Also known by: "I didn't know you knew I was alive!"
This stock phrase is most frequently used in teenage romance stories, but not unheard of in other media.
Essentially it's a declaration of delighted astonishment that one's object of romantic desire seems to feel the same way when the person saying it believed they never had a chance with their target partner. Often this occurs when the jock discovers Nerds Are Sexy.
Alice has had romantic feelings for Chuck from afar for some time, but never knew that Chuck was interested, so she's happily surprised when it turns out he is. Cue "I can't believe a guy like you would notice me!" In some cases, Chuck turns out to be a Jerkass who is taking advantage of a girl who likes him because it strokes his ego. He may twist the knife by laughingly saying, "You honestly thought I liked you?" Although, in certain cases, Chuck is being noble by breaking up with her for what he believes is her own good or protection.
Occasionally, there's a socio-economic element: The girl from the wrong side of the tracks thinks the rich boy wouldn't be interested in her. Or, the boy from the poor side of town heeds his friends' warnings that the girl he likes is a Rich Bitch, but she turns out to be a nice girl who genuinely likes him.
The Stock Phrase is most frequently spoken by a gal, but there have been occasions where a guy has said it as well.
When used in live-action media, it often overlaps with Hollywood Homely. If a guy says it about a gal, said gal will often be the latter half of Betty and Veronica. May also overlap with Attractiveness Isolation and Insecure Love Interest. If the bystanders didn't think he would notice, see What Does She See in Him?. Can easily lead to a Nobody Thinks It Will Work situation.
Compare and contrast: The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction, when a guy is so unattractive that the beautiful woman who's coming on to him must be interested in him for ulterior motives rather than for his sex appeal.
- Kaiju Girl Caramelise: Kuroe Akaishi is such a longtime loner and an outcast at her school that when popular Chick Magnet Arata Minami becomes the first person in years to strike up a proper conversation with her, she assumes that he's just a manipulative Casanova so eager to expand his harem that he's willing to add even a "freak" like her to it. It takes a subsequent "date" for her to realize that his kindness and attraction to her are sincere.
- In Bitter Virgin, female lead Aikawa Hinako cannot believe that anyone could love her. Following years of sexual abuse, permanently marked with a large C-section scar, and dealing with multiple issues including severe androphobia, she can't believe that anyone would like her if they really knew her. In fact, initially her belief that Suwa Daisuke especially could never be attracted to her is what made him safe enough to befriend. This is part of the reason it comes as such a huge shock when he confesses. It's also a two-way street since Daisuke couldn't ever imagine Hinako actually loving him (since she only accepted him because he was completely off-limits).
- This is pretty much Machi Kuragi's reaction when she learns of Yuki Sohma's feelings for her in Fruits Basket.
- Kakeru's girlfriend apparently felt this way when she found out that he liked her (she had a crush on him but didn't know he returned the feelings).
- Gender inverted with Kyo and Tohru, where he can't understand why she loves him.
- In The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya this is pretty much the alternate universe Yuki's reaction to Kyon suddenly (from her viewpoint) taking any interest in her.
- Natsu from 7 Seeds has such low self-esteem and is so socially awkward that when any guy shows any kind of interest in her, even if it's simply being nice, she wonders how this could happen.
- A gender-flipped version of this with Mark and Maria from the Ryugu Shelter arc. Mark is a little-light ventriloquist who has an obvious crush on super famous idol singer Maria. When Maria shows some real interest in him, Mark is so stunned that he can barely speak coherently anymore.
- In Destiny of the Shrine Maiden, Himeko is positively puzzled about what Chikane sees in an "ordinary girl" like her. The answer Chikane eventually gives is "If I am the moon, then you are my sun: I may be beautiful and mysterious but I can only shine with your reflected light." Bonus points for this explanation being entirely consistent with the metaphysical laws of their universe. The reader can also see that Himeko is far less...obsessive than most of Chikane's admirers, and her presence helps Chikane not to brood so much.
- Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
- Battle Royale:
- Shuya had this kind of reaction when he found that Noriko had always harbored a crush on him, and had always been watching him. He acts completely shocked, despite how it's later revealed that pretty much half the girls in class harbored crushes on him.
Shuya: ... me. You watch... me?
Noriko: [Blush] Uh-huh.
Shuya: Me. You watch me. One of the prettiest girls in school...
- Yuuchiro's crush on Mitsuko Soma may count as well, seeing how he admits "having been admiring her from afar for quite some time..."
