A trope old as time itself. Two extremely close friends or partners, of the same gender, who are as close or closer than a romantic couple. They aren't romantically linked, but they might suffer withdrawals from not being around each other. There might be much drama over a potential "break-up". When one gets a romantic partner, you can almost certainly expect the Friend Versus Lover quarrel to be epic. Though despite the trope name, it's not necessary that both characters in question be heterosexual — or, hell, that either of them is.
Sometimes this is an extreme form of an Odd Couple, in that the two are different as night and day. Those Two Guys may acquire this label, as may the title characters of any show with a title of the form X and Y. Don't expect them to be friendly to each other, though; quite a few are Vitriolic Best Buds. In adventure stories, they are often Blood Brothers. These pairs usually go through a lot of Ho Yay situations and can sometimes have the tendency to bicker Like an Old Married Couple. The pair may be Mistaken for Gay by those around them.
Works often lampshade, mock or play with the relationship by throwing in some Homoerotic Subtext, but that's by no means necessary. For fans' delight at such scenes or ship teases, see Ho Yay.
If the two friends are different genders, they're Platonic Life-Partners, perhaps Like Brother and Sister. When an entire group are life partners, they're True Companions. Compare Chastity Couple, whose relationship is romantic but not sexual.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Works
- Live-Action TV
- Professional Wrestling
- Video Games
- Western Animation
- In Happy Heroes, Careful S. grows quite fond of Kalo after their fight in the latter's debut episode, and the two become close partners in fighting monsters, though they're never stated to be anything other than straight. It gets to the point where Careful S. is genuinely distressed when Kalo kills himself to save Planet Xing in Season 7.
- Fat Doc and Slim Doc from Lamput are very much straight; Slim Doc has a crush on Mrs. Lipstick, and while Fat Doc has actually developed a crush on Slim Doc twice, in both instances it's because he mistook him for a woman. With that said, the docs have a close bond to each other, with the two having known each other since grade school and having worked together to search for and capture Lamput ever since.
- The song Oath by Cher Lloyd ft Becky G is a song that's about their bond and happy moments together.
- The Rolling Stones' "Waiting on a Friend", about the decades long bromance between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
- "Low Bridge, Everybody Down" (now known as "Erie Canal") is a love song (platonic, thank God!) from a man who operates a cargo barge to the mule who pulls it. They've been working together for fifteen years.
- In Psycomedia, only one half of the Double Act thinks this is the case. The other is adamant that they're not life partners and that he has a girlfriend.
- An interesting example between the two co-hosts of King Falls AM as Ben Arnold is in love with librarian, Emily Potter, and Sammy Stevens is gay. Ben and Sammy's relationship develops very quickly and it isn't long before there are multiple, on-air, explicit declarations of love for each other.
- Scumspawn and Satan to some degree in Old Harry's Game. Scumspawn has strong emotional love for Satan (not necessarily a romantic love) and Satan warms up to Scumspawn over time, mostly due to Scumspawn's unwavering loyalty. In later seasons Scumspawn does talk about each other as though they're in a romantic relationship.
Satan: Scumspawn, we are not a gay couple.
- Phil Harris and his guitar player Frankie on The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show.
- In New Dynamic English, Max and Bobby King were like this when they were very little, to the point where they called themselves "brothers".
- One and Two in The Men from the Ministry, wile having the occasional arguments, are closest friends each other has and will help each other in any problems they face.
- Ivy and Luna from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues. They were Childhood Friends due to their shared passion for anime and video games, until Luna drifted away from her and towards Nadine's gang. Getting superpowers has pushed them back together, and they've quickly rekindled the bond from their childhood. When asked in a non-canon questionnaire which students should hook up, multiple characters commented that Ivy and Luna would make a cute couple.
- Survival of the Fittest: Jacob Charles and Ben Powell, or as their more affectionately known by the handlers, "BROMIES!".
- In We Are Our Avatars, Jacky and Nichole are best friends with each other and they sleep in the same hotel room together. Caim and Hakumen are this and Vitriolic Best Buds.
- Warhammer has Gotrek Gurnisson and Felix Jaeger - originally kept together by a rashly-sworn oath on Felix's part when horribly drunk, but over the many decades of their adventures they have become pretty inseparable. Despite Felix's constant feeling that he'll never understand Gotrek's dwarfish psychology as long as he lives.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- Ursarker E. Creed, the Lord Castellan of Cadia, and his Colour Sergeant Jarran Kell.
