The only non-related woman he has close contact with prior to the plot is his teacher. She's a kind of family friend, and Jerin had a crush on her. When he meets the young nobleman Cullen, they become friends immediately, as both of them are thrilled to finally have someone their own age to talk to.
  • The background of quite a few Circle of Magic characters. Briar was part of a gang as a kid, but they seemed more like 'allies' than friends with any real degree of concern for one another. Sandry also had a lot of trouble making friends; her parents moved continiously, other noble parents didn't want their children associating with such a strange family, while commoner kids regarded her with great suspicion. This made her just very, very determined to make friends. Tris, however, was by far the worst off, being neglected by her relatives and bullied by almost all her peers.
  • Chichikov in Dead Souls. He's more interested in making money than making friends.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Outside of Rowley, Collin, and sometimes Fregley, Greg doesn't appear to have any actual friends, mainly for extremely petty reasons. Whenever Susan tries to get Greg to befriend other kids, he refuses to because he looks down on everyone, even for the most minor of flaws.
  • Various characters in the Discworld series fit the trope in various ways.
    • Rincewind seems to have made very few friends, except perhaps the exasperating Twoflower, if only because he's usually running too fast in order to get away from some kind of danger. (He says that his parents ran away from home before he was born.) Even once he settles down, he's something of a loner, if only because his new colleagues regard him with amiable contempt and use him for various purposes.
    • Susan makes a couple of friends at school, but they're fellow loner/outsider types. Even at that stage, it's clear that she's a bit too weird and a bit too intelligent to get close to normal human beings. Once she learns that she's the granddaughter of Death, with all that implies, fighting the dangers of isolation becomes a full-time issue for her — though she manages.
    • The trope is really central to the whole species of noble dragons, however. "Noble dragons don't have friends. The nearest they can get to the idea is an enemy who is still alive." Of course, they don't care.
    • In Thud! when Vimes learns Mr A.E. Pessimal's initials don't actually stand for anything, he asks the government inspector what his friends call him. Mr Pessimal looks like this question involves a pretty huge assumption, so Vimes decides to back down on the confrontation a bit.
  • Dolphin Island: Johnny Clinton was raised in America by his Resentful Guardian Aunt Martha. The trauma of losing his parents made it hard for him to form new connections, and he and his classmates mostly stayed out of each other's way, except when his classmates were making fun of him for being short. But when he comes to Dolphin Island, the break from his past is so complete that he's finally able to open up. He befriends Mick Nauru, a boy his age who teaches him to skin dive.
  • Ishmael from Don't Call Me Ishmael! is bullied and doesn't have any friends at school until New Transfer Student Scobie makes him join the debate team.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward starts the story without any friends, which is mostly due to his Obfuscating Stupidity for the past seven years, which even estranged his younger brother.
  • Durarara!!:
    • Shizuo Heiwajima spent the majority of his childhood with a grand total of one friend, as most people were either terrified or resentful of him.
    • Shinra and Izaya are in a similar situation. The only person Izaya was ever close to in his life was Shinra. Shinra had his obsession with Celty to keep him from caring that he has no friends outside of Shizuo and Izaya (both of whom are pretty lousy friends whatever their intentions, especially when in the same room.)
  • Eileen: Eileen at the time of the events of the book had no friends, and had had none almost her entire life. This makes her very vulnerable to Rebecca's manipulation via overtures of friendship.
  • At home on Alderaan before Galaxy of Fear, Tash Arranda didn't have no friends — at least, other kids would let her play on their speed globe teams — but it was noted that she was closest to her parents and had trouble making friends, since her untrained Force-Sensitivity made her seem strange.
  • Gerard Freeman in The Ghost Writer has very few, if any, friends since childhood.
  • Maia, the titular character from The Goblin Emperor and his mother were exiled by his father shortly after his birth.When she died, he was exiled again to a very isolated country house with only his abusive, bitter cousin (who was sent there as a punishment) and a few servants for company for the next ten years.As a result this he has no friends and No Social Skills by the time the book starts. Unfortunately for him, his new position as the emperor of the Elflands means he can't have any friends in the usual sense of the word.That doesn't stop him from developing a mutually fond relationship with some of his staff,though.
  • All of the members of Haganai's Neighbors Club have varying incompetency in making friends.
  • Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating: Ishu had no friends before the events of the book, being more interested in studying and reading alone, which doesn't appear to be a problem at all for her. However, by dating Hani she gets closer with more people.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry himself. Prior to going to Hogwarts, he's an outcast at his Muggle school, partly because of the tatty hand-me-downs and broken glasses he wears, but mostly because his cousin Dudley is the school bully and no-one wanted to befriend Harry (his primary target) and become targets of his bullying too. Dudley's gang frequently beats him up, referred to as "Harry Hunting." He is absolutely friendless until Hagrid shows up in his life.
    • Ron is mocked for being poor by the Slytherins, and of course is perpetually in Harry's shadow, so he's an outcast to an extent. Word of God indicates many wizarding children, including the Weasleys, are homeschooled before starting Hogwarts, so it seems they conveniently don't have much chance to make friends before they're eleven. You'd think the Weasley kids would have made friends with Luna considering how close she lives to them, but book 5 seems to be the first time she and Ron meet. No wonder Ginny got so entranced in that diary — she literally had no one to talk to other than her older brothers and parents.
    • And Hermione... well, she was a stuck-up prissy know-it-all in the first book. To misquote Ron, "No wonder she hasn't got any friends!" But probably Neville has it worst in their year, until book 4 or 5.
    • Luna also seems to suffer heavily from this trope. Being somewhat strange, she is heavily teased or just ignored. She loved being part of the DA because "it was just like having friends". When the trio happens upon her room they see that she hand-painted a magical mural of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Neville, all interlocked by a moving golden chain of "friends" repeated over and over.
    • Remus Lupin is another character who suffered from this trope in his early years. As a result of his lycanthropy and the Fantastic Racism prevalent in the wizarding world, his parents had to hide and move him around a lot while they attempted to find a cure and keep him from infecting anyone else. It's the main reason why he was unable to prevent his friends' bullying of Severus Snape during their school years: he was so grateful to finally have friends that he didn't want to do anything that would turn them against him.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Haruhi starts off as a loner who finds most people boring; her making friends with the narrator Kyon basically kicks off the plot. The difference this makes in her personality is pretty impressive. She joins a group fairly quickly.