- Shuya had this kind of reaction when he found that Noriko had always harbored a crush on him, and had always been watching him. He acts completely shocked, despite how it's later revealed that pretty much half the girls in class harbored crushes on him.
- This is pretty much how Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke acts all the time.
- Hayate the Combat Butler plays this from both sides simultaneously with a side helping of Cannot Spit It Out. Hayate continuously argues with others that Hinagiku can't possibly like him. Hinagiku doesn't believe he's interested in her traits. It's made clear through other characters that they are the only ones who can't see the mutual crush.
- Despite them being practically married, Keiichi from Ah! My Goddess has this reaction whenever Belldandy shows him affection. Early on, this showed how thoroughly his self-esteem and confidence has been trashed. Later on, he develops strong self-esteem and confidence but still cannot get over this. After all he and Belldandy have gone through, this mental block comes off as Ping Pong Naïveté.
- An interesting case occurs in Future Diary. Yuno looks over at Yukiteru during class, and he brushes it off thinking "Nah, couldn't be,". She later admits to flat-out stalking him later that same episode, and has apparently been doing so for a year, and he's actually surprised she knows his name. However, while he does think she's pretty, she actually wasn't his school crush, and his reaction to finding out about the whole stalking thing was fear rather than pleasure.
- Happens to Mei in Say I Love You. She is a social outcast with no friends, and yet attracts the attention of Yamato, the most popular guy at their school. She is hesitant at first, due to wondering if she was just one of Yamato's latest conquests, but over time he proves that he does genuinely like her.
- In My Love Story!! this is gender-flipped. The reason Takeo is so oblivious to love is due to having all the girls he liked prefer his best friend Suna. So he thinks the same of Yamato when it's otherwise clear she wants to be with Takeo.
- Naruto: This is the biggest reason why Naruto was unable to notice Hinata's feelings for him, in a Gender Inverted example. Naruto's depressing childhood instilled in him a lack of self-worth that he hid behind bravado and arrogance when he was younger. It didn't help that almost all of the girls in his class—including Sakura, the object of his one-sided shallow crush until Chapter 469—treated him horribly and turned their attention to Sasuke, which made Naruto think that all girls are only interested in guys like Sasuke. After Hinata confessed her love to him in the Invasion of Pain arc, Naruto was completely stunned, and even for a while afterwards, he thought she meant she loved him as a friend. It also prevented him from understanding his own feelings for her—and judging by the dialogue from the other characters in the Fourth Shinobi World War Arc and The Last: Naruto the Movie, it's heavily implied that Naruto has been in love with Hinata for a while. When he finally does understand in the movie, is when this trope is exemplified full force. This was confirmed with his Heroic Vow: he never thought someone as kind and beautiful as Hinata would genuinely love him for him.
- In My Monster Secret, part of the reason it takes so long for Youko to confess her feelings for Asahi is that she's convinced herself that he doesn't reciprocate and thinks she's a pain in the neck (due to being her Secret-Keeper) but is far too nice to openly admit it. She actually gets called out on this in the chapter after they become a couple:
Akane: Just to make sure, I hope you're not stupidly wondering whether you're good enough for Kuromine or something.
- The Anthem of the Heart: Takumi admits to being surprised that the incredibly accomplished Natsuki would go for someone like him, as he considers himself boring.
- The Quintessential Quintuplets: Fuutarou Uesugi seems to have this for the Nakano quintuplets. Since he actively cultivated the image of a serious and anti-social student, he's surprised when they start growing increasingly fond of and even outright fall in love with him. Quite jarring for him considering that he started off on the wrong foot with them, save one from the quintuplets.
- In Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?!, when Adachi first learns of Kurosawa's crush on him, he's baffled. Up until that point, Adachi had assumed Kurosawa didn't even know who he was.
- A Mad Love variant happens in My Hero Academia. Izuku Midoriya is shocked to learn that Himiko Toga is actually in love with him, but her definition of love involves killing people, sucking their blood and becoming them. She actually manages to bypass Izuku's Danger Sense Quirk because, despite what she's doing her feelings are genuine.
- Gender-flipped in Komi Can't Communicate where Tadano, who has the ability to read the room/mood that borders on straight up telepathy, keeps telling himself that he has no chance with any of the girls, let alone the two other main characters of Komi and Manbagi. It's much to his shock when he finds out they both like him within minutes of each other. After this he starts going out with Komi, with Manbagi's prompting and blessing.
- Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs: Due to the fact he considers himself nothing but a "mob" or background character, Leon is genuinely shocked when both Angelica and Olivia confess that they love him.
- A Crown of Stars: In chapter 54, Shinji expresses how absolutely devoted he is to Asuka and how he wants to become a hero for her. Asuka wonders whether it may be possible that someone like him loves her:
Asuka: He cant be for real this cant be true. This couldnt possibly happen to me Shinji, I
- Advice and Trust: Asuka thinks she is worthless and no one would ever love her, so she can not believe Shinji, someone who is just like her, loves her back.
- Evangelion 303: By chapter 12, Asuka regards herself like a worthless failure and a nutcase. So that when Shinji proposes her, she says:
Asuka: I can't see why you would want to throw away your LIFE on someone like me...
- In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku's self-esteem was so thoroughly powdered by his bullied childhood that he firmly believed that he'll never get a girlfriend because of how high-maintenance he believes himself to be. So when he spills all of his concerns to Yang, he's utterly taken aback when she refutes all of his points and asks if he'd like to start dating her, to which he happily agrees.
- When Sachiko confesses to Yumi in Sachiko and Yumi's Alphabet, Yumi has this reaction. She doesn't get why Sachiko would like a plain girl like her.
- This is Rory's basic reaction to dating Krem in Skyhold Academy Yearbook. As she says, "I'm me and he's... that."
- Jaune has this reaction to Pyrrha confessing to him in RWBY: Scars. Pyrrha is a beautiful celebrity and is The Ace of their team. He doesn't understand what she sees in an ordinary guy like him.
- The Princess and the Frog has this line from Ma Belle Evangeline as sung by Raymond the Firefly.
That someone as beautiful as she / could love someone like me
- The Peanuts Movie: Charlie Brown spends the entire movie trying to reinvent himself in order to get the attention of the Little Red-Haired Girl, but all his efforts are derailed repeatedly by either his own sense of morality or his perpetual streak of bad luck. When she volunteers to be his summer pen-pal, he is convinced that it's only out of pity that she would do so and that she sees him as a "wishy-washy, insecure failure". When he finally gets the courage to talk to her and ask why she volunteered, her response is basically what Linus told him minutes before: that he's a good person and she genuinely likes him.
- Storks: Tulip is very surprised that someone as popular as Junior is actually talking to an outcast like her. This makes firing her more difficult for Junior.
- The Battle Royale movie subverts this horribly. Sugimura spends all of his screentime looking for a girl he never had the courage to confess his love to. When he finally finds her, she panics and sends several bullets into his chest, something she wouldn't have done if he had confessed his feelings earlier... He still has the time to express his feelings in his agony, however. To quote Kotohiki's reaction, "what the hell am I supposed to do now?"
- The Saint (1997) - Emma says something to this effect to Thomas More [Simon in disguise] before he takes her to bed.
- Carrie - The phrase itself is not used, but Carrie's reaction to being asked out by Tommy Ross is pretty much identical to the reactions of the people who do use the phrase. This ends disastrously because of the Alpha Bitch playing a cruel trick that made Carrie think Tommy was in on it. (What makes it more tragic is that the book explicitly shows he was starting to genuinely love her, albeit in a non-romantic way.)
- Hell, the theme song to Carrie and Tommie's dance sequence is even explicitly titled "I never dreamed someone like you could love someone like me." Not exactly catchy but...
- This is also true for The Rage: Carrie 2. The boy in question is part of a football team of Jerk Jocks which results in Rachel having a meltdown when she thinks he is in cahoots with them.
- Sixteen Candles - Jake Ryan, the coolest guy in school whom Samantha has had a crush on for the whole movie (without thinking he ever noticed her), shows up at the church after Sam's sister's wedding. He waves at Sam, she looks around and points to herself ("Me?"), and he smiles — "Yeah, you."
- Hilariously, that is the only point he's been able to reach her. Jake spends the entire movie wanting to confess his love to Samantha, but is prevented by a crazy party, his drunk (soon to be dumped) girlfriend, and Samantha's eccentric relatives.
- Future high school freshman Julie is madly in love with Steve Phillips, a super popular high school guy, but is certain he is unaware of her existence. When she and her friends infiltrate the high school dance, Steve is crowned King of the dance and has to chose a dance partner. You can only imagine how Julie feels when Steve singles her out to slow dance with him, then helps her win the scavenger hunt.
