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I'm Not Here to Make Friends

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"...I'm here to win."
— At least one contestant per season on every Reality Show Competition ever

Along with reminding people that they're in a competition, contestants on competitive reality shows also like to remind their fellow contestants that they did not come on the show to make friends (or further their acting career, but that's a different issue entirely). Well, that makes sense. When you're trying to win a large sum of money or the love of a D-list celebrity, it's not exactly a good idea to be all buddy-buddy with your competition—unless you plan on backstabbing them later—instead of focusing on your own performance.

An NPR segment (9/12/2009) on this trope shows that studios do feed this line sometimes. The segment also shows that the person/people who actually use the line never win—not surprisingly, as it tends to signpost them as arrogant douchebags who, unless they can really win the audience over, will be at risk of being voted off before long. Especially in a social game show, fellow contestants have to like you, or at least respect you as a Worthy Opponent if you want to actually get further. There is also an implication that the contestant thinks they can win the contest all by themselves... and you know what people think of those kinds of folks. It's ultimately a redundant and self-destructive attitude since everyone on the show is there to win; there's nothing to gain in being a jerkass about it. It goes without saying that these characters are prone to Cat Fights.

Bonus points if the person who says it also make it into a Pun on the show's name (i.e. "This is not America's Next Top Best Friend.", "This is Flavor of Love, not Flavor of Friendship!", "This is not RuPaul's Best Friend Race!")

This trope may be an applied form of the GIFT —as has been written by Reality TV columnists, many people who enter games with this attitude do not actually act like this in real life. They decide that the end justifies the means, and don't care at all about what others think about them. As described below, this attitude is not exclusive to reality game shows; it's just the origin of the trope. In video games, "Stop Having Fun" Guys and Scrubs can embody this trope.

Be very careful adding Real Life examples.

See This Is a Competition. Related to Serious Business. Contrast I Just Want to Have Friends.


