Common sense dictates that it never pays to judge someone too quickly, jump to conclusions, or condemn someone without hearing the whole story. In the world of fiction, however, many characters are not only guilty of all of the above, but feel no remorse for it whatsoever, even when it results in serious emotional damage.
For example, here's a quick quiz: It's your birthday, and you have told your boyfriend/girlfriend/other loved one exactly what you would like as a present to mark the occasion. You walk into the living room and find your gift... which has been broken/ripped into a million little pieces, although someone has clearly been making a valiant effort to repair it. Moreover, it's the wrong color. As you're staring at it, your Loved One stumbles in from the kitchen. They have their arm in a sling, their jeans have been ripped by something that clearly has sharp teeth, and they don't seem to have noticed that their hair is on fire. Seeing you, they offer a lopsided smile, and a tired if hopeful "Happy birthday."
- a) Ask "what the heck happened to you?" as you reach for the fire extinguisher or fire blanket?
- b) Tearfully hug them in an attempt to soothe their distress (trying to avoid being set alight yourself)?
- c) Throw a hissy fit at their failure to secure the correct colour of gift, rant and rave at their clumsiness in breaking it, then toss them out of the house before they set off the sprinklers?
Most of us of (relatively) sound mind would choose (a) — the softer hearted (or fireproof) among us might choose (b). For some reason, though, an awful lot of characters in fiction prefer (c), throwing a tantrum or launching into a lecture when there really weren't any grounds for one.
It's as if they've suffered a complete empathy failure. Anyone can tell that The Hero has had a hard time. They've got the scars to prove it. At the very least, any onlooker's sense of curiosity should wake up for long enough to ask "Why is there a piranha attached to your thigh?" Moreover, basic human decency would dictate that we cut them some slack when they're clearly in pain, at least for long enough to figure out the whole story.
More bewildering is when the friend/onlooker knows exactly what the hero's been through, because they were there too. They know that Diabolus ex Machina has been rather busy in the hero's social circle, and that his buddy Deus Angst Machina covered a couple of Diabolus' shifts for him when he had the cold. Yet still they show absolutely no mercy, demanding that the hero "pull himself together" or "get over it!" So much for friendship.
A variant of this trope is a character type who is blind to the suffering of others. Not in the active, thoughtlessly cruel way of Comedic Sociopathy, but just completely unable to appreciate the pain or distress of other people. If anyone "fails" them, there will be hell to pay, no matter how much effort went into fulfilling their orders. Generally, this is a personality trait of more cynical characters, such as The Stoic. Some Tsundere types sport it as well, although in this case they'll probably be called on it. In both cases, the writer usually makes it clear that the "problem" is on the side of the character with no sympathy, not on the side of whoever is unfortunate enough to cross them.
This is an odd trope; although often seen in comedies, it's not always comedic as far as the audience is concerned, and can be a real sucker punch if the protagonist undergoes tremendous hardship only to have his friends berate him.
A Kafka Komedy often invokes this trope. Comedic Sociopathy is its demented sibling. Sometimes No Sympathy can be justified if the characters are young, since younger people are expected to be more self-centered and less empathic than adults... although, having said that, this may be extremely unfair to young people. It might also be justified if the recipient is the Asshole Victim since, let's face it, it's kind of hard to sympathize with them to begin with.
Compare Ungrateful Bastard. If a character is deliberately stated to be incapable of sympathizing with the feelings or viewpoints of others, that's Lack of Empathy. For when nobody seems to find women enacting random violence towards men for non-existent reasons at all unusual see Unprovoked Pervert Payback. "Rashomon"-Style shows frequently have contrasting examples of this: someone who got hurt will usually report callousness and lack of sympathy from the other characters, while each one describes him or herself as the one who acted most effectively and compassionately to the injury. For a fitting Stock Phrase regarding this trope, it's Quit Your Whining. For the audience version, see Angst Dissonance. If this sort of attitude is aimed at characters who hold a grievance, then it's No Sympathy for Grudgeholders.
A character who displays this trope can be and often is turned into The Scrappy, as audiences hate them for being nasty and spiteful pricks to people who've usually suffered enough to become The Woobie. This is the central conceit of the Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist - the audience enjoys seeing them suffer because they usually deserve it.
Examples of plot-related No Sympathy
- In Eureka Seven, 14-year-old Renton's undying loyalty to the crew of the Gecko State is rewarded with a humiliating fake mission staged for their amusement. Told that it was of 'paramount importance', Renton doesn't even realize he's being mocked. As the 'mission' starts to fall apart, so does he. In tears, berating himself for his uselessness, the crew watches via secret camera as he delivers a lengthy speech about his admiration for them all, his happiness at being given this critical mission, and above all, his trust in them. They stare, wide eyed, at the screen... and burst into laughter at how idiotic he is. Then they make the mission objectives more ridiculous, photograph him at the most humiliating point of his life, and publicize it on the cover of a globally read magazine. The entire mission is recorded. And shown to his girlfriend. It's actually meant to be amusing. It's not.
- And, for the record, Holland himself watches the video. The last words of the episode are him muttering to himself "I am so uncool."
- In Nyan Koi!, the hero suffers from a bad cat allergy. His mother and sister know quite well that he's allergic to cats. They respond by sending their cat in to wake him up in the morning, having the cat sit and eat at the table with him, and complaining that everyone else in the family loves cats, as if his condition that could produce a deadly reaction was a matter of personal taste. No matter how much he clearly suffers, they continue to treat him as if he's just whining.
- Tends to happen in Slayers, usually to anyone who isn't named Lina - she's generally the instigator. The most extreme cases range from Comedic Sociopathy (using the chimeric Zelgadis as a boat anchor to catch a dragon in a lake, where he nearly drowns, gets hurt, and nearly eaten) to Kafka Komedy (using Princess Amelia as a bride for fish bait in order to survive on an island in a radio drama; before that she nearly died in the ocean, and in another drama Lina shows no concern for Amelia when she shoves her in a barrel to hide and forgets that she is drowning in a sewer) to genuinely sad moments (neither Lina or Zelgadis show care when Sylphiel's father is killed or when Amelia's father is thought to have been assassinated).
- Hoo, man, Shitsurakuen. The manga is based around insanely abusive boys with equally insane superiority complexes. It's actually a bit difficult to read, simply because a good amount are Karma Houdinis.
- Played for Drama in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Fate Testarossa, only 9 years old, is told to collect magical artifacts of untold power by her mother, Precia. She throws herself at the task with reckless abandon, exhausting and injuring herself to dangerous levels. Her mother responds by whipping her until she collapses, furious at how slowly Fate's progress has been. It gets worse. When it's found out that Fate is just a clone, Precia says something to the effect of "That's right. You're nothing but a fake. I never loved you once. I despise you." Fate STILL forgives her, and says that even if she's hated, she'll still protect her mother. Her mother smiles, and replies "How stupid."
- Anime boyfriends seem prone to this, accusing their girlfriends of being "stupid" or "reckless" when it's clear that said girlfriend was trying to help them out. Bikky does this to Carol in FAKE, Rei does it to Kira in MARS, and the whole Host Club do it to Haruhi when she tries to rescue someone from bullies. Often, this ties in with the advice to Stay in the Kitchen, and can result in Values Dissonance.
- It's somewhat justified in the Host Club's case. They weren't scolding Haruhi because she tried to rescue someone, they were scolding her because she tried to rescue someone by herself, with no regard for her own safety and no-one to help her if she got in trouble, even though they were all just down the beach and could easily have been called in as backup.
- And it also happens the other way around, with girlfriends accusing the guys of "perverts" and "the worst" and never letting that go regardless of how many kind moments they have and how much they prove to be nice persons after all. See Unprovoked Pervert Payback.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Kenshin gets wounded in battle, and Kaoru yells at him for getting blood on her favorite scarf, which he happened to be wearing (never mind that the reason he was fighting in the first place was to keep his opponent from killing her, and she forced him to take it even though he didn't want to). For further clarification, during battles she worries very much about Kenshin, even at the risk of her own life. It's only after the battles are over and the dust has begun to settle that she fulfills this trope.
- In Sora Wo Kakeru Shoujo, Nami's depressed state of mind is not helped by her family's complete lack of love and sympathy. Her sisters practically kick her around as some scurvy dog and don't even once wonder why she acts the way she does.
- Turned by her brainwashed older sister Takane, no less, who actually does care about her—somewhat, anyway. Takane recovers, beats the crap out of Nami and leaves her to die. None of Nami's relatives seem particularly concerned about what happens to her afterward. That's rough treatment for anyone.