- In the documentary American Teen, artsy outsider Hannah says a version of this when she's pursued by the school heartthrob, Mitch: "I mean, there are so many girls in this school who would give their left boob to be with him"
- Seemingly the entire premise of She's Out of My League.
- The independent movie Ten Inch Hero does this heartbreakingly with the character of Jen. Played by Clea Duvall, Jen is the plain Jane of the workers in the store, who befriends a man online named "Fuzzy 22." They decide to meet in real life, and when Jen finds out that he's gorgeous, she runs out of the building crying, saying no guy like him could want her. For the Record, in the end, he does want her.
- In the movie Love Actually, the character Sam races after the girl he loves in order to confess to her before she gets on her plane. He finally catches up to her and says her name. She turns around and says HIS name. Stunned, he mutters, "I thought you didn't know my name." She replies with a sweet smile, "Of course I do."
- Rachel says this almost verbatim in Something Borrowed.
- In Read My Lips Uttered, the phrase is uttered almost word for word by unfortunate-looking Clara to ex-con Paul.
- The Hurog duology, a woman Ward has met once, for a short time, comes to him for help. He is surprised that she remembers him, even though he has been nurturing a crush on her ever since they met. Subverted in that she actually just remembered one thing about him, namely that he's a capable fighter, and his castle is in a good strategical position to be protected from her enemies. Played straight when they eventually do become a couple.
- In Ellen Conford's Seven Days to a Brand-New Me, Maddy is floored when she learns that her crush Adam has liked her all along, even before she underwent a makeover to get him to notice her. Adam, however, is the one who actually says a variation of this trope sentence out loud despite being the one who looks like a "Greek God" (in Maddy's words), mainly because of his painful shyness caused by a stuttering problem.
- This is possibly one of the most annoying parts of the Twilight Saga. Not three chapters can go by without Bella saying something along these lines, apparently just so that Edward can remind her (and the reader) of her good qualities. She even goes on like this when they're married. Although Jake also gets this a bit in Breaking Dawn, when he can't believe that Bella would be friendly with him when she was happily married to Edward.
- Referred to as "Jerk Syndrome" in the Discworld novel Thud!. Nobby's new girlfriend Tawneee is so incredibly attractive that most men don't even consider asking her out because there's no way a girl like that would go for him. So the only guys who ask her out are either jerks who aren't afraid of rejection or losers (like Nobby) who are so used to rejection it doesn't scare them.
- Howl's Moving Castle, both the movie and the book. Sophie doesn't believe that she's beautiful (and doesn't believe Howl, when he says so the first time, in the movie) and doesn't see any reason for Howl to pay any special attention to her. The fact that, for most of the book/movie, she looks like a withered old crone does not help matters.
- Mindstar Rising by Peter F. Hamilton. Heiress Julia Evans is convinced she's unattractive because she spent most of her teenage years in the company of her absolutely gorgeous best friend Kat. When she finally succeeds in getting the handsome doctor (Kat's former boyfriend) that she'd been pining over, he says the line — an indication that a not-unattractive teenager who's just inherited a multi-billion dollar Mega-Corp is a lot more desirable than she thinks.
- Played with in The 39 Clues. Amy always found Ian to be very good-looking. But she never guessed that he would start flirting with HER. But, then again, this IS the clue hunt...
- In The Princess Diaries first book, Mia has had a long-time crush on Josh, the popular jock. Once she is exposed as being a princess, he asks her out. Cue reaction. Of course, he only did it to get 15 seconds of fame as Mia's boyfriend, and Mia realises this and breaks up with him.
- In The Schwa Was Here Calvin Schwa can't believe that Antsy, the main character, literally noticed him. It comes as a surprise because The Schwa is "functionally invisible."
- In These Words Are True and Faithful, Sam initially assumes that a Manly Gay like Ernie would be attracted only to men like himself, not to a Pretty Boy like Sam.
- Jem Carstairs to Tessa Gray in The Infernal Devices, after she accepts his proposal.
- Lee Fiora in the novel Prep admires Cross Sugarman for two years before they start dating, and naturally she believes he is well out of her league due to being popular, rich, and experienced while she isn't.
- Since Michael Vey is more or less The Everyman and his crush is a cheerleader, he thinks Taylor would barely give him the time of day. However, it turns out that she actually enjoys his company, and they end up as an Official Couple by the end of the first book.
- In Death: Eve sometimes wonders why a billionaire would love someone like her.
