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I Just Want to Have Friends

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"Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods."

I Just Want To Have Friends, like The Four Loves, is a form of Wish-Fulfillment answering to the desire that some members of the audience have to form many close friendships. A probable reason this is so common in fictional media is the fact that a high amount of people consider themselves to have very few or no friends at all.note  As this is not limited to real life, however, many fictional shy people and those with few or no friends look for the same fulfillment as the reader, leading to two variants of this trope:

Type A

While "doing something really cool" is the focus of most fantasies, they also tend to focus on the friendships the characters have. These fantasies often provide "idealized" friends that the audience presumably doesn’t have. While in Real Life a true friendship needs time and investment, in this kind of fantasy setting often the protagonist will obtain tailor-made deep bonds and friendships with little to no time or effort at all.

This also happens in Real Life online, where e-relationships eliminate most of the usual hardships of making friends and they help shy people to open themselves and show how they really are without worrying about their self-image.

Type B

Sometimes fictional characters do not so easily get friends handed to them with the plot. They are lonely from the start and desperately looking to make and keep friends. The reasons for their loneliness may vary but, in the end, a character who really wants friends may either try to go about it in the wrong way, make friends with the wrong people, or secretly angst about it behind a different facade. If they end up successful more often than not these fictional characters will turn out to have been sociable all along, especially for Shrinking Violets, nerds, Cool Losers, etc.

A common episode plot for situation comedies, especially domestic comedies: A teenage character seems to have no friends at the moment, has a "woe-is-me" fit, and wants to make friends now. After a series of pratfalls, the the Aesop usually winds up being that friendships are valuable but need to be chosen carefully and that they don't happen overnight.

In Real Life, this trope is defined psychologically as the "need to belong."

Note that, in the book The Four Loves, Lewis argues that phileo, Friendship, does not work that way — your friend is someone you have something (activity and/or views) in common with. If you do nothing and have no opinions, you can't have friends in the sense defined by him.

Related to Wish-Fulfillment and Friendless Background as these tropes are often, respectively, the meta and In-Universe justifications of this trope. Also related to I Just Want to Be Loved (a craving for love in general), The Four Loves (a general theory of love that includes friendship as one of its types), First Friend, and Imaginary Friend.

Compare with I Just Want to Be Beautiful, I Just Want to Be Normal, and I Just Want to Be Special, as these tropes are also something the character desires.

See also You Are Not Alone, False Friend, and Et Tu, Brute?.

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Type A Examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Dandadan: Okarun is a very lonely boy. The reason why he became obsessed with the paranormal and aliens is the rationale that since no humans had thus far shown him friendship, he might as well settle on aliens. Ayase ends up being his First Friend and he's so elated by having a friend that it takes him a while to even consider the one girl that likes being with him in a romantic light.
  • Gohan in Dragon Ball Z. He spent much of his childhood being home-schooled, and mostly interacted with people his parents knew. On his first day of high school, he got friends very easily and went on some dates. Granted, this is due to being a handsome, intelligent, and kind young man, so it's a given.
  • Itou and Saito of the Shinsengumi in Gintama both wanted friends. Itou suffered years of resentment and jealousy of being The Un-Favourite to his ill brother and desperately wishes for acknowledgment, believing that overthrowing Kondou would be the best way, not realizing that the Shinsengumi already treated him as a friend. Saito was too shy to speak to others and his stoic silence misled others and drove them to paranoia and fear.
  • Miho of Girls und Panzer is this in the prequel manga, Little Army, which reveals that her friends, Emi, Chihiro, and Hitomi, are the only people she's known with any real interest in tanks, which is why she tries so hard to keep the group together.
  • This is stated to be Ayumu Nishizawa's original intention in confessing to Hayate in Hayate the Combat Butler. It seemed to have evolved into true affection for him by the second time, resolving back to simple friendship later as she realized that Hinagiku really loves him, and the acceptance that both Hinagiku, the rest of the Baka Trio, and Nagi have accepted her and she no longer needs to fear being left behind by him.
    • In opposition to the style of the trope type, it did appear that there is lots of work and effort being put into building and strengthening these friendships, since she's not the main character, it's not been focused on though.
  • Komi Can't Communicate: The titular protagonist is a beautiful but socially awkward girl whose dream is to make a hundred friends.
  • The entire reason that Kanna from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid wanted to go to school was out of a desire to have friends. All of her classmates (especially Saikawa) love her pretty much from the word go, due to a combination of her being good at everything and absolutely adorable.
  • Naruto:
    • Even though the titular character forges his strongest bonds through Type B, Type A is on display as he is a Magnetic Hero who can quickly become friends with anyone — usually by impressing them (like with Sasuke) or defeating them (like with Gaara).
    • Surprisingly, Sasuke gathers allies like this after he defeats Orochimaru. First, he has newly-freed Suigetsu join him just because of the chance of getting near a Swordsman of the Mist. Then, Karin joins him because of her very convenient crush on him. Finally, Sasuke shows himself strong enough to keep Juugo's madness-inducing powers.
  • The main motivation for Nano, the Ridiculously Human Robot Girl from Nichijou, to want to be normal is this.
  • An episode of Nightwalker centers on a friendless Shrinking Violet schoolgirl who stumbles across a good-luck charm inhabited by a "guardian angel". Suddenly she leads a charmed life and is the center of attention, and she refuses to give it up even after learning that her "angel" is draining her life-force.
  • Usagi Tsukino from Sailor Moon developed her relationships with relative ease due to discovering a shared history through Reincarnation, and Because Destiny Says So. Since multiple True Companions are also her reincarnated Hero Secret Service, she's essentially the center of their social circle. Also, since all of the Inner Senshis were loners, they appreciate Usagi for being the person who genuinely cares for them.
  • Sk8 the Infinity: Although his Pollyanna nature obscures it, Reki Kyan desperately wants a friend he can share his passion of skateboarding with. His world lets him luck out with his skateboard escaping him and rolling right up to Langa Hasegawa, the new transfer student in his class who doesn't quite remember him. Over the course of several episodes, somehow they manage to acquire True Companions together by the time-worn sports tradition of Defeat Means Friendship and also simply butting their heads into people's business without nasty ulterior motives (aside from car rides from Shadow).
  • Unico is full of this. Unico himself is constantly put into new places where he tries to make friends, just to be forced to abandon and forget them later. Most of the people he meets are also this, either by being awkward or even literally the Last of His Kind. Since Unico is a series full of Tear Jerker and with a Downer Ending, it's needless to say that both Unico and a lot of the people he befriends end up all alone in the end.
  • Shin-ah from Yona of the Dawn grew up painfully lonely, shunned by his village and left completely alone after the one person who sort of looked out for him died when he was very young. Until he met Yona, he didn't even have a name and he wished over and over to be able to make a friend.
  • This is the wish Yu-Gi-Oh!'s Yugi Mutou made on the Millennium Puzzle.

  • Foundation and Empire: The Mule goes through childhood and adolescence without anyone ever liking him "naturally" (as opposed to being forced to do so by his psychic powers). Not until he's well into his twenties does he meet Bayta Darell, who has genuine affection for him (possibly because he's The Woobie). He's so overwhelmed by the feeling of just being liked that he inadvertently, carelessly, lets her ruin his plans for conquering the Second Foundation.
  • Kaori from Phantom's Reckoning 2 grew up with no real friends, the only person she could consider a friend was her father whom she loved, but he died tragically four years before the story's events. When she meets Yuki in the present day, this becomes her chance to make friends who can help her out in life. Kaori lets Yuki know multiple times that he's the first friend she ever had, and that she's glad to have him as a friend.
  • Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note's Aya has this being as one of her main traits, owing to the fact that she's generally friendless. It's going so far that her Limited Social Circle often exploited this trait.
  • Twilight fulfills this wish. Despite not lifting a finger to gain friends, Bella being the audience avatar gets friends in high school remarkably easy. Even when she forgets her Muggle friends for Edward Cullen or Jacob Black (ignoring them for months in New Moon) these friends are always there for her regardless. Both the Cullens and the werewolves look out for her despite the risk she brought to them. They happily accept her in their group of True Companions as a friend without an effort on her part despite the fact that both factions are normally not very open to average humans.

    Fan Works 
  • Close friendships are something both Bloom and Aisha canonically longed for before meeting the other Winx girls. In You Were My Best Friend, this desire is given a (positive) twist in the form of allowing the two girls to befriend each other long before the events of canon by means of Bloom's canonical dimension-traveling powers — just with the requirement of dancing to get there.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this is a main driving point behind Faith's actions. She really wants to be friends with Buffy but it never really happens. Then they do start becoming friends and she accidentally kills a man and pretends not to care, destroying the friendship they had been building. The comics touch on this, with her angsting over how she pushes away anyone who is the least bit decent to her.
  • In The Girl From Plainville, Michelle sees on Facebook that Natalie and Cassie were at a party and immediately posts to FB, asking if they tried texting her to let her know about the party. Her sister has to remind her she is supposed to stay away from computers per the term end of her bail agreement.
  • In iCarly, Freddie and Sam's lives are centered towards Carly. Without Carly there wouldn't be a friendship between them because Sam and Freddie dislike each other. However, neither of the two will hesitate to please her.
  • In Smallville, Clark himself fulfills this wish as he easily befriends "exotic" people all the time. Not only are his close friends loyal to him but also their lives are also centered towards him (Chloe Sullivan, Pete Ross, Lana Lang, etc.).
  • In the "Reverend Jim, A Space Odyssey" episode from Taxi, it's clear that Jim, a burned-out hippie, is desperate to find one, so the rest of the cabbies decide to turn him into a taxi driver too. Needless to say, this also changed the show in many aspects.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place while Alex Russo might not be the most popular person, her friend Harper is a loyal best friend.