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    Reality Shows 
  • This video features a montage of clips of contestants from various reality shows of uttering this line. Here's another.
  • Hutch played this archetype on The Joe Schmo Show. The theme sequence gave a two-to-three-word description of each character; Hutch was described as "The Asshole". In the third season, The Full Bounty, Randy was this.
  • Referenced on an episode of Ace of Cakes. The decorators were designing shoe-shaped cakes that were going to be auctioned off in a charity drive, sparking some friendly rivalry over whose shoe-cake would earn the most. One designer went on a firmly-tongue-in-cheek spiel about how "I'm Not Here To Make Friends, This Is a Competition and I'm Here To Win, and I will throw you Under The Bus..." Leading to another designer asking if they actually talked like that on Reality TV.
  • America's Next Top Model has one contestant every year that says this. They never win... ever. Cycle six's Jade is particularly infamous for it, thanks to her furious exclamation of "This is not America's Next Top Best Friend!"
  • Sometimes, a player who gets rather far averts this - there are some people who come onto reality shows just for the experience and winning is an added bonus if they manage to do so, At the same time though, there are people who know if they take this attitude to the game, there's quite a good chance they'll wind up in second or third leaving behind a trail of angry jurors.
  • Daryl from WWE Tough Enough was quite vocal about not being there to make friends. Apparently, he didn't make friends with the trainers, either; he was the first contestant to be cut from the show. He was called out by Al Snow for complaining under his breath when the contestants are asked to do something. When Al tells him that he doesn't take that crap from his ten-year-old son and he sure as hell won't take it from him, you knew his days were numbered.
  • Hell's Kitchen deserves a special mention here. Usually, you will get a chef or two with this attitude, and in fact Elise of Season Nine said this trope title word for word. However, this is a case of Wrong Genre Savvy, as you need to work well with the people on your team to succeed, and host Gordon Ramsay is a huge advocate of The Power of Friendship. In Season Nine, the blue team were all friendly and usually made good services, while the red team was fractured by in-fighting, did more arguing than cooking, and often lost. In other reality shows, saying this phrase makes you a Jerkass; in HK, it's a Violation of Common Sense.
  • Hugh on Ice Road Truckers "I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to make money."
  • On Season 3 of Beauty and the Geek, Cecile was stupid, disrespectful, and all-around hated by the rest of the contestants. She happened to make it to the final episode because she won competitions a lot and was partnered with Nate, the nicest and most popular contestant. In the last episode (in which all the former contestants were to vote for the pair they wanted to win), Nate actually went around asking people not to vote for his team, because he didn't think Cecile deserved to win anything, despite the fact that he would lose too. Nearly all of them agreed and went with the other team.
  • Lee on the U.S. version of MasterChef. "It's fantastic that Sharone is going into a pressure test. We're not going for popularity contest, and I'm not here to make friends." Averted in a big way in Masterchef Junior. Season 2 spells it out.
  • On The Amazing Race:
    • In 2 Wil said it when his ex-wife and partner (Tara) started flirting with another team. Though this is one of the few occasions where making friends actually lost them the race, as Tara ended up dragging another team into Final 3, and then losing a footrace to said team for the million dollars.
    • Jonathan in Season 6 reminds his partner Victoria that "This is a race! This isn't about compassion!" when they finish 2nd in one leg because of Victoria going back to pick up Jonathan's bag and slowing herself down for the final footrace to the mat.
    • On The Amazing Race 17, Rachel states in an interview, "This is not Amazing Friend." She then turns to her partner and says, "We're amazing friends."
    • In the premiere of The Amazing Race 20, yet another Rachel (of Big Brother infamy) gives this line in her opening interview. The same Rachel proceeded to do what she did in Big Brother...that is cry like a baby, insult everyone's gameplay, express desire to quit nearly every single leg of the race because it's "Too hard", yell at Brendon for antagonizing her (The latter of which isn't as unjustifiable given Brendon's personality!), then wonder why everybody else can't stand her. However, watching her on The Amazing Race 24 (not three years after) shows her acting much very different - to the level where one wonders if she secretly hasn't been replaced with her sister, who did not pull this trope.
    • A third Rachel invoked it later in Season 20, and somehow this one managed to win.
    • Shelley and Nici of Season 25 aren't there to make friends. They're there to win.
  • The Ur-Example of this has to be Richard Hatch, the Magnificent Bastard from the original Survivor, who said the trope word for word. Interestingly, he managed to bring this attitude all the way to a win.
    • And amusingly enough, averting this in the more recent seasons can actually reward you with the million. Basically, it's the "Lesser evil" card - and you can see that it helped people like Tom, Natalie (Samoa), and Fabio. Use this to your advantage if you're in the finals with people who play this trope straight - It may be a strategic and physical game, but it's also a social game. Being strategic and dominating means nothing if you're an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy or Entitled Bastard who everybody hates.
    • It should also be noted that Richard, in spite of his famous line, did form a genuine friendship with Rudy that he was very careful not to break at the Final Immunity Challenge and that the series' other "negative" winners (Brian and Todd) did something similar or at least pretended to be friends with others. They might not have made friends with everyone, but they made sure to forge bonds with just enough people to get winning votes from them in the end. Russell unfortunately didn't get this memo.
  • Early in Season 7 of The Next Food Network Star, Penny Davidi uttered this word for word. A few episodes later, she attempted a Wounded Gazelle Gambit by crying to the judges that she couldn't perform well because all the other contestants were just so mean and refusing to be friends with her. If her status as The Scrappy hadn't already been sealed, it certainly was at that point.
  • Subverted on the second season of Top Chef: Just Desserts. One person pointed out that even though they hadn't come her to make friends, it just sort of happens anyway.
  • The sixth series of the UK version of The Apprentice had a rare instance of one contestant (Stella English) saying this line - and going on to win the job.
  • Aaron, a contestant on the UK Big Brother quoted this trope word for word. He certainly didn't make many friends (receiving the most nominations in the series outside of Marcus and Freddie/Halfwit), but went on to win the series. He did make a close friend in Mark, and found a romantic partner in Faye.
  • Neda in Big Brother Canada 2 says she is clearly not there to make friends and is there to play the game, even saying she will criticize peoples' fashion choices - meanwhile on the feeds, she's actually much nicer than that. Kenny gave viewers the impression that he would be the inversion, but he regularly badmouths everyone not in his alliance.
  • Lampshaded by Erica in her cast video for "The Glass House" when she says, "I'm here to make friends - I know, weird for a Reality Show, right?" It certainly served her well - she finished in second place overall.
  • Even on Storage Wars, a show that's about buying storage lockers and doesn't eliminate anyone, Dave Hester said "I'm here to buy storage lockers, not to make friends" in the episode 'Tanks For The Memories'. The trope still held, though, as the other buyers went out of their way to prevent him from buying a locker that episode.
  • In an episode of Shark Tank (U.S. version of Dragon's Den), one of the Sharks, Kevin, actually says this when trying to get one of the businessmen to accept his pitch. "I'm not trying to make friends, Drew, I'm trying to make money. I think we should get in tune with that."
  • Used verbatim by Abby in the first episode of Strip Search. Amy's author biography on the show's website also claims that the "word on the street" is that she's not there to make friends either. The phrase is used rather often, by a variety of people, but always ironically, because they in fact are there to make friends.
  • While several contestants on RuPaul's Drag Race have had this attitude, Season 4's Lashauwn Beyond was immortalized with the line, "This is not RuPaul's Best Friend Race!" The irony is that while she was a total Sassy Black Woman with the other contestants, she would instantly turn into a Shrinking Violet in front of RuPaul and the judges, and she was the second queen eliminated despite her impressive design skills. The use of this trope on Drag Race is an extreme case of Reality Show Genre Blindness. Contestants often become friends on and go on to work together afterwards, and these collaborative efforts are always well-received by fans. And since sisterhood and community are important themes on Drag Race, queens with an "In it to win it" attitude are received poorly by the other contestants as well as viewers, meaning such a queen is only shooting herself in the foot.
  • Comes up with incredible frequency in Chopped, with at least one such chef with this attitude in about one-third of the episodes (but, curiously, never more than one at a time). Averted as far as the path this sort of contestant usually takes, as the cocky, competitive-minded chef is more often than not the winner.
  • At least once every series someone says "This is Love Island not Friend Island".