  • Avery Dixon in The Institute is a 10 year-old with a mental age of closer to 6 who hasn't had any friends prior to being abducted by the Institute, and despite his bleak situation, he can't help but see an upside in the friendships he's made with the other kids. His last thought before he sacrifices himself to aid their escape is "I loved having friends".
  • I Wish You All the Best: At Ben's old high school, no one wanted to hang out with them because they were seen as too quiet and too weird. It isn't until they transfer to North Wake that they befriend Nathan, who introduces them to his friends Meleika and Sophie.
  • Leia Organa in Leia, Princess of Alderaan had some casual friends her age and was friendly with palace staff but was really only close with her adoptive parents. It's repeatedly said that Alderaanian royalty is modest and doesn't hold itself apart from others but there still seems to be a divide and Leia once thinks that she can't be friends with a cocky scoundrel of a pilot because this is her employee. All this means that when Bail and Breha withdraw their attention from their daughter, putting it into La Résistance and trying to leave her out of their dangerous treason, she feels abandoned. But Breha assigned for Leia to take a Pathfinding course with several of her peers rather than alone with a tutor with the explicit purpose of getting her to make friends, and while Leia resents this at first it does work.
  • Middlegame by Seanan McGuire: Roger and Dodger are twin geniuses who both have no friends in their childhood, focusing on their academic interests instead. However, Roger starts making friends in high school while Dodger doesn't, and her growing loneliness ultimately contributes to a suicide attempt.
  • Hachiman Hikigaya of My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, as I Expected has such a background. Ever since he was in elementary school, he was a loner all his life and his attempts to socialize were met with ridicule. While the reasons have not been specified, Hachiman himself mentions he was socially awkward and was non-athletic. The rough experience caused him to give up socializing with others, develop a bitter outlook on life and go so far as to believe that youth is nothing more than "an illusion woven from failure and hypocrisy".
  • Nowhere Stars: All of Liadain's previous friends slowly cut contact with her after her diagnosis was declared terminal; Liadain believes they didn't want the baggage of dealing with a dying friend, or simply couldn't relate to someone who wouldn't live long enough to have the life experiences they were preparing for as they grew up.
  • The Origin of Laughing Jack: Isaac is homeschooled by his mother as the family is very poor, and he wonders if he too could be happy like other children if he had friends to play and laugh with. Laughing Jack's arrival excites him, as he's overjoyed to finally have a friend.
  • 'Cita in the second Petaybee book. She grew up as a member of a cult that gave children names like "Nightsoil" and "Goat-dung", and even by that standard, she was an outsider.
  • Both Molly and Alice in The Poison Apples, in contrast to their best friend Reena. Molly doesn't have any friends and has been pretty much ignored by her classmates since starting high school. Alice is more popular but doesn't have any close friends, being everyone's second or third best friend.
  • Project Tau: Kalin falls squarely into this trope, possibly due to his high intelligence.
    In Kalin's life, friends and sleepovers were things that happened to other people.
  • In Rolitania, Samuel is friendless in either timeline. In the first timeline, the equally lonely Kuro befriends him. In the second timeline, a more friendly, (and friendless no more) Kuro befriends him in a more unconventional way.
  • In the Schooled in Magic series, Emily left nothing she valued or missed behind on Earth (relationship wise), such as a loving family or friends. In fact, she feels like her life only just got started now that she's left Earth behind.
  • The Secret Garden's protagonist Mary Lennox has gone through life with no friends because she is shown to be spoiled and sour and has No Social Skills. A good portion of her character growth involves her gaining friends. At one point she's talking about the number of people she likes, and says, "I never thought I should like five people." One of those five is a robin.
  • Seven Years Awesome Luck: Trick is new to town after seven years as a cat, so he doesn't know anyone but his mother and little brother, and isn't especially close to even them. Denneka grew up there, but is a social outcast. Naturally, they latch onto each other.
  • Mara of Small Game grew up in a suburb, but moved to the country at age ten where there just weren't many people her own age around. As a result she spent her teenage years working on the homestead with her parents and wandering in nature. Even her boyfriend Ethan is just a person to shack up with and she feels no emotional attachment to him.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Brienne of Tarth is treated pretty poorly by the men she meets, as they scoff at her for acting manly, but laugh on the rare occasions she's forced to act feminine. Brienne says that the women are worse. One of the reasons she falls so hard for Renly is because he pretended to be nice to her so he could use her as a meat shield, and this goes double for Jaime.
    • Sam has it even worse. Oh sure, he got along with his mother and sisters, but his soft, gentle demeanor was not only mocked by essentially everyone but was also a source of serious abuse from his father. Then he goes to the Wall where he becomes fast friends with Jon Snow and all of Jon's friends.
  • The Southern Reach Trilogy: The biologist is an extreme introvert who'd much rather observe plants and animals than interact with people and has never had any friends. The closest thing she had to that was knowing the friends of her husband.
  • Aya in Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note can't, and Hates Small Talk. This pretty much means her social circle is limited to the KZ and Sunahara.
  • Michael, protagonist of The Traitor Game, was bullied at his old school and had no friends until he met Francis.
    Francis: Do you always hit people? Is that how you make friends?
    Michael: I don't know. I don't have any.
  • Bella Swan of The Twilight Saga. Her best friend back in Arizona was her mother (or so she says.)
  • Christian Ozera from Vampire Academy had no friends until warming up to Lissa and Rose. Went with his status as a social outcast.
  • In Why We Took the Car, Maik is stated to have no friends at all. Tschick appears to have no friends either when he enters Maik's school, and never makes any there.
  • Wings of Fire: Peril has no friends due to the fact just touching her causes severe burns. When she meets Clay, the only dragon who doesn't act fearful towards her and who can handle her touch, she becomes very attached towards him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Amy Farrah Fowler of The Big Bang Theory is this trope personified. She has a preoccupation with friendship activities, especially with Penny, because this is the first time in her life she's been able to experience anything of the sort. Sheldon didn't have any friends back home either, but he's less concerned about it. (Perhaps because his family, even though they didn't understand him, loved him. We don't know anything about Amy's family.)
    • Later revealed her father is bullied by her mother, who also bullied Amy and tried to control her life.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Faith. Her parents were worthless and the only person who never treated her badly died before she showed up in Season 3. This leads to her becoming evil after her tough girl act makes her push Buffy away when they accidentally kill a guy.
    • Genevieve, due to being homeschooled.
  • Most of the main characters on Community, for various reasons: Britta is a hypocritical buzzkill, Abed is weird (and likely neurodivergent), Annie was an awkward nerd in high school, Pierce is a Jerkass and Chang is certifiably insane.
