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Oblivious Guilt Slinging

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Alice is planning something that will hurt Bob in some way. Even though she feels bad about it, she's decided to keep this a secret from Bob. It is therefore almost guaranteed that even though Bob doesn't know what Alice is up to, he will say things that make Alice feel even worse, talking about how much he trusts her, or the importance of not keeping secrets from each other, or just what a wonderful person Alice is.


How Alice reacts to this added guilt varies. Sometimes she'll simply put up with it and go through with her plan anyway. Sometimes, she'll want to stop, but has already put things irrevocably in motion or simply gone too far to reverse course. Often, the added pressure leads to a breakdown and a confession. Depending on the nature of the story and the deception, it can also be part of Becoming the Mask or a Heel–Face Turn, as the guilt changes the character's plans or actions.

Most of the time, the audience is aware of the deception or secret, making this a subtrope of Dramatic Irony, as the audience cringes on behalf of the character, who is most likely already in an unpleasant situation, and now has to feel worse about it. However, there are occasional exceptions where the audience is unaware of exactly what the secret is, and the irony only becomes clear later on.


Another common type of this is the opposite: Alice is about to tell Bob something that would hurt him in some way - usually by confessing a lie or an action - only for Bob to, right before Alice is about to say so, gush about how Alice would never hurt him and how truthful she is or how proud the thing she lied about doing makes him feel, thus making Alice unable to face the disappointment of Bob finding out the truth and keep lying as opposed to revealing it. Usually an aspect of a Snowball Lie. In sitcoms, this trope is thus often used to maintain the "Fawlty Towers" Plot, by guilting someone out of their decision to tell the truth before it's gone too far.

This is a subtrope of Dramatic Irony.

This trope is also used to build suspense, as the guilt-ridden character wonders whether or not to go through with the deception. Compare Insult Friendly Fire, when Alice accidentally insults Bob without realizing she's done so (at least at first), Oblivious Mockery, and Innocently Insensitive.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Soul Eater: After Crona pulls a Heel–Face Turn, Crona's mother has Crona act as a spy, starting by bugging Marie and Stein. The first thing Crona hears when listening in on them is Marie telling Stein what a nice kid Crona is.
  • The mother of Kurama's human host body does something that has a similar effect in Yu Yu Hakusho, when Kurama was planning on leaving forever once he had recovered his powers. She saves him from being badly cut by broken dishes, injuring herself in the process. Kurama planned on leaving at some point after that, but couldn't bring himself to do so, and eventually came to love her enough to be willing to give his life to save hers.
  • Death Note: Sōichirō does this to Light a lot. He's always ready to step in and defend his son when L accuses Light of being Kira, and talks about how proud he is of the mature and honest man Light has grown into. Initially, Light just ignores his father's behavior, but in the chapters leading up to Sōichirō's death he seems increasingly affected by it.
  • Overlord (2012): Ainz is nothing but an ordinary human transported into a world (that works a lot like the MMO he spent all his free time on) as a ridiculously powerful lich. His subordinates (created by his guildmates) all believe him to be the pinnacle of the Evil Genius, Evil Overlord and Sorcerous Overlord all in one and praise his every move as another step in an ingenious plan they would never have thought of in a million years. Ainz is very thankful his Skull for a Head doesn't show emotion at times like these, because their absolute sincerity hurts him the same way a father wouldn't want to disappoint his children.
  • In Episode 6 of the Accel World anime, Haru spends 300 points to level up, leaving him with only eight points left; if he loses even once, he'll lose Brain Burst forever. Because of that, he keeps it secret from Kuroyukihime when he meets with her, and when they discuss their future plans, he acts as though he hasn't leveled up yet. Kuroyukihime warns him not to level up without enough points in reserve and tells him that he won't be stupid enough to make that mistake, unaware that he already did.
  • In Muhyo and Roji, in a flashback some time after Biko graduates from Rio's tutelage, Biko notices that Rio hasn't made any magical tools for a year, and concludes something is wrong with her. Biko reminds Rio of something Rio once said- that you can keep going through hard times if you have someone close to you- and then asks if she can be that person for Rio now that Rio's mother is dead. Rio then says that she's "a fool" for not realizing that she had Biko, but back then, she'd already betrayed the MLS and joined Enchu, so she believes it's too late for her to go back.

    Comic Books 
  • Classic Star Wars has a story in which Vader hires an actor to impersonate Obi-Wan and lure Luke into a trap. Luke is overjoyed at the prospect of his teacher surviving, and openly so. This guilts the actor severely, and Luke pulls him into situations where to deflect suspicion he has to do what Obi-Wan would... and in the end he has a literal Obi-Wan Moment and calmly dies to save Luke. Who may, possibly, have been not so oblivious after all - he doesn't seem surprised when the actor confesses while dying in his arms.
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard: Thor is reluctant to work with Amora The Enchantress, given their history. When "Agent Loki" asks if that also applies to them, Thor dismisses the comparison, as this new Loki isn't the one who wronged him. He's not wrong, technically, but still thinks he's talking to a grown-up Kid Loki instead of a third personality. Loki awkwardly changes the subject.

