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Informed Loner

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"For a guy who complains about being lonely, everyone seems to know him, like him, and are friends with him."
The Cinema Snob about Dan Burgess in Second Glance

A character type that has an Informed Attribute relating to whether or not that character is lonely. The reason for this is generally to invoke the Aloof Ally trope or one closely related to it. The idea is simple - aloof, lonely people are different than us, with different values and ways of looking at the world, caused in part by their stunted ability to engage in emotional interaction with others. So having one in a story creates obvious Character Development issues and conflicts, which in turn can make a story more interesting.

The problem with this trope is that it's difficult to write dialogue for loners, well, because they're alone. So by definition, they shouldn't really be acting gabby all the time. Bear in mind, of course, that not all loners are recluses. Some are the type that can feel lonely even in a crowd. But even in that case how much of a "loner" they can really be comes into question if they're initiating half the conversations they take part in and lack any form of social awkwardness.

Note that even if the information comes from characters' talking, Infallible Babble ensures that it's never a case that they are misinformed, or spiteful. All the characters take his "loner" status seriously in the total absence of any evidence of it.

Not to be confused with Ineffectual Loner. For a loner who's more informed than others, try Intelligence Equals Isolation.

Compare Cool Loser and Allegedly Dateless.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 7 Seeds has Hana think to herself that she has always been somewhat of a loner and having difficulty making friends, because she tends to easily get into fights with people. This comes dozens of chapters after we have been told about her happy relationship with her boyfriend and have seen that everyone in her Team, along with several people in the other Teams, have really grown fond of her, with at least two guys having fallen in love with her and Hana was often seen with Fujiko and Chisa together.
  • Lampshaded in Bakemonogatari. Paraphrased:
    "Aren't you the kind of guy with no friends?"
    "Yeah, I used to be but there was sort of a paradigm shift last spring."
    • Justified in the light novels in that he actually was alone, saying things like "Friends lower your value as a human" with a straight face. Hanekawa was the first to actually acknowledge him after he accidentally saw her panties, and they became definite friends after "the vampire incident."
    • Owarimonogatari offers more justification, as Koyomi was shown to be Childhood Friends with Sodachi Oikura. However, she was framed for a test cheating incident, where he tried to speak up for her but was ignored even though he knew she couldn't have done it. Seeing her being forced to move away with her reputation in tatters while the real culprit got away with it scot-free led him to become a misanthrope until he ended up meeting Hanekawa.
  • Kyoya from Beyblade: Metal Fusion often refers to himself as an "independent lone lion", but was introduced as the leader of a one hundred blader team in Fusion and almost always has Benkei at his side. In Masters, he becomes the leader of another team to compete in the Beyblade World Championship and spends half of Metal Fury traveling with Gingka and the others in search of Legender Bladers. Even when he separates from them, Tithi and Yu eventually take their place as his travel companions. Aguma even calls him out on this at one point.
    Aguma: Your determination? That's funny. It's funny because I always see you with Gingka and the rest of that little playgroup of yours.
    Kyoya: *scoffs* Playgroup?
    Auguma: What part of being in a playgroup speaks about your determination? No matter how much you deny it, you're just a sheep in the flock. Isn't that right?
  • From his frequent internal monologues, you would think Hachiman Hikigaya of My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu is a completely friendless person who is as repulsive to others as they are to him. However, he's shown in practice to be fairly socially apt and gathers a circle of friends (most of them girls who also seem to have crushes on him) in short time. Some, like Hayama, Yui, and Saika can be excused because they're friendly with everyone, but even more abrasive characters like Yukino, Saki, Yumiko, his teacher take an eventual liking to him, and Iroha ends up idolizing him before they even met due to his reputation, a far cry from the loathed social outcast he frequently refers to himself as. By the end of the series it's pretty clear that the only thing holding Hachiman back from being a social butterfly is his own self-defeatist, cynical attitude.
  • The titular character of Naruto has a Friendless Background due to having the Nine-Tails Fox sealed inside him. He suffered ostracization due to this, with his loud, Class Clown image not helping him around the other kids who didn't know of his secret. Despite this, Naruto has several flashbacks showing that he lazed off with Shikamaru, Kiba, and Chouji while going to the ninja academy. They may not have been close friends yet, but they at least bonded well enough. However, many of those flashbacks were Filler, so how much of it is actually canon is still left up in the air.