- The War Against the Chtorr. Deconstructed in A Day for Damnation. Jim McCarthy has a crush on Captain 'Lizard' Tirelli and starts carrying on like this when she tries to seduce him. Eventually Liz gets angry and points out that this trope is insulting, as it implies there's something wrong with her for choosing Jim as her lover.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lampshaded in "Once More, With Feeling" with the "I'm Under Your Spell" song. Tara (who started as a Shrinking Violet) starts the song after realising people are noticing her, thanks to the boost in confidence she got from her relationship with Willow.
Tara I'm under your spell! How else could it be / anyone would notice me?
- In the spin-off series Angel, Doyle encourages the titular vampire to strike up a conversation with the Damsel in Distress. When Angel questions why she'd be interested in talking to a stranger, Doyle asks if he's looked at himself in the mirror lately...before realizing that's a bit difficult for a vampire.
- The trope appears again later on in season 3 of Angel, when Angel hesitates to act on his feelings for Cordelia, saying he has nothing to offer to someone like her.
- Fred also makes several statements fitting the trope after leaving Pylea, mostly in regard to any interest Gunn might have in her. She is so Obliviously Beautiful, she fails to notice that both Gunn and Wesley have developed feelings for her.
- Played with on Lost: Hurley thinks Libby liking him is proof that the island, and everything that has happened, is just his hallucination.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Gender Inverted and Deconstruction when boring nine-to-five Glenn was so convinced that Naomi would cheat on him with one of her exciting and artistic coworkers that he injected a tracking chip into her while she was sleeping, which almost killed her because he didn't sterilize the injection site.
- 30 Rock: Liz Lemon says something this to "The Hair," the better looking of a pair of guys that she and Jenna like, after he makes a pass at her. Turns out they are (fourth) cousins. Oops.
- Boy Meets World has a gender-flipped version with Mr. Feeny and Dean Lila Bolander.
Mr. Feeny: "I can't imagine anyone being interested in us. I'm surprised she's interested in us."
Dean Bolander: "Oh, George!"
Mr. Feeny: "Oh, Lila..."
- In early Smallville, Clark Kent was usually baffled whenever a girl expressed interest in him because his self-esteem was so low that he was oblivious to the fact that even without superpowers, he's still very attractive and buff.
- Chloe Sullivan also has an unfortunately brief period in late season one when she is dating Clark.
- On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, take a look at Odo's face after he finally gets Kira. I guarantee you this line will be written all over his face whenever he so much as looks at her.
- Adrian Monk sometimes says he can't believe his Trudy ever chose him among all.
- Friends: It's hinted Chandler feels this way about Monica. He struggles with women and relationships, his friends joke she's a lot hotter than him, he's very insecure about her ex-boyfriend Richard, and on several occasions at the beginning of their relationship, he thinks she's going to break up with him. Luckily she's very good at building up his confidence, so this fades as their relationship develops.
- In Dollhouse, when Bennett meets Topher, it is very obvious that Bennett has a massive crush on him. Meanwhile, Topher is too much in shock that Bennett, who he knew of by reputation as a brilliant programmer, is a beautiful girl, and he is too tactful and embarrassed to really express his own attraction to her. It doesn't come out until later, when Topher, on a hunch, uses his Doll-disrupting device on Bennett, suspecting she isn't in her real body but rather a Doll's. Bennett isn't, and she is initially confused as to why Topher would think that, because Dolls are supposed to be beautiful...and when she makes the mental leap that Topher thought she was a Doll because of her beauty, this trope is written all over her face.
- Glee: More or less Artie's reaction when Brittany reveals she likes him back. Rachel also seemingly reacts this way with Jesse and Finn (to a lesser extent).
- Another "written all over his face" example from Farscape: John Crichton, as played by Ben Browder, has an absolutely astonishing talent for looking at Aeryn Sun like she's his Earth, moon, and stars all at once. Cue swooning fangirls - and swooning Aeryn.
- Played for Laughs in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun. Sally goes through a period of thinking she's ugly and believes her far-less-attractive boyfriend is a saint for even noticing her.
- Despite his incredible arrogance, Rodney McKay of Stargate Atlantis gets a little of this with Keller. When he discovers that Ronon Dex is also interested in Jennifer, he continues pursuing her but seems quite surprised when she reciprocates.
- Josh, the protagonist of Please Like Me, is surprised that super-hot Geoffrey is into him, considering Josh himself looks "like a fifty-year-old baby".
- Star Trek: Voyager. Inverted when Q offers to mate with Captain Janeway.