    Video Games 
  • RPGs are in general designed in part to fulfill this desire as more often than not Because Destiny Says So the hero will be the leader and part of a group of True Companions. A specific example can be found in Marona, the main character of Phantom Brave.
    "One day... everyone will come to like you, if you treat them with kindness."
  • Subverted by most First Person Shooters as you almost always end as a One-Man Army Lone Wolf. 90% of the time you do have people helping you, they're generic soldiers that die just as easily as your enemies. For a glorious exploration to this approach, see Spec Ops: The Line.
  • Mass Effect 2 doesn't throw out destiny. You have to fight to earn your crew's trust, and to build your team's capabilities and the coherence of the group to a point where they will follow you through hell and back.
  • Second Life fits this trope to a "T." Thanks to the sheer number of groups that one can join, such as gaming, roleplay, and every niche in between (and a good number of...explicit groups that will go unnamed), it has become a haven for people looking to find friends with common interests but are unable to due to their real-life circumstances.
  • The Sims. Don't have cool friends? Make Sims.
  • World of Warcraft. Believe it or not, some people are just in it for the social activities ('I just want to feel useful in the raid'), even if the game is one of the least conducive place to do so.

    Web Comics 
  • In Yokoka's Quest, after passing through Betel's barrier and losing his memories, Yfa tells Yokoka that he doesn't know where he is and he doesn't have any friends. While still lacking his memories, he then went on to make a lot of friends in the forest.

    Western Animation 
  • Not even the Princess of Snark, Daria Morgendorffer, is wholly immune from this. The "brain" at Lawndale High School, Daria is largely self-sufficent and content to watch and comment from the outside. But at a time when a guy called Tom is straining their friendship, Daria reflects that to be fully functional, she needs just enough friends. She frets, and is seriously concerned by, the possibility that she has lost her best buddy Jane Lane forever - all over some guy.
  • Ron Stoppable from Kim Possible is both Type A and B, in that he wants to be popular. However, though he doesn't have many friends, the ones he has are very close.
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • The Fireside Girls are this to Isabella Garcia-Shapiro, as they more often than not bend towards her desires (despite most of them being centered towards gaining Phineas's attention).
    • Phineas is easily the most popular kid on the show, even being friends with Buford, the neighborhood bully.
    • Buford himself is this. He's not very good at relating to people, which makes him lonely and bored, both of which cause him to act like a fairly stereotypical bully. And no, not in the sense that he's "jealous of you." Some episodes make it clear that he's actually a subversion, though.
  • Connie from Steven Universe starts out like this, frequently relocating before settling in Beach City, and once Steven befriends her, she gradually gets better at friendship, making friends with the gems and Greg, and even learning to be a better friend to her classmate Jeff after accidentally attacking him in "Mindful Education".
  • In Winx Club, Bloom fulfils this desire because at the beginning of the show she was not very popular until she suddenly found she was actually a Magical Girl and quickly became the leader and center of attention of her True Companions.

Type B examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Beelzebub had a couple of examples. The main one was actually the protagonist himself, shown in flashback, before he met his best friend Furuichi. Oga even developed a dislike of people walking behind him becuase of it, since people used to talk behind his back and he couldn't protect potential friends from getting hurt becuase of his fights if they were back there. Furuichi's determination and statement that he would walk beside Oga instead of behind him is what would start their lifelong friendship.
    • The other is Himekawa, who subtly shows that he envies Kanzaki for his loyal "underlings" and sometimes even Oga for having Furuichi around. Turns out his best friend as a kid betrayed him in middle school, messing him up. Oh, and said best friend turned out years later to be secretly female and in love with him possibly making things worse. He seems mostly-content with his current True Companions status with the group, though, and is willing to spend millions of dollars seemingly at the drop of a hat if they need him to. To the point that he played Fake Defector with a rival gang, bought a machine worth millions in order to cut off Oga from Beel and build up demonic energy. Then, when there was enough energy to beat the rival gang's boss, he broke the machine and dismissed the wasted money as "pocket change." However, the strongest indication of his True Companionship is when he is revealed to bear Beel's King's Crest, which is only bestowed upon those who swear their allegiance to a king (in this case, Oga and Beel).
  • Starrk and Lilynette from Bleach. That was their only reason for joining the Espada in the first place. Even more, it was the reason they split into two separate beings.
    • Ichigo actually believes this was the reason Aizen wanted him to become his Worthy Opponent after their final battle, citing the loneliness he felt from their clash as proof. Kubo confirms that the vast power difference between him and his peers made Aizen distrusted in his youth, ostracizing him from others. At the same time, he also disregarded that he was beloved as a captain (especially by Hinamori), and he even pitted friends against one another to suit his plans. His past isolation probably caused that Lack of Empathy; he was rendered incapable of connecting with people who weren't his equal in power.
  • In Dragon Ball Super, Top God Zen'o might be the most powerful entity in the Dragon Ball multiverse (which is saying a lot), but everyone is so pants-wettingly terrified of him that no one will so much as speak to him casually, and it's implied that he's royally sick of it. Goku is the only person to treat him like any other person instead of an extinction event on a hair trigger, and because of that he specifically seeks out Goku to be his friend (much to everyone else's horror).
  • Shizuo Heiwajima from Durarara!! admits that he craves any sort of social interaction, but is terrified of exposing innocent people to his Hair-Trigger Temper and hurting them. Things start looking up for him from Volume 4 onwards when he starts getting some control over his rage issues (he manages to get through a small party without losing his temper, develop a couple Intergenerational Friendships, and go on something resembling a normal date with a girl — even if said girl is a bit Axe-Crazy, In Love With His Carnage, and secretly plotting his murder), but he still has a long way to go.
  • Greed from Fullmetal Alchemist, not that he would admit it out loud or even realizes it himself.
  • The very plot of Haganai and as the title name suggests, all the characters in the story have trouble making friends, so the heroine Yozora started a club for these kind of people.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • Russia is a Psychopathic Manchild version. He's scary, mean, childish... and really wants to have new friends, according to his profile and his Lighter and Fluffier portrayal in the latest strips.
    • To a lesser extent, England. It's what motivated the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in the first place.
    • Humorously averted with America. England thinks that America must fit this trope (and he has a point, America's character profile makes it pretty clear that he would have a Friendless Background if not for England and Japan), but apparently America is still confident enough to cheerfully reject England's offer of friendship.
  • Noriaki Kakyoin, from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is this in spades. His entire motivation to join the Crusaders stems from both his desperation to make friends, with that group of Stand users being the first friends he'd have in his life, and a deep feeling of self-loathing, because, in his urge to make connections with a Stand user, he sucked up to DIO — a kind of attitude he despises.
  • Komi Shouko, the title character of Komi Can't Communicate, suffers from crippling social anxiety that leaves her unable to speak (a trait that is often mistaken for stoicism by her classmates). This, combined with her appearance, results her being put on a pedestal and causes other students to feel unworthy of being her friend. Despite this, Komi's true goal in life is to get 100 friends. The main plot of the manga has the main cast trying to help Komi achieve this goal while also helping her become more sociable.
  • In Kotoura-san, this is how Haruka Kotoura really feels deep down paradoxically to her act-like-a-bitch attitude saying "Leave Me Alone!". She sees herself to be a Doom Magnet because of her inadvertent Telepathy and has a major Guilt Complex stemming from her Childhood Friends abandoning her for "abusing" said telepathy. She feels unworthy to have friends in the first place.
  • Misao Amano from Magical Project S is very timid, though she desires to be more social like her friend Sasami and tried in the first episode to befriend a boy. She was ultimately very shy to even say hello but at the end of the series she got more confident.
  • Metamorphosis: According to her character bio, Saki Yoshida doesn't have any dreams, but she just wants friends. Unfortunately, her efforts only end up with her being both ostracized and abused by her classmates once her attempt at Compensated Dating becomes known, and she ends up getting involved with people who do not have her best interests in mind, and gradually descends into drug abuse and prostitution.
  • In My Hero Academia, Izuku Midoriya has spent most of his life as a laughingstock for wanting to become a hero without a Quirk. It's established that no one, not his peers, his teachers, or his own mom, had put any stock in his dream, leaving him incredibly lonely. By the time he gets a Quirk from All Might and attends U.A., the idea of having friends is novel to him and he's beaming over the fact that he can make them at all.
  • Naruto: Since he was born, the titular character has been marginalized by the village because of the demon sealed inside him, resulting in the adults telling their children to stay away from him. When he attends the Ninja Academy, Naruto manages to have a friendly relationship with Shikamaru, Kiba, and Chouji, but those bonds didn't survive the passing of time. Additionally, he founds himself unable of becoming Sasuke's friend, another lonely kid with whom Naruto relates a lot. It's only when he is assigned to Team 7 that things start to change. Through hardships and ordeals, Naruto slowly forms strong friendships with his teammates, who at first disliked him quite a lot.
  • Many characters from Neon Genesis Evangelion (in fact, the moral of the show is arguable that the ENTIRE HUMAN RACE falls into this category), but particularly emotionally troubled, socially awkward, and manically depressed protagonist Shinji Ikari.
  • Tomoko from No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! expected to get Type A upon entering High School, because she had experienced High School Life so often in Dating Sim and Otome games. But she quickly realized that this was not the case and is now Type B, and lowering her initial goal of "becoming popular" to "becoming friends with someone" to finally just "talk to someone in school today". Her struggles of trying to get friends is a focus of the series.
  • The entire reason Haru from Ojojojo acted the way she did was a combination of desiring friends and a desire to Never Be Hurt Again, even though she was fully aware that such behavior was not only counter-productive, but flat out destructive. While she does make real friends, each of them had an ulterior motive for befriending her at first: Tsurezure loves conversation and she's the only one who will talk to him, Akane befriended her out of a sense of guilt for past inaction, and Chris tried to get close to her to get her back into their Arranged Marriage.
  • In a backstory of One Piece, this is the reason why Luffy was trying to hang out with Ace when they were kids, saying it's painful being alone.
  • Arthur Barma from PandoraHearts was a shy social outcast living in a foreign land after his family was overthrown in his home country, and he was extremely uncomfortable with his friendlessness. He finally made a friend in Jack Vessalius, though it turned out that Jack was only using him for what Barma could do for him.
  • Persona 4: The Animation: Yu is revealed to have this fear. When he is trapped by Shadow Mitsuo's mind-altering power, he is forced to live out a nightmare where, with the investigation into the serial kidnappings in Inaba solved, his friends all go their separate ways, leaving as alone as the day he came into town. Later, in Episode 26 (the True Ending episode), Yu comes face-to-face with his own Shadow, that was born from the aforementioned fear and stated that he'd do anything to stay with his friends, even if it meant living in the fog's illusion.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • "I'm not afraid of anything anymo-" *CHOMP* The line was said by Tomoe Mami, a Magical Girl who has been fighting witches alone for years. When she finally found a friend in Madoka, she was so happy that she dropped her guard in fighting a sandworm-like Witch, which then proceeded to chomp her head. Well, considering that according to a CD drama, she had teamed up with Kyouko, but they had a nasty fallout afterward, which led to her fighting witches all by herself, it seems likely that she had trust issues, too.
    • Also:
    Akemi Homura: "I'll repeat it. I'll continue to repeat it over and over. Visiting the same time again and again, searching for the single exit out. Searching for the path to save you from a fate of despair." "Madoka... my one and Only Friend. If it's... If it's for you, I have no problem being trapped eternally in this maze."
  • Mélie in Radiant. Because her infection makes everyone afraid of her thanks to forcing her to have fits of rage, she's so desperate to have friends that she made human-shaped cardboard cutouts that she talks to when she's alone. She even tries to get Seth to live with her out of sheer loneliness.
  • Sailor Mercury and Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon were both very timid and people (wrongfully) avoided them (Mercury because people thought she was arrogant, and Jupiter for being tall and strong) until they got deep true friends in their True Companions.
    • Sailor Moon R: The Movie puts all the inner senshi in this position. Rei didn't have friends because she was regarded as creepy, Minako had become an outsider because she didn't have time to spend with her classmates.
    • At the end of Stars Eternal Sailor Moon uses her power to make Nehellenia remember her true dream from when she was a child before it was corrupted by her intense desire to stay young and youthful, a desire to find people out there who could care about her and not put her on a pedestal.
  • Torasawa's driving motivation in Torako, Anmari Kowashicha Dame da yo is to make friends with her classmates. She's never had friends before because her Lethal Klutz tendencies driving people away. She winds up befriending Takano's gang, despite their best efforts, when their teacher forces Torasawa onto their Pet Raising Club after said Lethal Klutz tendencies destroyed every other club she tried before them.
  • Played straight by Chihiro Watanuki from Yugami-kun ni wa Tomodachi ga Inai. Her family has moved around all her life and because of this, she decided to distance herself from others, not seeing a need to establish friendships when she'd soon be forced to move away again. By the beginning of the series, she's moved into a town where she'll stay for years to come and this turns her from indifferent to almost desperate for friends. While Chihiro plays this trope straight, Yugami averts it. He doesn't want or need friends and even shows displeasure when Chihiro eats lunch beside him in class.