    Fan Works 
  • Izuku does this in Conversations with a Cryptid when All For One asks him about his family. When Izuku talks about his Disappeared Dad Hisashi, he says that he has no real relationship with his father except bitterness because his abandonment was so hard on Inko. Izuku doesn't know that All for One is Hisashi and was so distant because of his criminal enterprises.
  • Darkness Burning: This occurs during Anna and Elsa's first time talking to each other on their own accord in possibly years. The conversation ends when Anna accidentally says "I guess there's a lot about me you don't know" to her reclusive sister, causing Elsa to shut down again and go back into her room.
  • Deku? I think he's some pro...: When Izuku admits to Sir Nighteye that he's honestly a little jealous of how Mirio's Quirk has mutated to grant him Super Strength while he remains Quirkless, Nighteye can't help but wince. After all, he's aware that it's not a random mutation, but that All Might passed his Quirk on to Mirio... something he did on Nighteye's recommendation.
  • Dirty Little Secrets revolves around the Fandom-Specific Plot of Hitoshi Shinso replacing Mineta Minoru in Class 1-A. However, rather than Mineta getting expelled for his perverted antics, he disappears after a party... which Shinso has fragmented memories of, leading to him fearing that he may have used his Mind Control Quirk irresponsibly. As a result, all the praise he receives from his parents, former and current classmates for making it into the Hero Course also doubles as this, particularly as he grapples with the fear that Mineta might have died due to his actions.
  • After Monoma is seriously injured in his match against Izuku in The Emancipators, Toshinori takes his protégé aside to comfort and reassure him, believing him to be shaken by the sight. What he doesn't realize is that Izuku deliberately manipulated Monoma into doing exactly what he wanted — and in fact, the reason his opponent's Copy Quirk worked on him is because he wanted him to steal One For All and hurt himself trying to use it. His sincere efforts only intensify Izuku's horrified self-realization, leading to him getting physically ill.
  • Fashion Upgrade:
    • After Bustier bails on her class rather than help them through a crisis, Adrien swallows his frustration and offers her comfort rather than a callout, reminding her "Aren't you the one who's always telling us it's okay to ask for help when we're stressed out?" Ironically, this causes her to dissolve completely into tears; the incident has forced her to realize how much she pressured Marinette to handle her problems all by herself, to the point that Bustier was couldn't handle things without Marinette there to shunt matters off onto.
    • Adrien tells Nino about the Lila situation through the filter of having a 'model friend' dealing with it. While offering advice, Nino explains how staying silent about the lying would be the worst thing his friend could do, as he's just enabling matters to get worse and leaving the liar's victims to suffer. Adrien can't help but squirm uneasily.
  • In I Knew You Were Trouble, Oliver recalls how he cheated on Laurel almost immediately after they started dating. He was so guilt ridden by it he became genuinely ill...and Laurel came to nurse him back to health. Naturally, this only further convinced him that he didn't deserve her.
  • LadyBugOut: After a new Cat Hero debuts, most of Adrien's classmates rave about how much more impressive and professional they are compared to Chat Noir, and how much happier Ladybug seems to be now that she has a partner who takes their job seriously. None of them realize that Adrien was Chat Noir, and that their comments are driving salt into the wound.
  • Downplayed in The Mountain and the Wolf: When discussing the identity of the man who sabotaged the gates of King's Landing during Daenerys' attack, Tyrion offhandedly wonders if he might have run into Jaime (who was last known to be near the walls on the day of the incident). As the Wolf is behind both the sabotage and Jaime's abduction, he gets noticeably annoyed and changes the subject, although Tyrion puts it down to nerves from not killing anything recently.
  • In Something in the Night, Chat Noir makes a false report to conceal his encounter with Ladybug and defends it to a suspicious Chief Roux. He then talks with his Secret Keeper Thomas and tells him the same story. Thomas replies, "I didn’t think you’d lie about something like this," and later praises him for how well he's stuck to his agreement over the years, causing Adrien considerable guilt about deceiving his closest friend on the force.
  • Volume II, Chapter 9 of Spectacular Seven sees Artemis doting on his niece, the Lonely Rich Kid Moondancer. Because Artemis is giving her unbridled attention and affection with no strings attached, Moondancer feels awful Beneath the Mask, especially when he confides in her that a magical artifact was stolen. Unknown to Artemis, Moondancer helped orchestrate the theft at the behest of her benefactor Tempest Shadow, who had Moondancer exploit Lamia to steal from her own family. Moondancer feels so guilty that she briefly considers telling Artemis the truth and asking for his help, but lets the moment pass, choosing instead to brush it off.
  • In Suikakasen, Kasen pretends to give Yoshika hermit training so that she can gather information needed to get past the gate Rajoumon, and intends on killing her once she can get past the gate's barrier. As such, Kasen prepares to covertly off Yoshika while the latter was lying in her lap during a trip to a mountaintop. Moments before she can do the deed however, Yoshika requests permission to continue lying in Kasen's lap and begins to cry, saying that every day they spent together was wonderful, but that she can't stop thinking about the day she dies whenever she is alone. As Yoshika's reasoning for wanting to become a hermit is that she wants to become immortal, Kasen realizes that she toyed with Yoshika's emotions and confesses the truth about who she is and that she used her.
  • A Tactician's Testimony: In "Footsteps of Fate," Lyn recalls that many people are prejudiced against Sacaeans due to their ways of life, and tells Katri she's glad she isn't like that and is so kind. Unbeknownst to Lyn, Katri is prejudiced against Sacaeans, and remarks in her narration that she's never felt so guilty in her life.
  • Subverted in Truth And Consequences: Ladybug thinks Adrien is doing this when he gives a toast in her honor, proclaiming how trustworthy and honest she is, after she secretly made a deal with Hawk Moth, betraying Chat in the process. In reality, Adrien is Chat Noir, and very aware of the affect his words have on his ex-partner.
  • In Unexpected Surprise, Nino says a couple of times how he would love to get his hands on Chat Noir for leaving Marinette alone and pregnant... right in front of Adrien, who already beats himself up for it far harder than Nino could ever hope to.
  • In Wolf in the Streets, Sardine in the Sheets, Fenrich was hired to assassinate Valvatorez and kidnap one of the kids under his care. He ends up working at the rehabilitation center as a volunteer, and Valvatorez's sincere faith in his supposed nobility and earnest praise quickly worms its way under his skin.
  • Chapter 7 of XCOM: From The Ashes of Temples has Valdez happily thanking Bradford for letting him back on the field, which allowed him to save the life of the VIP who would have died otherwise. The same VIP he saved had just been sacrificed by Bradford for the sake of information just hours earlier.

  • In Aladdin, the Sultan does this to Aladdin, who at this point, was fraudulently using Genie's magic to pass himself off as a prince to gain the affection of Princess Jasmine....:
    Sultan: And then you, my boy, will become sultan!
    Aladdin: Sultan?
    Sultan: Yes, a fine upstanding youth such as yourself, a person of your unimpeachable moral character is exactly what this kingdom needs.
  • Aladdin: The Return of Jafar:
    • After Iago saves Aladdin's life, Aladdin agrees to bring him to the palace ask for a royal pardon. Before he has a chance, the Sultan offers to make him royal vizier, and Genie comments on how much better of a vizier Aladdin will be than Jafar, finishing with this:
      Genie: You don't see this guy hanging out with any evil parrots!
      Aladdin: [nervously] Heheh. It's funny you should mention Iago.
    • Jasmine tells Iago she was wrong about him, and he almost tells her he's a traitor, but balks when Jafar silently threatens him. When Jafar comes in to praise him for his treachery, he visibly shudders, and when Aladdin thanks him for the lovely day out, he looks like he wants to be sick.
  • A Bug's Life:
    • Princess Atta sends Flik out to find some bugs to fight Hopper, not expecting him to actually find anybody willing to defend an ant colony (as well as just to get Flik out of the picture). When Flik returns to the colony with the "warriors", Atta, though shocked by this turn of events, decides to go along with Flik's "success" anyway. During the welcoming ceremony, Flik sincerely thanks Atta for "believing in him" and Atta smiles awkwardly.
      Flik: Thank you, Your Highness. Oh, sure, I'd like to take credit for all of this, but, well, that wouldn't be right. Because it was you, Princess Atta. You believed in me, and you sent me on my quest.
    • Later, Atta asks Flik if she could talk to him in private, leading to this exchange.
      Atta: You don't think I've offended the warriors, do you?
      Flik: What? You? No!
      Atta: Oh, good. 'Cause you see, when you first brought them here, I thought you'd hired a bunch of clowns.
      Flik: Y-Y-Ya did? [laughs nervously]
      Atta: Don't tell them I said that.
  • Frozen: Every time Anna pesters Elsa about coming out to play (as a child) or open up to the world (as a young adult) triggers Elsa's bad memories of the time she nearly killed Anna when they were playing with her powers as children - an incident Anna can no longer remember. It gets to the point that Elsa reveals her powers publicly and runs away, prompting Anna to lampshade the trope and insist she should be the one to go after her because of it.
  • In A Goofy Movie, the morning after Max changes the map's destination from Lake Destiny to Los Angeles behind Goofy's back, Goofy decides to make Max the navigator of the road trip, saying he trusts him wholeheartedly. Max keeps up the charade, though he was initially hesitant. This is later invoked when Goofy finds out that the map was changed, to secretly give Max a second chance. To Goofy's shock and anger, Max keeps it up.
  • The Jungle Book (1967): After Baloo finally agrees with Bagheera to send Mowgli to the man village instead of living with him, Mowgli reminds him about all the fun they're going to have together and sings "The Bare Necessities", all while Baloo had a guilt-filled expression.
  • In Mulan II, after Mushu managed to create a rift between the titular character and her love interest all so he can keep his job, as they temporarily walked different paths, Mulan comments on how good a companion Mushu is, which causes him to break down and confess.
  • In Oliver & Company, Fagin ransoms Oliver, believing that he was briefly owned by a wealthy adult who will pay anything to get their pet back. When the kitten's owner turns up - a little girl with wealthy parents who brought her own piggy bank to pay the ransom — Fagin changes his mind and "finds" Oliver on the street.
  • Storks: Tulip launches a more or less continuous stream of this to Junior when he's sent to fire her, expressing a surprised joy that he'd talk to her at all and (erroneously) thanking him for coming to wish her a Happy Birthday. Junior understandably struggles to fire her after that.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph helps Vanellope achieve her lifelong dream of entering the race. Then he's told that he needs to prevent her from entering for her own good, since it could lead to Sugar Rush being shut down and Vanellope actually dying. Before he gets the words out, she gives him a cookie medal she made. He ultimately has to destroy the car they made together, breaking her heart, and afterwards sees the words "You're my hero" written on the medal. Ouch.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Blow, the protagonist, happy after a successful drug run, drunkenly showers affection on his partners, promises them an extra $200,000, and says he's getting out of the business. All while the federal agents they're siccing on him are poised to break down the door.
  • Devil in a Blue Dress. After Coretta is murdered her husband thinks it was because she refused to sleep with her killer, and tells Easy how she'd never cheat on him. As Easy had sex with Coretta shortly before her death, he's not happy about this.
  • In In a Lonely Place, Laurel has just decided to leave Dix when he comes around to prepare breakfast and propose to her, which puts her in an extremely uncomfortable spot.
  • In Johnny Belinda, all strings are being pulled when Stella comes to take Belinda's baby away. Belinda is unsuspecting and kindly welcomes Stella, offering her food and beverage. The heartiness affects Stella and she cannot bring herself to carry out the order and begs her husband to call off the whole thing.
  • In Locke, Ivan has to switch between phone calls admitting to his wife that he cheated on her, and phone calls desperately trying to manage an important construction project. After his sobbing wife hangs up on him, he successfully manages to assemble a crew to deal with a problem, and one of them shouts "Ivan Locke is the best man in England!". He says nothing, but is visibly hit by this.
  • On the lake in A Place in the Sun, Alice makes George remorseful for all the trouble he had gotten her into, rendering him unable to go through with his plan to drown her.
  • Pitch Black. Carolyn looks guilty when the survivors of the Hunter-Gratzner congratulate her for having landed them safely on an alien planet. They don't know she had planned on ejecting their passenger compartments, but had been stopped only due to her navigator's interference.
  • Reservoir Dogs. Mr. Orange feels very, very guilty when Mr. White takes a bullet while trying to convince Joe that Orange is not the rat. The problem being that, of course, he is the rat, being an undercover police officer. After White guns down Joe and the latter's son Eddie to protect Orange, this overwhelming guilt leads Orange to confess to White, who then kills him while Orange repeatedly apologizes.
  • In Roman Holiday, Ann is thankful to Joe for giving her such a great time, while he is only in it for the money. At that point anyway.
  • Stuart Little 2: Margalo the canary is assigned by an evil Falcon to steal household valuables from the Little family. However, Margalo can't seem to focus on her assignment as she starts to enjoy spending time with the family, and becoming smitten with Stuart. Finally losing his patience, Falcon threatens Margalo: steal Mrs. Little's ring or else he'll kill Stuart. Margalo steals Mrs. Little's wedding ring. When the Littles notice the ring missing, they think it's fallen down the drain and Stuart volunteers to go after it, but the string that's holding him breaks. Margalo saves him, but Stuart's gratitude towards her only makes her feel more guilty. Later that night, Margalo gives a sleeping Stuart her precious jeweled stick-pin, before leaving the house out of guilt and shame.
    Stuart: Margalo, You're the best friend I ever had.
    [hugs Margalo, who sadly hangs her head in guilt]
  • Lampshaded a bit in The Truman Show. Marlon tells Truman, "The last thing I would ever do is lie to you" while Cristof is secretly telling him to say exactly that. There are hints throughout the movie that Marlon is an alcoholic basket case due to his constant deception of his best friend.