  • Beth from Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. She's been kicked off multiple anti-terrorism task forces in the past for being too blunt, and when she joins the team, she has nobody to put down as an emergency contact until Cooper volunteers himself.
  • Doctor Who: While it isn't mentioned too often, the Doctor himself apparently had a very lonely and miserable childhood. He once remarks on the unpleasantness of being "the only kid left outside", and when asked if he knows what that's like emphatically replies that he does. In fact, all indications suggest that he had a grand total of one friend his own age growing up, and that was the Master.
  • Extraordinary Attorney Woo: Young-woo and Geu-ra-mi had no friends in high school before they found each other. More like, the latter defended the former from a couple of bullies. As for why used to be friendless, well, the Young-woo because she's on the autistic spectrum and Geu-ra-mi because she's a troublemaker with a temper (people maliciously call her a "psycho").
  • Forever: In the first episode, Henry gets a call from someone who identifies himself to Lucas as a friend, which Lucas tells Jo is weird because Henry doesn't have any friends. It's basically true; aside from Abe, who is family rather than friend, Henry doesn't seem to have anyone to share his life with at this point. According to Abe, Henry hasn't let anyone get close to him since losing Abigail almost thirty years ago.
  • Friends, ironically. Although by the time the series starts the gang —in their early twenties— have formed their tight-knit True Companions, several of them are hinted to have been this growing up. In particular, Chandler never mentions any friends from when he was younger and is upset he has hardly anyone to invite to his wedding.
    • Subverted concerning Rachel and Monica. In high school, Rachel was the popular Lovable Alpha Bitch and Monica, her Fat Best Friend, was implied to be this trope. However, during the series Monica mentions or even dates several friends, including her fellow Formerly Fat friend Will (played by Brad Pitt), her childhood friend who helps Chandler enter advertising, Lewis Posin her "fifth grade best friend", an exchange student whose mom gave her food, and two cousins she was close to growing up. By comparison, all of Rachel's wealthy "friends" ditch her early on and everyone from their old school seems to hate her. It's also worth mentioning that Monica is the rock of the gang who brought them all together, and it was only because of her they accepted Rachel initially. Ultimately it's the awkward Monica rather than the outgoing Rachel who made real friends, despite her apparent unpopularity.
  • Galavant never mentions any friends from his childhood, and when he dies and Death gathers all the people who care about him to sing their goodbyes it includes his ex-girlfriend Madalena, now an evil queen who despises him, and "some random guy", seemingly included to stop the song being too short.
    Galavant: What happened, I just ran out of friends?
  • Game of Thrones: Brienne of Tarth is ostracized by Westerosi society due to her unattractiveness, large size, and her pursuit of a traditionally masculine occupation.
  • iCarly:
    • During the flashback that showed how Carly came to know Sam, Carly was eating alone. Probably justifiable since Carly had moved to Seattle from her existing home in California. Not friendless before that though, as she had Missy, her best friend back in California.
    • Freddie apparently came to know Carly and Sam either during the last year of elementary school, or their first year of middle school. Whatever friends Freddie had must have moved to different schools, as it was shown in the earlier episodes his only real friend was Carly. Eventually, he started joining various school clubs and became friends with a handful of other students.
    • Sam was a bully, even in her younger years, and her only 'friend' was likely to be her twin sister Melanie, who left on a boarding school scholarship, as well as being a grade ahead due to Sam falling behind. Carly pushed back when Sam stole her sandwich, and their friendship was born.
  • A Running Gag in Jessie is that Ravi doesn't have any friends besides his pet lizard, Mrs. Kibbling.
  • This seems to initially be the case for Brian Krakow in My So-Called Life. The closest things he has to friends are Angela and Sharon, who are both often rude to him and who he doesn't seem to be very close to anymore. This changes later as he seems to develop a close friendship with Rickie, and the last few episodes seem to foreshadow a possible new friendship with Jordan. An apparent friend named Brad is mentioned once, but only in a lie Brian is telling his parents, so it's not clear if Brad even actually exists.
  • The Other Kingdom: Morgan once told Astral she didn't have a lot of friends growing up, and her father would give her a book about fairies and tell her she'd never be lonely if she believed in fairies, as a way to console her, which is how she gained her obsession over anything-fairy related.
  • On Schitt's Creek David Rose was a Lonely Rich Kid who socialized a great deal before moving to the town but only with people interested in what he could obtain for them, not with people who liked him. He tells Stevie that she's the first best friend he's ever had. Stevie admits the same, and little is known about her life before David arrived but it seems like she too had few if any friends.
  • Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock. Until John comes along, he didn't have any friends at all — Mrs. Hudson being more of a Parental Substitute and Lestrade a Friend on the Force of sorts who, while quite a nice man, isn't willing to be the Cloudcuckoolander's Minder that any friend of Sherlock's inevitably ends up becoming. Intelligence Equals Isolation combined with his Byronic Hero persona are the likely causes, though he makes little effort towards befriending anyone anyway. As Mycroft points out in the very first episode:
    John: I'm guessing you're not friends.
    Mycroft: You've met him. How many friends do you imagine he has? [...] I am the closest thing to a friend Sherlock Holmes is capable of having: an enemy.
    • Or, as Sherlock himself puts it:
    • To an extent, John as well. At the beginning of the show he's living alone in a depressing little flat after being invalided home from the Afghan war, he hardly even talks to his sister (from whom he is estranged for reasons that aren't specified, but may be related to the drinking problem that gets literally Sherlockscanned in the pilot), and the only friend (or even acquaintance) of his we see is Mike Stamford, towards whom he acts rather aloof (though Mike himself is affable enough); and that was merely a chance meeting. Before Sherlock, he also appears to have been entirely alone in the world, as stated by him during his one-sided conversation with Sherlock's headstone:
      John: I was so alone, and I owe you... so much.
    • Sherlock also admits this in that bloody-awful best man's speech for John.
  • Lex Luthor from Smallville. The most poignant scene is actually very short, but drives home the point that Lex has been a loner all his life, probably because he was considered a freak by the other kids (not to mention his twisted upbringing): Adult Lex flashes back to his childhood, to a birthday party where he sits alone at a table surrounded by cakes and paper streamers, crying silently.
  • Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series. It's mentioned in the series (and shown in both the animated series and the 2009 movie) that he was bullied as a child, and it's implied that Kirk is his first real friend. In the episode "The Naked Time" he mentions being ashamed of his friendship with Kirk, so it's possible Vulcans don't generally have friends in the way humans do.