    Anime and Manga 
  • Holyland: This was Masaki's attitude back when he was a first year in the boxing club.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Spoken word for word by Shoto Todoroki after he challenges Midoriya during the Sports Festival.
      Kirishima: What's with the belligerence all of a sudden? Don't spring this on him just before—!
      Todoroki: I'm not here to play nice and make friends. But whatever.
    • In chapter 191, Hitoshi Shinso also claims he's not in the Hero class to make friends, which is immediately lampshaded by Kaminari to be just like what Todoroki said before he promptly defrosted.
  • My Dress-Up Darling: Sajuna "Juju" Inui bluntly states that she has no interest in being friends or teaming up with other cosplayers, since she only does it for herself. She only relents (somewhat) when Marin offers to help pay the studio for the photos, if only to save money for the costume she wants.

    Fan Works 
  • The Night Unfurls: Focused on the mission to bringing Olga to Celestine, this is the Hunter's attitude during his journey to the Black Fortress alongside the Black Dogs. To him, the Black Dogs would either become corpses or potential enemies, so there's no point in befriending them.

  • Violet Beauregarde in the 2005 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She doesn't actually say the line, but she still has this attitude about winning the secret prize.
  • Rogue One: While on a risky mission to the planet Jedha, Cassian pulls Jyn away from Chirrut with "We're not here to make friends."

  • Those business people who aren't with the looters in Atlas Shrugged repeatedly state in some manner that they don't care about the public good— they're running a business.
  • Occasionally used by Captain Rumford, the protagonist in the military thriller Victoria. The main example is the very blunt and direct way he handles the Cascadian government in exile. He's their ally, sure, but he doesn't like them, and doesn't care if they know it.
    "Lady, cut the crap. Nobody in this room gives a rat's ass how you or anybody else feels. We're here to make a military decision, and you've already made it more than clear that you have nothing to contribute. So let's get on with business."

    Live Action TV (Non-Reality) 
  • In a 30 Rock episode, Liz tried to get someone else to take a fall for her while a trashy reality show played in the background. At one point, both she and a contestant on the show said "I didn't come here to make friends! I came here to be number one!" in unison.
  • At the start of Season 4 on House, while House was using reality show formats to recruit his new team, Amber (Cut-throat Bitch) immediately fell into this role.
  • Spoken in the 1984 dramatisation of the cricket Bodyline controversy by Douglas Jardine.
  • The premiere of the third season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine introduces two new characters - Subcommander T'Rul from the Romulan Empire and Michael Eddington of Starfleet Security. When Commander Sisko tries to make introductions to his senior staff, T'Rul cuts him off by stating that she already knows everyone's names and then states specifically "I'm not here to make friends." Eddington then turns around and says that he is there to make friends and introduces himself. Since he turned out to be The Mole for the Maquis resistance movement, making friends was actually part of his mission.
  • ''M*A*S*H has Major Burns express this shortly after taking command of the unit and introducing widely unpopular regulations.
    Radar: They're not gonna like this.
    Frank: I didn't come here to be liked.
    Radar: You certainly came to the right place.
  • Kroll Show flips this with a skit titled "Making Friends", where the reality show prize money is contingent on the contestants becoming friends. The contestants continue to recite this trope, despite the host offering them a million dollars if they go to a lunch with the loneliest contestant (who is promptly voted off).
  • The Big Leap has Brittney and Simon, who bring this attitude into the reality show of the same name. Their mother taught them that Second Place Is for Losers, so if they don't get principal roles then they're wasting their time and ruining "the family brand". Simon soon abandons this because he's able to warm up to the rest of the cast, but Brittney takes most of the season to realize how toxic the mindset is.
  • Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls averts this trope deliberately. Lizzo is trying to encourage a sense of sisterhood in the aspiring dancers in the house. Only Jasmine butts heads with the other Grrrls and when she discloses in front of Lizzo that she has had trouble with other girls, she's eliminated.
  • Reboot (2022): Clay claims that as a former reality TV personality, Timberly must be pretty cutthroat:
    Bree: Timberly and I are friends.
    Clay: She is a reality star. She didn't come here to make friends.