- In a very strange and horribly twisted way, Warboss Ghazhgkull Mag Uruk Thraka and Commissar Yarrick, though it is only one way; Ghazhkgull regards Yarrick with as much affection and respect as any Ork can muster, especially for a 'puny 'umie', as a good Ork needs a Worthy Opponent. Yarrick, for his part, hates the Warboss with all his being.
- Lion El'Jonson and his first mate Luther. Lion failing to recognize how much he needed Luther was the first in a long string of tiny mistakes that ultimately doomed the planet of Caliban.
- Ciaphas Cain and his aide Ferik Jurgen. Although their relationship is ostensibly a professional one, Jurgen's will to do whatever Cain wants or needs, and Cain's reliance on and defense of Jurgen go well beyond what's normally expected of a commissar and aide. One of the few times Cain seems genuinely and outwardly shaken and disoriented was when he thought Jurgen had been killed in an explosion and cave-in.
- Mame and Vera in Auntie Mame. The musical version gives them a duet about their relationship, "Bosom Buddies."
- Avenue Q: Rod and Nicky, who are Captain Ersatzes of Bert and Ernie respectively. "We live together, as close as people can get / We've been the best of buddies ever since the day we met!" Which segues, just a song later, into "If you were gay / That'd be okay / I mean, 'cause hey / I like you anyway / Because you see / If it were me / I would feel free to say / That I was gay / But I'm not gay." Rod however had non-platonic, repressed feelings for Nicky.
- Elder Price and Elder Cunningham at the end of The Book of Mormon.
- Brick and Skipper in the backstory of Tennessee Williams' play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - that is, if you believe Brick when he vehemently denies they did "sodomy" together:
Brick: Why can't exceptional friendship, real, real, deep, deep friendship! between two men be respected as something clean and decent without being thought of as—
Big Daddy: It can, it is, for God's sake.
- Janet van der Graaf and The Drowsy Chaperone. Also, Robert and George
- Buddy and Ben in Follies.
- Kristina from Duvemåla has Robert and Arvid.
- Enjolras and Grantaire from Les MisÚrables. This is somewhat more evident in the musical than in the book, probably because of how it's usually staged. When all the other students walk off with their girlfriends at the end of "Do You Hear The People Sing", these two leave with their arms around each other. The two were played by real life best friends, Ramin Karimloo and Hadley Fraser, in the 25th Anniversary Concert. Jason Forbach and Joseph Spieldenner, who play Enjolras and Grantaire respectively, in the US 25th Anniversary production are engaged.
- Oscar and Felix in The Odd Couple.
- Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in The Producers. "'Til Him" is one of the most touching (and funny) love songs ever sung by one straight man to another.
- Mark Cohen and Roger Davis in RENT. Their duet, "What You Own" comes complete with Manly Tears and a big climatic Man Hug. The blink-and-you'll-miss-it instrumental reprise of "I Should Tell You" during their fight in "Goodbye Love" is also heartwarming.
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, expanding on the original play.
- A Very Potter Musical:
Ron: Favorite way to say "red wines" in a German accent?
- Voldemort and Quirrell, at least, by the end. Senior Year takes it to the next level.
- Harry and Ron in both musicals:
Both: Red Vines!
Ron: (hugging Harry) Oh my god, where have you been all my life?
Harry: In a cupboard under some stairs!
- Estragon and Vladimir from Waiting for Godot. They have pet names for each other and put off killing themselves because of the slight possibility that one of them would live and be left alone. They were going to hang themselves so they could get erections. There is so much Ho Yay in this play, Wikipedia even has it's own entry on it.
- Elphaba and G(a)linda from Wicked. Though how heterosexual they are varies, as some performances deliberately play up their relationship as a love story.
- Kate and Queenie from The Wild Party, although they don't look it.
- In the works of William Shakespeare:
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Hamlet. Possibly Hamlet and Horatio.
- Antonio and Sebastian in Twelfth Night.
- Antonio and Bassonio in The Merchant of Venice.
- Rosalind and Celia in As You Like It. Even marriage doesn't likely break it up, since they marry brothers.
- Proteus and Valentine from Two Gentlemen of Verona, and (more humorously) their respective servants, Launce and Speed.