    • Though they do at least have some variety of friendship; in "Amok Time", Spock formally identifies Kirk and McCoy as his friends to T'Pau, and mentions a legal right to have them present for his wedding in that capacity. General consensus is that he didn't have any friends because of his mixed racial heritage.
  • Veronica Mars half-willingly ejected herself from her own social circle and plummeted down to the bottom-most rung (outside of freshmen) at Neptune High after her father, at the time the sheriff, accused the father of her murdered friend Lilly of killing her. She remained there until Wallace Fennel arrived, and she helped him down from the flag pole...
  • In When Calls the Heart, Henry was born to sharecroppers, and the only thing he ever wanted in life was to be rich. Unfortunately, that tended to mean backstabbing a lot of people and hanging out with others bound to do the same to him. It's not until Henry hits rock bottom that he begins to see the value in friendship.
  • Young Sheldon:
    • Mary doesn't have a lot of friends, and this is a big part of the reason why she pushes Sheldon to be more social.
    • Dr. Sturgis didn't have much of a social life before meeting the Cooper family. This is likely why he continues to hang with them even after he broke up with Connie.

  • Tears for Fears: The narrator in "Mad World" is lonely because he's ignored by his classmates and his teachers due to his timid personality.
    Went to school and I was very nervous
    No one knew me, no one knew me
    Hello teacher, tell me what's my lesson
    Look right through me, look right through me

  • Brimstone Valley Mall:
    • Trainee had to move frequently because of her father's job when she was a child, and as a result, has no friends to speak of. (The series is set in 1999, before Facebook, unlimited texting, and email would've made keeping in touch with her old classmates much easier.) She's so desperate for company, she starts hanging out with the incredibly insufferable Damien and Raven, and even attempts to befriend her Mean Boss.
    • Xaphan has spent thousands of years in the bellows of Hell, doing a solitary job which didn't allow her to leave the room or even talk to anyone else. Like Trainee, she's very eager to make some friends once the opportunity presents itself, but unlike Trainee, she has No Social Skills. The two hit it off when they meet halfway through the first season.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Unlike most professional wrestlers, Seleziya Sparx had no prior athletic background. She didn't identify with any group growing up and continued to struggle to make friends in her chosen profession, though she found a group very eager to bring her into Ring of Honor: The House Of Truth. Unfortunately the HOT were not just made up of bad people but were already on the path to collapse. Her efforts to appease HOT's top prospect Matt Taven were taken for granted and she drifted in the promotion without the purpose Truth Martini's stable gave her until she again found a group eager to take her in, the Darker and Edgier Paint It Black second coming of the HOT.
  • Heidi Lovelace described herself this way in her final CHIKARA promo, at White Rabbit. She said that she also had trouble fitting in with most locker rooms.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Thanks to his obsession with routine and his lack of social graces, Jacob actively avoids social interaction and so starts the story with having no friends in his life.
    • Rhys, as a misanthrope, doesn't have any desire to spend time with other people, and so also has no friends when the story starts (with the shaky exception of Emmanuel, one of his co-workers on the school newspaper).

  • Wicked's Elphaba Thropp:
    Dr. Dillamond: Miss Elphaba, don't worry about me, go along and enjoy your friends.
    Elphaba: [breezily] Oh, that's all right, I have no friends.
  • Hamilton:
    Alexander Hamilton: Oh, am I talkin' too loud?
    Sometimes I get overexcited
    Shoot off at the mouth
    I never had a group of friends before

    Video Games 
  • Implied for Ashley in the second Another Code game. When she makes reference to D, whom she met when she was thirteen and going on fourteen, she calls him her first real friend.
  • Bombshell's protagonist, Shelly, was a deliberate example in her youth, due to "prioritizing success over sociability". Later, however, she became close to her bomb team, thinking of them as family.
  • When Laharl fom Disgaea: Hour of Darkness was asleep for two years people just assumed that he was dead or simply forgot about him. No one cares beyond that, except Etna, who does it for her personal gain and out of loyalty to his father, and one of his vassals who expressed disappointment that she didn't get to use the grave she dug for him. Granted, everyone are demons and thus clearly aligned Evil, it's only in their nature to abuse, backstab and use each other. Laharl doesn't even care for his own father aside from disappointment that he found out too late that his father died and thus the competition for his father's Overlord position had been going on for quite some time before he woke up.
    • His sister, Sicily, was just about as friendless as he was, being shunned due to the unusual circumstance of her birth.
  • Invoked by Dorian in Dragon Age: Inquisition if he's in your party when you find an abandoned fortress in the middle of a jungle.
    Dorian: Ah, Tevinter architecture. Doesn't it just scream "I hated my parents and had no friends as a child"?
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Morrigan may be the most horrific example of the home-schooled variant (to the point of being nightmarish). She explicitly says, if you get close to her (either platonically or romantically), that she is unused to such things as friendship, but is grateful for yours.
    • Alistair even lampshades this:
      Alistair: Oh, let me guess, this is the part where we find out you've never had a friend in your entire life—
    • Alistair is from something of a Friendless Background himself. Until he joined the Grey Wardens, he was ostracized his whole life; everyone he knew near his age either disdained him for being a bastard or thought he was stuck up because he was treated with favor and protected by the local nobleman. Then after he joined the Grey Wardens, they all got killed at Ostagar. Poor guy. It's for this reason that he has so much Undying Loyalty to the PC; s/he is the only other Warden left in the entire country.
  • The Courier of Fallout: New Vegas appears to be from such a background.
    • Of course, since The Courier is the player avatar, this depends on how the player wants their background to be.
  • Marche in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a new transfer student, shy, and lacks confidence in himself. He is mostly quiet on his first day at the new school, but he does become friends with two other kids. Marche is also not sure of himself during his time in the fantasy Ivalice, but he sheds his shyness and confidence issues as the game progresses and becomes more determined to achieve his goals. It is revealed in the story that Marche didn't have many friends to due always having to take care of his sick brother.
  • Genshin Impact: Fischl's character stories reveal that she was often alone at home since her parents traveled. This led her to spend her time reading novels and becoming enamored with the worlds described in those books, insisting on her father calling her "Fischl" (the name of the protagonist of her favorite series) after he did it once. Because of that, the other kids found her weird and ridiculed her. It was not until she was 14 years old that she met Oz, after she came home crying because of bullying and her father told her she should abandon her childish behavior. The character stories do not specify what exactly happened to her after that, only that it was something sad she does not want to remember, but it ended with her receiving a Vision and her newfound Electro powers manifesting as a loyal raven companion.