  • There is a joke about a woman on trial for murdering her husband with poison in his dinner. When the judge asks her whether she felt any guilt or shame, she answers, "Yes I did, Your Honor; when he asked for seconds."

  • In Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck decides to do the "right" thing and turn in his companion Jim, an escaped slave, to the authorities. However, when Jim calls him a great friend — the only friend he has, in fact — Huck finds that he can't go through with it.
  • In the Discworld novel The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, the cat Maurice gained the ability to talk after eating one of the eponymous educated rodents. He keeps this a secret from the other rats, but feels bad and is eventually forced to confess after several remarks on how nice he is, especially in being careful not to eat intelligent creatures. In this case, the reader didn't know exactly what Maurice's secret was until he said it, although they knew the praise was getting to him. Bit invoked; one of the rats had a strong suspicion about this, and was making pointed comments on purpose.
  • In Jasper Fforde's book The Big Over Easy, DS Mary Mary is secretly reporting on Jack Spratt's case to the decidedly unpleasant DCI Friedland Chymes. Jack continually bolstering her with what a good job she's doing just makes her feel worse that she's betraying him, and eventually she gives it up.
  • In Captain's Fury of the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher, the hero Tavi tells his beloved Aunt Isana how much he trusts her, and how family, unlike the untrustworthy nobles he has lived among for the last few years, won't betray you by keeping terrible secrets... not realising that Isana was just about to confess that she was really his mother, and was responsible for his lack of superpowers. Guiltstricken, she keeps silent, which of course just makes thing worse.
    • In the same book, Fidelias gets this both coming and going. There's the Your Approval Fills Me with Shame from Invidia when he suggested a cruel and underhanded Morton's Fork (basically, either execute innocent civilians or step down) to get Tavi, who he personally admires, out of power. Then there's Tavi and company praising Valiar Marcus's loyalty, when he's actually Fidelias, there on Invidia's orders to spy on the First Aleran.
  • Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome has the eponymous character torn between staying with his ill, shrewish wife Zeena and running away with her sweet cousin Mattie who he's fallen for. When Ethan decides to ask his neighbors for an advance payment on the logs he chops up for them to have enough money to run away with Mattie to the West, he's deterred from doing so when one of them praises him for taking care of Zeena, saying sympathetically, "You've had an awful mean old time, Ethan Frome."
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ginny is distraught after the attack on Mrs. Norris and Ron helpfully assures her that "they'll catch the maniac who did it and have him out of here in no time." Way to go, Ron. (To be fair, Ginny probably didn't suspect herself yet at that point.)
  • The Alan Ahlberg poem "I Did a Bad Thing Once" has a child describe how he stole money from his mother to buy bubblegum, only for his mum to then give him bubblegum as a reward for being good.
  • In Jon Klaasen's picture book We Found a Hat, two turtles find a hat that they both love but decide they should leave alone because it wouldn't be fair if only one of them got a hat. However, one of the turtles can't resist the temptation of sneaking out while the other turtle is sleeping to take the hat for itself... until its friend sleepily says that it's having a great dream about them both wearing hats. After hearing this, the turtle quietly returns without taking the hat and goes to sleep next to its friend.
  • Watership Down. After being offered shelter in Cowslip's warren, Hazel's rabbits are asked to tell a story, so they offer to tell of their adventures. Their hosts respond with a clearly uncomfortable silence, so they decide to tell a traditional folktale instead. After The Reveal about the true nature of the warren, Fiver explains why: No-one wants to hear of brave deeds when they're ashamed of their own, or an honest tale from someone they're deceiving.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Affair: As Alison begins an affair with Noah, the amount of compliments she gets for being such a great wife to Cole steadily increase.
  • All Creatures Great and Small. Tristan, having failed his finals once again, hid it from his brother and dropped smoking, alcohol and laziness in order to get him in a mellow mood. Siegfried was so impressed that, after proposing a toast to Tristan, he offered him a partnership in the practice — once he'd got his degree, of course. The audience cringes on Tristan's behalf for a good five minutes (Peter Davison does horrified/guilty/hurt puppy very well); after the explosion Tristan bounces back into his usual form, completely unruffled. The same cannot be said for the audience, who now want to strangle him.
  • Arrow:
    • In "Betrayal", Tommy Merlyn complains to Oliver Queen about Laurel Lance keeping secret her meetings with the Arrow, when Oliver is the Arrow himself and keeping that secret from Tommy.
    • In "Birds of Prey", Thea Queen tells her brother that he's the only person who has never hidden anything from her. Not only is Oliver hiding that he's the Arrow, he's just discovered that Thea is the lovechild of an extramarital affair their mother had with Malcolm Merlyn.
    • In "Three Ghosts", Thea asks Oliver to help remove an arrow from the leg of her boyfriend Roy Harper. Oliver (in his Arrow disguise) was the one who put in there, to stop Roy running off and doing something stupid.
    • In "Corto Maltese", Ray Palmer complains to Felicity Smoak about "some whacko" blowing up QC's Applied Sciences building last year. Felicity not only took part in the raid with Team Arrow but thought up the idea in the first place.
      Felicity: I'm suuuurrre they had their reasons...
    • In "Promises Kept", Diggle explains to the team about his combat shakes and the drug he's been using to combat them, and makes a particular point of telling Dinah (who knew about the shakes but not the drug, and hadn't told the others because he told her he was better) that there'll be no more secrets between them. Dinah, who just let the Vigilante escape because he turned out to be her ex-partner, repeats, "No more secrets".
  • In Austin & Ally, this happens to Austin every time he lies to Ally.
  • Babylon 5: In "The Coming of Shadows", G'Kar gives Londo a friendly greeting after learning that the Centauri Emperor's visit was intended as a gesture of reconciliation. Londo is horrified by the realization that the attack he has already set in motion is destroying what would have otherwise been an opportunity for peace.
  • Barry: The title character, a war veteran and aspiring actor who is secretly working as an assassin, admits that he feels guilty about the people he's killed, but makes it sound like he's just talking about his war experiences. His supportive class members assure him that killing in war is entirely justified, and only killing outside of battle is unforgivable. Barry is visibly crestfallen.
  • In Breaking Bad, after going through Gale's notes on Walt's technique, Hank comments that if he had used his knowledge for good he could've been of great help to humanity. This hurts Walt for three reasons as A. Walt was the real mastermind with wasted potential he was talking about, B. Gale had real talent of his own but Walt had him killed to save his own skin, and C. Walt was too prideful to let others take credit for his work, which leads to him dropping a massive hint to Hank that the real Heisenberg was still out there.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Lover's Walk", Willow and Xander develop a sudden attraction to each other. At the same time, Oz gives Willow a present to celebrate her new identity as a witch. Willow, who already felt bad, is driven nearly frantic by this, and sets out to find a way to stop things with Xander before they go any further. Further compounded by Xander noticing that his girlfriend Cordelia is putting up pictures of the two of them in her locker as opposed to just pictures of herself like before to show that she is treating the relationship more seriously and increasing his guilt.
    • In "Dead Things", Buffy is neglecting her duties to have a Secret Relationship with vampire Spike involving BDSM and lots of torrid sex. Naturally the Scoobies tell her how hard she must be working, "being all tied up" and "pounding the big evil".
    • In "Killed by Death", Joyce (who's not yet in on the Masquerade) walks in on the Scoobies discussing the Monster of the Week. Everyone quickly shuts up, causing Joyce to quip that she's interrupted a secret meeting. Cue unconvincing laughs.
  • Chuck:
    • A good example of this as Casey is supposed to kill Chuck once he's no longer useful, but especially in one of the more recent episodes, Chuck acts in a friendly way which makes Casey have reservations about doing this.
    • Another good example occurs when Sarah is told to bring in Chuck in the episode "Chuck Versus the First Kill", and Chuck notes how she's the only one he believes he can trust. Sarah ends up not going through with the assignment, instead escaping with Chuck to find his father.