  • "Insincerely Yours" by Lily Allen is all about this.
  • "Not Here to Make Friends" by Sam Smith is a subversion:
    I'm! Not here! To make friends! (Beat) I want a lover.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • When Brice is introduced to Retail as the new assistant manager, he immediately criticises the other employees for not following the rules, then says he's not there to make friends. Marla comments he's doing a great job of it. Later, when Stuart says Brice is concerned Marla doesn't like him, she replies "Interesting. He told me on his first day that he wasn't here to make friends. So which is it?"


    Video Games 
  • Take a game online. Any game. You haven't seen as many people say "I'm not here to make friends" as you would have on say, a reality game show, but this is more or less the mentality of everyone online. They're not there to make friends - they're there to win.
  • Any "Pro" or "hardcore" gaming environment. Seriously. They are not there to just have fun and make friends, they're there to compete for trophies. Let's just say, there's a reason that people who don't give a shit about trophies, statistics, ratios, etc are the ones who have the most fun.
  • PvP games tend to suffer from this a lot. Most people online have the thought process of, "I'm not here to make friends - I'm here to kill other players."
  • Even in PvE areas... "I'm not here to make friends, I'm here for loot."
  • And in Sandbox areas... "I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to build." But this is often averted; since some Sandbox games like Second Life happen to be all about the social aspect. Especially since if you're not there to make friends, good luck finding anyone to let you build on their land, server, area, whatever.
  • Inverted in Left 4 Dead, a game which is all about making Fire-Forged Friends. Four strangers are thrown into a Zombie Apocalypse, where they must cooperate or die. In case one of them turns out to be a griefer, there's a fairly-effective ban function on hand. Oh, and, the Player Characters don't know each other either.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Dilara says that she's at Cappadocia to rescue her men, not make friends when Ezio asks why she's so uncooperative.
  • In Dicey Dungeons, the Thief declares almost word-for-word that he didn't enter the dungeons to make friends in his initial selection screen quote.
  • Mass Effect 2:
    • Miranda Lawson says this to Shepard in one of their first conversations. She's only focused on the mission and doesn't trust Shepard to stay within Cerberus' goals. She becomes quite surprised later when she realizes that she did become genuine friends with Shepard. It even manages to eventually outdo her loyalty to Cerberus.
    • Shepard themselves can say as much to Thane in one conversation, justifying it that their mission is a suicide mission, with no guarantee any of them will live, so they're not going to socialize. Thane calmly states, from his personal experience, that there's no certainty they won't live to see another day, and no-one should be "an island".

    Web Comics 
  • Basic Instructions points out this is a really bad way to endear yourself to the viewers and the people you'll be working with.
  • Chainsawsuit shows the wrong reality show to say this on.
  • Mars from Nebula believes in this, saying that it doesn't matter whether or not the planets are friends with each other as long as they can do their jobs, and demands that Earth leave him alone.

    Web Videos 

    Web Original 
  • Survival of the Fittest: TV1's Sidney Rice has this mentality, and while she never actually says it, it comes up in her thought process at one point. Ironically, she ends up teaming up with Green Team despite being Yellow. TV2 takes it a step further by having this phrase literally be a thread title.