- Mercutio and Benvolio, and/or Mercutio and Romeo, in Romeo and Juliet.
- Lucentio and Tranio from The Taming of the Shrew. Tranio is "as secret and as dear" to Lucentio "as Anna to the Queen of Carthage was"note , and he'll do anything to help Lucentio.
- A Year with Frog and Toad: Frog and Toad were always good friends in the original kids' books, but The Musical elevates them comfortably to life partners at the very least. They invade each others dreams to sing about how much they like each other. Twice. ("That's funny, you've been in all my dreams too...")
- Perfect Pie: Marie and Patsy's friendship started when they were eight years old, and only got stronger: they were the center of each other's worlds, and would do anything for each other. They loved each other, purely and unconditionally, and big part of the play centers on how that bond still ties them together and finding out that they still love each other after all these years and all that's happened to them.
- Katawa Shoujo has Hanako and Lilly. Hanako is an extreme social recluse, to the extent that she depends on Lilly just to help her cope at school, while Lilly has taken a role very similar to that of a mother in taking care of her. Their routes in Act 1 don't split until the very end, and each of their routes beyond that still feature the other heavily. In Lilly's route, Hisao comments that they're sort of like an odd family altogether, with him and Lilly as the parents and Hanako as the child.
- After a sauna duel, Mondo Oowada and Kiyotaka Ishimaru gain this kind of relationship in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. Sadly, it doesn't last very long, as Oowada is executed two days later.
- The Fruit of Grisaia: Michiru and Sachi are this. They rely on each other with Sachi constantly helping out Michiru with her chroes and Michiru quietly helping out when Sachi is facing a rather difficult request.
- Akira and Seiji from Spirit Hunter: NG, friends from childhood who've known each other for so long that Seiji can read Akira flawlessly, much to the latter's annoyance. The game makes it clear that it's one of Akira's most important relationships, alongside his ship teasy one with Kaoru.
- In Area X, Elcia and Irina have this relationship. [[spoiler:Irina's death has a major effect on Elcia, who is driven to find out the truth behind it.
- A Little Lily Princess:
- In non-romantic endings, the person whose route was followed remains the most important person in Sara's life.
- Mr. Carrisford and his servant Ram Dass are promoted to this, at the very least. Ram Dass is made into the reason Mr. Carrisford survived the very circumstances that killed Sara's father, is shown to play a major emotional support role towards him, calls him a friend the first time he mentions him and makes a comment about Charan the monkey being like a child to both him and Mr. Carrisford. In one of the game's final scenes, Mr. Carrisford and Ram Dass are revealed as co-conspirators in making the "magic" happen rather than it all being Mr. Carrisford's idea, Ram Dass is shown to be on nickname basis with Mr. Carrisford and both men put a protective hand on Sara's shoulder when Miss Minchin comes to get her.
- Mr. Carrisford describes himself as having been "closer than a brother" to Sara's father back in their youth. Becky's ending throws any ambguity about that particular relationship out the window, as Sara's confession in the finale consist of wanting a relationship just like the one between her father and Mr. Carrisford with Becky.
- Ace Attorney:
- Gumshoe thinks he has one of these going on with Edgeworth. Sometimes it's truer than others. Edgeworth does seem very fond of him, and has saved him from getting fired on several different occasions. But he's still very frequently annoyed by the bumbling detective.
- Adrian Andrews and her boss, Celeste Inpax had a very close friendship with each other before Inpax committed suicide, which sent Adrian into depression. After regaining her happiness from the aftermath of Matt Engarde's trial, Adrian becomes close friends with Franziska Von Karma, even going on holiday vacation with her and learning how to use the whip.
- Raimi and Oran of Broken Saints, although it takes them a while to bond.
- Homestar Runner's Strong Mad and The Cheat, and Bubs and Coach Z. Homestar and Pom Pom are supposed to be this, but in later cartoons it became much less apparent.
- Lobo (Webseries): Lobo and the arms dealer Stumpy are close friends.
- Minilife TV: Chris and Ian are two best friends that live together, and although there are people who think they're more than just friends, they both deny it.
- The Most Popular Girls in School: Rachel and Judith. However, it's been implied that Judith is bisexual...
- Ratboy Genius has the close Interspecies Friendship of Happyman and Green Monster.