- Wolfram in Kyo Kara Maoh! is always on Yuri's case, accusing Yuri of cheating on him in situations where Yuri was just being polite/trying to avoid death. However, a case could be made that Yuri (among others) is equally insensitive to Wolfram's feelings; Wolfram is often accused of being a brat in scenarios where he was genuinely trying to do something positive.
- Ash occasionally gets this in Pokémon, especially when Misty was traveling with him. Examples:
- "Ignorance Is Blissey", in which he is the victim of a very clumsy Blissey multiple times, to the point where he needs to be treated by Nurse Joy, and when he comments that he never did get supper, both Misty and Brock jump down his throat, though the fact that they didn't get to eat as well may have made them a little testy.
- Another example happens much early when Ash is right on the verge of capturing a Weedle when he is rudely interrupted by a Samurai, who demands that they have a Pokémon match. During said match, the Weedle manages to escape back into its tree and alert the Beedrill, who capture Ash's Metapod. The Samurai berates Ash for making excuses and not finishing what he started, even though the Samurai was the one who got them into that mess, because of his inability to wait a few seconds for Ash to finish capturing the Weedle.
- Another notorious example happens when Ash loses the Indigo Plateau League. Not because he was defeated, but because his final Pokémon, Charizard, was lazy and refused to follow commands. Not only that but the only reason he had Charizard on him and was forced to use it was because Team Rocket kidnapped him, made him wear down his team escaping and exhaust his Pidgeotto flying back. When he does arrive the referee demands the match begin immediately, not even asking why he's late, let alone why he's arriving in such a weird manner and gives him no chance to swap out his two useless Pokémon for Kingler, Muk or Tauros. When Ash sinks into depression afterwards everyone berated Ash for feeling sorry for himself when he had every right to be disappointed since he worked so hard to get in the League, only to have it snatched away via Diabolus ex Machina and the ineptitude of the referee (ie, declaring a Pokémon unable to battle after being afflicted by sleep, a decision that has never been made at any other time).
- Another example (This happened to Ash a lot, didn't it?) was in the very second episode when Ash carried an injured Pikachu to Viridian City's Pokémon Center. The Nurse Joy of the center angrily berates Ash for his supposed reckless care of Pikachu, completely unaware that Pikachu had been the one treating Ash poorly and refused to stay inside the Pokéball, or that they were attacked by a flock Spearow which Pikachu fended off.
- And what about the time they found Togepi's egg? No matter if Brock was the more experienced in raising Pokémon; what rights did he have to snatch the egg from Ash's hands the way he did and then run off with it? Worse, Misty gleefully supported it, and then she has the luck of Togepi seeing her first as soon as it hatches.
- Anatolia Story plays with this, having Yuri think this is the case when the news of Ursula's death reaches her and Kail and everyone but Yuri immediately starts to do important things, like stopping Nakia's private army from continuing to infiltrate the Hadi sisters' home town. Truth is that they are all sad and grieving, especially Kash, they just decide to force on the more important, and still imminent, threats instead of breaking down into tears like Yuri did in schock. This is coupled with Deliberate Values Dissonance and lampshaded by Yuri and Kash later.
- Hot Gimmick: Hatsumi gets this a lot from her boyfriend Ryoki. In one scene shortly after she had her heart broken and was almost raped he berates her for crying about it, comes on to her too strong and forcibly kisses her despite her protests.
- In Kitchen Princess, the main character, Najika, gets no sympathy from anyone except the two lead males and a cafe owner when she arrives at her new school, the entire student body apparently having their ability to empathise surgically removed. Of course, this is to establish her as a Plucky Girl, but the students' levels of empathy continue to seesaw throughout the series.
- In Tail of the Moon, Usagi is feeling rather depressed, as she's just learned Hanzo used to be engaged to Sara. Not only that, Sara and Hanzou have just split up over Hanzou's flirtatiousness, and Usagi feels responsible as Hanzou was helping her when he argued with Sara. Hanzo sees that she isn't training, and even though he can see she's got something on her mind, he proceeds to throw her put of the village and lock her out, refusing to let her in even though Sara and several others protest. When he finally does go to let Usagi in, it's started raining and she's heading back to her village. She's still upset when he catches up with her, but he never apologizes even when she does return to his village.
- This happens disturbingly often in Hell Girl. At least early on in the show, the clients end up sending the target to hell out of sheer desperation since they believe otherwise the target will get away with murder. Why do they believe this? Because for some bizarre reason, the Japanese (as depicted in this show) are very quick to make pariahs out of people and assume the absolute worst about the client, turning on their supposed loved ones, friends, or acquaintances at the drop of a hat.
- Episode 1's client got photographed in town with a man? Everyone's first assumption is that she's a slut who deserves to be screamed at without being given a chance to explain herself.
- Episode 3's target manages to create the mere suspicion that the client is the one who murdered his friends? Everyone in town, including the client's family, automatically assumes the client is guilty with no more evidence than that, and the client is forced to run away from town in order to avoid being arrested for a crime he didn't commit.
- Episode 6's client's mother got raped as part of a blackmail scheme by the target to shut the client's mother up about the adultery the latter witnessed? The client's father's first assumption is that his wife was cheating on him, and he starts screaming at her about it without giving her a chance to explain.
- Episode 11's client's father is framed for murder by an editor? The client is punished for his father's supposed mistakes by losing his home and his money and basically everything required to function in society, and his friends treat him as a loser the second he no longer has money. For a show that hammers home the futility of holding grudges and angry feelings in one's heart, the Japanese (as depicted in this show) sure seem quick to point fingers and hold others up as shameful pariahs at the slightest provocation.
- Love Hina: This is one of the many things that happens to Keitaro PER EPISODE. Almost everyone refuses to listen to him in favor of believing he's some kind of lecherous asshole. He needs a hug, badly.
- Kotoura-san: It's almost comical how fast nearly everybody writes off Haruka as a monster after they find out she has telepathy. Other then the ESP club, people don't even show any curiosity about her powers!
- At the end of the Saiyan Saga in Dragon Ball Z Chi-Chi refuses to speak or even acknowledge Goku's existence despite him having every bone in his body broken. Even before then, she jumped over Goku to get to Gohan and ignored Krillin when he pointed out that Goku was badly hurt. Her justification, it was Goku's fault that Gohan was in battle and hurt. This is ignoring that Goku was dead for almost a year and it was Piccolo who trained Gohan without his knowledge. When he did get to the battlefield, he told Gohan to stay back and then sent Krillin and him away, wanting to fight Vegeta alone. Gohan returned to fight on his own and Goku only told Gohan to fight since he couldn't move anymore. So, she's blaming Goku for stuff he had no control of. She was called out on this by several characters. Despite this being Played for Laughs, it's so jarring and completely unfunny.note
- Bulma also qualifies during the original series. She usually shows little to no sympathy for others, unless it concerns her.
- Vegeta gets this from Krillin during the Cell Saga after he gets his ass kicked by Perfect Cell, and in this case, it's completely justified, since Vegeta deliberately helped Cell become perfect for the sake of a good fight, arrogantly assuming he could easily beat Cell no matter how strong he got. Krillin only decides to help Vegeta out for Trunks' sake, openly saying that he wouldn't care if Vegeta died, and as far as he's concerned, he deserves to be killed for being such an idiot.
- Played for Laughs in Black Lagoon during the Greenback Jane arc. Jane has a massive case of It's All About Me going on and is offered no sympathy over her problems. When she explains why a Florida cartel is chasing her (namely that she bailed on them after going massively over budget and past the deadline after being hired as a counterfeiter), everyone agrees that the whole situation is her fault.
- Poor Donald Duck. This trope is a big factor in making him The Chew Toy. Girlfriend Daisy is particularly prone to empathy failure. No matter what catastrophe befalls her beau, Daisy won't bother to staunch the bleeding before she sets in with a vicious rant-a-thon.
- After Uncle Scrooge was accidentally pulled through a clothes shop by a hoverbike-thing gone mad, screaming in fear, he was arrested by the police because he got a few pieces of clothes stuck to him and people assumed he stole them.
- Peter Parker is often the recipient of this kind of attitude. Of course, from the perspective of the characters who usually demonstrate this attitude towards him, Peter is flaky, unreliable and possesses almost no sense of responsibility; the audience, of course, are more than aware of the real reasons why Peter acts this way, thus making it particularly painful and unfair for him to be condemned for his behavior when he can't actually reveal the real reasons for it in his own defense.
- To make matters worse, he also gets it as Spider-Man as well; his motivations and actions are often genuinely noble, but the prevailing All of the Other Reindeer mood of the Marvel Universe (helped, of course, by J. Jonah Jameson's obsessive vendetta against him - and since Jonah owns and publishes a newspaper, it's not exactly difficult for him to get his viewpoint wide distribution) means that he's constantly subject to widespread public criticism, condemnation and fear, and even blatant acts of heroism on his part will usually trigger a loud public outcry accusing him of being a public menace. They get him coming and going.