    Asian Animation 
  • Lamput: The sea monster in "Everyone Needs Friends" can't make many friends besides Lamput due to everyone else being scared by him. It isn't until the end of the episode, when the sea monster saves the townspeople from sinking on a boat, that he proves his worth as an ally.

    Comic Books 
  • Eddie Bloomberg aka Kid Devil had very few friends his age throughout his early history, the closest people being his aunt Marla and the hero Blue Devil. His later efforts to gain super powers and joining the Teen Titans were partly from I Just Want to Be Special, but also because he desperately needed some kind of family unit. When he fears he's losing his friends, he ends up inviting fans of his over to the tower, which ends up in disaster and causes him to become even more alienated. This is used against Eddie by Clock King when he brainwashes him into a violent monster, and Miss Martian has to remind him that he does have friends in order to bring him back to sanity.
  • Monty The Dinosaur: At the beginning of the comic, Monty is lonely and always looking for a friend. Since he's a dinosaur living in the human world, he's always trying to befriend humans. Problem is, whenever a human sees him, they scream and run away. Then he meets Sophie.
  • Yorick And Bones: Yorick, upon being dug out of the ground by Bones, decides to go look for people to befriend. However, the reaction most people have to his appearance is a scream of terror, followed by running away. Yorick has no idea why this is until he sees himself in a pond.

    Fan Works 
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Tsuruya used to be one of these.
  • Drawn With The Night: Celestia, underneath her regal exterior, eagerly desires to have friends, rather than ponies who treat her like a goddess. She is downcast when Klein, a smart and resourceful individual, coldly tells her he wants nothing to do with her after being mistreated by Twilight and Luna, and treats her with all the fear and reverence one would expect to be given to a Physical God. The Tears of Remorse start to flow when Fancy claims to be doing work for "Celestia", and not the "Princess".
  • Mortality: Watson unremorsefully lampshades this with a boast when Holmes is captured and tortured with an inch of his life.
    • "If your master's actions destroy him whom I regard as-as the best and wisest man I have ever known, make no mistake that I shall hunt down, to a man, everyone who played a part in his destruction."
  • In Ultra Fast Pony, Princess Luna. It's mentioned a few times in Season 1 that no one ever visits or writes to her. In the episode "Utter Lunacy", her attempts to meet new ponies are hampered by having no idea what normal ponies talk like. When she stops trying so hard, she finally does befriend most of Ponyville—but this just makes her angry because she has no idea what she did differently.
    • Also Rainbow Dash and Twilight are this at times.. when they are not being complete jerks who cause ponies to hate them.
  • The Power of Seven has Fleur Delacour musing that she had trouble making friends ever since her Veela allure kicked in at puberty, as boys were always attracted to her and girls were worried she'd steal their boyfriends. One reason she comes to enjoy being part of Harry's harem is that Harry shows a genuine appreciation for her beyond her allure and the other six girls all accept that Harry being attracted to Fleur doesn't mean he's not attracted to any of them (albeit aided by the bond that some of the girls have already established with him).
  • What Tomorrow Brings analyses this part of Tobias's personality, as he admits that he doesn't feel Jake and Cassie in particular are actually his friends outside of Animorph-related duties and he was afraid to go to the Andalite homeworld in case he was just rejected there again.
  • Played with in Major League Pony, where Twilight desperately wants friends... not because nopony offers her friendship or considers her their friend, but because she rebuffs any and all attempts other ponies make to befriend her, while continuing to bemoan her friendless status. Though whether this is do to her having No Social Skills, her being a stuck up Jerkass, or both is yet to be made completely clear.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku tries extremely hard to make friends at the start of the story due to being alienated his entire life as the only Broken kid around. He forces himself out of his comfort zone to talk to complete strangers at Beacon in hopes of becoming their friend, often coming off as weird because of stilted and awkward his dialogue is. This also motivates him to train even harder to gain the respect of his teammates and peers. He begins to relax a little once he settles into Beacon and after Yang tells him to just be himself, but he's still eager to please his new friends whenever possible.
  • In Celadon's New Blossom, a lack of friends growing up was a major factor in Sabrina developing a Split Personality. After discovering her psychic abilities as a child. Sabina was bullied and ostracized by other kids, which caused Sabrina to withdraw into herself. Eventually she developed a childish persona that appears in physical form as a younger version of herself. As an adult, Sabrina has a reputation as a strong psychic and Pokémon trainer, so people tend to either avoid her or admire her from afar. It's only Ash, who has a friendly disposition and resonates with her childhood full of bullying, that offers to befriend Sabrina. This leads her to becoming more friendlier and causes her to turn her mother back into a human.
  • Zigzagged in Amazing Fantasy. After getting powers from a spider bite, Izuku is ecstatic to find that people are talking to him like a normal person and not "Quirkless Deku". At the same time, he's leery of hanging out with the people who spent the last decade bullying him, since they're only trying to surf off his fame as the Prowler Kid.
  • In Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail Chloe Cerise's Childhood Friend Goh has essentially forgotten her in favor of Ash, and she feels isolated due to many factors (insecurities of her likes, the fact that everyone pushes her to a job involving Pokémon and being ignored by practically everyone) that she really wants friends. She tearfully tells Lexi that she wants to have friends because she's had no one to confide her problems to.