  • This happens a lot on Dexter, seeing as the entire premise is a cop (blood spatter analyst, to be exact) who's also a Serial-Killer Killer. The main "slingers" are Dexter's sister Deb and his girlfriend Rita, but sometimes his coworkers also make a few remarks that by all means hit home. Dexter's internal monologue often comments on how oblivious they are to the fact that the entirely likable guy in their midst is really a killer.
  • Played for laughs in the Doctor Who episode "Extremis". Bill, the Doctor's companion and an out lesbian, has brought a girl she fancies, named Penny, to her step-mother's flat. Penny is a bit nervous about the whole thing, and Bill tells her that whatever their relationship is at this point, they have no need to feel guilty about this. Cue the Pope walking into the room, irate and muttering in Italian. Of course, unbeknownst to Bill or Penny, his irate muttering is because the TARDIS dropped them off at Bill's place instead of the Vatican.
  • In the Enemy at the Door episode "Jealousy", a man whose business is being investigated by the authorities as an alleged cover for black market activity attempts to reassure his distraught sister by telling her there's no truth in it and the anonymous author of the allegation must be insane or just plain malicious. What the audience knows by this point, but he doesn't, is that his sister made the anonymous tip-off in an attempt to get his wife in trouble.
  • In the Firefly episode "Ariel", after escaping the authorities, Simon talks enthusiastically about how he and River would be dead if not for Jayne, not knowing that he had betrayed them, and the only reason he helped them escape is that the Feds were going to arrest him too, instead of giving him the reward money.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: After Carlton accidentally takes some speed from Will's locker, Will feels responsible. When Phil decides to give Will his graduation present early and tells him he is proud of him, Will says he can't accept it and confesses.
  • Friends:
    • In one episode, during the period that Chandler and Monica's relationship was secret, Ross confessed to Chandler that he'd been dating Janice. Chandler didn't care, leading to this:
      Chandler: Why would I be mad?
      Ross: Because, you know, there are rules about this stuff. You don't fool around with your friends' ex-girlfriends, or possible girlfriends, or girls they're related to.
      Chandler: I am mad. But you know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna forgive you! Because that's what friends do! They forgive their friends when they do everything you just said, all on the list there. But I want you to remember that I forgave you. And that I let you live here rent-free! And... that I gave you... twenty... SEVEN dollars!
    • A more straight example is when Chandler kisses Joey's girlfriend Kathy while Joey is out; when Kathy subsequently dumps Joey, Joey gives Chandler his blessing to go after Kathy because Chandler was a good enough friend to ask him first. This guilts Chandler into revealing why Kathy broke up with Joey, and Joey — who hates being lied to — is angry at him through the next episode.
  • In Galavant, there's an entire song in which Galavant declares his love for Madelena. He's completely unaware that she no longer loves him, and so she responds that she loves him "as much as someone like her can love anyone".
  • The Good Place: In season 1, Michael confides in how hard he's taking all the things that are going wrong in his very first Good Place community, not understanding what could be causing it all and blaming himself. Eleanor knows exactly what's wrong: she doesn't belong there. Ultimately subverted with The Reveal that This Isn't Heaven and Michael knows full well that Eleanor is a bad person.
  • Hannah Montana:
    • There are quite a few episodes where Miley does something mean to someone who tirelessly forgives her by saying how nice she is and how it was really his/her fault right before Miley does something worse.
    • In one episode, Miley, Lily, and Oliver make full use of the Hannah Montana image to raise a lot of money for a fundraiser, mostly to beat their enemies Amber and Ashley, but come around when they realize how much Sarah actually worked for her money.
    • In the series finale, Miley seriously considers accepting a movie role, which would require her to go back on her promise to go to college with Lily. When she tries to talk to Lily about it, Lily starts gushing about how happy she is that Miley is going to college with her instead of going on a world tour or accepting some movie offer.
  • In an episode of Scrubs, JD tries to impress his new girlfriend by paying a hobo to fake a heart attack, so he can "save his life". Kylie is impressed, but mostly by how "genuine" he is.
    Kylie: James [her ex] lied to me all the time. It's good to be thwith someone I can trust.
    J.D.: Cool. [internal monologue] Oh, no.
  • In "Indiscretions", a sixth season episode of Highlander, Joe Dawson is being blackmailed and has to deliver Adam Pierson (AKA Methos) to an immortal. They're driving to an ambush when Methos starts telling him he feels there's a bond between them and "Who'd have ever thought I'd end up with a watcher as my best friend?"... by the time they arrive, night has fallen and Methos is still going on. Joe then yells at him to shut up and guiltily admits it's a trap. Methos' answer? "Now that wasn't so hard, was it?". Turns out Methos is Genre Savvy and knew everything from the get-go.
    Joe: Why did you drag this out?
    Methos: [grins] I'm easily amused.
  • House of Cards (US): Claire gets this from Trisha, the First Lady. After spending a better part of season two helping Frank destroy the President's political career and putting his marriage on the rocks, Trisha calls Claire and tells her that "she's a good person." Claire breaks down crying at the end of the call.
  • Legends of Tomorrow. In "Tender is the Nate", Hank Heywood barges into Ava Sharpe's office and starts complaining about the Legend's expenses, not knowing that he's interrupted her making out with Sara Lance.
    Hank: If I didn't know any better I'd say you were in bed with the Legends! [Reveal Shot of Sara hiding under the table running a hand up Ava's leg] Either that or this Captain Lance is simply screwing you! [Ava gives a guilty start]
  • In Life with Boys Tess's father is a master of it, whenever Tess is about to fess up her father starts gushing about how good an example Tess is and she chickens out. She does finally give in each episode and they reach an understanding.
  • The Man in the High Castle:
    • Juliana's mother tells her that she was afraid that her other daughter Trudy is dead because she had the same foreboding feeling that she had when her first husband died during the war, but is sure that Trudy's alright because the feeling went away the next morning. Juliana knows all too well that her sister is most likely dead by this point because of their involvement in the resistance.
    • After Obergruppenfuhrer John Smith is told that his only son has a degenerative muscle disease and that he should euthanize him, he's conflicted between his love for his son and what he feels is his 'duty' to give him a painless death. While he's looking at family pictures of his now deceased brother (who had the same affliction), Smith's wife Helen says that she thinks it's a good thing to kill the infirm, ignorant of her child's condition.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Bucky tries to befriend his neighbor Yori and the bartender girl Leah; the former opens up to him about the pain of losing his son and not knowing how or why it happened. It brings Bucky immense guilt considering he was the one who killed Yori's son (as the brainwashed Winter Soldier, because the son had accidentally witnessed Bucky assassinating his targets during a mission).
  • Merlin (2008):
    • One episode had King Uther tell Gaius "You're the only one I can trust in the fight against magic." Gaius then shares an uncomfortable glance with his protege, Merlin.
    • This happened twice to Merlin in the episode "The Sins of the Father". Arthur told Merlin that those who practice magic are evil and dangerous and he was grateful to Merlin, who "helped" him realize it. Later, Uther told Merlin he was a great ally in the fight against magic.
    • One episode in the first season had Morgana become involved in a plot to assassinate Uther. In one of his many Knight Templar moments regarding magic, he had Gwen's father arrested and later killed without trial after escaping, for associating (unknowingly) with a sorcerer. His seeming belief that this was the right thing to do, and having Morgana chained in a dungeon for disagreeing, left her enraged enough to want him dead. She pretends to apologise and asks him to visit her father's grave together, where the assassins are waiting. While discussing her father, he heavily praises him, especially for being willing to speak against Uther when he is blinded by his temper. He then tells Morgana he needs her to do the same, and admits that she was right and he regrets having Gwen's father killed and Morgana locked up. All the while, the assassin is approaching ready to kill Uther. Thanks to Uther's sincere apology, not knowing she was planning to have him killed, Morgana realises Uther is not as evil as she had believed in her anger, and warns him, saving his life.