- In the "Homeschooling" arc of Runaways, an accident results in the team's house getting wrecked and Klara and Old Lace getting buried under rubble. Old Lace dies, while Klara lives and is mostly unharmed, but is so terrified that she loses control of her powers and floods the house with hostile plant life, preventing her teammates from leaving. On top of that, the accident has attracted the attention of a paramilitary unit. In spite of the fact that the team's survival actually depends upon getting Klara to calm down, Chase does nothing except yell at and threaten her... because she won't stop crying about the fact that he's yelling and threatening her.
- Over the course of My Immortal, Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way feels little sympathy towards her own boyfriend Draco, often making completely absurd explanations for situations in which he suffers.
- Advice and Trust: Ritsuko has zero sympathy or compassion for the pilots and their plight. In chapter 6 she shows she doesn't care at all for their reactions to a possibly upsetting situation:
Ritsuko coolly went back to her typing. "We need Children like this, in order for us all to survive. They'll deal with it or they won't."
Misato half-glared at her. "Your compassion is heartwarming, Doctor! I'm the one who has to tell them about this!"
- In Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide, Dr. Ritsuko Akagi doesn't care at all about the pain she's put the pilots through.
- Scar Tissue: Asuka has little sympathy for people target her and Shinji in the post-apocalyptic world, saying that she made her best and fought to the end to prevent it -even if she was fighting for herself-, and anyone can return if he or she has the will for it. Therefore: You beloved person has not come back from the Sea yet? No her fault and no her problem.
- Thousand Shinji: Shinji is very empathic, but he has very little sympathy. He can understand other people's troubles but he does not usually give a damn about them, and he has little sympathy for those that whine about their troubles but make nothing to fix them.
- Epic: The Third Survivor: In chapter 12, it's stated outright in the narration that Claire has no sympathy to spare for the mutated abomination William Birkin has become, since he infected Sherry with the G-virus and was responsible for the Raccoon City outbreak.
- In Decks Fall Everyone Dies, most anyone who is not a main character gets this treatment (at one point, Yami is throwing bottle glass at a down-and-out Rex Raptor for attempted deck theft). Kaiba also falls victim to this trope. Not to mention the fact that everyone's situation (mass economic depression due to the fall of card games) is played for laughs.
- The entire story of You Obey occurs because Chrysalis doesn't care if she has to use torture to achieve her ends, nor does she care what it does to her own underlings.
- The story described in this fanficrant.
- Naruto in some NaruHina fanfictions; his friends and the adults know that his childhood was hell but they're constantly mocking him and calling him dense for not noticing Hinata's feeling when she stutters and faints.
Naruto: (enthusiastically) "Come on guys! Let's build sand castles! It'll be fun!"Ino: "Ugh. Sand castles, really? What are you, five?"Naruto: (defensively) NO! (quietly) I never got to be five. (awkward silence) '
- Averted in some fics that have his childhood discussed and his friends discover how crappy he had it. Like in A Growing Affection where Naruto, Hinata, Lee, Tenten, Neji and Ino are undercover at a beach but are allowed to goof off (to keep their cover as teens on a school-trip):
- Other fics seem to imply it's more of a matter of not wholly comprehending or understanding the situation. In the fic Tempered In Water, Naruto requests another C-Ranked mission to help pay for expenses, much to the surprise of everyone (the premise is that Haku has survived her wounds and latches onto Naruto. She has moved in and thus putting a strain on his finances.) When Sakura accuses him of being greedy, he yells back that he's not before saying he needs the money (his insecure side showing), making Sakura have a revelation on what being an orphan truly entails, especially in a Ninja Village where becoming Genin essentially means adulthood and not having the same availability to welfare as civilians would.
- This is the Modus Operandi in most of the Gunge Male Celeb stories. Celebrities getting their 'Just Desserts' will often have not even one person feeling sorry for them or their plight. Ever. Even the narration gets off on their misery sometimes:
- ...but boy did he deserve it!
If anyone deserved a wedgie, it was Justin Bieber. note...[he] was due for a much needed comeuppance.
- A justified example occurs in Xendra when Buffy complains about how all her boyfriends have been jerks. Xander has no sympathy for her because she only ever dates "bad boys" and is then surprised when they treat her poorly. He even notes that she dumped Nice Guy Owen for being "too caring, too smart, and too interested in what she did with her life".
- In The Rival Prefects Trilogy, Moaning Myrtle shows no concern for the fact that Thomas, a boy she once flirted with, is now a statue.
- Weight of the World: Russia has no patience for America's PTSD, depression, trauma, and touch aversion. Nor does he have any interest in understanding the intricacies of mental illness. He tries to force America to get over it by roughly grabbing and attacking him. It doesn't work, and only makes America feel worse. Russia is annoyed by America's "weakness" and taunts him about it, saying he will continue with this "game" until America stops flinching at his touch. He also admits he is doing this out of boredom.
- Toward A Bright Future: After an intense discussion involving the psychic teaching assistant Y/N getting a vision about a dramatic final exam involving All Might, she gets another one, this time involving Present Mic. However, this time she just pats his arm comfortingly and reassures him that he's strong and he'll survive, without telling him what he's in for. His panicked demands for a change in student opponents goes ignored, much to the amusement of his colleagues; Eraserhead is particularly unapologetic.
Eraserhead: Youre the best suited opponent for them, so youll just have to deal with it. Besides, you heard her. Youll survive, so whats the problem?
Present Mic: Physically maybe so, but what about my mental health?! Does that not matter to you?!
Present Mic: SHOUTA!
- In the lifetime Movie Home By Christmas, the main character is evicted from her apartment immediately after being mugged, robbed of her savings and hospitalized.
- Stories about the in-laws-from-hell usually feature the bride's parents (and many of her other associates, and in some cases the bride herself) having No Sympathy for her husband. The Overprotective Dad in particular is ill-inclined to give his son-in-law an inch. Meet the Parents and The Worst Week of My Life are two examples.
- Of course, in The Worst Week of My Life, absolutely everyone has No Sympathy for Howard Steele.
- Meet the Parents plays with this however, since while the protagonist is successfully disgraced by the Overprotective Dad, the bride and her mother call him out for his vindictive treatment, especially since they know he drove her previous fiance away with the same crap. Both characters are made to clean up their act for the wedding to continue, even if the father is clearly still begrudging about it.
- Any villain who says "You Have Failed Me" likely has this... and any villain who suffers those failures to live can be argued to have a bit of empathy (or at least pragmatism at the effects of killing off his own troops, or perhaps standards). Darth Vader has done this at least once and nearly twice on-screen.
- In the Disney movie, Go Figure, the heroine is chewed out as a failure by her skating coach for not showing up to practice. The coach never gave her a chance to explain that the Alpha Bitch locked her in a supply closet, despite the fact that she was covered in purple paint and had apparently been through something.
- In Because I Said So, the girl accidentally broke a glass that the Romantic False Lead owned (and was his grandmother's as he related after the fact), who immediately insulted her, and gave her a cold shoulder despite her extremely sincere and distressed apologies, including offers to buy a replacement.
- Spider-Man Trilogy:
- The biggest part of Mary Jane's scrappydom in the movies is her behavior in Spider-Man 2. Even though Mary Jane does not know at this point that Peter is Spider-Man, you'd think most people would understand that a full-time college student who struggles to avoid falling back on rent for his studio apartment might not have as much free time as a retiree (Aunt May), a jobless loser (MJ's dad) or a wealthy heir (Harry) would to go and see her play, and yet she treats him very coldly and cruelly based on this fact alone and refuses to hear his legitimate reason for missing it (the usher refused to admit him, to say nothing of the fact that his motorscooter was destroyed in an accident that wasn't his fault, as he was dealing with two crooks being chased by police). Yeah, yeah, he promised her he'd see it, but you know what? Sometimes circumstances prevent people from keeping their promises, and grown-ups are expected to understand that.
- It gets even worse in Spider-Man 3, where she accuses Peter of this because he's happy that for the first time his life doesn't completely suck while she has to put up with getting a bad review and has to get another job.
- In The Time Traveler's Wife movie, Clare chews Henry out for disappearing for about two weeks. Almost the entire plot is how Henry time travels involuntarily and frequently, and she is aware of this. And he has to go apologize afterwards.
- In The Color of Money, Eddie teaches Vincent not to show any sympathy for the marks they hustle. When Vincent throws a pool game against a man with a tracheotomy, Eddie sets up a pool hall brawl to teach him a lesson.