  • The Heart Pumps Clay: One of the official screenshots is of Talking Animal Crow's lines, about the backstory of the protagonist, Mara:
    Lonely little witch in the swamp
    Sittin' by a pile of mud
    All her friends abandoned her
    There's no one left to love
  • Hitman: Agent 47 grew up in a lab with his only social interactions being mostly fighting other clones. He did have a few pets, however, something that the other clones never did.
    Agent 47: Names are for friends, so I don't need one.
  • Mass Effect 2 has probably every variety of the trope you can find:
    • Jack grew up in an experimental facility, and after escaping actively avoided making friends.
    • Grunt was grown in a tank, only being 'born' when you recruit him.
    • Garrus lost all his friends to a mercenary attack.
    • Thane and Samara never bothered making friends, both being Married to the Job.
    • Miranda ran away from home, cutting ties with everyone she knew. And the one person she trusted betrays her on her loyalty mission and ends up getting killed.
    • The majority of the options in Shepard's Multiple-Choice Past leave him/her with few friends and family.Details 
  • Geo from Mega Man Star Force is also one (being a combo of types 3,4 and 6).
  • Marona in Phantom Brave never had friends in her life because the way society treats her and only have Ash in her own life. So it's really heartwarming when Marona made her first friend in her life with Castile.
  • Your partner in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. Interestingly, he notes that he was part of the problem, as he were worried he would end up making a False Friend.
  • According to the Official Fanbook, Raidou Kuzunoha grew up friendless, since he never had spare time or energy from his training everyday. He consequently became a Heroic Mime because he cared little for his own emotions and never thought his words would be worth hearing.
  • In Shepherd's Crossing 2, the Hunter rarely hangs out with the other townfolk and is considered something of an outlier in the village. Part of this is because he enjoys being alone, but if you eat with him, he lets on that he does get lonely at times.
  • Being a series with The Power of Friendship as one of its central themes, this pops up quite a bit in Persona.
    • Minato Arisato in Persona 3 was a Broken Bird who after being traumatized by the death of his parents became introverted and could come off as extremely cold and indifferent to others, but managed to slowly grow out of it after joining S.E.E.S. and befriending his comrades and classmates.
    • Persona 4:
      • The manga and anime for fleshes out Souji Seta's character quite a bit, and depicts him as friendly and polite, but distant. Because his parents' work causes them to move around a lot, he tries to avoid getting attached to other people, so he won't disappoint them when he leaves, essentially like a perpetual "Newcomer" version of this trope. Naturally, a large part of the game involves him getting over that and forming social links with various people around Inaba.
      • Kanji was bullied when he was young for having feminine interests like knitting due to his parents owning a textile shop, and as a result of that he grew into a delinquent to hide it and pushed others away for fear of not being accepted again.
      • Rise was bullied for being introverted as a child, and after becoming an idol she became convinced that nobody cared about the real her and that everyone she met only liked her because she was famous.
      • Naoto dressed as a man in an attempt to be taken seriously by her associates in law enforcement, and pushed others away to keep up her Hardboiled Detective image.
      • Adachi was raised by strict parents who wouldn't let him do anything other than study, and after being reassigned From New York to Nowhere and pushed around by his coworkers he felt isolated and spent all his free time in his apartment drinking and watching TV.
    • In Persona 5, a central theme of the story is that each member of the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that make up the main cast as well as the Confidants that make up the supporting cast has some aspect that makes them an outcast to society at large, causing them to feel a kinship with Joker/Ren. As a result, you could count the characters that didn't have this on one hand.
  • It's stated somewhere in Puyo Puyo lore that Lidelle had no one to call friends until she made friends with Amitie and Tartar. This is skewed slightly in Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary, where Lidelle mentions Baldanders is her first friend.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
    • Kiyotaka Ishimaru has difficulty making friends prior entering high school (and meeting Mondo Oowada) because of his overtly serious attitude due to him spending time on studying and encouraging school rules and student's behavior.
    • Sakura Oogami was ostracized because of her frightening and intimidating appearance, outright saying in her suicide note that the other students were the first real friends she'd ever had.
    • Touko Fukawa was severely bullied her whole life (leaving her with a severe persecution complex). It was only in the spin-off game, that she finally found her first real friend in Komaru
    • Depending on how canon you consider the manga adaptation to be, Celes might have had one, seeing as she was so plain (even her name, Taeko Yasuhiro, was ordinary) that she was completely ignored in school, only taking on her sophisticated persona of Celestia Ludenberg after discovering her skill as a gambler.
  • In The Eden of Grisaia's Prologue of Grisaia Yumiko spends the entirety of the story thinking of everyone as mere classmates because she's never had a real friend before, so when she realizes how much she cares about them and how much they care about her she actually cries with happiness.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, there are a few cases of this.
    • Hisao loses touch with all his old friends, including the girl with whom he shared a mutual crush, during his stay in the hospital, and as such, has no friends upon entering Yamaku.
    • Hanako had a few friends before the house fire that scarred her and claimed the life of her parents, but they abandoned her because of how she looked
    • Shizune has difficulty keeping friends from communication problems related to her deafness and her tendency to come off as overbearing and abrasive.
    • Surprisingly, Misha, who gets along well with most of the other students, says she has no friends from her previous schools whom she misses or hopes to reconnect with, and vaguely hints at being bullied for being a lesbian.
  • Little Busters! has Mio and Haruka. Mio because, as a child, she preferred escaping into other worlds through books and make-believe and then ended up meeting a not-so-imaginary friend Midori she dedicated herself to as an older sister. After a while her parents became worried and took her to a therapist, giving her medication to stop seeing Midori. Years later, she suddenly remembered Midori, and was so upset that she became determined to live a life of solitude in penance for her sin, ultimately trading places with Midori and letting her live instead. Haruka because her family abusively kept her under their control as the 'lesser' twin, including forbidding her from going to school. Beyond that, for whatever friends she could have made her wild, socially awkward personality didn't drive away, her crippling insecurity probably did the job.

  • In Alice and the Nightmare, both main characters:
    • Alice was raised by the Queen and the Rabbits, meaning she had no real contact with anyone of her age before entering Phanty U.
    • Edith stands out as one of the few people who didn't go to the Phanty U with friends they've known since childhood. She does apparently have siblings working at the Uni, though.
  • Bastard: Even as a child, Jin didn't seem to have any friends, as most people found him creepy and unapproachable while being charmed by his charismatic father.