  • The Musketeers: In the episode "Death of a Hero", King Louis embraces his Evil Chancellor half-brother Feron at their father's graveside, and tells him "You're the only one who never betrayed me." Feron, who has just drawn a dagger to literally stab Louis in the back, sheathes it again.
  • In one episode of Necessary Roughness, Ray J tells his mother about his car breaking down. Dani initially scolds him for not having it serviced earlier, but then thanks him for being honest with her. Of course, his car was actually stolen after he snuck into a club with TK the night before.
  • Frequently occurs on Noah's Arc, usually with Wade (or Noah's boyfriend at the time) slinging the guilt at Noah (for Noah cheating, wanting to break up, etc.)
  • "The Death of Art" episode of Other Space is thick with this when Zalien asks Karen about Art's final mission. Undercut by comedy when Zalien takes the news quite well ..because he has several backup units on hand.
  • In an episode of Parks and Recreation, Leslie helps capture a rogue possum, nicknamed "Fairway Frank" since he runs loose on a golf course, after he bit the mayor's dog, so that he can be put down. However, Leslie has reason to believe they captured the wrong possum, but is conflicted because of how pleased the mayor's office is with her now. Scenes like this result.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Marooned", Rimmer has a camphor-wood chest containing all his Napoleonic War models, and Lister has his guitar. When they're desperate for fuel for the fire, Rimmer says his belongings are too valuable, so Lister agrees to burn his guitar, providing he can play one song first. Rimmer gives him some privacy for this, and Lister immediately starts sawing a guitar shape out of the back of the chest. Then Rimmer returns, and is deeply impressed by what Lister has done.
    Rimmer: There's no point in being modest. I know what that guitar meant to you. The same as that trunk means to me. If that trunk got so much as scratched, I'd be devastated. It's not the outward value - for me, that trunk is a link to the past. A link to the father I never managed to square things with...
    Lister: Is it?
    Rimmer: It's the only thing he ever gave me, apart from ... apart from his disappointment. But you've shown me, by burning your guitar, what true value is. Decency. Self-sacrifice. Those are the things that make up real wealth. And from where I'm standing, I'm a pretty rich man.
    Lister: Oh, God...
    Rimmer: Burn the soldiers.
    Lister: No! Not the soldiers as well!
    Rimmer: You burnt your guitar. I wish to make a sacrifice too. Burn the Armee du Nord. Cast them into the flames, let them lay down their lives for the sake of friendship... What's that smell?
    Lister: What smell? I can't smell any smell.
    Rimmer: Camphor...
    Lister: Oh, God.
    Rimmer: Your guitar was made of camphor wood? It was probably worth a fortune! Burn the soldiers! Burn them right now!
  • Rome. Lucius Vorenus is estranged from his wife Niobe after eight years campaigning in Gaul, but decides it's time he Took a Level in Kindness and swears on the life of his daughter's child that he will change his brusque ways. At that point Niobe nearly blurts out that she's been unfaithful to him, but Vorenus hushes her and says the past doesn't matter. His daughter's child is actually Niobe's, and this secret is instead exposed at the worst possible time.
  • Happened to Tara right off the bat in the second season of Sons of Anarchy: she reluctantly agreed to be Jax's girlfriend, on the condition that there be no more secrets between them. Then Gemma gets raped and confides in Tara, stressing that she can't tell Jax about it, ever. Of course, Jax can't stop talking about how cool it is that he and Tara can tell each other everything.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the episode "The First Duty", Wesley Crusher is involved in an incident at Starfleet Academy in which a teammate was killed. He and his teammates manage to initially cover up the truth (that the accident was caused by them attempting a banned flying maneuver). During the investigation, Wesley's mother consistently insists that Wesley is being totally honest and forthcoming, and the dead teammate's father thanks Wesley for being such a good friend. The guilt they unintentionally pile on Wesley is a big factor in him eventually confessing.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "Nor The Battle to the Strong", there's a scene where Jake is supposed to be helping Bashir retrieve a portable generator, but is spooked by a bombardment and ends up running in the opposite direction, leaving Bashir to fend for himself. He eventually makes it back to the hospital and finds that Bashir has survived — and the moment he sees Jake, Bashir begins apologizing frantically for bringing Jake into a war zone, which only makes Jake feel that much worse about having left Bashir behind. Jake even comments on it in his Internal Monologue
    Jake: I couldn't stand hearing him apologise to me like that. Not after what I'd done to him.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
    • In "The Impossible Box", Hugh has hopes that Picard will take up the cause of the xBs on the diplomatic stage, but Picard has a guilty expression given his past failures and uncertain future.
    • During the pursuit in "Nepenthe", Rios tells Jurati that he thinks the Romulans put a Tracking Device on Raffi, not knowing that Jurati is allowing herself to be tracked. It gets worse when Jurati hints that she's the one with the tracker and Rios laughs it off.
  • Supernatural. In "Free To Be You And Me", Dean discovers Fallen Angel Castiel is a virgin, so hauls him to the nearest Den of Iniquity to rectify the problem. A blonde prostitute saunters up to them and introduces herself as Chastity. On hearing this, Cas promptly downs half a glass of beer.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: The twins are graduating middle school, but Zack failed his reading class and therefore won't be graduating with his class. Zack is guilt-tripped when Carey throws a party for them and bakes a cake, plus their father shows up and gives Zack his guitar as a gift. Zack confesses after all the pressure and is sent to summer school.
  • Supergirl:
    • In the episode "Blood Memory", we learn that one woman in each generation of the Nal family inherits the precognitive powers, and everyone assumes it's going to be Nia's sister Maeve, who has been training for it her entire life. Because of this Nia doesn't feel comfortable revealing that she's the one who inherited the powers, until she's found a way to transfer them. When their mother dies, Maeve laments that if only she'd gained the powers, she'd have been able to use her understanding to save her. What Nia hears is that if only she'd accepted the powers, she'd have known how to interpret the vision she had.
    • In the season four finale, Lena discovers that not only is Kara Supergirl but Lena is literally the last person in their inner circle of friends to know this. In the season 5 premiere, Kara is thrown to find Lena has sold CatCo to a media baroness. Lena clearly is having a good time talking about how sorry she is as she knows how much Kara loves honesty and is far too good a person to ever keep any secrets from Lena and Lena never meant to hurt her by keeping her in the dark on something so important. This does push Kara to finally reveal her secret to Lena who acts as if she forgives Kara but is clearly still angered.
  • On The Thin Blue Line, while talking about the teenager they picked up for "joy-riding" in "Night Shift", Goody rambles briefly about the trouble broken families lead to before remembering that Fowler is a divorced father.
  • 30 Rock: In "MILF Island," after Liz anonymously insults Jack in a gossip column, he tasks her with finding out who the leak is, emphasizing that she's the only one he can trust, and confiding how badly the comments had hurt his feelings. Turns out to be an Exploited Trope, as he knew it was her all along, and was toying with her for revenge.
  • Tyrant: When Bassam is plotting a coup against Jamal, the latter often mentions to his brother how happy he is that Bassam is the one person he can trust fully.
  • In the White Collar episode "As You Were," Neal breaks into Peter's house and his personal safe, looking for a shipping manifest as part of a plan to fence stolen art and skip town. While he's there, Peter calls him and...asks how Neal is doing after his recent breakup, offers to listen anytime Neal needs to talk, and tells Neal that he deserves some happiness and Peter wants to help him. Neal is sufficiently guilt-stricken at this that he puts the manifest back and pretends he never found it.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place:
    • In "Harper Knows", Alex starts to ponder whether or not to tell Harper about wizardry when the latter lashes at the former for keeping secrets from her. While the trope appeared averted in that Harper was guilting Alex on purpose, it was played straight in the end when, after winning the costume contest, Harper forgives Alex and thanks her for telling the truth. This final straw broke Alex and she finally told Harper about magic.
    • This also happens to Justin in the crossover with The Suite Life on Deck and Hannah Montana where he pretends to be a doctor to impress London. While on their date, London starts talking about many men who lied to her in the past. Justin starts to feel guilty and tries to tell London that he isn't a doctor, but doesn't go through with it when London again shows how much she loves him.