- Rush (2013) has Scuderia Ferrari, which team is considered early on as purely business-minded. The employers' reaction to Niki Lauda's near-fatal accident is promptly hiring another driver to take up his spot. Lauda is not pleased by this.
Clay Regazzoni: "'The Ferrari family'. 'Our good friend Clay Regazzoni'. You are family and friend to the Commendatore as long as you win. The minute you don't...ciao-ciao"
- Subverted at the end of Seven Psychopaths, when the protagonist gets a phone call from one of the titular psychopaths threatening to kill him, because he forgot to insert a specific line into his script that the character had asked him to. The protagonist, still broken from the events of the film, responds with a resigned acceptance of his fate. Despite the caller being the kind of person you absolutely would expect to behave like this, he instead recognizes from the protagonist's tone that he's been through hell and takes it back.
- No one in Stick It seems to care why the main character ducked out of the Worlds Competition a few years prior, only that her team lost, even people who weren't remotely involved in the competition. She ducked out because moments before her routine, she learned her mother was having an affair with her coach and caused her parents to get a divorce.
- In Sense and Sensibility, Fanny complains that Marianne and Margaret Dashwood have been cold to her after she swooped in and took over the house (her husband, their half-brother, inherited it). Her brother Edward tries to point out that they've just lost their father and their lives have changed forever, but she just says that's no excuse.
- The World of Kanako: Kanako does not care when Ogata commits suicide, seemingly not caring for the weak. The same goes with the narrator who is manipulated into a fate even worse.
- Beka Cooper: In the second book, Beka is jumped by a couple of thugs and almost beaten to death in payback for arresting their brother. She wakes up to a very angry Goodwin who promptly tears her a new one for always going out the front door of her lodgings, while the healer tells her to lay off. Beka agrees with Goodwin, since Dogs have to be Properly Paranoid if they want to do their jobs and survive. Tunstall thumps her for it later, but this time Goodwin tells him to back off since Beka's learned well enough.
- In A Brother's Price, men are rare and kept protected. When Ren, Eldest Whistler, and Captain Tern along with a company of soldiers come across one who was kidnapped and raped, and then died after his tongue was cut out, Ren is horrified. Whistler covers his body with her coat, furious, and then feels an intense fearful need to get back home and protect her brother. The Captain and the soldiers are largely unmoved. When Ren demands to know how anyone could do something like this, if you got pregnant from the act what would you tell your daughter, Captain Tern shrugs and says it's like how you never describe a visit to the cribs. Ren concludes that a woman needs to have had a loving father to really be horrified by this.
- One Chicken Soup for the Soul entry had a high school sophomore go on a date with a popular older student, and, owing to her inexperience, she accidentally bit him when she kissed him, to which he said was okay. However, the next night, some of the boy's female classmates appeared outside of her home, yelling obscenities at her, egging the house and writing on her garage door, "You kiss like a horse", in chocolate syrup no less, and yes, it didn't wash off. Finally, after more bullying from her classmates including calling her a whore and harassing phone calls, she confronts the boy about why he caused all this, who then replied to her, "Look, I don't know what your problem is, but it doesn't have anything to do with me" and left her with her ruined reputation.
- In The Divine Comedy, Virgil appeals to his acquaintance with Cato's dead wife to convince Cato to let him into Purgatory. Problem is, since his wife was damned, Cato has forsaken his unconditional love for his wife in favor of unmovable apathy and Virgil's appeal has no effect on him. The only reason Virgil doesn't get sent back to Hell is because God wills his journey and Cato complies.
- Bernard Mac Laverty's Father and Son has a pretty breathtaking example of this. A recently bereaved father struggles to care for his son after the mother of the family dies. Said son repays him by running away for two years until he gets ill and has to be rescued by the father, who nurses him back to health. Rather than being grateful for the rescue, and the subsequent sacrifices his father had to make for him, the stupid little twit cuts him no slack, whining constantly about his father's lack of masculinity (since it's now dad who does the housework), drawing violence and illegal activities into his dad's house, and throwing a fit whenever his dad asks him where he's going when he leaves the house. All right, the son was going through his own mucked-up grieving process, and the theme of the short story was the isolation of grief and Poor Communication Kills, but you may be left feeling that the son deserved everything he got, especially when you consider that the father constantly tries to bridge the gap between them.
- The Iron Teeth web serial is full of bandits, mages and goblins who won't ever care for anyone other than themselves unless there is a good reason behind it. Blacknail, the goblin protagonist, has a twisted logic where he would never admit that others can be good for him even if he was just saved by them.
- This tends to crop up amongst various characters in the Twilight series. One oft-cited example in Eclipse is when Jacob forcibly kisses Bella, upsetting her enough that she punches him and breaks her hand in the process. She comes home visibly angry and with her injured hand, only for Jacob and Charlie (who was previously characterized as an Overprotective Dad) to basically exchange high-fives. Charlie does later show more sympathy, but it's still less than one would think a guy would have for his assaulted daughter.
- Another example would be the treatment of Leah throughout the series. Her first transformation into a wolf accidentally causes the death of her father, her fiancé leaves her for her cousin; as a member of her former fiancé's pack, she has to constantly hear his thoughts about how happy he is with her, and her other cousin Jacob is constantly pining over a girl who he clearly has no chance with. Leah is understandably a bit bitter about all of this. The rest of the pack generally treat Leah as a horrible shrew for being upset about these things, up to and including treating her like an idiot for not being able to put Sam behind her, but coddling Jacob for acting even more pathetic over a girl who was never his girlfriend.
- Jacqueline Wilson's heroines usually have friends prone to this (and occasionally do it themselves). A blatant example is The Girls Series heroine, Ellie. Throughout the series, Ellie has to bail out best friends Nadine and Magda when they pick up the Idiot Ball and run with it... and in gratitude, they're quick to abandon Ellie in favor of whichever boy they're pursuing at the time. However, when Ellie tells them she's thinking about going to her boyfriend's dance rather than to a concert with Nadine and Magda, they get very catty and accuse her of abandoning them, despite the fact that Ellie shows far more regard for their feelings when they do for hers. Occasionally, this can verge on (non-)Comedic Sociopathy, as when they accuse Ellie of overreacting when she finds a drunken Magda lip-locked with Russell, Ellie's boyfriend, at a party.
- In Caliphate ends the secondary storyline in this note as Germany is strong-armed into becoming a Islamic state after its democracy is hijacked by radicals. The narrative's protagonist Gabrielle attempts to flee to the USA alongside her daughter (who was disfigured by thugs for not wearing a veil). Unfortunately, the American consulate turns them down in part because America has turned into a Christian theocratic empire and has cut ties with the European Union prior to this event. To twist the knife, the ambassador also chides her for not taking action in the first place and its their own fault they are in this current situation, abandoning her and her daughter in a hell for women.
- In Being Human, this was one of the signs that Tully was having a bad influence on George. George came home to find Annie scared and quiet and Mitchell furiously kicking Tully out (both of which were drastically out of character for the two, and should have tipped him off that something really upset them) and instead of asking what happened, declares that he won't let Tully be sent away. Mitchell eventually outright tells George why Tully is being sent off - because he sexually harassed and frightened Annie. George still sides with Tully, much to the shock of Annie and Mitchell. (George later comes around, thankfully, and apologizes.)
- Bernard Black, the bookshop owner in Black Books, has a deep contempt for Manny Bianco, his assistant, and responds to almost anything he does with anger:
Bernard: So you admit you deliberately stepped in front of the bullet?
Manny: [softly] Yes.
Bernard: And wantonly sprayed blood from your head wound across the shop?
Manny: [softly] Yes.
Bernard: Before going to waste time writhing around on an 'emergency operating table'?
Manny: [softly] Yes.
Bernard: [hands Manny an affidavit and a pen] Sign here. No wages for seven years.
- The Big Bang Theory:
- In the early seasons, Penny was constantly harassed by Howard. When she finally stands up for herself, he goes into a depression that Leonard, Raj and Sheldon all blame Penny for, not even considering how she feels about it. Leonard himself even tells Penny that she owes him for going to get her television back from her ex-boyfriend, Kurt. This is ignoring the fact that Leonard would not have gone to this trouble had Penny not been attractive and, if Howard was a muscular jock, Leonard would have taken Penny's side.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Buffy: Why is he even here? It's not like he can fight.
- The Scoobies and Joyce all suffer this in "Dead Man's Party." Buffy was tormented for months by Angelus, kicked out of the house, expelled from school, accused of murder, and had to sacrifice her boyfriend to save the world. So, it's only natural that she leaves Sunnydale. But none of the Scoobies, or even her own mother, actually care about her emotional turmoil and spend most of their time ignoring her out of spite for running away, before openly calling her out on it during the party.