  • Lydia reveals herself to have one of these in Cobweb and Stripes. It's half the reason (the other half being Parental Obliviousness) that she became so attached to the Maitlands; with them gone, she more or less only has Betelgeuse, who isn't winning any popularity contests either.
  • Abel of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures is shown to have grown up this way in his origin comic, having been shunned by the other people in the town he was born in because of his wings, neither he nor his mother knowing that his father was actually an Incubus, growing up thinking he was a normal Being who just happened to have been born with wings, possibly due to magic his father had encountered as an adventurer. It seems like the only people who cared about him in his hometown were his parents and babysitter, his babysitter being a young woman who was similarly shunned for having a third eye-on her hand. The local school won't even allow him to enroll because of him being different. This prompts his parents to move to a demon-run city, where he seems to make several close friends and feel accepted, until his headwings come in, causing his father to reveal his real self and take him to SAIA, where the only friend he seems to have was his guide Mink due to the crushing depression he felt at having to abandon his home and mother, along with having seen one of his best childhood friends-and some not so close ones- murdered right in front of him and learning that everything he thought he was is a lie causing him to be distant with everyone. The fact that he is the last of his clan doesn't help either.
  • Dregs: The nudist has no friends or family, or at least none that she can remember.
  • Herz from Friends Till Death is this. He is an Eldritch Abomination with a slightly unusual appearance. His shy disposition doesn't do much to dispel the students fear of him either. This changed, however, when Jura and Vanilla befriended him.
  • Oddly induced in The Good Witch; in her original timeline as a transgirl, Angel had one friend, Tommy. In her new timeline as a genetic girl, Angel has no friends, with Tommy barely even knowing her (apparently a warning sign about her personality)—so she uses her magic to turn him into her new best friend Molly.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!: Galatea, who was raised as a lab specimen, was like this when she first escaped.
  • Antimony Carver of Gunnerkrigg Court is a combination of the first three. She grew up with and was taught by her mother in a hospital due to her mother's illness, starts attending school in the Court in the middle of the school year, and does not do a very good job of making friends simply due to her temperament. In fact, even after she makes friends with Kat, she remains her only friend for most of her first year. Although Kat is the Red Oni to Antimony's Blue, there are signs that Kat was fairly solitary as well before befriending Antimony.
  • The Guy Upstairs: Due to her introverted and paranoid nature, Rozy never really wanted any friends until Hawa introduced herself to her.
  • I Love Yoo: Shin-Ae didn't have any friends until she got to middle school.
  • MAG-ISA - Eman Cruz has no friends, and if he gets one, they either leave him or die.
  • Asia Ellis of morphE. She was raised under very abnormal circumstances. Once her adoptive father attempted to normalize her and bring her to public school she was not received warmly. It took her until she was in college before she was comfortable enough to meet people without the presence and guidance of her guardian.
  • In Questionable Content, this is a bonding point between many of the main cast:
    • Hannelore grew up on a space station, surrounded by scientists and military personnel and developed crippling OCD at an early age. It becomes apparent that she only really bonded with the space station's sentient AI. When she becomes friends with Marten & Co., she seems genuinely surprised at having friends and is not sure if her parents paid them to hang out with her.
    • Also the case with Emily. She seems no worse for wear about it, though. Presumably because her brains have been keeping her company.
    • Pintsize reveals that Marten was this for years before finding his feet in a new social group.
    • Marigold is an otaku and full-time video game geek who has to be coaxed out of her apartment by her Robot Buddy.
  • Chanel from Rain (2010) never really had any friends until she met Maria and the latter's friends.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent:
    • Emil seems to have a combination of the Homeschooled Kids and the Lonely Rich Kid cause. While he mentions being taught by a Private Tutor early in the story, the Lonely Rich Kid one gets hinted at in a dream depicting his childhood circumstances, when his nanny seems happy that he "finally" made a friend upon noticing an intruding dream-walking Lalli.
    • There are a few hints of the natural loner type mixed with No Social Skills on Lalli's side of things. There is also a possible fear factor, considering how abrasive he can get when he's in a bad mood.
  • Ruby, the nerdy business major, Broken Bird, and troublesome younger sister figure of Sticky Dilly Buns, has a generally spiky attitude and a suspicion of men, and her social relationships are initially limited to family (and she's comically bad at "bonding with her sister") and a favorite teacher (who. it's rapidly pointed out, seems to have been abusing her trust). She is quite surprised when someone offers to do her a favor. It turns out that she apparently lost the one friend she had at school to a couple of bullying contemporaries, and even after at least two other cast members have declared themselves her friends, she remains uncertain if she has any.
  • Qiu Tong from Their Story admits to Sun Jing that she hasn't had many friends in her life, due to not knowing how to interact with other people. Because of this, she's grateful that Sun Jing actively sought her out to befriend her (though unbeknownst to her, this was because Sun Jing not only wanted to be friends, but also had a crush on her).
  • Tnemrot has almost all its main characters like this. Dae was a homeless scavenger all on his own, Mia was sheltered in her father's home and never received much attention and Angel was a slave unable to move a muscle without her owner's say so.
  • Tower of God - Twenty-Fifth Bam had absolutely no human contact before he met Rachel, even the name he was given by somebody refers to his birthdate. His loneliness is what made him so caring about human beings and eager for friendship, while it also makes him quite the stalker.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape: In the past, Izane and Jasmine had no other friends. Thus, they are unfamiliar with some of the concepts of friendship.
  • Helluva Boss: While trying to flirt with Vortex, Loona casually mentions that she has no friends.
  • The Strong Bad Email "imaginary" reveals that Strong Sad and Strong Mad were both "galactically incapable of friend-have" as kids, to probably nobody's surprise.
  • Parodied in Tsuki Desu. The protagonist mentions having no friends only for directly afterwards her best friend Sakura pops up and greets her.

    Web Original 
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Jane had one true friend Helen who died of cancer when they were at school. She doesn't have any other friends of her age and her step-aunt's family and other people at school were abusive. Poor Jane expects this trend will continue and in some of her vlogs her longing to have friends is painful to watch. She doesn't even have a place she could call home. It's implied she uploads her entries as a safety net of evidence, because she can't ask anyone else for help or advice, and there are some seriously weird things happening in the Rochester household.