Q: I know that you're probably asking yourself, why would a brilliant, handsome, dashingly omnipotent being like Q want to mate with a scrawny little bipedal specimen like me?
Janeway: Let me guess. No one else in the universe will have you.
- "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon is a rather heartwarming song about a guy who meets the girl of his dreams in a dance club when she approaches him and asks him to dance. She's out of his league. He knows she's out of his league, and he is absolutely confused as to why someone as wonderful as she would even look at a scrub like him. When he asks, she's irritated at the question, responding, "Shut up and dance with me." The video makes this even more obvious than the lyrics do.
- Wheatus' Teenage Dirtbag.
She's walking over to me,This must be fake.My lip starts to shake.How does she know who I am?And why does she give a damn about me?
- Stephen Speaks' Out of My League:
Cause I love her with all that I amAnd my voice shakes along with my handsAnd she's all that I see and she's all that I needAnd I'm out of my league once again...
- Do You Want Me- Hilary Duff
And I feel, you don't even know I'm alive...
- Gender Flipped with Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step":
"I can't sleep at night, I toss and turn
Listenin' for the telephone
But when I get your call, I'm all choked up
Can't believe you'd call my home
And as a matter of fact it blows my mind
You would even talk to me
Because a girl like you is like a dream come true
A real-life fantasy"
- Deconstructed in Tal Bachman's "She's So High". It's about how amazing the singer's crush is, and the idea that the singer couldn't really offer her anything. And then she asks him out...and the singer declines, because of his low self-esteem.
She comes to speak to me
I freeze immediately
'Cause what she says sounds so unreal...
- The protagonist of "End Up Here" (by 5 Seconds Of Summer) shares his friends' surprise when a beautiful girl seeks him out at a party. In fact, the entire song consists of him wondering why.
Call me lucky 'cause in the end
I'm a six and she's a ten
She's so fit, I'm insecure
But she keeps coming back for more
How did we end up talking in the first place?''
- The aptly titled "Out of My League" by Fitz & the Tantrums:
From time to time I pinch myself
Because I think my girl mistakes me for somebody else
And every time she takes my hand
All the wonders that remain become a simple fact.
- Practically title-dropped in "I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me."
I have always placed you far above me.
I just can't imagine that you love me.
And after all is said and done,
It looks like I'm the lucky one.
I can't believe that you're in love with me.
- The narrator in "Fille du Roy" by Heather Dale is convinced that Marie, the titular du roy, can't possibly want to marry a sailor like him, even as it becomes clear she likes both him and the sea. Eventually he works up his courage to propose, and of course she delightedly accepts.
- "Angel Eyes," Signature Song of Jeff Healey, has the singer question how and why the girl he had feelings for returned his affections.
So tonight I'll ask the stars above
"How did I ever win your love?"
What did I do?
What did I say
To turn your angel eyes my way?
- Implied in the song Finally by Cece Peniston. She meets the "man of my (her) dreams" and is absolutely astounded that he loves her as well and can't believe she's so lucky. It's never said outright if she had a crush on him before, however.
- This occurs in Zanna, Don't! during the song "I Think We Got Love."
Steve: I never thought that someone like you would go for someone like me!Mike: Ditto!
Elphaba: My wildest dreaming could not foresee/Lying beside you, with you wanting me.
- Cyrano de Bergerac: Deconstructed (and gender-flipped): Cyrano is a self-loathing Jerkass Woobie who fails to notice any of his own redeeming qualities. He cannot believe smart and beautiful Roxane will ever love him, so he distrusts her and never speaks clear to her, he only implies his feeling to Roxane
who only sees Cyrano as a brother. At Act II Scene VI, Cyrano says this Stock Phrase and is clear its implication
to everyone except Roxane, who only wants to thank Cyrano for defeating De Valvert and ask a favor from him to really put any attention Cyrano says.
Cyrano: Blessed be the moment when you condescend Remembering that humbly I exist To come to meet me, and to say... to tell?...
- Mass Effect:
- Mass Effect 2 has this with returning squadmate Tali'Zorah vas Neema/vas Normandy, mostly because she and Commander Shepard are of entirely different species, and Tali's species cannot survive outside of their environmental suits for long due to a weakened immune system. Garrus also has elements of this, being notably surprised that Shepard would be attracted to a man with scars, especially one who's a different species than her. Thane has elements of this due to his thinking that Shepard deserves better than a repentant assassin who's busy dying of an incurable disease. Jack is genuinely shocked that Shepard has romantic rather than sexual intentions and flatly refuses to believe it for a long time.