    Film — Animated 
  • Oh from Home (2015) desperately wants to have friends, and is all too often disappointed by the other Boovs dislike of him. After his journey with Tip he gets one not only in Tip, but also in a number of other Boov, who finally realize what a great guy he is after he stands up to Captain Smek.
  • Emmet in The LEGO Movie. He's shown to be trying to connect with all of his neighbors and co-workers, and he's constantly eager to receive some sort of acknowledgement. He undergoes a Heroic BSoD when Bad Cop shows him video of the same neighbors and co-workers describing him as a mere acquaintance, unimportant, and in some cases not even remembering his name.
  • Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians has this combined with I Just Want to Be Loved as his primary motivation throughout the film, culminating in "I Just Want To Be Believed In", since Guardians can only be seen by and interact with humans who believe in their existence, leaving Jack pretty much friendless as a result for roughly 300 years. The catch is actually proving his existence while being completely invisible, inaudible, and intangible to Muggles.
  • In Turning Red, this is implied with Tyler. He is determined to have everyone come to his party, and Mei and her friends immediately befriend him over their shared adoration of 4*Town, despite him seeing them as "weirdos" earlier in the movie.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • At the beginning of the 2000 remake of Bedazzled, Elliot's blatant desire for friends is made painfully obvious, to the point where everyone actively avoids his ham-fisted efforts.
  • Chip Douglas from The Cable Guy is a villainous twist on this trope, as his desperate attempts to become the main character's friend gradually shift from mere social awkwardness to obsessive stalking.
  • Kane from Citizen Kane is an example very similar to The Social Network. He ultimately drives away all his friends with his egotistical personality and self-centeredness, becoming Lonely at the Top.
  • Claw (2021): Ray. He lied about his brother being back the next morning so Julia and Kyle would stay the night and keep him company. He lives all by himself in the middle of a desert in a Ghost Town, his only company being his dog, Mr. Bonejangles, since his brother dies in 2019.
  • Eighth Grade's mild-mannered protagonist, Kayla, starts the film with no friends and writes a list of her aspirations, half of which are variations on wanting to have friends. She engages in really awkward, failed approaches to the popular kids but thankfully manages to get a couple of more suitable friends by the end of the film.
  • The eponymous main character from the horror movie May is a strange girl who doesn't have any friends, but ends up making one...
  • Not Okay: Part of what makes Danni's arc so sad is that it was largely brought on by just being very lonely and struggling to make friends as none of her co-workers even try to hide their disdain for her and she finally finds real friends in Rowan and other survivors before her lie is exposed.
  • Daphne Kluger of Ocean's 8 is revealed to be very lonely, and she specifically laments the fact that she doesn't have any female friends. She gets some by joining the team of thieves, figuring that hanging around them would be fun and exciting.
  • Holmes and Watson in Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows were this. At the end of the second film, Watson says "He was the best....and wisest man I have ever known." after Holmes's sacrifice for Watson.
  • Toby from the film Shorts wants friends so badly he makes a wish on a wishing stone for friends "as interesting and unique as I am" and gets a bunch of extraterrestrials for friends.
  • It is suggested by The Social Network that Mark Zuckerberg (the character as well as the real-life person) falls into this category, and is hardly subtle in demonstrating the irony of a man (or man-boy) creating a revolutionary tool for connecting friends and in the process driving away his own.
  • Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog (2020). After being forced to leave his home world and losing the closest thing he has to a mom as a kid, poor Sonic spends a whole decade in a cave with nothing but himself to keep him company. He pretends to have conversations and activities by using his Super Speed, and also pretends to have friends by spying on the residents of Green Hills; he even acknowledges at one point that his loneliness has driven him a "bit crazy". Sonic finally hits his breaking point while playing a baseball game by himself; he scores a home run, cheers for himself, and looks over at the stands to see them completely empty. The resulting frustration and sorrow Sonic feels is what leads him to trigger the EMP that knocks out power across half the country.