  • Played with in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Madoka claims that she feels lonely at times due to thinking that she is weak and useless, but the anime clearly shows that it's all in her head as she has a loving family and caring friends.
  • Being a deconstruction of the Fighting Series Played for Laughs, Ramen Fighter Miki deconstructs this trope with Megumi, who sincerely believes she has no friends even when she hangs out with her Limited Social Circle. Fridge Brilliance when you realize that Megumi is The Bully/School Yard Bully All Grown Up, and her definition of friend is: someone who Megumi can manipulate into beating Miki. Since nobody wants to do that, Megumi feels she has no friends.
  • For people who repeatedly say they only have friends because of the main character, the cast of Sailor Moon sure know a lot of Victims Of The Week from early childhood...though these victims were only created for the 90's anime in order to provide Filler, and in the manga there are much stronger indications that many of the Sailor Senshi were loners before meeting Usagi.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • For a guy who is torn by emotional isolation living eternally in the darkness, the guy has a ridiculously long character page full of his constant allies. This is hardly even mentioning that his relationship with Robin was so close during the Silver Age that you didn't need to be part of a censor board to interpret some Ho Yay going on there.
    • In fact, the Bat-Family is probably the largest in the DCU. There's at least currently a Batman, a Robin, a Nightwing, a Red Robin, a Red Hood, Catwoman, Batgirl, Batwoman, Orphan, Spoiler, Duke Thomas, and Alfred in this loner's gang. And that's just the central Bat-Family, never mind the other, wider Bat-Family which includes an army of Batmen from around the world!
      • This ends up being discussed in Detective Comics (Rebirth), as Tim Drake states that he envisions the "Gotham Knights" as an emotional support network for Batman, as his mental state is fragile enough without being isolated from others on top of it.
    • For 17 years, this supposed loner starred in a book whose premise was to team him up with everyone else in the DC Universe (which later received an animated adaptation). Now with Batman Incorporated (loads and loads of Batmen!), the writers might as well stop kidding themselves. Ever since Grant Morrison started writing Batman regularly, they have. Bruce even specifically calls himself out on it.
      Batman: The first truth of Batman... It had to be one I don't like to admit. The gunshots left me alone. For years I was alone in the echoing dark of that well. But something else defined the exact moment Batman was born. The first truth of Batman... The saving grace. I was never alone.
    • One Superman/Batman story parodied this when two children argued about which hero was cooler. Both agreed that neither hero had much use for the Justice League; Superman, because he's more powerful than the rest of the League combined, and Batman because he's a loner, except when he's working with his own sidekicks and the Outsiders. Even children in-universe don't buy Batman's "loner" act.
    • Spoofed in Batman: Black and White, in the comedic "Batsman: Swarming Scourge of the Underworld". The main running gag of the story is that Batsman, while proclaiming himself a loner, can't get a minute to himself without being pestered by one of his allies. At one point, he's on a solitary vigil when all his various sidekicks and associates show up one by one to tell him they saw the Bat-signal and want to help, and their combined weight causes the gargoyle he's lurking on to break free and plummet to the ground.
  • Wolverine claims to be a loner, and does honestly seem to attempt to do so, but his track record seems to prove otherwise. To a degree it works for Wolverine; by temperament he'd be a drifting Knight Errant in Sour Armor, which involves lots of helping people and then leaving and not seeing them again for several decades. In a slightly different genre he'd very reasonably say But Now I Must Go. Look at that trope page; fully half the links in the description apply to him. (For example, until he regained his memories, his Journey to Find Oneself was a big part of his character.) All that being said, it becomes ridiculous to call Wolverine a loner when he is officially a member of three superhero teams at once, due to his publicity. Being a loner is in character, but the Marketing department wins, especially in a Shared Universe. He also has had a girl sidekick following him around for most of the past thirty years. (Shadowcat, Jubilee, Armor...)
    • Even when he finally got his first ongoing solo title, the first thing he did was set up shop and establish a supporting cast of friends and helpers. At least some of them were willing to honor his illusion of being a loner by not acknowledging they knew "Patch" was Wolverine.