- In Mass Effect 3, Kaidan has this attitude towards male Shepard or a female Shepard who didn't romance him during the first game, neatly explaining why he wasn't a romance option in the first game; it didn't even occur to him to think of the possibility until Shepard let Ashley die to save Kaidan's life, but circumstances such as Kaidan's Survivor's Guilt, Shepard's Married to the Job and their divide in regards to Shepard working with Cerberus after seemingly faking his death during the events of the second game prevented them from discussing the matter until the third game.
- Dragon Age:
- Dragon Age: Origins:
- Alistar has this kind of reaction if the PC begins a romance with him. He basically says that he's thrilled he has an amazing, beautiful woman as his girlfriend and can't believe his luck. (But unless she's the Human Noble, he still breaks things off with her, if he becomes King at the end.)
- One of the player's possible responses when Leliana suggests becoming more than friends is this.
- In Dragon Age II, Fenris, Merrill, and Anders all have this reaction if Hawke expresses interest in them. All three of them are quite attractive in various ways but have severe self-image issues thanks to being, respectively, an amnesiac ex-slave, an outcast blood mage, and a rebellious Humanoid Abomination (that elves and mages are both oppressed minorities in the setting doesn't help anything either). Isabela is a variation; she's not surprised if you romance her, but she is surprised that you would want to be friends with her, especially once it comes to light that she's responsible for the Qunari Crisis and you become the Champion of Kirkwall by ending it. In general, Hawke seems to have a gift for making the people around him/her feel completely inadequate; just ask Carver.
- In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Blackwall reacts this way if the female Inquisitor starts flirting with him. He admits he's not used to female praise or attention but appreciates your company. Given his massive Survivor Guilt due to his Dark and Troubled Past that led him to impersonate someone to avoid dealing with his guilt in addition to running away from his crimes, this trope is justified in the most heartbreaking way possible.
- Dragon Age: Origins:
- In Rune Factory 4, both Xiao Pai and Dylas are a bit surprised if the player asks them out. The former because she's incredibly clumsy and there are so many other pretty girls in town, and the latter because he's bad at communicating and tends to act like an idiot without thinking.
- In Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town, proposing to the Doctor would cause him to say something like: "I can't believe it... You and a guy like me..."
- In Persona 3, Fuuka clearly feels this way if the male protagonist romances her, which she acknowledges if she's his Christmas date. Her self-esteem issues aside, she's aware that her competition consists of Yukari, Aigis, and Mitsuru, all of whom are certified Dude Magnets, and less subtle about their feelings for him.
- In Persona 3 Portable, both Shinjiro Aragaki and Ken Amada think that the Female Protagonist should spend time with other people and express surprise if she returns their feelings. Both of them have pretty good reasons behind it, though. Ken, being Just a Kid, is naturally surprised to find that his Precocious Crush is mutual, while Shinjiro knows that he doesn't have long to live and thus any romance would only hurt her, but can be persuaded if you're persistent. Ken, on the other hand, remains justifiably nervous.
- In Persona 4 Golden, Chie Satonaka makes a short but heartfelt speech on how it still amazes her that someone like the protagonist would ever love her, especially when he could have been dating the likes of Yukiko Amagi, Rise Kujikawa or Naoto Shirogane instead. Even before then, she repeatedly expresses surprise that a boy would like a girl who is as tomboyish as she is, and she herself considers the far more feminine Yukiko to be much closer to the womanly ideal.
- In Persona 5, hard-drinking Ichiko Ohya will express amazement if the protagonist confesses to her, and tells him that she'd understand if he ends up dumping her eventually anyway since she worries that she'll end up holding him back. Nonetheless, she's happy to just make the best of their time together while it lasts. Chihaya Mifune and Sadayo Kawakami will also be shocked if the protagonist chooses to romance them since Chihaya is a self-described "country bumpkin" and Kawakami is his homeroom teacher.
- Fire Emblem Fates allows the player to customize the main character (or Avatar) and marry another character. One such option, for a male avatar, is Felicia, a klutzy and accident-prone maid. In the S-Rank Support conversation with her, Felicia will admit that she loves the Avatar, but would never expect him to feel the same way because he grew up as a Nohrian Prince and royalty just wouldn't feel that way about one of their own maids. She's very surprised and very happy when the Avatar says he loves her, too.