  • Angela Nicely: “Problems, Problems!” introduces Molly, a new girl who is too shy to make friends and wants to know how to make some.
  • The main four characters of the Circle of Magic series, although three of them would probably hate to admit it. They all come from a Friendless Background. Sandry is very cheerful and friendly, but her family constantly travelling made it difficult to form permanent relationships. Then almost all of her family was killed in a plague. Daja also probably had friends on her trader ship, but then everyone died in a storm and she was made an outcast from her society for being bad luck. Tris is naturally cranky and a jerk, and magical powers which made her seem like a possessed demon didn't help her. Finally, Briar Moss was a street rat who didn't seem to have very close friends. When they're all forced into a house together they do not get along very well, and only Sandry tries tries to make peace. Eventually through months of Character Development they become True Companions. (Although, Sandry magically tying their magic together so they became psychically linked probably helped, too.)
  • Finding Snowflakes has this as one of the main goals for the main character, a Socially Awkward Hero who is avoided due to his bad reputation and Face of a Thug. Actually a deconstruction; unlike many examples of this trope, said main character doesn't just automatically get friends, as he would wish. Nobody welcomes him into a group they have already established, obviously, and it is not likely a person will welcome someone with bad credentials just because of a kind act. Poor Eliott is algo to blame since his No Social Skills status make it exceptionally difficult to actually interact with people, and when he does, it isn't always nice.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series: In "The Mule", The Mule tells Bayta Darell that he went through his entire childhood and adolescence without anyone ever liking him "naturally" (as opposed to being forced to do so by his psychic powers). Not until he's well into his twenties does he meet Bayta, who has genuine affection for him. He's so overwhelmed by the feeling of just being liked that he inadvertently, carelessly, lets her ruin his plans for conquering the Second Foundation.
  • In Victoria Forester's The Girl Who Could Fly, Piper's dream at the Fourth of July picnic. A brief moment of Commonality Connection is broken by her previous isolation and the stories that are told about her.
  • In Harry Potter:
    • Remus Lupin comes off a bit like this. There are more than a few instances where he goes against his own better judgement because he really likes to have people like him, partly due to his ostracism over being a werewolf.
    • Luna Lovegood painted the main gang as her friends on her bedroom ceiling. This demonstrates how lonely she must have been before meeting them, considering she and the gang weren't particularly close. By the time she painted Harry & Co., it's arguable that she actually was that close to at least some of them. She often supports Harry when no one else will, and she seems to spend a lot of time with Ginny. The evidence placing her in this trope comes sooner than this, in Half-Blood Prince when she says of the DA meetings, "It was like having friends".
    • According to Word of God, Snape hung out with the Death Eater Jr. gang and went on to join Voldemort with them partly because of this trope.
      • As noted below, this is an accurate representation of how cults and terrorist organizations recruit.
    • Also, similar to Snape, Quirinus Quirrell went in search of Voldemort (maybe to defeat him in his weakened state) because people constantly laughed at him and teased him so he wanted to do something amazing to show them up.
    • Likewise, Ginny and Hermione started off this way. Ginny was very shy and meek and didn't have many friends, and the guy she had a crush on was way out of her league (she thinks). Hermione was an Insufferable Genius for two solid months, before she chilled out and became friends with Harry and Ron. because of her status as the Insufferable Genius, nobody wanted to be her friend, nobody liked her much.
    • Dumbledore was one in his youth, making friends (and falling in love with) with Grindewald due to the stress of having to care for his younger siblings, even falling into Grindewald's mage supremacy ideas. Unfortunately, it culminated in a three-way fight between Dumbledore, Grindewald, and Dumbledore's brother Aberforth that killed their sister. dumbledore carried his guilt for the rest of his life.
  • Jane Eyre. Jane is so desperate for love and affection that she tells Helen Burns she'd happily let herself be kicked in the chest by a horse if it meant Helen and the Headmistress would care for her. Helen then shushes Jane and tells her to put more faith in God than in human companions.
  • The King in The Little Prince is implied to be this. Note how desperately he tries to get the Little Prince to stay.
  • May Bird has a dark example with the villain of the story, Bo Cleevil. A being of darkness, he consistently confides in the protagonist that he feels empty and that he plans to conquer Earth and the Ever After so that he'll never feel lonely again. Unfortunately, he'll always be empty because his idea of gaining friends is enslaving all the good people and becoming a celebrity among the bad.
  • In The Machineries of Empire, the reason Cheris joined the Kel was that she wanted to belong in a group and the military, with its conformism and formation instinct, fits this need perfectly.
  • The chief motivation of the sapient supercomputer Mike in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. All he wants are some more "not-stupids" to talk to — and he participates in the Loonie rebellion purely out of loyalty to the few friends he does have.
  • Alice in The Poison Apples is lonely because she doesn't have any close friends, being everyone's second or third best friend. Starting at boarding school, she outright states that what she really wants is to make a best friend. She is very upset when, for a while, she thinks that unpopular dork Molly only befriended her because Alice's father is her favourite author. Once she joins the titular Poison Apples, though, she quickly grows into best friends with the other two members.
  • Kalin Taylor in Project Tau feels this way at the beginning, which leads him to approach the college fraternity despite it being fairly obvious that he's not the type of member they're looking for.
  • In Still Life with Crows, the real Serial Killer is a Psychopathic Manchild, hideously deformed from a broken back when he was little, monstrously strong thanks to a lifetime spent climbing a cave network. Since his only contact with the outside world was with his mother, all he wanted are some friends — even if that included "playing" with them with lethal results.
  • Another Charlotte Brontë example: Lucy Snowe in Villette is overjoyed to be spending so much time with Dr. John despite the fact that he is a pretty big Jerkass to her because she has felt so alone all her life.
  • Sal in When You Reach Me only had Miranda as a close friend for years. He finally stopped hanging around her in order to expand his circle of friends. While Miranda was similar to Sal, she didn't see it as a problem, but as a result, she also expanded her circle of friends.
  • Wind on Fire: Mumpo spends much of the first book, The Wind Singer, friendless and shunned by both his peers and the rest of society. He wants desperately to have friends and becomes infatuated with Kestrel simply because she speaks to him. Even when she is outright hostile to him he clings to the hope of friendship.
  • In keeping with the Brontë sisters, there are some hints at the beginning of Wuthering Heights that Heathcliff has this attitude towards Mr. Lockwood. While his attitude towards the latter can hardly be described as pleasant and charming, the opening of the book takes place towards the end of Heathcliff's life (much of the story is recounting How We Got Here), and his inept attempts at providing hospitality towards Lockwood offer some suggestions that, after living a life of hatred, bitterness and spite, he is trying to form some kind of connection after finally meeting someone who knows nothing of his past and doesn't hate him on sight (or vice versa).
  • Rachel from Worm wants to have friends, but her superpowers have overwritten her social instincts with canine ones and she tends to brutalize anyone who gets near her as a reflexive defense mechanism due to spending years on the run. It isn't until Taylor, who is similarly friendless, comes along that Rachel actually gets a friend, because Taylor actually puts in the effort to get to know her and refuses to back down.
    • Taylor herself later admits that this is the real reason she joined the Undersiders, contrary to her earlier rationalizations.
  • Hector, protagonist of The Zombie Knight. Combined with his crippling shyness, it has caused him considerable difficulty, culminating in his suicide prior to the start of the story.
  • The Ur-Example might well be The Epic of Gilgamesh, where the god-king Gilgamesh spends his days oppressing his people and raping their wives, so the gods create Enkidu specifically for him to have an equal and turn his energies to worthier pursuits. It works for a while, but when Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh goes off the deep end for a while.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Brady Bunch: The Season 4 episode "Today I Am A Freshman", where Marcia hastily signs up for every school club in (a misguided) effort to make new friends. (Most of the friends she had in junior high, as it turned out, lived in another high school district.) She ends up nearly joining a group called the Boosters, purportedly a pep club to support the class leaders and athletes but in reality a group that adheres to strict social codes and a closed group of friends, but after an accident involving Peter's volcano, she finally realizes her values aren't the same as those of the Booster club members.
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this is Jonathan in spades. He starts off as a depressed loner trying to commit suicide, then he creates a spell which makes him a talented superstar that everybody loves. After that fails, he teams up with Warren and Andrew, the only friends he's ever really had, before being promptly murdered by the latter. Poor guy just can't catch a break.
  • Community explores this through its various damaged characters, all of whom fit this trope to a certain extent. Pierce has given up on having friends and acts aggressive, rude, and racist to cover up his loneliness; Jeff has hidden himself beneath layers of Hipster-y irony and detachment so that he won't be hurt by rejection (which goes back to various childhood traumas); Abed can't connect with other people except through pop culture but desperately wants to; Britta tries to make herself look smarter than everyone else so they'll respect her; the list goes on. It takes a good chunk of the first season for them to open up to each other. It's somehow all still hilarious.
    • In the episode "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" this is Dean Pelton's reason for conspiring with anyone who offers.
    • Also likely the reason that Chang is so desperate to join the study group.
  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: Dirk has spent much of his life alone due to his abilities scaring everyone away. As a result, he clings desperately to anybody actually willing to stick around.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor has elements of this trope. Hundreds of years old, a genius, the last of his race — all of this makes him very isolated. Even when he does get friends, it's inevitable that he'll lose them eventually, either from old age, death, alternate dimensions, mind-wiping or just moving on with their lives or falling in love. The fact that he was shown to plead with his arch-nemesis not to leave him probably shows just how lonely the Doctor really is.
    • Said arch-nemesis shares this longing. The Doctor and the Master were once the greatest of friends, but something drove them apart (likely the Master's mounting insanity). The Master spends most of the Twelfth Doctor's tenure executing a plan that spans the entirety of human history in order to give the Doctor a birthday present and bring them back together. The birthday present in question being an invincible army of cybermen created out of humanity's dead, which the Doctor can use to conquer the universe. See: "Mounting insanity."
      The Doctor: Why are you doing this?!
      The Master: I need you to know we're not so different. I need my friend back. Every battle, every war, every invasion, from now on, you decide the outcome. What's the matter, Mr. President? Don't you trust yourself?
    • "It Takes You Away" has the Solitract, a sentient universe that was exiled from the main universe because the universe couldn't exist otherwise. It creates a portal and Lotus-Eater Machine to try and lure people over so they'll stay with it.
  • Dragnet: Both the radio series and 1950s television show had an episode "The Big Church," where a young woman reports to police she's been getting lewd letters from an unknown person and wants it stopped. It's really a cry for help: When detectives Friday and Smith are unable to find the dirty old coot who might have sent the letters and in the meantime find inconsistencies with her story, the woman eventually admits she wrote the letters and sent them to herself ... nobody wants to be friends with her at the church and she's afraid of becoming an old maid, it seems.
  • Family Ties: "It's My Party" — an episode that aired during the summer of 1987 (even though it was produced early in the fourth season) — sees 14-year-old Jennifer in a funk in making friends, and bored with her unspectacular one. Pining to be one of the popular girls, she falls in with a group of snobbish rich girls that seem to be the most popular. Instead of being "cool" they prove to be a bad influence on Jennifer, as she skips school, stays out past curfew and begins disrespecting her parents. It's only when her friends try to host a beer party at the Keatons, and they also press their luck by trying to make her spurn her friend, that these aren't the friends she wants to have, and is best off with that nerdy, unspectacular friend. (And truth be told, the "cool" girls likely weren't that popular at all, and that Alex's hinted-at advice — be yourself — is advice well taken.)
  • In Glee Rachel Berry, mostly in the second half of Season 1 onwards. And each attempt goes horribly, horribly wrong. Improves in the second half of Season 2 with her friendship with Kurt, Mercedes, and Blaine.
  • In "Keep Your Friends Close" from The Inside Man, Mark Shepherd tells the Handler that he's out, that he wants a normal life, to have friends. The Handler snarks that it's touching, that he sounds like the emotionally supportive father he never had. He then says that people like the two of them don't have friends, that they have targets.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Several episodes:
    • The 2002 episode "Juvenile" focuses on an impressionable 14-year-old boy, Jeremy Brice, who is implied to: 1. Be socially awkward; and 2. Have trouble making (and keeping) friends, and good ones at that. His decision to befriend a troublemaker named Zachary Connor, leads to a burglary incident where Zachary (the dominant member of the duo) assaulting the woman resident and raping her, and Zachary duping Jeremy into assisting her. In the end, it ends up costing Jeremy dearly: A second-degree murder and first-degree burglary conviction and 15 years in prison (with the possibility of parole after eight years). Attorneys Cabot and Donnelly sadly bemoan afterwards that Jeremy's life is basically over ... all due to a few bad decisions, among other things.
  • Legion: Charles Xavier is so desperate to befriend other mutants that when he finds one in Morocco with Cerebro (which he designed and assembled with his own hands in order to search for mutants globally), he travels halfway across the world just to meet a fellow telepath. He even ignores how afraid he was when he first sensed Amahl Farouk's mind, which should've been a warning to Charles that Farouk is extremely dangerous. Harry Lloyd clarifies on the loneliness that his character feels:
    Lloyd: He always imagined himself as a freak. This guy has this telepathic ability. And it's raw and I use it for good as much as possible, but I keep a lid on it and it's local. To then find someone else who has exactly the same thing to feel that you're part of a breed. There is some horror or something dark connected to it. But he goes out looking for a friend or a brother. He actually, only then, is honest about quite how alone he's been his whole life. Even now married and with a child. And as soon as he finds a connection on that level, which I think he resigned himself to never having, he has to explore it.
  • Ned from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide wants to be a popular kid and manages to be in the popular table, but at the end he realizes that the popular table isn't where his friends are.
  • NTSF:SD:SUV::: The motive of one villain of the week was that as an Internal Affairs agent, everybody hated her on principle even though she was a really nice person, so she framed the "cool agents" of the NTSF as terrorists so she could befriend someone else.
  • Michael Scott from the American version of The Office (US) exemplifies this trope. Episode after episode is based around the principle that he desperately wants to be loved by everyone, especially his employees, and that he's really rather lonely outside of the office. This is, in fact, the justification for most of his outlandish behavior — he's trying to be a crowd-pleaser.
  • One Day At a Time: In a 1977 episode, "Barbara's Friend" — a deeply troubled, insecure girl named Melanie, who has trouble making and keeping friends — is too pushy and clingy, and eventually Barbara tells her (not so nicely, and in a "gee, I wonder why" sort of way) to go away and leave her the hell alone. That night, just as Barbara is making final preparations to go to a rock concert with her boyfriend, Melanie calls ... revealing that she has ingested sleeping pills and plans to never wake up. In the end, Barbara saves Melanie's life and helps her get professional counseling.
  • Step by Step: The Season 3 episoce "Bad Girls" sees Al, desperate to make and keep friends, fall for a bad group of girls who wear military fatigues. Al tries standing her ground, which makes her father very angry, but Al finally sees her new friends for who they are when they talk her into stealing Cody's air guitar. Cody — and a cooled-down Frank — help Al understand that she is not alone in her predicament at her age, and more importantly that choosing good friends is important and that those friendships aren't cultivated overnight.
  • Sherlock: Sherlock and John were this. Sherlock's a rude, unpleasant, obnoxious arsehole and John's a shy, quiet, nice depressed war-veteran looking for a purpose in life. Dang.
  • In Smallville while Lex Luthor genuinely wants to trust people, his position in power plus the fact that he tends to be overprotective leads to him losing the few friends he has, making him fall into this. Tess Mercer too , according to her actress Cassidy Fremman:
  • Taxi: Louie DePalma earnestly tries to make everybody think that he feels good alone, but in many occasions its demonstrated that he needs to belong to some group, specially after not having a single friend during his high school years. Subverted with the fact that Reverend Jim considers him his "best friend".
  • On Teen Wolf, Boyd accepts the bite when Derek offers it because he's tired of not having any friends, and becoming a part of Derek's pack means that he won't have to be alone anymore.
  • On Yellowjackets, Misty Quigley desperately wants to have friends and be liked and wanted. However, the fact that she's absolutely nuts, has few lines she won't cross and does stuff like spying on said "friends" and claiming it's for their own benefit, assures that she will always be The Friend Nobody Likes at best.