- In Season 4, Spike is captured by the Initiative and implanted with a cerebral microchip that prevents him from harming humans; he turns to the Scoobies for help, and they all take great delight in tormenting him and mocking him to his face, except for Willow, who pities him. It reaches a head in "Doomed": Xander is pissed that Spike tried to commit suicide simply because he wanted to stake Spike himself, and Buffy's line when they go to the high school says it all for her:
Willow: If we leave him alone, he'll stake himself.
Buffy: And that's bad because...?
- On The Dick Van Dyke Show, Laura gets called out for this in the Whole Episode Flashback "The Attempted Marriage." Rob is waylaid on the way to their wedding and goes through hell to get there. When he finally arrives late, all Laura can do is bawl him out over his supposed utter insensitivity. Rob takes a surprisingly large amount of abuse before announcing that he's decided not to marry a woman who — when her fiance' arrives disheveled, covered in mud, and hopping around on one foot from a sprained ankle — can't be bothered to even ask what happened before piling on. After piling on, she tries to leave, but he physically prevents her from doing so in order to explain himself. By the time he's finished, she is a bit more forgiving.
- In Doc Martin, the title character has a tendency to miss appointments or other important meetings because the villagers of Port Wenn seem to time their medical emergencies to happen at the least convenient moment. This does not stop the people he no-showed from complaining about having their time wasted, even if he was performing lifesaving first aid (which is usually what happens).
- Doctor Who: In "The Long Game", the Doctor has no sympathy for Adam Mitchell after what he does in the episode. The Doctor is tolerant of companions who pick up the Idiot Ball because they're Constantly Curious. After all, he's made a career out of it. A companion who's more interested in lining his pockets than exploring the wonders of the universe, on the other hand, gets dumped back on Earth with technology in his head that would get his brain dissected by The Men in Black if anyone found out.
- Frasier: Daphne tries to defy this one in "Daphne Does Dinner"; after trying to throw a normal dinner party without the Cranes screwing it up as usual, she of course manages to screw it up, but when the offended guests start to collect their coats, she gives an impassioned speech about trying to salvage a nice, civilized dinner despite all the hijinks. Just as she's talked them round, a bed falls through the ceiling.
- House seems to go out of his way to invoke this in other people, just so he can protect his ego. For example, take the Tritter thing; being tripped was humiliating, sure, but the other characters might have had more sympathy for him if he had actually told them about that instead of keeping it to himself. (Of course, he also tends not to show sympathy for others; sometimes it's a deliberate act, and sometimes it's, well, the premise.)
- Subverted in "97 Seconds" when House asks for sympathy after electrocuting himself and being hospitalized... even though he electrocuted himself deliberately as part of a self-indulgent experiment involving near death experiences.
- This does happen a lot to him. He's addicted to Vicodin because he's in chronic pain, but it was established in the first season that House was an addict with a history of drug-seeking behavior already when he had his infarction. Cuddy and Wilson already knew him then. But nobody else seems to think of the pain when they criticize his addiction and tell him what a jerk he is, either.
- In season four finale, he had been in an accident and had a head injury, but still Wilson asked him to do a potentially fatal test on himself to save Amber's life, since Wilson was dating her. When House did it anyway, and Amber died anyway, Wilson stopped being friends with him for a while (although this is suggested to be just Wilson dealing with the grief).
- Little House on the Prairie: Several times, Nels Oleson to his wife, Harriet, after she has gotten her comeuppance and she tries to cry on her husband's shoulder, insisting that she had been treated unfairly and horribly. Nels will simply remind her that she got what she deserved. This happens in "Harriet's Happenings" (when Laura and Albert give her a taste of her own medicine by switching the printing plates to create inaccurate stories about her (Mrs. Oleson) and Nellie; he simply reminds her that she had a duty to report the truth) and "Crossed Connections" (when Mrs. Oleson is convinced to place the entirety of her savings into the stock market and invest in a failing company ... which goes bankrupt in short order; Nels makes her go back to work to earn her money back, this as penance for her having spread a rumor that nearly ruins the marriage of one of Nels' closest friends, Jonathan and Alice Garvey).
- The use of this trope is often detrimental to the characters of NCIS (making them occasionally come off as unlikeable sociopaths) because of the way the show shifts between comedy and drama, the tone determining whether there will be sympathy or not and the audience disagreeing with the writers' sense of humor.
- The heroes of Once Upon a Time, often display this to Rumplestiltskin, following his HeelFace Turn in the middle of the fourth season; regardless of how involved he actually is in a Big Bad's plot...
- Psych sometimes if not often have the characters show shades of this, and the entire thing is usually played for laughts whatever misfortune it is. However, Psych is primarily a comical show so laughing at bullet wounds/kidnapping/near death escapes is pretty common. In short, the characters seem to mysteriously know whether the danger is real or not.
- Also very much subverted whenever the show decides to get serious (such as the Yin-Yang trilogy.) Whenever things get serious, there is a definite level of camrederie and support, especially when some of the protagonists reach their limits in dealing with the crises. Examples include Lassiter comforting Juliet after her kidnapping in the Season 4 finale during her breakdown, Juliet trying to keep Shawn out of harm's way when he is on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge when an old family friend is revealed to be a Dirty Cop who shot his dad and even Lassiter gives Shawn some support because of that.
- Kate from Robin Hood spends a lot of time whining about her dead brother, who was killed by Guy of Gisborne after her botched rescue attempt. She doesn't seem to care that she is surrounded by fellow outlaws who have also suffered at the hands of Gisborne: Little John had his wife and son tortured, Much lost the woman he loved, Allan had to watch his brother get executed, and Robin's own wife was murdered. But, nooo, all Kate can moan is: "E keeled mah bruvvah!"
- JD and Turk both seem to be frequent victims of this. Carla, and most of the girls JD dates, seem ready to pounce on any perceived failure or flaw, regardless of the circumstances.
- There was another rather bizarre instance of this in season six, where J.D's friends were getting frustrated at his apparent whininess (although they didn't say this to his face). This felt a little odd given that what they viewed as Wangst was caused by the apparent death of his unborn child, his losing his girlfriend, his lack of an apartment and having to sleep on a deck, his developing an odd medical condition which caused fainting spells, and his getting a DUI (admittedly, the last two took place a bit later). Granted, a lot of his complaints took place offscreen, so it's hard to judge how annoying it would be in real life, and it's possible that a lot of time had passed within the show since what happened with Kim, but considering that Elliot never provoked any hostile reactions from her friends when she was going through similar problems in the earlier seasons, it still seems a tad unfair.
- In the The X-Files episode "Bad Blood", Mulder comes in late at night, exhausted and covered in dust. Scully shows a reasonable amount of curiosity and sympathy in her version of events, but in Mulder's version she whines about being hungry and tells him not to sit on her bed.
- The Bible: In the Book of Job, this is the treatment that the eponymous character receives from his friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. They claim that him sinning must be the reason why all these bad things have happened, although in actuality, it was God who had taken away Job's wealth and children and putting boils on him to test his faith after accepting Satan's bet earlier. Despite this, Job protests to his friends that he has been upstanding for all of his life and during his suffering, he remains faithful to God.
- Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn give us Soren most frequently but Ike most famously.note
- It makes more sense if you interpret Ike's now-legendary "You'll get no sympathy from me" as something more along the lines of "I'll show you no mercy" (there was possibly some translation fudging involved), which would be true to how Ike was genuinely sympathetic toward many of his old allies and their plights in Dawn but unwilling to go easy on them as they now found themselves on opposite sides of a war. It would then also double as a Mythology Gag to the Greil Mercenaries' run-in with slave traders in Chapter 14 of PoR, where, after their leader Gashilama refuses to surrender, Ike states, "In that case, we've no choice. You'll receive no mercy from us!"
- Early in Final Fantasy IV, the kingdom of Damcyan is attacked. The king and queen die, as does Anna, Tellah's daughter and Prince Edward's love, and numerous Red Shirts. When the party finds Edward, he's flattened with grief because everyone he loves is dead... so Tellah attacks him.note When Anna gives her last words and dies, Edward is even more devastated. Rydia and Cecil immediately lay into him for being a selfish weakling, moping over the deaths of everyone he's ever loved when there are some strangers here who want a favor! While it's true that Edward is the ruler of Damcyan, thus needs to be strong to lead the country, Rydia's reaction is a tad hypocritical — her reaction to the same circumstances was to summon Titan to whoop Cecil and Kain's backsides, but apparently it is wrong for a man to be temporarily paralyzed by the deaths of everyone he's ever loved. Understandable, since she is Just a Kid after all, and had underwent a bit of Character Development.