  • In Cactus Flower, when Julian is feeling guilty about Toni's suicide attempt, she tries to reassure him by telling him she loves him as an honest man and a "decent guy," and she wants to make him happy by returning him to his wife and kids. Julian's problem, of course, is that he lied to Toni by telling her he was married.
  • A minor example in Hamilton: in the song "Tomorrow There'll Be More of Us", Hamilton receives a letter from friend and fellow revolutionary John Laurens, but puts it aside because he's busy working. When his wife Eliza (who has presumably read the letter already) tries to get him to read it, he cites the above reason - until she says it's from Laurens's father, because the letter states that Laurens was killed in action shortly after the war ended.
  • In In the Heights, the end of "No Me Diga" consists of Daniella, Carla, and Vanessa talking about how proud they are of Nina for getting out of the ghetto and going to college (Stanford, of all places). Unbeknownst to them, she has already dropped out, and is feeling extremely guilty about it (not only was she "the one" to make it out of Washington Heights, but tuition is also bankrupting her parents).
  • In Les Misérables, Marius constantly tells Eponine what a good friend she is, and even uses her to help get into contact with his love-interest Cosette - multiple times. What he doesn't know is that she is very, very much in love with him, to the point that she refuses medical aid when shot just so that she can die in his arms.

    Video Games 
  • If the player has the "Old Witch Ring" in Dark Souls, every line of dialogue spoken by Quelaag's sister counts as this. She's suffering and in indescribable pain because of her kindness and selflessness, but tell you that she'll be all right as long as she has you, her dear sister Quelaag, by her side. You know, the same Quelaag you just KILLED to be able to reach her in the first place.
    • In the Dark Souls III Ringed City DLC: When the player brings the blood of the Dark Soul to the Painter, she'll thank you and ponder when her uncle Gael will come home, as she wants to make her painting as a kindly home for him. Thing is, you killed Gael in order to get that blood. You Bastard!.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins:
      • It's entirely possible for the Grey Warden to do this to Morrigan, especially if the Warden is a male character romancing her. It doesn't stop her from following through with her true objectives, but it's clear that she feels guilty about it. Then again, if this isn't the first playthrough, there's nothing "oblivious" about it.
      • You can also do this to Arl Howe in the human noble origin, who is planning to have you and your entire family killed by the end of the night; if you go out of your way to be nice to him, he's a bit nonplussed and becomes uncomfortable, in probably the only decent moment the man has all game.
        Human Noble Warden: I just wanted to wish you well, Arl Howe.
        Arl Howe: Thank you... [looks noticeably uncomfortable and turns away] That is... quite unnecessary.
    • Something similar can happen in Dragon Age II depending on the actions and dialogue the player chooses near the end of Act 2. You can't stop Isabela from betraying you, but you can make her feel really bad about it and pull a Changed My Mind, Kid later.
    • In Inquisition, Solas can get quite a bit of guilt slung in his direction from the Inquisitor, especially if they're in a romance. Taking him to practically any elven ruin has this effect, given that his actions led to the downfall of elven society, but it's especially obvious at the Temple of Mythal. What Pride Had Wrought indeed...
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: Midway through the Dark Brotherhood questline, you get a special mission from Lucien Lachance to slaughter all of your comrades in the Cheydinhal Sanctuary, as he suspects one of them is a traitor. If you talk to any of the victims before doing this, they can invoke this effect. Most notably, M'raaj-Dar, who had until now despised the player, admits he was wrong about you, apologizes, and asks if you can be friends.
  • Fable III: During the Kidnapped quest, the Hero is asked by the proprietor of a shelter (either Linda or Laszlo, depending on the Hero's gender) to rescue her/his fiancé/e. Depending on the choice you made in the beginning of the game, that person could be your childhood friend and would-be love interest, Elliot/Elise — in which case you have the option to either tell Elliot/Elise to stay with Linda/Laszlo or encourage Elliot/Elise to leave Linda/Laszlo for you. If you tell Elliot/Elise to dump Linda/Laszlo so the two of you can be together, Linda/Laszlo's final words to you at the end of the quest turn into this.
    Linda/Laszlo: [with absolute sincerity] You saved the love of my life. I'm forever in your debt. Thank you for everything.
  • Final Fantasy X - Yuna begins her journey to defeat Sin knowing that she will die in the process. Tidus, who's rapidly building an attraction to her, doesn't know this, but unwittingly says things that remind her of it - like "We can come back and see this place again later", or "After we beat Sin, we can...". When he's told what will happen, he beats himself up about it, and hangs a lampshade on his part in this trope. In this case, it's not Yuna who he's making feel guilty, it's everybody else in the party.
    • The situation also happens in reverse with Tidus; after The Reveal that Jecht became Sin a decade ago, every time someone (especially Yuna) brings him up in a heroic light or talks about how much suffering Sin has caused (since the last Calm), it makes Tidus guilty and uncomfortable, due to him feeling personally responsible for his father.
  • Can be done to Shepard in Mass Effect 3. If Shepard chooses not to tell Eve about the fact that the salarians sabotaged the genophage cure long ago, Shepard has to listen to Eve constantly talking about what a hero Shepard is for all s/he's doing for the krogan people. Wrex also praises Shepard for being a hero (although how much he does depends on how many decisions you made that are good for him or the krogans), but is a subversion of the trope since Wrex doesn't stay oblivious forever...
  • In the main storyline of No Man's Sky, the Last Traveller/player character has been trying to meet a fellow Traveller named Artemis, whose is in another universe and is desperate to meet another Traveller. Hoever, it turns out that she's dead already, and her consciousness is somehow trapped in between universes. The player has the option to let her die for good, or save her consciosness into a simulated universe. If you save her, you can either tell her the truth, or lie and say that you are still looking for her, and that you will meet up eventually. if you do that, then she will contact you ocassionally, talking about the things you'll do together when you finally meet, and how happy she is to not be alone anymore.
  • In Sam & Max: The Mole, the Mob and the Meatball, Sam and Max are ordered to kill their friend Sybil to gain the Toy Mafia's trust. When you talk to Sybil, she knows the Mafia is planning to kill her, and says that Sam and Max are the only ones she can trust. This doesn't make them feel any better. The Trope Namer comes from Max's remark: "She should consider guilt-slinging for her next career".
  • In season 2 of The Walking Dead, Clementine's group of survivors encounters another group at a ski lodge. The ski lodge group lets them stay for a while, and during that time a man from the Ski Lodge, Walter, tells Clem's group that his partner Matthew should be back from his hunting soon. Clem's group slowly realises that Matthew was a man they encountered and accidentally killed on their way there.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Frozen Essence, being nice and helpful to Varian causes him to become visibly uncomfortable and tell Mina outright that helping him will not help her. It doesn't stop him from helping Oryon capture and attempt to reseal her, although he's clearly wracked with guilt/doubt about this. On the other hand, pulling this off on him again during his path with the right choices does result in him having a change of heart at the last minute about his plan to reseal Mina.
  • The demo version of Heart of the Woods had a scene that takes place when Tara records her last video for her Vlog Series Taranormal before going to Eysenfeld, where the game takes place. Tara is as enthusiastic about her work as always, and calls her best friend Madison "the best manager ever." Madison, who wants to quit her job as Tara's manager but hasn't told her yet, feels a little guilty about quitting, but tells Tara about her decision before they leave.
  • Nicole: One of Nicole's potential love interests is — unknown to her, obviously — also the man who kidnapped three women and is now planning to kidnap her, along with tormenting her through threatening messages on her phone. At one point, she essentially beats his door down to comfort him over a recent failure, and yells at him until he accepts that she truly does think of them as friends and she's not trying to emotionally manipulate him. He's so distraught over this that he threatens to rape her in an attempt to make her hate him; when she calls his bluff and tells him flat-out that she knows he's not really going to do it, he freezes up. The fact that she shows so much faith in him even after he threatens her like that completely unsettles him.