  • "At Seventeen" by Janis Ian. The 1975 single used friendlessness and inability to make friends among its several themes.
  • "Friends" by Bette Midler. From 1973 and one of the "Divine Miss M"'s earliest hit singles, the song is a lament about loneliness but hopeful she'll make some new ones. Covered by the cast of the 1970s PBS series Zoom and by Candice Bergen on The Muppet Show.
  • "You Light Up My Life". Probably the theme song for all the lonely people out there.
  • One of the yearnings of the speaker in Poets of the Fall's Wanderlust Song "Daze," involves expressing envy of the shadows' "constant companions." Since the video has Monster Clown Hamartia as an Interactive Narrator of sorts, after singing the lyric, he rolls his eyes dismissively by way of commentary.
  • R.E.M.'s "The Wrong Child" is about a handicapped child who can only watch other children playing happily, longing to be among them

  • Brimstone Valley Mall:
    • Xaphan has spent thousands of years in the bellows of Hell with no company, so when she's sent up to Earth with the main characters, she's eager to befriend the others. Asmoraius and Belzagor are fairly friendly to her right away, though they don't expect her to stick around long, but Misroch is outright hostile for most of the first season. Xaphan, having No Social Skills, doesn't really notice, and keeps doggedly trying to make conversation and insert herself into the gang's activities.
    • Trainee moved around a lot as a kid and has no steady friend group. Because of this, she happily starts hanging out with Damien and Raven, despite them being pretty huge jerkasses who aren't much nicer to their friends than they are to anyone else. When the trio decide to summon a demon at a sleepover and discuss what they'd do with them, Trainee says she'd just ask the demon to be friends and hang out with her. (When the demon they summon winds up being Xaphan, the two unsurprisingly hit it off pretty well, and Xaphan's ecastatic the first time Trainee calls her "friend.")

  • In Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier, Jafar ends up talking to a bunch of other Disney villains who, like him, had good intentions but were treated like crap and run through the bad publicity mill. One of them is Maleficent, who was lonely and unpopular and really only wanted to be invited to Aurora's christening.
  • Voldemort in A Very Potter Musical: "You think killing people might make them like you, but it doesn't. It just makes people dead."

    Video Games 
  • In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! we learn that Claptrap is basically a desperate, nearly-friendless loser in spite of his excessive gregariousness and obnoxious cheerfulness. One skill tree is designed to make him a useful support character in the hopes that the other Vault Hunters will have more reasons to like him (they still don't, naturally). He has a skill where he requests high-fives from his allies and gains and shares buffs if they reciprocate (or keeps them for himself if left hanging), and which will trigger even if he gets punched in the face by a bandit because he's just that needy for any sort of acknowledgement.
    "I'll take what I can get!"
  • In F.E.A.R. and its sequels, this is really the driving force behind everything the insane, apocalyptically powerful Alma does: she wants a family. In the first game, she's calling her long-lost sons to her, unaware that she'd kill them if she touched them, due to her overwhelming psychic power. In the second, she constantly pursues Beckett out of a desire to have a child with him, again unaware that he wouldn't survive contact with her. Throughout both games, she continually makes anguished cries, wondering why everyone, even those she loves, run from her and try to harm her.
  • Final Fantasy VII: As a child, Cloud Strife really wanted to befriend his peers (particularly Tifa) in his hometown, but he was rejected multiple times. So he put a front, calling them stupid and childish, as a way to cope his loneliness.
  • Mary from Ib is a little girl who was born as a painting and came to life through the artist's passion and the museum's strange powers. She's lived in the depths of the museum her whole life with only the other paintings for company, who are all much less intelligent than her and can't even speak. When Ib and Garry come along she instantly clings to them, especially Ib, and desperately wants to escape with them and live as a real girl with good friends. This need eventually leads to her working against Garry so she can get out with Ib, and whether her wish is granted depends on which ending you get.
  • In the Visual Novel Katawa Shoujo This is revealed to be major motivation for Shizune late in her path. Due to a combination of her deafness and her upbringing, she found it very hard to make friends and form relationships with others, resulting in her becoming a Lonely Rich Kid. When she came to Yamaku, she turned her efforts towards making other people happy in the hopes that would make them like her, which is the main reason why she joined the Student Council. However her drive combined with her competitiveness eventually caused her to drive nearly everyone else in the Council away except for her only friend and interpretor, Misha.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Naminé's entire characterization is this. Unlike other nobodies, Naminé was born not in Twilight Town, but in Castle Oblivion, before no other people; even having Xemnas greet you after you were born is preferable. Shortly after she came into existence, Organization XIII arrived and, realizing her priceless memory-manipulating powers, basically forced her prisoner to modify the memories of the people who next visit the castle: Sora and the gang. After Sora frees her from them, she's willing to take any job from DiZ, however selfish it is. Plus, aside from her few outdoor scenes, Naminé is always seen in a lonely, completely-white room with a large table, chairs, pencils, and drawing papers. Her finished drawings, which always depict other people, sometime decorate the walls. Think about that for a second. Lastly, Naminé never forms a bond with other characters in her entire existence. The closest she had to a friendship is with Sora, who subsequently forgets her (and everyone else in Castle Oblivion) after his memories are restored. It's probably why during the prologue of Kingdom Hearts II, she tries her hardest to reach Roxas without getting caught; she doesn't want to just inform him about the virtual world, but to befriend him as well. Finally, when she's finally freed from having to form unhealthy relationship with anyone, she has to be absorbed to make Kairi whole.
  • One of the many problems your villagers can have in Kitty Powers' Love Life is not having enough friends, and Extroverts will be more upset about it than Introverts.
  • Faintly implied with Riju, the young Gerudo Chief, in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Having abruptly filled the position after the untimely death of her mother, she is forced to carry out many important roles for her tribe instead of grow up normally. When Link refers to her by her given name, Buliara chastises him for his impropriety, but Riju tells her to chill out, as she likes being called by her real name every so often.
  • The Collector of LittleBigPlanet captured everyone along with their creations in the Craftwrold since he was lonely.
  • In Marco and the Galaxy Dragon, Arco is revealed to have been lonely and miserable before she met Marco. She wanted to make friends, but everyone feared and avoided her because she’s a big, scary-looking dragon who frequently ate the very people she was trying to befriend. Marco was the first person who didn’t run away from her, leading Arco to recognize Marco as a kindred spirit and take care of her.
  • Mario Party Advance:
    • Dorrie's sidequest has him lamenting that he's never met another dinosaur before and would just like to have a dino-friend. Playing as Yoshi and visiting him grants his wish, and the two become pals.
    • Thwomp's sidequest has him calling the police and reporting a crime because he literally can't leave his house due to the door being too small, and he was getting very lonely.
  • Ōkamiden has Kurow. In fact, it's one of the reasons for his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Pokémon:
    • Come the 7th Generation of Pokémon comes the little Ghost/Fairy-type Mimikyu, a little mysterious blob of ectoplasm that disguises itself in a 20 year old tattered costume of the Series Mascot Pikachu, all because it's incredibly lonely and wants to be as loved as the little electric mouse itself. Fans immediately adored the poor little ghost, and pictures of it sitting there just wanting to be loved and accepted have flourished.
    • Your partner in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. The entire reason he's building Paradise is to attract like-minded Pokémon that he might befriend.
    • The same applies to your partner in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon. They clearly aren't well liked by the Pokémon in their village, but their whole goal in life is to have as many friends as possible, while mapping out the Pokémon world and working for the Explorer's Society.
  • Pony Island: Sadly, the devil just wants everyone to love him and his games out of free will, so he doesn't have to steal their souls through force. Though he desperately seeks this, he doesn't even know what a friend is (See YMMV).
  • In the Puyo Puyo series, Serilly the mermaid desperately want friends, but her paranoia that people may want to eat her flesh so they become immortal prevents her from achieving her wish. The fact that Arle and the rest of the cast do little to convince her that her paranoia isn't entirely justified — on occasion, Arle seems legitimately interested in eating her, less for immortality than because she's technically fish — certainly doesn't help.
  • In Shadowverse, this is the reason why Luna kills people and resurrect them as undead, as she can have playmates with her all the time. Especially after her parents died.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse reveals that Rottytops has a horrible time keeping friends despite her efforts because of her mischievous personality. When you meet her lost soul, she mentions that she especially wants to be friends with Shantae, but she always seems to drive her away.
  • Shin Megami Tensei's Alice has this problem. Which makes it quite the Tear Jerker when you understand her motivations are genuine, except the poor girl has literally no idea of how to get friends due to a certain magical accident from which she Came Back Wrong From the Dead (specifically, she remains an eternal girl, unable to grow or understand pain or death). She assumes this means not leaving her, ever, equals being friends with her. Given her massive magical power, this is a very bad thing.
  • This seems to apply to half the population of Stardew Valley. Befriending and romancing the locals is a major part of the game.
  • Twisted Wonderland: With Malleus Draconia's fellow dorm members of Diasomnia revering him and other students fearing him, he can't make friends the way he wants to and is frequently jealous when he finds that Silver and Sebek have gotten to spend time with others. Malleus quickly latches onto Yuu, who doesn't fear him nor revere him due to having no knowledge of who he is, because of this. He even goes as far as to say he fears losing someone like them.
  • Undertale:
    • Flowey is a desperate example. It's up for debate whether it's an overstatement or not, but the Fallen Child was the closest thing Asriel had to a friend and simply cannot let go his memories of them, to the point of projecting the Fallen onto Frisk; he just wants to see his friend again that badly to a degree he tried to invoke the Fallen Child while keeping Frisk in the underground at all cost. This is part of why his Flowey persona is so elated to see Fallen!Frisk at the beginning of the No Mercy route.
    • Papyrus is a case of this. He's introduced as an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who's desperate to capture a human (read: the player character) so his mentor Undyne will promote him from a trainee knight to a full-fledged member of her guard... so that the prestige of his position will attract people into befriending him. The only friends he has seem to be Undyne and his older brother Sans, with the rest of his town thinking of him mostly as Undyne's understudy plus something akin to the village idiot. The player can befriend him if they don't kill him at the end of his boss battle, which makes him so happy that not only does he throw his original plan out the window, he goes on to try to hinder Undyne's following attempts to go after the player herself. (It's the thought that counts.)