- Clap-Trap from the Borderlands games is a Butt-Monkey, being used as target practice by bandits, a torture doll by one of their leaders, having his entire product line exterminated by Handsome Jack making him the Last of His Kind, being abandoned in a frozen wasteland, and having nobody but the Vault Hunter show up for his birthday party. Despite all he's been through, he is universally treated like an annoying (his voice is programmed to sound that way — he's actually quite depressed) pest.
- In the ending of Sonic and the Black Knight, Sonic explains to Amy about how he missed their date due to being sent to Arthurian times. Amy thinks he's just making up excuses for missing their date and proceeds to chase him with her hammer. Granted, randomly being summoned to Arthurian times is a bit far-fetched.
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze: When Funky accidentally causes Bashmaster's Popsicle to be eaten by piranhas, he crosses his arms and makes a "hey, shit happens" kind of look.
- In Warbot In Accounting, nobody ever has sympathy for Warbot. At one point, he tries to commit suicide, fails, and ends up chastised by his colleague for skipping work.
Everyone pretty much thinks you're a jerk.
- This is, of course, the point. After that page was posted, the writer received an e-mail from his mother claiming the page wasn't sad enough, and Warbot should have gotten a bill for repairing the damage he did to the street by landing on it headfirst.
- Gunnerkrigg Court: Boxbot only wants to help, but is hampered by the fact that he's a badly programmed box with arms. He is consequently terrible, a fact that the characters and author are extremely willing to share.
- King of the Hill: In the Grand Finale, Bobby joins a meat grading team. He is initially regarded as a prodigy. At the team's state qualifying tournament, he answers almost every question and single-handedly pulls his school into second place, thus qualifying for the state championship. He answers the last question of the tournament incorrectly, thus dropping his team into fourth place, which is still high enough to qualify for state. His teammates and coach immediately turn on him, declaring him an incompetent choke artist who will drag the school into the gutter. When a rival team hijacks their bus, Bobby is the only member of the team at the finals and performs flawlessly, but when the rest of the team shows up they shove Bobby aside and tell him to sit out before he ruins their chances. It isn't until Bobby asserts himself and keeps the rest of the team from making a tourney-losing mistake that they accept him again.
- A major snag with Hank and Bobby's relationship is that Hank often has trouble sympathizing with Bobby over any of his problems. It's played a bit more realistically than in many other examples on this page; Hank isn't necessarily being cruel or a Jerk Ass (at least not intentionally), but he and Bobby are so fundamentally different that Hank just can't understand it when Bobby is upset. When Bobby hates being a towel-boy for the football team, he hates it because he's yelled at by the coach, laughed at and mocked by the players, and stuck doing thankless, disgusting grunt work while everyone celebrates. Hank is happy he's at least "part of a team" and convinced the hard work will make him a better person, and is utterly baffled when Bobby quits. When Bobby is being stressed out to the point of having a panic-attack from studying for a Quiz Bowl, Hank finds him stressing over such a trivial thing ridiculous, stating that Bobby's life is so easy there's nothing for him to feel stressed about.
- The woman in front of Stan in line to the doctor in American Dad! refused to let Stan cut in front of her, despite the fact that he was clearly heavily wounded and bleeding to death because "My elbow feel funny. My elbow feel strange."
- In the Futurama episode "I Second That Emotion", the crew became so annoyed with Bender's lack of sympathy for anyone, that they installed an emotion chip to his head, which made him feel everything Leela (whose pet, Nibbler he flushed down the toilet) felt. Also applied to Leela herself that very same episode, as she showed no concern for Bender nearly getting cut by the can opener, getting angry at him for scolding Nibbler for the predicament, or Nibbler eating the cake Bender had made (which may not seem like much, but Bender had spent ages making it, and Nibbler ate it before anyone else had seen it), which partly led to the critter's flushing.
- Given the kind of show it is, the characters tend to show little to no sympathy for each other, depending on the situation. One can usually tell if a line has seriously been crossed, because one or more characters will feel sorry for another.
- In 'The Why of Fry' Fry is in the middle of trying to pick up Nibblers monstrously heavy dark matter droppings when Officer Smitty orders him to pick it up. When Fry proves he clearly can't the officer still gives him a ticket.
- In one episode of South Park, the girls challenge the boys to a sled race. They needed Cartman's weight for their sled to even move, and when he gets wrongly thrown in jail, the girls start c. And even after Kenny gets killed by a pile of bricks, the Alpha Bitch in charge continues to mock them and call them names.
- Lucien from The Cramp Twins suffers an allergic reaction from the vest he's wearing while in class, and takes it off to reveal a huge red rash covering his torso. Miss Hissy, Lucien's teacher, responds by giving him a detention for removing his top.
- In one episode, Doug was goaded into throwing a rock at a house scheduled for demolition and this small rock ends up collapsing the entire house. Patti comes by and when Doug brags to her about the good shot she tells him he's "terrible" and walks off angry. For most of the episode Patti avoids Doug like the plague without giving an explanation and Doug is left wondering why she would be angry at him for wrecking a house that was going to be torn down soon anyway, even Bebe won't answer him when he asked her to find out why Patti is mad at him. He doesn't find out why until Skeeter off-handedly mentions that it was the house Patti lived in when her mother was alive, something which Doug would not have known since everybody knows he'd just moved to Bluffington. Subverted in that Patti actually apologises after Doug gives his side of the story.
- In one episode of Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat Baba Miao repeatedly makes Dongwa write scrolls without giving him any sort of break. Later, when he catches Sagwa doing Dongwa's work, he accuses Dongwa of making his sister do his work (despite the fact that Sagwa could have refused, but being generous, didn't) and worse, accuses Sagwa of "helping [Dongwa] decieve me", and then grounds them both. He never apologizes to Sagwa and only apologizes to Dongwa after a nightmare about his childhood in which, ironically enough, he was treated the same way.
- In the Justice League episode "Twilight of the Gods" this is Batman's reaction to Superman's initial refusal to help Darkseid due to what he did to him in Superman: The Animated Series.
- Batman's non-stop trash talking of Superman after the fact later comes back to bite him in the ass.
- This pretty much happens almost every time in Thomas the Tank Engine as well as in The Railway Series novels. Whenever there's an engine who laments about their unpleasant situations to others, they will always make belittling and smug insults to them about it. However, this mistreatment on the engine depends either if the engine brought it upon themselves due to their misbehavior or that the unsympathetic engine is being rude for their own sake, in which case something will likely lead them to get A Taste of Their Own Medicine shortly afterwards.
- Henry often got this problem following his increasing illness in the first season. Other engines usually ignoring his moaning until he starts effecting their own work schedule (Thomas in particular chewed out Henry for making him late, and only saw his ill bout as an opportunity to pull his train in his place). Only his crew and Sir Topham Hatt shown concern for his health and took measures to repair him, leading him to get the last laugh on some of the apathetic engines from before when he starts to outclass them. Subverted in later seasons after his sickness reappears, where the others are usually shown to be very concerned about him.
- Reused and reasoned in "What's The Matter With Henry?". When Henry moans he is sick again, Thomas and Percy mock him and even give him their own workload as a prank. Emily is concerned about Henry however, and upon investigating, discovers he has broken down. When Thomas and Percy realize this, they are remorseful, explaining they thought it was just Henry being his usual self. The engines learning to treat Henry's wavering health more seriously is among the few Aesops that have stuck since then.
- There are times where he'll dish this to the other engines. In "Something in the Air", after Thomas explains that his lateness was due to some fish falling into his boiler and the high tide was damaging the rails, Henry brushes off this reason and rudely tells him to attach the other vans to his Flying Kipper. He does apologize to him for this in the end, however.
- In the earlier episodes, Thomas himself often displays this treatment towards other engines who were late for his passenger trains. Along with the example with Henry as mentioned above, he shows this to Henry and James in "Better Late Than Never", dismissing their reasons for their lateness due to the viaduct being in repairs and believes it's just an excuse for laziness. Then in "Woolly Bear", he berates Percy for being late and brushes off his excuse being the hay.
- Henry often got this problem following his increasing illness in the first season. Other engines usually ignoring his moaning until he starts effecting their own work schedule (Thomas in particular chewed out Henry for making him late, and only saw his ill bout as an opportunity to pull his train in his place). Only his crew and Sir Topham Hatt shown concern for his health and took measures to repair him, leading him to get the last laugh on some of the apathetic engines from before when he starts to outclass them. Subverted in later seasons after his sickness reappears, where the others are usually shown to be very concerned about him.