    Comic Strips 
  • Charlie Brown in Peanuts goes in and out of this - everyone supposedly hates him, yet he seems to hang around with people like Linus, Lucy, and Schroeder a lot. In this case this was probably at least a little deliberate—Charlie Brown is more insecure than a loner. His insecurities just lead him to feel lonely and Lucy's verbal abuse can't help. In the earliest strips, the other characters are in fact shockingly cruel to Charlie Brown. (The first has him literally just walking by, and Shermy saying "Good ol' Charlie Brown. How I hate him!") This motif is softened over time.

    Fan Works 
  • I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC parodies this in regards to Batman in Sh*t Batman Says, in which the title character starts to make a big deal about working alone... and immediately afterwards thanks Alfred, Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin, and the Justice League for their help.
  • DC: United We Stand: After the events of Infinite Crisis, Batman has more or less shed this. He still patrols by himself a lot, but he no longer considers himself to be a loner.

    Films — Animation 
  • The LEGO Batman Movie, among pretty much everything else, mercilessly prods Batman's alleged loner...ness (see comic books, above) by making Batman an overly compensating jerk who tries way too hard to make everyone around him think he's the coolest thing around when really he's desperately lonely and has No Social Skills. He gets better in the end.
  • Quest for Camelot: Garrett gets an entire song titled "I Stand Alone" about how he does everything by himself, and doesn't want Kaley's help. Not only does he let her tag along as soon as it's over, he already has a sidekick in Aidan the bird.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: For someone always looking out for his own interests, Han Solo has what seems to be quite a close (if vitriolic) friendship with Chewie, and a whole entourage by the end of A New Hope. In fact, part of the reason Chewbacca was created is because they needed someone for Han to talk to when he was off on his "own", as Inner Monologue wouldn't fit with the film's style and having him talk to himself would just be weird. This is also the reason why Chewie can't talk, at least not in a dialect the audience can understand — he's just there to be a soundboard for Han.
  • Invoked in Pee-wee's Big Adventure, when Pee-wee tries to brush his would-be girlfriend off by claiming to be a loner, in spite of having hordes of friends.
  • In James and the Giant Peach Miss Spider claims to not know what it's like to have friends, as it's "in the other bugs nature to fear her". Despite this, she's clearly Not So Above It All: she's never shy about joining in on the fun or singing and dancing with them, and said bugs never seem to show even a hint of fear around her.
  • The Cable Guy has a weird case. The eponymous crazy cable installer, Chip, stalks his client Steven because he's "really lonely". Before that (while the two are still on good terms), Chip gets a ton of guests for a wild karaoke party. Doesn't sound too lonely... but to Chip, it's deeper than that: Steven was kind to him as soon as they met, unlike others, who just used him for free cable.