  • In the "Misfits and Magic" campaign of Dimension 20, Evan's magic has led to him being The Drifter and constantly alone. When he's brought to Gowpenny Academy, the other three exchange students are his first-ever friends, and he's astonished when they don't abandon him after seeing his dark powers in action. Later, he admits that the day they met and went shopping for school supplies together was, hands-down, the happiest day of his life—until it was topped by the day they all got sorted into the same house at Gowpenny and spent time goofing around in their common room.
  • Alexis from A Grey World.
  • Kurai from Land Games.
  • Tim of Marble Hornets apparently had no friends until college, thanks to spending most of his life up till then in a psychiatric hospital.
  • Noka: Abel lived alone in a house for his entire childhood with effectively no contact with the outside world until his later teens. The upside? It gave him enough free time to absorb an unearthly amount of information through books and, later on, the internet. The downside? His social skills were limited to what little contact he had with a temporary tutor he spoke with at a very young age. As for the reason of his isolation, both of his parents were underground crime bosses that didn't want their son growing up to be like them. They succeeded, but died before getting a chance to see Abel grown up and self-sufficiently independent.
  • Part of The Nostalgia Critic's backstory. Although, not to defend the evil of kids and teenagers, it's been established that he was a seriously Troubled Child. Sounding like he needed a hug immediately yes, but not the best to hang around with.
  • Jane Dean in The Veronica Exclusive outright states she doesn't have any friends. Even after she gets with Veronica, she doesn't seem to interact with anyone else (unless she's assaulting or murdering them). Whether this is a result of her moving around so much or her psychopathy is up for debate.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • Lemongrab is heavily implied to be this. Word of God states that he doesn't have any friends, and that he lives in an isolated castle outside of the kingdom walls. His reason for being friendless? He's a mentally/emotionally unadjusted jerk with an almost total inability to read social cues. It's only partially his own fault; on one hand, he has serious mental problems. On the other hand, he's a sourpuss, and mean as hell to everyone he talks to.
    • The Ice King. Although he has Finn and Jake as friendly rivals, and his penguins, he's actually very lonely, because his insanity has resulted in his social skills being more or less flushed down the toilet. Although he probably had friends as Simon Petrikov, considering he had a fiance.
  • Archer has made it into a Running Gag of sorts, where occasionally the scene will cut to a young Sterling Archer sitting alone on a bench hours after winning the big lacrosse game, showing both his lack of real friends and Malory's total neglect of her own child.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The original series: Toph Beifong, for the first twelve years of her life. She was confined to her Big Fancy House, with her existence kept a complete secret by her parents, due to her blindness. However, this is remedied quickly, when she joins the protagonists at the end of the episode she is introduced in.
      Toph: (to her parents) You were doing it to protect me, but I'm twelve years old and I've never had a real friend.
    • The titular character of The Legend of Korra grew up in an isolated compound (located in the South Pole) populated only by guards and teachers. Her only friend before arriving at Republic City was her polar bear dog.
    • Mako and Asami Sato also had this in common with Korra, as Mako was aloof and only really close to his brother, while Asami didn't seem to have friends because her father was rich and so everyone was intimidated by her.
  • Sarah Lynn from BoJack Horseman grew up ostracized from other kids her age due to her child star status. Whenever she would try to hang out with one of her castmates on 'Horsin' Around,' she was shot down. BoJack described the perfect day for a six year-old girl when she asked what he was doing over the weekend, what from flying a kite to watching "any number of Disney princess movies" – when she asked if she could join, assuming it was an indirect invitation, he responded by essentially saying he didn't want to spend his weekend with a little girl. A few years later, she attempted to befriend Joelle, who played her older sister in the show, only to be told to go play with kids her own age, to which she explained she had none – she was 'homeschooled' by her photographer stepdad. In her late teen years into her mid-twenties, she expressed that it seemed everyone only wanted to be 'friends' with her for her fame. Unfortunately, the man she told that to, BOJACK, was just there to profit off of her fame, as well. It wasn't until she reunited with BoJack in her early thirties that she actually had a real friend.
  • True of both Herry and Odie in Class of the Titans. Herry is a Farm Boy who had a somewhat isolated upbringing in the care of his grandmother. Odie's specific background isn't discussed, but in an episode where the seven teens are preparing to separate, he gloomily notes that "All my friends are in this room."
  • Implied for Code Lyoko's Yumi Ishiyama in the prequel; when she and Ulrich break up their sparring match, he remarks that his friends will be wondering where he is and suggests the same is true for her. She replies "I don't have any friends."
  • The title character of Daria, unless you count Beavis And Butthead or Amelia. Probably Jane as well.
  • Cosmo from The Fairly OddParents!. He was bullied a lot in high school, and Wanda was the only one that signed his yearbook.
  • The titular character of Elliott from Earth never got a chance to make friends on Earth due to rarely staying in one place for too long.
  • Fry, Leela and Bender in Futurama, solidifying their True Companions status. Fry can only mention family, his coworkers and his ex-girlfriend when he talks about the people he left behind in the 20th century, Leela was an orphan rejected throughout her life for her unusual appearance, and Bender...well, he's Bender.
    Bender: You know, Fry, of all the friends I've're the first.
  • Glitch Techs
    • Mostly due to destroying the popular (and scary) Ralph Bear animatronic during a birthday party Miko Kubota was invited back in her childhood as it made her infamous among the children of Bailey.
    • Implied as Miko sees a little of herself in Mike Simms and while he gloats in her face after defeating her in Rock'em Sock'em, he nerviously ask her if they can play again someday.
  • Neither Max Goof nor PJ Pete on Goof Troop had any real friends before meeting each other. Max got along okay by having a loving, supportive home nonetheless run by a very strange father... PJ was not so lucky, being strictly controlled by an emotionally abusive father. They are initially apprehensive of each other, but become best friends almost instantly after Max uses Loophole Abuse to help give PJ a chance to play, and when PJ's dad tells them they aren't allowed to see each other, Max is determined to find a way for them to stay friends. They boost each other up, tell each other the truth about themselves, and help each other out of tough situations for no fewer than seven years. Even when ostracized by everyone else, they are totally committed to each other, and later, Bobby too.
  • Stanley Pines from Gravity Falls. His only friend was his twin brother, Stanford, and after an accident in high school, their bond was shattered and Stanley became homeless with practically no family or friends. Even as an old man, he still has no friends. This explains why he's so protective of his family. It's the only thing he has left, and he's afraid he'll lose it again!