    Web Comics 
  • Girl Genius: Gil and Tarvek discuss how Von Pinn was the closest thing they had to a mother and in Tarvek's case the only parental figure he ever had that actually showed him any love or affection and how they intend to painfully kill whomever wounded her while Agatha grows more and more uncomfortable in the background. Of course Von Pinn had torn her parents apart right in front of her so she was understandably pissed and untrusting of the construct.
  • Homestuck:
    • This happens when Jane (who has a huge crush on Jake), is asked up-front about her feelings for him and freaks out and denies it. He goes on to effusively thank her for her honesty, telling her how much it means to him to have a good friend right now, and confides in her about his confusion regarding Dirk. Her reaction is both hilarious and heart-breaking.
    • Also happens earlier from a different direction when Roxy, frustrated with Jane's refusal to believe her about the batterwitch, sends her a file that will cause her computer to explode pretending it's from the batterwitch in the hopes that Jane will finally start taking her seriously...only for Jane to come around on her own and start apologising for being such a bad friend. Roxy has a My God, What Have I Done? moment and tries to stop Jane from running it, but she goes ahead anyway.
  • In Kevin & Kell, Rudy confides in Bruno about his domestication, then goes on to talk about how much he'd hate for them to keep secrets from each other, which puts Bruno in a very awkward position, since he hasn't yet told Rudy about Corrie.
  • Pixie and Brutus: As an eagle carries her off, Pixie keeps trying to talk to her and complimenting her prettiness. When the eagle realizes Pixie legitimately doesn't know she's supposed to serve as dinner, the guilt gets too great and she decides to bring her home as a new sister for her children.
  • Precocious: Deirdre does this to Jabob here.Context  Subverted, she's actually in on an elaborate prank.
  • In Sam & Fuzzy, where Sidney "the Sicko" tells Crush actually Sam with a beard that he's the only person he can trust. Unbeknownst to Sidney, Crush is currently dating his on-again-off-again girlfriend, of whom he is notoriously fanatically possessive. Crush is extremely upset by this, since Sidney has always been kindness itself to him, and aside from his neuroticism regarding his ex, is a pretty cool guy. This trope happens again later, with Gert, prompting the appearance of her conscience cat.
    • Much later, when the fact that they are dating finally becomes known to Syd, he reacts predictably- only to have her yank him firmly down to earth by sternly reminding him of the "ex-part" and make him apologize. Everyone remains good friends.
  • Natani of TwoKinds confesses that Keith is her best friend when he's been ordered to betray the group (Keith's race is biologically disposed to follow orders). He then finds that he cannot kill her, and tries to kill himself instead.