  • Death from Discworld, who's got his own supporting cast. He actually rather likes people; his loner status is more a natural function of his job than a personal preference.
  • Bella from Twilight spends the first two chapters whining about how no-one would ever like her and how she has never had any friends. She spends every other chapter whining about how people just won't leave her alone. And from the moment she sits down in school (her literal first class), she starts making friends with no effort on her part and boys start asking her out. There is a hand wave that she didn't fit in among tanned blonde beauties in Phoenix, but she's seen as exotic in a small town like Forks.
  • In The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign, Isabelle likens Kyousuke to a baby, with little empathy or object permanence: he makes friends easily but the fact that they are friends doesn't quite register in his mind due to his Dark and Troubled Past.
    Isabelle: I don't think he knows how to maintain a connection with other people. Not even a small-sized amount. Whether you're talking about a parent, a sibling, a friend, or a lover, he does not think the connections between people can or should ever change. [] And at the same time, he does not think 'merely' saving someone can create such powerful bonds. Yes, he does not think even that can change things. So when the incident is over, he always severs his contract with the vessel and irresponsibly returns them to the world they left behind.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played with the title character of House. While he is often curmudgeonly and rude (particularly to patients), he also seems equally unable to function unless there's people nearby who he can make rude comments to. In episodes where he's deprived of his team, he is shown to be struggling without them. He refuses to admit this, even when he resorts to asking a janitor to help out on a differential diagnosis and dealing with families in his stead. (Who's he? Oh, uh, Dr... Buffer.)
  • In an early episode of Lost, Kate gives Sawyer some advice, starting with the words: "from one island outcast to another..." Kate practically runs the island, and has relationships with all the major characters. It doesn't help that all of the backstory shown for her doesn't seem to line up with her personality, motivations, etc. Whereas many of the other characters (Locke, Sawyer, Jin) become more understandable and sympathetic once you know their histories, her history is a complete mess of motivations and doesn't really connect the dots well with the way she acts in the present.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Tenth Doctor had elements of this. He had loads of friends, allies, acquaintances, etc., who all love him dearly, but chose to wangst instead of say, stopping by for tea now and again. Lampshaded by Sarah Jane in "Journey's End":
      Sarah Jane: You know, you act like such a lonely man but look at you! You've got the biggest family on Earth!
    • One of the Fourth Doctor's gimmicks is that he's more of a loner than the other Doctors, but in practice this is mostly demonstrated with the occasional bout of Jerkass or Stay in the Kitchen behavior when the writers remember he's supposed to be like this, and he takes on companions just as readily as any other Doctor (though in "Logopolis" he complained he never actually chose any of them).
  • In Gilmore Girls Rory is initially portrayed as an awkward teenager who is more interested in books than people... too bad every person she meets instantly adores her and falls at her feet. (To the point she even gets elected student body president despite being a so-called geek.).
  • An amusing example in NCIS: Los Angeles. Paris, an agent, claims to work alone. She works with a tight-knit team whom she literally lives with in a pair of huge trucks.
  • In the series four finale of Merlin, Arthur goes after Merlin and tells him: "you're the only friend I've got." Except for Gwen, who's travelling with them. And Hunith, whose house he recovered from his injuries in. And the Knights of the Round Table, who are currently trying to make their way back to him. And Tristan and Isolde, both about to thrown in their lot with him. And Gaius, back in Camelot.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Angel. Partly justified in that he did spend many, many years alone and isolated off-screen, but he always had Buffy in the first series, and on his own show he seemed entirely comfortable having Cordelia, Wesley and the others around at all times — he might have been reserved and occasionally unemotional, but he regularly joked around with them and went out socializing with them. There was the brief exception when he kicked everyone out in season two, but that went badly to say the least.
    • The Slayers themselves. They are supposed to be entirely divorced from the world, yet they always have a Watcher to guide and help them, and we know at least several have maintained family connections as well.
    • Subverted with Buffy; she can occasionally feel like a loner, but being truly isolated is one of her greatest fears, and many foes have acknowledged that having family and friends around made her much more dangerous.

  • The Lone Ranger: Despite the name, the titular character of this series and all subsequent adaptations is usually accompanied by his sidekick, Tonto.