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Clock King", Temple Fugate's Start of Darkness begins after he arrives late to his hearing and the judge ruled against him for being late. Even when Fugates clothes were soaked and torn and he was obviously distressed and disheveled. (And what made it even more unfair was that Fugate had always been on time for appointments up to this point, and was only late this time because Mayor Hamilton Hill (then a lawyer) had suggested he take a break for once.) When Fugate looked at his lawyer, he simply shrugs it off and retires.
Fugate: No, you can't, I'll be ruined!
Judge: Then perhaps this will teach you to be on time for a change.
- Every Animaniacs "Buttons and Mindy" short ends this way. After practically killing himself to save the life of the world's most annoying little girl, Buttons' reward was a verbal dressing-down for some minor fault incurred along the way, plus the loss of a treat. It didn't work as comedy and it was often the only thing resembling a comedy beat in the short. Shortly thereafter, Mindy would usually lavish a bit of toddlerish affection on Buttons, which seemed to comfort him at least a little. The earliest shorts didn't even have that silver lining but luckily, in the movie he was rewarded handsomely with a big 'ol plate of steak.
- In the Family Guy episode "Herpe, the Love Sore", Peter and friends run away from the guys who bullied them out of their booth. This earns them the scorn of the town and their families. Their attempt to take it back fails with them getting beat up. Even when they get the booth back, it's only because the guys who bullied them reveal themselves to be soldiers who are shipping back to duty the next day. Said guys are hailed as heroes, while Peter and the gang still get no respect.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Equestria Games, Ms. Harshwhinny can't seem to spare the slightest bit of concern when the obviously stage frightened out of his mind Spike chokes and can't light the torch.
- Twilight Sparkle is sometimes prone to this due to her bad attention span, especially around Spike. When she is over focused on any specific task or dilemma she will insist everyone pay attention to it, failing to notice any other problems around her, often ones her zeal has caused.
- The Legend of Korra: This is the root of the estrangement between Toph Bei Fong and her daughter, Lin. Toph's Hands-Off Parenting combined with her refusal to speak of Lin's father, who Lin wanted to know, drove them apart. The nail in the coffin was when Toph destroyed a police report to protect her other daughter Suyin from jail time then sent her away from Republic City, when Lin was the one that arrested her and earned a nasty scar in the process of doing so.
- A (likely unintended) driving pivot of the feud in The Dreamstone. Most of Zordrak's Urpney minions (especially Frizz and Nug) hate their job, only going through with it due to Sgt. Blob and Urpgor press ganging them, or Zordrak threatening to execute anyone who defies him. The heroes seem aware of this (and the Urpneys are rarely shrewd about how unwilling they are) but still see the Urpneys as evil scum for trying to steal the Dreamstone and give them nightmares, usually handing them a righteous verbal lashing and cartoonish beatdown. Later episodes at least tried to make the heroes' treatment of the Urpneys more proportionate to the peril they put them through, but they remain firmly in this trope, their unwilling nature never remotely acknowledged.
- One episode of The Littles had a one off character whose father (an implied "education parent") had threatened to send her to a private school where her "friends (wouldn't) be such a bad influence on" her if she didn't get straight A's on her report card. After seeing one B and one C on her report card, she decides to run away from home, fearing that her father would give her this trope.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: In the episode "Little Ed Blue", Ed, who is usually a Nice Guy, is in a bad mood and terrorizes the cul-de-sac kids. Edd and Eddy go to cheer him up, but with different ways. Whereas Edd tries to cheer Ed up kindly, Eddy really doesn't seem to care about Ed's predicament. He belittles him, shows him very little in the way of patience or empathy, and even causes him to reach his Rage Breaking Point by smacking him upside the head and telling him to get over himself.
Examples of No Sympathy as a character trait
- Klaus of From Eroica with Love has no mercy for his alphabets...not even with regard to basic human needs like eating and sleeping. He can stay awake for two days straight, so he expects his team to do the same. Because Klaus' life is entirely based around his job, he's equally ruthless with their private lives, thinking nothing of exiling them to Alaska without taking into account the small matter that many of them have families...
- It's hard to tell if Kalos of Kaleido Star is a fairly cruel example of No Sympathy as a character trait or if he just exemplifies the ethos of Kaleido Stage. Sora gets injured and becomes nervous about performing stunts? Tough luck - he'll fire her if she doesn't get over it, fast. Her confidence and self-belief are knocked after deeing the devious nature of the International Circus Festival? He terminates her contract. Harsh.
- Count D of Pet Shop of Horrors probably had a certain amount of Blue and Orange Morality as an excuse, but in certain stories he comes across as having the No Sympathy trait instead. T-chan is a straighter example, having no time for weakness.
- Socrates of Calvin and Hobbes: The Series is this, threatening Hobbes with a Pie in the Face if he doesn't stop crying (in a real Tear Jerker moment), though he does have his golden-hearted moments.
- You Obey firmly establishes Queen Chrysalis as this mixed with You Have Failed Me.
- In This Bites!, the only response of the Five Elder Stars after listening to the Straw Hats' horrific ordeal against Lily Carnation are how they'd lost a potential anti-pirate weapon, which didn't even take out one of the biggest thorns in their side.
- As an Establishing Character Moment, Blackadder Back And Forth reveals that Blackadder once told his friends he was dying of kidney failure, so Darling gave him one, only for Blackadder to reveal it was a joke and the kidney being thrown away. Everyone else at the table bursts into laughter at the recollection.
- Criminal (an English-language remake of Nine Queens) has John C. Reilly's con-artist character Richard established as much less sympathetic than Diego Luna's con-artist character Rodrigo.
Richard: I don't feel anything for them, okay, they're marks. And some of them are dumber than fuckin' pets.
- Most women in Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time are afflicted with this. Main hero Rand al'Thor is their typical Butt-Monkey: He has a never-healing wound that causes him pain every waking moment, he is in danger of going mad from the tainted magic he uses (and in fact may have already done so), and, oh yeah, he has the responsibility of Saving the World. But most women around him for some reason feel that the most sensible way to help him save the world is by making his life as miserable as possible, and doing such things as criticizing him for being rude while trying to stop everyone else from being idiots and prepare for the last battle already. Being a total pussy, Rand just accepts it. Possibly because practically all his male friends and allies give him shit if he does something like, for example, not kowtowing immediately to Aes Sedai demands for the very good reason that they are a bunch of manipulative Jerkasses in the midst of their own civil war, so it isn't as if he should know which ones advice to follow even were he so inclined.
- Rand's friend Mat Cauthon gets it even worse: his distress at being repeatedly raped at knifepoint is laughed off by the female characters as his just desserts because he can be a bit of a womanizer. One who would never dream of forcing himself on a woman and who never continues to pursue one who gives him a firm "no." Deserves rape. Apparently.
- The Millennium Trilogy Lisbeth Salander subscribes to the "Pay Evil unto Evil" school of Black and White Morality and is such a Determinator that other characters call her the Terminator. As such, she's unsympathetic towards those who don't take matters into their own hands. In the first book, after the discovery that Harriet Vanger faked her own death to escape a life of sexual abuse from her Serial Killer father and brother, which left the latter free to keep killing women, Mikael is very sympathetic, while Lisbeth is totally contemptuous, since she would simply have dealt with her abusers herself. (And has.) Though she gets slightly better over the course of the books, Lisbeth generally remains intolerant of any weakness, and it takes a lot to get her to pity someone.
- Part of what makes Willy Wonka a Jerk with a Heart of Gold is that when people don't heed his instructions and warnings he is not particularly sympathetic to their resultant plights, especially if they are compromising his factory's operations as a result. In the original novel, Mrs. Gloop is horrified to find him laughing hysterically after her son Augustus gets sent who-knows-where via the factory's pipe system. Still, if it's possible to save these fools (who are just plain jerks most of the time), he will put a rescue plan into action.
- Frances from The Librarians (2007) lives and breathes this trope. Particularly towards Dawn. Whom she was responsible for crippling.
- In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, there is a side quest in which the player character, who is pretending to be a Sith student, is captured by an insane former Sith teacher who puts them through a sadistic test of Sith philosophy with pain and eventually death as the price for wrong answers. This being Sith philosophy, the right answer can always be found by choosing the most evil and cruel option, which the teacher will then rationalise as somehow being the most rational one in terms of maintaining your power. Hence, when one question is something like "You have a loyal and capable subordinate who hasn't failed you once before, but now does due to bad luck, what do you do?" the right answer is in the lines of "Kill them right away, because we mustn't allow any weakness." In general, the Sith philosophy works like this elsewhere in the game and at least some parts of the Expanded Universe as well.