- Should the protagonist choose to give him Valentine's Day chocolate in Fate/Grand Order, Bedivere is blindsided to the point that he completely fails to register the chocolate for a good half a minute before freezing mid-sentence, insisting that this can't actually be happening, and turning into a stuttering mess so flustered that he almost forgets to give the protagonist the gift he had prepared for them.
- Dusa of Hades has a crush on Zagreus that can be seen from space. But he's the Prince of the Underworld, and she's not just the household maid but a severed gorgon head, and thus Dusa resigns herself to distant admiration. So she's absolutely baffled when Zagreus starts going out of his way to court her. Ironically, it's after getting close to him that she realizes she's probably asexual, and they both agree they're Better as Friends.
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, has a couple of Rean's potential love interest react this way, if he chooses them instead of the narrative leaning Alisa, who a lot of characters in-universe, including some of the love interest, expects him to chose. Though they make it clear they won't give up on him until he makes a final choice, which Rean does during the final chapter of the game.
- Inverted in Girl Genius when it's said by a male character to a female one.
- Extremely justified in that he's just a common cheesemaker's apprentice-turned-actor, and she turns out to be a noble who's also the daughter of one of the most famous heroes on the entire continent.
- Megatokyo: A major stumbling block in Piro and Kimiko's relationship, for both of them. Piro can't believe that a pretty girl like Kimiko would ever notice him, while Kimiko is bewildered that Piro isn't turned off by her quirks and hectic work life. To top it off, both of them are majorly Oblivious to Love. It takes the combined force of nearly the entire cast to get them together.
- Played with: Appears to be happening in Questionable Content with Marigold towards Angus, but subverted in the end for a different trope.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Bob has told Jean that he's "amazed" that she loves him, too, and he doesn't want to do anything to mess it up. He says he's also shocked that Voluptua showed any interest in him, but he makes it plain that he doesn't want to betray Jean by pursuing anything with Volly.
- Slightly Damned hits up a rare inversion here.
- In PHD, Cecilia recalls how, back in her high school days, she used to harbour a crush on Scott, one of the most popular guys in her class. However, being the shy and nerdy bookworm, she never had the courage to even speak to him. In their high school reunion, Scott reveals that he actually likes Cecilia for being the hardworking overachiever, and the two hook up shortly afterwards.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Sokka with Yue.
Sokka: "No, no, see, that's the thing. I think I do understand now. You're a princess, and I'm just a southern peasant."
- The Legend of Korra: Implied from Asami's "Really?" at Korra asking her out and elaborated on in Turf Wars. Asami realized she was in love with Korra during the three-year Time Skip, but didn't say so in the letters out of fear that it would scare Korra off from never returning. Considering the numerous beauty tropes associated with her to the extent that even the narrator is touting her attractiveness and Korra herself was insecure at her presence, it says a lot that a virtual supermodel/de facto princess feared rejection.
- In Danny Phantom, upon discovering her crush Danny Phantom is the unpopular Danny Fenton, Rich Bitch Paulina declares him "hot" and the two date. Then the episode reveals she's really being possessed by a ghost.
- Ron Stoppable, to Kim Possible. Not that she's never noticed him, with his being her sidekick and a fair amount of mutual S/he Is Not My Girl/Boyfriend going on, but he still felt like this in the (first) Grand Finale. lampshaded in the Uncanceled final season. Kim's nerdy cousin Larry gets kidnapped by Dementor because he directed his henchmen to grab "a young man with Kim Possible who doesn't look like he belongs with Kim Possible".
- Doyle in Galaxy High pulls the bait-and-switch version on Aimee in the pilot episode. It bites him on the ass later, including (but not limited to) Aimee doing the same thing to him.
- Hey Arnold! episode "Helga on the Couch" reveals that this is a contributing factor for Helga's crush on Arnold.
Dr. Bliss: (After hearing about her parents' neglect when Helga was about to attend preschool) So nobody's ever noticed you...
Helga: ...There was someone...
- Candace spends an entire episode of Phineas and Ferb trying to find out why her boyfriend, Jeremy, likes her. He keeps trying to tell her, but is interrupted before he does, including during the song. She finally finds out why at the end, but we, the audience, don't, because the image cuts off to a Spanish soccer game before Jeremy says anything.
- Luna Loud in The Loud House surprised many fans by believing this trope about her crush Sam. She struggles most of the episode with confessing since she felt she wasn't cool enough for Sam before ultimately slipping a love note into Sam's which is apparently short for "Samantha" locker. We don't get to see Sam's full reaction aside from a smile, which is a good sign so far.