- Red vs. Blue: Grif and Simmons (and apparently, their voice actors in real life), and Tucker and Church to a lesser degree.
- Dexter Gilligan and Lyle McDouchebag of Sanity Not Included. At least up until the end of Season 3, in which Lyle commits suicide in the animated section of the show, marking his departure.
- Steve And Carlos the title character Steve and Carlos seem to be a rather Vitriolic version of this. Especially since Carlos gave up life in the real world to stay with Steve.
- A lot of Agent partnerships go under this heading in Protectors of the Plot Continuum.
- AmazingPhil and danisnotonfire who've lived together for years, work and frequently travel together. (Although neither of them are heterosexual and Dan's coming out video implied that they were, at least, romantically involved in the past - and any further details regarding their relationship then or now are none of their fans business.)
- Cammy and Duncan, a.k.a. A Couple of C*nts in the Countryside.
- In CHKilroy and Beagle's series of intertwining ARMA 2 videos, they grow into firm friends and share for a while, a brotherly bond. The death of one causes the other to exclaim in despair, or even go into a kamikaze rage. In one mission Beagle accidentally proposed marrige to Kilroy, who said yes.
- Game Grumps:
- Jon and Arin. These guys go together like salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, and any other heavy handed simile you can think of, to the extend that they were so much in synch that they'd end each other's jokes, while still being reasonably different.
- After Jon's departure from the channel, Danny Sexbang of Ninja Sex Party fame replaced Jon as the Not-So-Grump of the channel, and while he wasn't initially accepted as the new partner of Arin by the fans, their own chemistry slowly but surely showed a different kind of partnership. The two of them have ended up participating in many projects together since then.
- James Rolfe (The Angry Video Game Nerd) and Mike Matei Cinemassacre give off this kind of vibe.
- Bald John Green and Other John Green on John Plays FIFA 11 were thought to be this... until episode 21.
- Mark and Corey of Modestly ProphItic are this and Vitriolic Best Buds at the same time. They have mentioned that they worry they will be mistaken for a real life couple.
- Gavin Free and Michael Jones of Achievement Hunter.
- Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox of SMOSH. Lampshaded at the end of the episode Replacement Needed; after splitting up, Anthony tearfully looks over a photograph of him pushing Ian on a swing, with the caption "Always and Forever...But We're Not Gay".
- That Guy with the Glasses:
- Spoony and Linkara give the distinct impression of being this in the instances where they interact, which are much more common for the two of them than it is for other Channel Awesome people.
- The Nostalgia Chick and Nella; however, "My BFF, Nella" subverts the trope by revealing that their relationship is actually a business venture—the Chick pays Nella to look good and take her abuse.
- Even though they're brothers, Doug and Rob. They moved out of their parents' house and started living together, and proposed to their girlfriends on the same day.
- nigahiga and Wong Fu Productions explain the word. In the most heterosexual way, of course!
- Simon Lane and Lewis Brindley. The two first met in World of Warcraft and have been almost inseparable ever since, now sharing a main channel and living together at one point.
- Sips and Sjin are almost always cooking up some diabolical scheme together in their collab videos, snarking and abusing one another all the while. In spite of their channel growth, the pair still collab whenever they can and clearly have one hell of a time doing it.
- Strippin, InTheLittleWood and Sparkles* from Area 11 form this during their time as the "Dream Team", livestreaming together many times and clearly enjoying being with each other. Strippin also has this vibe with Benji, his collab partner from Rail Bros; Benji may not be part of the Yogscast, but they're very good friends.
- The Yogscast's newest members, Alex Smith, Ross Hornby, and Chris Trott of Hat Films are this, at one point living together and producing their content from their house. Almost always seen together and are the best of friends, when they're not abusing each other, especially Trottimus.
- Batman and Superman in I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC, when Luthor's time travel reverts them into their older forms.
Batman: Best friends!
Superman: Best friends in a completely platonic way!
Batman: Best friends possible for two friends to be without going over any boundaries that would be indicative of being more than friends!
Superman: That's right, partner!
- Kazamaru and Kebano in Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged, apparently.
- Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld of CollegeHumor fame, both their fictional counterparts in the web series Jake and Amir (in which they play an extremely twisted example) and their real-life relationship as comedy partners, hosts of the podcast If I Were You and founders of the podcasting network HeadGum.