- Paradoxically and by contrast, Darth Bane in his own novels that tie in with the game and whose writer was involved in writing them bears no grudge over a failed attempt to assassinate him, since that's what Sith are supposed to do.
- Medoute of Blaze Union is usually a nice enough person... until she gets into pushy mentor mode. She believes very firmly that there is only one Right Way to handle life—and that is to be detached and to deal with things rationally, stifling any emotional or knee-jerk reactions in order to be objective. This stems from her own coping mechanism of avoidance. Sometimes her input is helpful to the other characters, but other times it's markedly less so. Oh, so your subconscious is trying to block out the fact that your best friend since toddlerhood needs a Mercy Kill, since you might not be able to handle the idea just yet? Stop crying and man up to the truth! What are you, a baby?! In the A route, where Medoute's own objectivity is compromised by Fantastic Racism, this devolves into puppy soccer against Gulcasa—who is grieving, sick, and can only lean on someone who's taking advantage of his inability to think straight. Medoute, unwilling to empathize with or condone his emotional distress, chooses to interpret his behavioral changes as Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and tries to kill him. Poor Communication Kills applies heavily.
- Dawn of War 2: When reviving a fallen hero, heroes have quotes usually along the lines of Quit Your Whining due to the grimdark setting. And then there's the orks...
Just stick da bone back in!
There's a fight and ye're sleepin'!? What kinda ork iz ya?
Get up! Ye're an embarrassment to da whole ork species!
- Collin Sri'Vastra and Fox Maharassa of Friendly Hostility are an odd case of both sides of No Sympathy. Fox was the sweeter natured partner, but was empathically useless, needing to have a person's problems spelled out for him before he realized there was a problem. After being made aware of a situation, he was quick to offer support - but if no-one bothered to explain things to him, he was cheerfully oblivious and steamrolllered their feelings. Collin, on the other hand, was more sensitive, but also crueler - appealing to his emotions was a lost cause if you weren't his nearest and dearest, and occasionally he actively targeted someone's weak spot to demoralize them, as he did to Kitty in the "Pirates!" storyline. The endgame of the story is brought about when these two sides of the same problem clash - Collin becomes unhappy, and Fox moves from being the one person he opens up to, to just about the only person he refuses to voice his problems to, preferring to bitch to his friend, Arath, and flirt with newcomer Leon rather than do something sensible like talk to Fox. Fox carries on oblivious, until even he can't deny something has gone badly wrong.
- Being something of a Jerk Ass, it's no surprise CK of Commander Kitty would display this on occasion, particularly when he sees Nin Wah sprawled out on a hospital bed with an oxygen mask and immediately starts complaining about how his day went.
- Max Goof on Goof Troop Zig-Zags this in regard to his best friend, PJ, the kind but maltreated son of Pete. In the pilot episode, he explicitly shows him sympathy and goes out of his way to give him a chance to be happy and have fun. Later episodes have a mix of that, seeming obliviousness to his feelings—that is, not noticing why (or even that) PJ might be upset at being treated inconsiderately, nervous about a plan (especially one involving his dad), or annoyed that Max complains about his (much nicer) dad in front of him—and actively accusing him of being a bad friend based on circumstantial evidence when PJ is either obviously contrite or actively denying the betrayal. When the last one shows up, Goofy tries to get him to be more sympathetic.
- It's fairly obvious that Max is the Ferris Bueller to PJ's Cameron Frye, and we're supposed to sympathize with Max more simply because he's way more fun and cool.
- Even more so than Max is Bart Simpson in The Simpsons who routinely abuses Milhouse every season with very little signs of changing for the better.
- This is John Kricfalusi's original concept for / intended portrayal of Ren, and he is portrayed this way in some episodes, but Executive Meddling on the network's part forced him to tone Ren down into a more empathetic character in other episodes note , especially in the infamous Son of Stimpy episode (click the link for all of the "stinky" details...).
- Incidentally, the episodes made by Games Animation studios did not have this mandate, so regularly played Ren's callous antipathy for Stimpy at full throttle, to the point even Kricfalusi himself thought their dynamic had gotten too mean spirited.
- Many employees are treated this way when calling in sick for work. Places of business usually require a doctor's note even when the employee in question may either be too sick to visit a doctor on their own or not have an illness severe enough to warrant a doctor's visit. Justified, however, in that without a doctor's note anyone could feign sickness in order to skip work.
- Donald Knuth discusses a TeX error in The TeXbook:
Interwoven alignment preambles are not allowed.
If you have been so devious as to get this message, you will understand it, and you will deserve no sympathy.
- It should be noted that this can be interpreted to mean all of "to get this error, you're probably intentionally trying to get TeX to crash or output impossible objects", "further description would require several pages, and because the error is so arcane, we'll just save space by not describing it", and "figuring out how to get this error, and why it is an error, is a sign of your mastery of TeX".
- The F*ck My Life website is part catharsis, part concrete proof of No Sympathy. There are two buttons beneath each post - "I agree, your life sucks" and "You deserved it." Sometimes even the softest hearted reader has to admit they kind of did it to themselves, but even if the original poster was mugged, attacked, humiliated, heartbroken or injured, there will always be a few hundred people who click the "You Deserved It" button. (though there's G.I.F.T. to blame too) Especially if the poster has let slip that they are an Acceptable Target in some way. Though this has been averted in more recent times where stories where the poster couldn't have possibly deserved it have the "You Deserved It" button replaced with "That Could Have Happened To Me". There are also a handful of inversions where people who were clearly at fault still have several people voting "Your Life Sucks" (on top of the fact that a sufficient amount of users had to agree with that statement for the post to make it onto the site to begin with).
- In Real Life, telling someone suffering from depression to "buck up" or "get over it already" are examples of this trope. In practice it's just as absurd as telling them to "just get over" a broken arm, although provided you've taken the right steps early on the broken arm will usually sort itself out in time, while the depression will probably be something they have to deal with their entire lives.
- It's especially bad for people who are constantly told their life could be worse, as if that's supposed to make them feel better. If you're truly depressed, you are physiologically incapable of seeing any hope in your situation.
- Although disability fraud (pretending to have a debilitating condition so you can get government benefits without working) is real, some cases of alleged disability fraud may result from this trope. Consider the following: Bob has degenerative disc disease (a back condition, look it up here if you like), and is unable to work because of it. Alice, his wife, sees that he has plenty of time on his hands and expects him to do some home improvement. In addition, Junior, their son, wants Bob to play with him, running races, playing ball, among other physical games. Bob knows that, if he spends so much as a few hours doing what his wife and son expect of him, he will be laid up for weeks. (The legal standard for disability is that if you cannot work for eight hours a day, forty hours a week, on a regular and continuing basis, you are entitled to benefits). Nevertheless, his family keeps nagging, and he finally gives in. Unfortunately, a local journalist doing an exposé on disability fraud picks that exact moment to stop by Bob's house, with a camera. The ensuing scandal is compounded by the fact that people will only see Bob apparently working hard or having a good time, and will not see the weeks of misery that follow, even aside from the popular misconception that to be disabled you have to be completely unable to do anything at all, not just on a regular and continuing basis as defined above.
- People with chronic illness often get this trope from people who don't see them very often. Chronic illness sufferers often have days where they're better than normal and can get a lot done, and deliberately use these days to power through chores they couldn't do otherwise; alternatively, knowing a big event is coming up, many people with a chronic illness will lie low for days before hand to save up energy to go to it. People who don't have to deal with the illness often get exasperated that the friend or colleague who used to do so much no longer participates so much and it's common for people with chronic illnesses to be accused of faking it because "you were fine yesterday".
- Talk to people who have had careers in law enforcement, and you will often get shades of this. Years of seeing people commit horrendous acts then play the victim diminishes their ability to empathize with certain types of people.
- Unfortunately, this has been known to happen in schools. In one of many hypothetical examples, a student who takes great care to follow the rules (within reason) studies for a test, but (supposedly)note misbehaves and is sent to the corner / detention / etc. while the test is going on. By the time the student gets out, the test is over, but the student is not allowed to take a makeup test for whatever reason, and in some cases faces having to repeat the grade the student was in, all because the student somehow "should have thought about that before" he / she "misbehaved". This is especially bad if the student was punished unfairly, especially if the teacher is manipulative or otherwise abusive. It could even include another student causing it all to happen, and either getting away with it, or getting them both punishednote .
- This can also be a trait of "education parents" who expect their sons or daughters to have high grades for whatever reason.
- A particularly horrifying example: When Timothy McVeigh learned that 19 little kids died due to his bomb he chillingly replied "I have no sympathy for them" and described them as "Collateral damage". Needless to say, the jury quickly returned a guilty verdict and recommended the death penalty.