    Web Animation 
  • Ventus in Kingdumb Hearts: Bored to Sleep, a parody of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, in which he basically just flies around from world to world asking people "Do you want to be my friend?"
  • Dreamscape: Friendship was one thing that Melissa felt like she was missing from her life. Melinda used that desire for companionship to further manipulate her.
    • "A Curse or a Blessing" implies that Keela really wants more friends outside of the Five-Man Band, but her distant and gloomy nature makes it difficult for her. In fact bringing this up turns out to be a sore spot for her.
  • Pyrrha from RWBY has been ostracized from a young age due to her incredible skill and talent in combat. It leaves her desperate for interactions with someone, anyone, who doesn't put her up on a pedestal. Fortunately, her team is well-set up to help with this, being comprised of hapless newcomer Jaune, perky berserker Nora, and laid-back Ren treating her as one of their own.

    Web Comics 
  • In Ava's Demon, Ava makes it very clear to Wraitha that what she bargained for was a life with friends, and she will ruin Wraitha's part of the bargain if she doesn't get it.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl has Lucy, who was ostracized by everyone in preschool; Mike was her first real friend, and when he later abandoned her in pursuit of his crush, then took her back, she became rather clingy. Augustus, likewise, has no friends at school (and a tough life in general) and fell in with a bad group as a result. Tess also had no friends before the main cast showed up, having lost them all after being a bully's girlfriend, then being dumped by (or dumping) said bully before she is introduced.
  • In El Goonish Shive it was revealed that this is one of the motivations behind Diane's behavior toward Nanase - she just did a really bad job of going about it.
  • In Ensign Sue Must Die, Obliviously Evil nature aside, Ensign Sue's goal is to befriend the crew of the Enterprise. She gets her wish in Ensign Cubed, when she gets Character Development and becomes a real heroine.
  • In M9 Girls! Vero really wants to be included in the M9 team, while team leader Any keeps leaving her out.
  • Pluto in Nebula is torn between his desire for friends and his extreme shyness- unfortunately, by the time he musters up the courage to go talk to the rest of the cast (i.e., at least several centuries), they've decided that while he hasn't tried to pull something yet, they don't know anything about him and can't trust him. So they leave him out there alone. And then he starts to hear a voice in his head...
  • Penny in Penny Blackfeather starts out as very lonely. She explicitly calls the Adventurer her only friend (her only human friend who is alive — It Makes Sense in Context).
  • In Questionable Content Hannelore's initial attempt to befriend Marten came across as awkward and forced due to her limited social skills (since she grew up on a space station), and took a bad turn when Marten found out she'd been stalking him for some time. It turned out fairly well in the end though, and she's genuinely glad to have friends (it helps her deal with her OCD).
  • In Roommates Jareth tries really really hard to make friends and fit in with the other members of the main cast. The problem is: Two of them have Friendless Backgrounds with not much desire to make friends, and Jareth a highly alien nature and not much clue. It takes time, effort, and a whole lot of death threats, but they end up with a somewhat dysfunctional but ultimately real friendship.
  • Warbot In Accounting: For reasons that do not need to be explained, the main character is the most socially awkward and ostracized member of his company. Each attempt to make friends or even get noticed usually ends with soul crushing apathy, with collateral damage being passed off to the co-workers he focuses on. Not helping matters is some kind of Glamour around Warbot that prevents others from recognizing (A) he's a giant robot and (B) he's a pacifist looking for friends.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: One of Dr. Clef's lecture on Reality Warpers notes that while adults and teenagers usually use their mind-control powers for sex, children use them to make people be their friends.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • Marceline the Vampire Queen is implied to be like this. She acts (at least in early seasons) Always Chaotic Evil, but is really well-meaning (as we see in "Henchman"). She's 1000 years old and the only people who are still around are her Dad and her ex-boyfriend Ash. She's actually happy to find out that Princess Bubblegum kept the shirt she gave her as pajamas in "What Was Missing" and when Finn reveals that she didn't lose anything and just wanted to hang out she gets mad. This seems to have been mostly cured as of her appearances in the last few seasons.
      • An idea on how well she interacts with people, her advice to Finn for talking to Princess Bubblegum in "Go With Me" is to wrestle her and set rabid wolves on her.
      • This is further supported by Marceline's song in "Marceline's Closet", which is "based on 500 years of journal entries," where she says that she'd talk about her friends, but she doesn't have any.
    • THE ICE KING. ALL of the crimes he commits relate to his desire for companionship.
    • In the Spanish dub of Adventure Time, Lemongrab is implied to be this. At the end, he mutters "No one loves me. Everyone hates me" while riding away from the kingdom. There could be some truth to that.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Toph. In her own words when she made her debut: "...I know you were just trying to protect me, but I'm twelve years old and I've never had a real friend."
    • Aang himself had this, despite being among the most social member of the main cast. When Sokka and Katara were going to abandon him looking for their dad, Aang hid their map because he was scared of being alone. This may be due to every friend he's ever had and everyone he knows (other than Katara, Sokka, and Bumi) having been dead for a hundred years, and most of them were burned to death in a genocide that started the global-scale war Aang has been charged with ending.
    • Azula thought she had friends, until "The Boiling Rock" where her "friends" (who only ever hung around because she scared the crap out of them) betrayed her.. In the last episode, she basically went insane out of paranoia because she was unable to trust anyone.
  • The titular character in Bojack Horseman, is a selfish narcissist, jaded by Hollywood, Abusive Parents, and the guilt of selling out his best friend. His bad attitude and increasingly desperate attempts to keep what few acquaintances he has close to him end up chasing most of them away until he's standing before the memoirist, the one person he's ever really opened up to but far from his best friend, outright begging her to tell him that he's a good person.
  • The eponymous character of Casper the Friendly Ghost desperately wants to have friends, something hard for him as everyone is scared of him because he is a ghost.
  • Jérémie Belpois of Code Lyoko. While Lyoko doesn't hand him perfectly matched friendships, it is what drew the team (his first friends) together and he's terrified of losing his friends once they've beaten XANA. Sissi Delmas is also an example, as the main reason she fixates so much on antagonizing the main characters is because she wants to be part of their friend group and really would have been their friend if not for Poor Communication Kills in the prequel leading to them giving her the cold shoulder for reasons that seem inexplicable and preemptive from her perspective due to her not sharing their Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory.
  • Numbuh 86 from Codename: Kids Next Door has a bossy, abrasive personality that tends to repel anyone she comes in contact with. Because of this no one wants to be her friend and it is shown that deep down she is very lonely. In one episode she had to trick other Kids Next Door operatives into thinking they were going on an all night secret mission just to have guests for her slumber party. One of them does actually befriend her much to her delight, but ultimately she is devastated when that girl goes on to betray the Kids Next Door.
  • On Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Daniel Tiger has a fairly large circle of friends. Even so, his main concern regarding the new neighbors early in The Daniel Tiger Movie: Won't You Be Our Neighbor? as expressed in song is "Will our new neighbors have a friend for me?"
  • Danny Phantom
    • Danny himself. Although he already has two best friends, he constantly has needs to fit in with the popular crowd. This becomes more apparent in the episode "Attack of the Killer Garage Sale". In "My Brother's Keeper", Jazz Lampshades this. He eventually gets better.
    • Klemper who unlike Danny doesn't get better from this (since he's only a minor character) and constantly asks anyone to be his friend.
  • Eddy from Ed, Edd n Eddy. Despite the fact he is a megalomaniac con-artist, it's actually just an act (he only pretends to be a jerk), as he thought if he acted like his older brother, people would like him, when it actually has the opposite effect, although he does eventually realise this.
  • Timmy Turner from The Fairly Oddparents doesn't really have many friends (he has only two human friends, plus two more "backup friends"). In one episode he pretended to be a cool rich kid to be accepted in Trixie Tang's social group, only to discover that he wasn't being loved for being himself but for the stuff he wished for.
  • Family Guy: A recurring plot with Meg. While she indeed has some friends — geeky losers, just like her — Meg clearly wants friends who belong to the popular group, including those associated with her arch-nemesis, Connie D'Amico.
  • Kaeloo: The eponymous character tries her hardest to have friends. While she does have three close friends (and a few others who aren't so close), she tries very hard to keep them close to her and occasionally even forces them to hang out with her because she's lonely, deep down. Unfortunately, she tries too hard, and episodes like Episode 133 show that this has caused all her friends except Mr. Cat to stop liking her very much.
  • The premise of the MGM Oneshot Cartoon "Little Gravel Voice"; the protagonist is a cute, friendly little donkey — who unfortunately suffers from having a bray so dreadfully obnoxious, that it scares away all the other animals he tries to make friends with. Ironically, his bray ends up harming and scaring away a hungry wolf, which earns him the friendship of the other animals—once they tie up his snout with his ears, of course.
  • Mighty Max had Max having to work with a geeky kid who simply would not shut up. Turns out the kid's motivation was because he wanted friends, prompting Max to have to deliver a wake-up call for him.
  • Adrien Agreste, the deuteragonist of Miraculous Ladybug, is a Lonely Rich Kid with a Missing Mom and a father who never lets him leave the house except for model work and VIP events. His only friend before the series was Rich Bitch Chloé Bourgeois, and it’s hinted that she only likes him for his wealth and status. Through begging and rebelling, Adrien gets to go to public school and make true friends, but even then, his father restricts the time he gets to spend with them.
    • His fencing teammate and potential love interest, Kagami Tsurugi, suffers from loneliness, too. During the second season, she seemed to be an Ice Queen who believed Second Place Is for Losers. But it’s revealed in Ikari Gozen that this is because of the pressure put in her by her mother, whose so strict she makes Adrien’s dad look like a free-range parent. She’s so lacking in basic social skills, she depends on an app to figure out how to appear friendly. All she wants is a chance to make true friends, which is why she goes against her mother’s wishes and enters a contest to make a friend.
  • Princess Luna, in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. She just wants to make friends with other ponies and be as well liked as her sister, but her intimidating demeanor, creepy motifs, social awkwardness, and hair trigger temper leave her ostracized. It was so bad a thousand years ago, that she literally became a monster to deal with her feelings of loneliness and jealousy. The comics have it that her transformation was due to her accepting the power of nightmare creatures who lived on the moon, after they offered her the power to be loved by her subjects. The show has neither confirmed nor denied this version of events, only making reference to a "dark power" that Princess Luna had before Twilight and her friends cleansed her.
    • There's also Discord in the episode "Keep Calm and Flutter On" when Fluttershy, the only one of the Mane Six willing to put up with his antics and consider him a friend, ends up pulling a Rage Quit and trots off after he kept pulling pranks. It isn't until he goes into an Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap! that he realizes My God, What Have I Done?
    Discord: (defeated) Well played, Fluttershy. Well played...
    • Starlight Glimmer at the end of Season 5. Her friend when she was a foal, Sunburst, gained his Cutie Mark and went off for Celestia's school in Canterlot. Scarred by this, she vowed never to let something like differences and Cutie Marks ruin friendships... by starting Our Town, removing everyone's Cutie Mark there so everyone can be equal. When the Mane Six visit and break up everything, Starlight gets so insanely furious that she enacts a time travel plan to wreck theirs. Except it went horribly right and caused a Bad Future. Twilight's able to talk her down and get her to realize what she's done. Afterwards, Starlight does get what she really desired in the the end. Twilight recognizes her plight, but also her amazing magical potential, take her in as a student in the study of friendship, and helps her befriend the Mane Six.
    • Fluttershy is subtly implied to be this in a Season 6 scene, when she invites Starlight to a picnic only to have her leave early unannounced, and she gets upset.
  • In My Little Pony (G3): Twinkle Wish Adventure, this is Whimsey Weatherbe's reasoning both for kidnapping the wishing star Twinkle Wish and eventually for giving her back. She felt that by having Twinkle Wish that people would want to be with her and be her friend. She gave Twinkle Wish back when she realized that the ponies weren't going to stay and be friends with her because she was keeping Twinkle Wish.
  • This has become Porky Pig's main character trait in The Looney Tunes Show — he's so lonely that he puts up with constant abuse from Daffy Duck just because Daffy calls him a "friend". He even untied Daffy, after Daffy had bankrupted him completely and bought a yacht with his money, simply because he was sweet-talked and promised a hug.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Candace in one episode believed her friends are ignoring her and she falls into this trope, replacing them and becoming the queen of Mars — It Makes Sense in Context. At the end it turns out they weren't ignoring her (except some Dude, but Candace doesn't know him), so she gets back with her friends . In another episode, she turned out to be a loner: She had an argument with Stacy, so she tried to call another friend. The problem was, the only contacts in her phonebook apart from Stacy were Candace's boyfriend, her mum. Jenny and Buford, though she quickly deletes him.
  • Mitchell from Ready Jet Go! acts like a haughty jerk to the main characters most of the time, but it was revealed in the Christmas Episode "Holidays in Boxwood Terrace" that he's really a lonely kid who wants to have friends, but he didn't know how to go about it yet. At the end of the episode, Jet, Sydney, Mindy, Sean, and Sunspot accepted him into their clique for good.
  • Randall from Recess had this coupled with a Heel–Face Turn; though at the end he preferred being the teacher's pet, abandoned all his friends; and had a Face–Heel Turn.
  • It's shown a few times in Samurai Jack that the titular character doesn't really enjoy traveling alone and sometimes craves companionship. Unfortunately, Aku exploits this by pretending to be a woman named "Ikra" in one episode. Aku exploits it again in the comics, by pretending to be a woman named Jill simply For the Evulz. Thankfully, he does make friends with the Scotsman. This is even shown in Season 5 when he attempts to save and befriend a Pre Heel–Face Turn Ashi, despite the latter hating his guts.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Nelson is revealed to have no friends at all. Due to this, he becomes obsessed with Bart Simpson. Depending on the episode, as he sometimes hangs out with other bullies like Jimbo or Kerny.
    • Lisa, Depending on the Writer, is sometimes portrayed as as a lonely outcast.
  • The Smurfs:
    • A major plot point in episodes featuring Bigmouth, a socially awkward ogre whose well-meaning but clumsy attempts to make friends winds up (comically) causing problems. Bigmouth's attempts to make friends is illustrated best in the episode "Bigmouth's Friend": His latest attempt to get series antagonist Gargamel to be his friend fails, as does his attempt to walk in on a family picnic to get the kids to play with him. He eventually befriends Clockwork Smurf (himself in a funk with being accepted by others). A series of events that involve Gargamel working with the evil Lord Balthazar to both capture Clockwork and overthrow King Gerard will go a long way toward helping Bigmouth realize who his true friends are. Prior to this episode, Bigmouth's decisions on who he decided his friends were often were based on who could help satisfy his needs first; other episodes depicted Bigmouth's clumsy attempts to become friends with the Smurfs, who were often scared of him because of his ways.
    • A likely reason why Brainy is ... well, Brainy. He wants to be accepted and appreciated for the talents he (sometimes earnestly) believes he has. In the end, Brainy comes to realize that, even though they may be frustrated and irritated with him at times, he's a good, loyal Smurf and someone who can be counted on in times of need.
  • Lucinda the witch from Sofia the First is this. She wants friends very badly (spending much of her episode brooding about it in some fashion or another), and explains to Sofia that and the only reason she hexes people is because she comes from a family of witches and that's all they do. She finally gains friends at the end of her episode after undoing all of her hexes and apologizing.
  • South Park: This is why Eric Cartman turned out the way he did; his mother spoiled him to make up for the fact that she had no friends.
  • Starfire from Teen Titans (2003) was very lonely before joining the team, and still lonely even after she joined. When she thought she was being replaced by her sister Blackfire, it affected her deeply as she isn't very fond of losing friends. However, she's more worried that Robin might like Blackfire more than her.
    • Raven also qualifies. Though very solitary and anti-social, she truly wants friends and is very protective of the Titans once she considers them such. Just because it's true doesn't mean she'll ease up on Beast Boy, though.
  • Total Drama:
    • Zoey joined the show for this very reason. She grew up in a small town and considered herself an outcast amongst the jocks in her home town.
    • Beardo reveals in his audition tape that he wanted to be on the show to make friends. Unfortunately, considering that he was the first contestant eliminated after annoying all of his teammates, this didn't work.
  • In We Bare Bears, one of the main reasons the bears, mostly Grizzly, try to integrate into human society.
  • M'gann from Young Justice (2010). She was a White Martian who suffered extreme prejudice against her from the dominant green martian majority. Even after she achieved her dream of going to Earth, and even became part of a close-knit team, she was terrified of losing that friendship for any reason, and was willing to do some not-that-good things to keep them. She gets a little better as time goes on.