  • Hey Arnold!: Implied. Olga Pataki seems to be perfect with many achievements and rewards and her family's favorite. Despite this, in her focus episodes "Olga Gets Engaged," "Big Sis," and "Student Teacher," she's never seen with friends or interacting with people her own age. That could be understandable because Olga is a college student, and most of her episodes are about Olga returning home and interacting with her family. But still with not so much of a mention of her friends or social life implies that despite how "perfect" Olga is, she has little to no actual friends (her own age, at least), probably because of her childish and whiny personality.
  • Camillot from Mixels was raised in royalty in preparation to be heir to the throne, leaving him stuck in the castle for his entire life, to the point his only companion was Paladum, his pet horse. This makes him incredibly awkward throughout his journey through public school, where his biggest wish is to just make new friends. Eventually, he succeeds through Booger and Jamzy becoming his new friends.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The loner background seems to be the case for Twilight Sparkle, who starts off as being too wrapped up in her studies to make friends. Before the series starts, her social circle was limited to her older brother Shining Armor, her assistant Spike, her mentor Princess Celestia, her old baby-sitter/surrogate-sister Princess Cadence (who she likely saw rarely to begin with), and a few other ponies including Minuette and Moondancer (though she hardly associated with them). In fact, the entire series is kicked off when her mentor, Princess Celestia, tells her to "stop reading those dusty old books" and go make some friends already. (Granted, this was part of a gambit to stop Nightmare Moon, but still...)
    • This is outright stated as part of Discord's backstory, as he himself states that Fluttershy is the first friend he's ever had. In his case though, he was a jerkass always out for himself who never stopped to consider the feelings of others - it was Fluttershy's determination to reach out to him despite his rougher traits that taught him to appreciate how good having a friend is, and when he pushes her too far he realizes how important her friendship is to him.
    • Sunset Shimmer from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls may also qualify, because at the end of the movie after being defeated, she admits that she doesn't know anything about friendship, implying that she never had any real friends prior to the movie.
    • Twilight’s human counterpart used to be a loner with no friends, aside her pet dog Spike, because she was bullied by her jealous peers for her intelligence, until the events of the Friendship Games.
    • This is a part of Cheese Sandwich's back-story in the episode "Pinkie Pride." It's shown that his only companion was his rubber chicken, and as a colt, he had to deal with a lot of bullying and wasn't happy until he saw Pinkie Pie.
    • Moondancer from "Amending Fences" had an insubstantial social life before her birthday party, which occurred at the very start of the series. Twilight's skipping the party basically turned her into a recluse who did nothing but study... pretty much like Twilight would have been if she never moved to Ponyville. Worse, Moondancer believed that she didn't have any value or true friends, something she tearfully reveals to Twilight at the end. Fortunately, Twilight convinces her to try friendship once again.
    • Starlight Glimmer's backstory is all about this. As a filly, her friendship with Sunburst, another unicorn, broke apart because he received his cutie mark, and was sent to Canterlot by his parents to study magic, effectively abandoning her. This left her so scarred that she never made friends again out of fear of losing them to cutie marks as well. Instead, she warped into a fanatical cutie-mark hating dictator who manipulated others into giving up their cutie marks under a false guise of friendship. Starlight never truly understood friendship until she is befriended by the Mane Six and is taken in as Twilight's new student.
      • Starlight Glimmer is also a deconstruction of this trope. Because she barely had friends growing up, her self-esteem, sanity, and social skills deteriorated terribly. After her Heel–Face Turn, episodes focusing around her seem to attempt to reverse these effects.
  • The Owl House: At the beginning of the series, the human protagonist, Luz Noceda is established as an unapologetic nerdy weirdo who lives in her own world. Despite her efforts to fit in, her weirdness caused a lot of trouble in her school, and because of that, she has no friends aside characters from fantasy books, this slowly gets played more and more seriously as the series progresses, with it becoming increasingly clear just how miserable Luz was on Earth, to the point that by Season 2 when she has finally made friends her mother being there is literally the only reason she's even trying to find a way back from the Demon Realm, and that her horrible social life has left her terrified of even basic and indirect human interaction.
  • Gus Griswald from Recess. Due to constantly moving from town to town (not to mention also being very shy), he was never able to make any friends at any of his schools (and it's also been suggested that he was bullied a lot in the past as he is now)...until he moved to town in his introductory episode (1B, "The New Kid"), and got the best friends he could ask for.
  • Skips' cousin, Quips, from Regular Show, constantly tell terrible and unfunny jokes that he absolutely has no friends. But in season five, "Bachelor Party! Zingo!!", he managed to find a woman who can tolerate his jokes and they are planning to get married. But because he has no friends, Skips is only his best man for this reason and he has a bachelor party with just Skips, Mordecai, Rigby, Muscle Man, and Hi-Five Ghost, despite the four latter hesitating at first.
    Quips: (asking a request from Skips) At the end of the night, I want to eat wings on a hill with my best buds! Well, your best buds. Can I borrow your best buds? Just to reiterate, I don't have any friends.
  • Rick and Morty: Morty Smith is a downplayed case. Beth believes Rick to be her son's only friend, and Morty is rarely shown interacting with teenagers other than Summer. However, Morty is bullied only once onscreen, and most teenagers do not seem to mind his presence. In fact, Jessica gradually shows signs of at least befriending him properly, if not returning his feelings for her.
  • South Park reveals in the episode "Tsst" that Eric Cartman is constantly spoiled by his mom as a way to look for a friend in him, because she has no friends otherwise.
  • Steven Universe gives us Connie, who has apparently never had a single friend in her life. This only changes when she meets Steven.
  • Total Drama
    • Sierra mentions that she never made friends as a kid on account of her... quirkiness.
    • Zoey mentions having difficulty making friends in her home town, due to being an outcast amongst the jocks.
    • A likely reason behind Dakota fame mongering. In a confessional, she states that she has to start the "friending" process with Zoey after Sam was eliminated.
    • Jasmine explains it's due to people being intimidated about her size.
    • Max acting like a super-villain certainly doesn't win friends over.
    • Sammy tells Jasmine that she doesn't have many friends due to Amy's bullying.
  • Sari Sumdac from Transformers: Animated is the home-schooled type (her Dad was probably afraid she'd accidentally find out she wasn't quite human). The only kids who come to her birthday parties are the ones whose parents work for her Dad, and they aren't very happy about it. Of course, she gets to be the Tagalong Kid and later sixth ranger to the Autobots, so it works out.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): I Have No Friends


Rei's Childhood

When he was a kid, Rei didn't have any friends and finds it normal. He also tries not to stand out because of this as well.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / FriendlessBackground

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