    Western Animation 
  • The Total Drama series is an animated version of Survivor-like shows, so contestants are bound to say it.
    • Heather says this word for word:
      Heather: We're not here to make friends! We're here to become celebrities.
    • Notably a few other contestants, like Leshawna and Duncan, at some point express this thought too. The thing is, they do make friends, even though they still keep their eyes on their goal. Heather is the Designated Villain because this is all she cares about.
    • She even won Total Drama World Tour (but lost the prize money) when she actually had to rely on friends!
    • Alejandro in World Tour and Scott in Revenge of the Island are just as bad as Heather, if not worse.
    • Lightning and Jo also show traces of this. When Zoey's Berserk Button is pressed one too many times, she goes into this, but gets snapped back to reality. Cameron likewise is a good aversion of this, he's there specifically to make friends.
    • Dave specifically says this in his audition video, but in this case it's for Irony—within a few episodes he's completely lost sight of winning in exchange for getting a relationship with Sky. Meaning he becomes a villain for the OPPOSITE reason of this trope.
    • Julia makes clear that she is uninterested in making friends by comparing them to zits: she doesn't have any, she doesn't want any, and she doesn't want to see people having any either.
    • When she is eliminated MK consoles herself by stating that she at least didn't make any friends.
  • While not a Reality Show or a parody thereof, this concept is presented as an obstacle in the first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Twilight Sparkle was sent to Ponyville to oversee festival preparations and to make friends. However, she makes it clear quickly that her priorities are overseeing the festival and researching the prophecy of doom she found; friendship just isn't a priority for her. Too bad no one told her the title of the show. She learns her lesson eventually.
    • Ironically, Twilight even says that "the fate of Equestria does not rest on me making friends." Well, guess what? The Mad God Nightmare Moon can only be defeated with the Elements of Harmony...which are powered by friendship.
    • Summed up by Celestia: "I told you that you needed to make some friends, nothing more. I saw the signs of Nightmare Moon's return, and I knew that it was you who had the magic inside to defeat her, but you could not unleash it until you let true friendship into your heart."
    • Throughout most of her life until she moved to Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle didn't care about meeting any other ponies, spent most of her time with her nose stuck in a book, and only played with her "big brother best friend forever" Shining Armor and her foalsitter Cadance.
    • Twilight's future student, Luster Dawn shown in the Series Finale, emotes the same brushoff towards friendship. Like Twilight before her, she eventually changes her mind.
  • Its sister show Littlest Pet Shop (2012) has had its fair share too: Episodes about reality television comes up a lot, with the accompanying personalities. In particular, the episode "Terriers & Tiaras" is a deconstruction of this trope: The Show Within a Show is dominated by the Stage Mom who exhibits this attitude. Blythe enters the competition as the idealistic, friendly sort, but the "I'm Not Here to Make Friends" competitive type rubs onto Blythe due to her constantly being surrounded by them, and by the third act, Blythe's original mindset has completely disappeared.
  • Played for Laughs in the Gravity Falls episode "Carpet Diem": In the Show Within a Show "Baby Fights", one of the babies' cooing is captioned as "I didn't come here to make friends."
  • Spoofed by OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes in the episode Let's Watch the Boxmore Show. Shannon and Raymond aren't here to make friends, Ernesto is here to make friends, and Jethro is Jethro.
  • Ready Jet Go!: In a nonreality show example, in the Christmas Episode, Sean asks Mitchell if he wants to join them, saying that "we're all friends", but Mitchell claims he "doesn't do friends". Of course, he's lying.

    Real Life 
  • Jaison in Survivor mentioned that people like this happen in real life; there's that one person in every workspace who pretty much thinks, "I'm not here to make friends - I'm here to get the job done". He also proceeds to mention that this person is pretty much disliked or only tolerated, whereas the people like Natalie who are there to make friends are the ones who're invited to get-togethers and parties. While he certainly is right in that these people certainly exist in every workspace, there are also aversions who fit into both categories; people who aren't necessarily there to make friends, but they do want to get the job done because they feel if they can at least identify with their coworkers, they can get the job better. Or people who make friends simply because they work better with people with whom they're on good terms.
  • Competitive gaming of any kinds. Such as little league - there's almost always that person who thinks, "I'm not here to make friends - I'm here to play ball."
    • Tabletop card games. "I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to play cards." And in the case of competitive gambling (e.g. poker), it's "I'm not here to make friends - I'm here for money." Normally, Slot tournaments avert this, because a lot of the time they're just there to advertise the casino in question and the people who're there are pretty much there to have fun anyways.
    • One person has joked that you can notice the people who're there to make friends are the ones who're actually having fun. The people who're there to win? They're the ones who aren't on familiar terms with everyone else and often vanishes off to their home/hotel room/whatever or go off and do whatever.
    • The issue is also more complicated than it might appear on the surface: These people who are very serious in gaming competitions usually DO have friends. It's just that these friends were made outside of competitions, and they're not interested in adding any more people to their social circles. They also might prefer to make friends outside of the competition circuit, since it avoids potentially damaging or destroying their friendships should the competition eventually turn ugly.
  • As mentioned, Serious Business is practically a sister trope to this. Make something Serious Business, and then you get these people crawling out of the woodwork left and right.
  • People on art sites: I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to show off my art.
  • Before a trial, a judge might remind you that when this is over, half the room will hate his guts, so he has no cause to act friendly.

Alternative Title(s): Not Here To Make Friends