    Video Games 
  • In Dota 2, the Lone Druid is one of the least lonely heroes in the game, despite his name, as his signature skill is Summon Spirit Bear, which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin, summoning a bear familiar to his side. The bear is even forced to stay in close proximity to him, since it can't attack unless the Lone Druid is nearby (or if it has Aghanim's Scepter). And that's without getting into the fact that the gameplay of a MOBA means you have to cooperate with four other people.
  • Fallout 3: The Player Character's Canon Identifier is "the Lone Wanderer", which they're described as even if the player chooses to travel with a companion the entire game.
  • Captain Falcon of F-Zero is a man shrouded in mystery, cast away from the common eye for their own safety. And yet, there he is, trying to enjoy a drink at a bar in Mute City (Chapter 3 of GX's Story Mode) in the company of half of the cast. Another racer(Jack Levin) even toasts to him like they're good pals.
  • In Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town, when you're introduced to Doug and Ann, Doug expresses hope that you'll be friends with his daughter, Ann, since she doesn't really have any friends and is lonely. But during the normal course of the game, you'll see her hanging out at the hot springs every morning, with Popuri. Does Popuri not count?
  • Duke Evans from Harvest Town inverts this. His bio describes him as a popular playboy who can easily win other people's affections thanks to his social expertise. However, he's almost always seen hanging out by himself when he's not working, spending most of his time either in the secluded corner near the school yard, the beach, the library, or his room. He never interacts with the other townspeople during parties and events either, being too busy performing as a musician. In fact, one of the few regular interactions he used to have with Jessie Morris is removed after an update.
  • Noire in later games in the Neptunia series. She constantly hangs out with the other CPUs when she's not busy, but she's also referred to as a loner by many characters. In actuality, it's not that she's a loner, but that she's constantly lonely if she's not around someone and isn't distracted by her work.
  • Raven in Rune Factory 3 tells you that she doesn't have any friends because she is afraid that her "curse" will make them disappear. However, on every Holiday and Festival you see her walking around with Karina and Sofia. One of her heart events will acknowledge this: She makes gifts for Karina and Sofia, thanking them for being her friends. They both express surprise this was ever in question.
  • This was one of the many criticisms of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. The story is supposed to be about Sonic developing from an Ineffectual Loner to one who respects The Power of Friendship, but he spends the whole game with Tails, Knuckles and Amy from the beginning and has no problems working with them.
  • Ashley's theme in the WarioWare series includes the phrase "I don't have as many friends as you". But as Supper Mario Broth explains, WarioWare Gold clearly shows her to have at least 9 friends — according to polls, this is above average for most age groups.

    Visual Novels 
  • Lilly gently rebukes Hisao in one conversation in Katawa Shoujo on her route.
    Hisao: To tell the truth, though, I do prefer solitude to being surrounded by others. I don't think I could maintain a social circle like you do.
    Lilly: I don't think that's true either. I've seen how gentle and caring you are around Hanako, and you get along marvellously well with others, even those whom you hardly know. I think you're quite adept at social situations.
  • Early in Little Busters!, Riki says that he feels uncomfortable in large crowds and prefers to be where it's quiet. This never comes up again, despite him spending large portions of the game surrounded by the other 10 main characters, many of whom are very loud.

    Web Animation 
  • Dangeresque from Homestar Runner works alone, except when he works with Renaldo. Which is all the time. To add to the issue, the chronologically first film had him gain a partner in Dangeresque Too, he has an on-again off-again "romance" with Cutesy Buttons, and the Christmas special had him team up with Firebert and happily share a party with the Cheat Commandoes. There's never been a point in the series where he was actually working alone.

  • In Wapsi Square Monica has an episode where she wonders if she is a social misfit until she meets someone who truly doesn't have any social life, and she ends up giggling over herself.
  • Davan of Something*Positive is the kind of misanthrope you would expect this of... except he has a sprawling group of friends, both close and distant, which grows and changes over time. Even Mike managed to get a lot of new friends thanks to his Jerk Face Turn.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The titular character of Daria, despite appearing to be an isolated loner, is actually on good speaking relationships with most of the other characters in her class, interacting with them fairly often. Granted, she tends to do so in a fairly ironic way. At the same time, Daria does try to avoid interacting with most of them; usually they track her down for some reason, or events force her into human interaction. To some extent, this seems to be a result of her actively avoiding socialisation unless absolutely necessary or among her few friends; she's considered "safe" amid the minefield of high school drama, and somewhat respected for her apparent wisdom. Possibly overlapping with Ineffectual Loner in a social sense.
  • Darkwing Duck: The title character tries to pull off being a loner at times, but it's a bit hollow given that he has Morgana, Launchpad, and Gosalyn around, as well as being a member of the Justice Ducks.