    Real Life 
  • Often invoked when youths enter junior high/middle school. What seemed like rock-solid friendships in elementary school often change by the time they turn 11- and 12-years-old, and while some friendships remain, this is often the time when interests change and kids begin to mature in many ways. Some get left behind, but even those who don't will sometimes have periods of time when they have or seem to have few to no close friends... and it isn't necessarily a bad thing, as within a short time period they make new friends and ones that become more firmly established. This can happen again by the time these same students enter college — changed friends lists, sometimes wholesale as they move to different communities (sometimes miles from home) and begin losing contact with the classmates they had in high school and earlier, and those old friends begin new lives of their own; sometimes, it takes a little while to figure out who those new friends will be. The process often will happen again after college, as these now-young adults begin establishing their new personal, family and professional lives... sometimes in new communities where establishing new friendships is not an overnight process.
  • This trope is how people get sucked into gangs, cults and even terrorist groups. They don't let you in on the really crazy stuff until your entire social circle is comprised of other members. At that point, walking away means abandoning all of your friends. Also, although not necessarily how they suck you in, some people do cite this as a reason for why they're reluctant to leave a more standard church. For many people, the people in their church comprise a large social circle of their friends.
  • Similarly, people will stay in bad or even abusive relationships because they're afraid to go back to being single.
    • Sometimes people get into relationships while having no friends. If they leave their partner, they leave their one friend. They become trapped in the relationship, regardless of its health.
  • This is sometimes what coaxes people into joining the military. Depending on what unit they end up with, this can either end well or badly.
  • The first reaction of King Gustaf III of Sweden, upon learning that he had inherited the throne, was supposedly to say, "How sad. Now I will never have friends."
  • In The Four Loves C. S. Lewis asserts that this approach is bound to fail because people whose only goal is friendship have no basis for the kind of Commonality Connection that leads to authentic friendship:
    The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question Do you see the same truth? would be "I see nothing and I don't care about the truth; I only want a Friend", no Friendship can arise—though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.
  • People in toxic fandoms / fanbases / fan communities for relatively niche topics or works tend to stick around anyway, because once they leave that community the number of people who share their interest likely drops to (near-)zero.
  • This is one reason why some people have imaginary friends, so they'll always have a companion(s), are able to gain (what they believe to be) sound advice and finally find an individual or group that accepts them for who they are. Unfortunately, because sometimes Kids Are Cruel,note  this may be looked at as socially unacceptable and may lead to ridicule, bullying and isolation, further exacerbating their already existing feelings of loneliness and rejection that lead them to create the friends in the first place.


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Having been raised in the swamp all his life and living as an outcast because of his half-alligator appearance, Arlo sings about how he wishes to have friends and be loved by everyone.

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Main / IJustWantToHaveFriends

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