    Web Original 
  • Chuggaaconroy mentions while playing Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time that he did this to his parents as a child. They gave him a wallet to keep his money in, so he'd learn to take care of his finances, but it was actually a way to be certain where his money would be, so they could take it and use it themselves. And Chugga once told them that his wallet was weird because any money he put in disappeared, even if he didn't spend anything. Years later, his parents admitted what they did and that his innocent comment made them feel terrible for stealing from their child.
  • Happens in Kickassia between The Nostalgia Chick and The Nostalgia Critic. He goes on about how nice she is and how much he trusts her while she's trying to kill him to gain his power. Her being The Sociopath, she just finds this more awkward than painful.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Arthur, Arthur's dad scores him a backstage pass to a concert, because he's catering for the band. He tells Arthur he can invite his friends, but Arthur's Imagine Spot about the band taking him luging suffers a Fantasy Twist when he imagines a dozen kids showing up, so he says he doesn't think they'd want to go. The next day Buster tells him that he's going to see if his reporter mom can get them backstage, and Binky offers him a spare ticket closer to the stage. He invites everyone.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Bato of the Water Tribe", Aang learns of the location of Sokka and Katara's father, and keeps it secret. This plagues him through most of the episode as he is praised for being honest and true. Their reaction...they did not take it well.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: In the episode "The Rise of the Blue Beetle!", Batman and Jaime Reyes, the third Blue Beetle, accidentally travel to a planet outside of the Milky Way Galaxy and meet the Gibbles, who believe Jaime is their old hero who has returned to protect them from Kanjar-Ro. Batman's idea is for Jaime to go along with the ruse to give the Gibble people hope, but Jaime starts panicking and begs Batman to come up with another idea, only for a Gibble child to come up to Jaime and give him a drawing to thank him for "returning", which gets Jaime to go along with the plan (albeit reluctantly).
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Luck O' The Ducks", Webby tells Far Daric he's a very fine friend soon after he and the other leprechauns built a trap for Scrooge.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Angry that his parents (seemingly) forgot his birthday because of Chip Skylark's concert, Timmy wishes for the worst possible (non-lethal) thing to happen to him. When this turns out to be being Bound and Gagged by Vicky, Timmy feels terrible.
    Timmy: I'm really sorry about all this, Chip.
    Chip: Oh, that's all right, little pal. It's not like you wished for this to happen.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "Brian Goes Back to College", Brian feels guilty over having earned a high grade on a test by cheating, and is about to confess to his professor, only to change his mind when the professor tells Brian his performance on the test has lifted him out of his suicidal depression.
    • In "Road to the North Pole", Brian gets into deep trouble with Quagmire when he mistakes his cancer-ridden niece for a little bald boy while he and Stewie are waiting to meet Santa at the mall. A little later, when Stewie demands that Brian take him to the North Pole so he can kill Santa, Brian refuses to until he gets some startling news related to his blunder.
      Brian: Look, Stewie, I know you're disappointed that you didn't get to see Santa, but I-I'm not driving you to the North Pole!
      Lois: (hanging up) Everyone, Quagmire's niece is in the ICU. Now, I think we should go down there to support him.
      Brian: (startled) W-What?
      Lois: Yeah, apparently, something happened at the mall and she took a turn for the worse. They don't know how much time she has left. Quagmire just called, h-he's really upset. I-It doesn't sound like he wants us there for some reason, b-but we should go anyway.
      Brian: (beat) All right, let's go to the North Pole.
  • House of Mouse:
    • In one episode, one person has to be fired when the club goes over its budget, and that person has to be the most irresponsible employee. Goofy naturally fits that role, but when he tells his friends he loves them and enjoys working at the club, Mickey and the others (except Donald) can't find it in their hearts to fire him.
    • In the short "Mickey's Mistake", Mickey finds an envelope full of money and uses it to buy Minnie a new bow. When he does, Minnie tells him that she lost an envelope full of money that she intended to donate to an orphanage, then expresses hope that someone as noble and kind-hearted as Mickey would find it and turn it in. Mick soon looks like he's going to throw up.
  • King of the Hill: In one episode, Dale begins spending a lot of time with another exterminator who everyone else can tell is attracted to him. Nancy tries to put her foot down and stop Dale from seeing her, and Dale fires back that he never raised a fuss about Nancy going off for long periods with John Redcorn - not realizing that until recently, Nancy had been having a years-long affair with Redcorn.
  • In one episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Stitch deliberately lets one of the experiments, "Mr. Stenchy", be captured when he begins taking up Lilo's attention. Afterwards, Lilo laments on how losing Mr. Stenchy means that she'll be unable to bring him to a tea party held by the snobbish girls to be accepted as their friend. Nani points out that these girls probably wouldn't make good friends anyway; Stitch, on the other hand, is someone Lilo can depend on. Every affirmation made of how Stitch would never do anything to hurt Lilo sends the creature sinking further and further into his chair. He tries to atone for it by dressing up as Mr. Stenchy for the girls' tea party, though it doesn't exactly work out. At bedtime, he becomes even guiltier when Lilo says how loyal of a friend he is to her and believes that Stitch tried very hard to protect Mr. Stenchy.
  • The Loud House: In "Gown And Out", Lola pretends to be sick to get out of having to compete in a pageant she knows she will lose. Lori, who is chaperoning her during the pageant, begins to dote on Lola and buys her expensive gifts, believing that she is disappointed about not being able to compete in the pageant, making Lola feel more and more guilty until she admits the truth.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "One Bad Apple", the Cutie Mark Crusaders booby-trap their float so bully Babs Seed can steal it from them and get humiliated. After the float leaves, Applejack comes to congratulate them for "giving" her the float, since she had been having bully problems in Manehattan and needed to feel happy in Ponyville. The CMC, realizing that Babs was being a bully so she wouldn't be bullied, and that they're becoming bullies themselves, rush off to save her.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Team Homer", while the rest of Homer's bowling team are pressuring him to get rid of Mr. Burns, Burns buys them all bowling shirts and tells them they're the only friends he's ever had. Subverted when Homer quickly recovers and tries to punt Mr. Burns off the team anyway, only for the others to interrupt him out of guilt.
    • In "Last Tap Dance in Springfield", Lisa tries to tell her parents that she wants to quit only for them to continuously praise her dancing.
      Homer: Now, honey, what were you trying to say before we kept interrupting with our loving proudness?
      Marge: Yes, our tiny tapper, what was it you were going to say after "I wanted to be a dancer, but..."?
    • Played straight again in "Steal This Episode". Homer starts pirating movies and hosting a movie night, but Marge starts feeling guilty and mails a check to a Hollywood producer paying for the ticket she didn't buy and confessing what Homer did. This leads to the FBI arresting Homer, and as he's being taken away, he starts ranting about how he's going to hunt down whoever did this to him, and tells Marge what a good wife she is. Homer manages to escape, and the family hides out in a Swedish consulate. However, the FBI finds them again and Homer turns himself in once Marge confesses.
      Marge: Lisa, tell your brother that stealing is wrong, no matter what!
      Lisa: I don't know. It wasn't like Dad was stealing for himself. He created a wonderful experience for the whole town. I just can't imagine anyone turning him in.
      Marge: (takes Maggie's pacifier and rapidly sucks on it)
    • That happened to Marge before in "Burns, Baby Burns", in which she makes Homer go outside and bring Larry back to Mr. Burns despite it being broad daylight with cops everywhere. Once the inevitable happens, Kent Brockman derides that the decision as "idiocy", causing Marge to groan in embarrassment.
    • In "Homer the Father", Bart tries to get on Homer's good side in an effort to steal nuclear secrets from the power plant and give them to Chinese spies in exchange for a dirt bike. The next morning, Homer surprises Bart with the same kind of bike as thanks for being a good son, which makes Bart realize he committed treason for nothing and try to steal the secrets back.
      Bart: Why in the world would you get me this?
      Homer: Because you've been such a great kid lately and I wanted to show you I appreciate it.
      Bart: [nervous] Oh. That's... great. Huh, I wouldn't trade it for all the tea in... China?
  • Invoked in The Spectacular Spider-Man, "Final Curtain": Harry pretends to do this to keep Gwen from breaking up with him, but he's not actually oblivious at all.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Envoys", after Lieutenant Commander Billups praises Ensign Rutherford's work and tells him that he's an invaluable member of the Engineering department, Rutherford feels that much more guilty for requesting a transfer.
    Billups: Rutherford, great work on the EPS grid. I wish I had more engineers like you. My life would be a lot simpler.
    Rutherford: Uh, thanks. Uh, can we talk for a second?
    Billups: Just for a second? Don't tease me. Come on, man, you're my number-one-with-a-bullet-systems guy. I got time for you in spades.
    Rutherford: Um... (chuckles nervously)
  • Happened in Teen Titans, in the episode "Betrayal". The same night Terra is given the word to deactivate the Titans' security and let Slade's army of robots in for an all out onslaught against the Titans, the Titans comment on what a great friend Terra is and how valuable she is to the team, and how good friends like her don't come along every day. She obviously feels guilty, even insisting they don't have to be grateful since she's just doing her job (as a Titan). She betrays them anyways.
  • Young Justice
    • In the episode "Satisfaction", Paula Crock thanks Wally for providing emotional support as she comes to terms with Artemis' "death". Wally's guilt over maintaining the ruse in front of Artemis' grieving mother is written all over his face. In the same episode, the rest of the Team goes on and on about how Kaldur is going to pay for Artemis's "death". They're rather confused when Nightwing mysteriously vanishes, unable to cope with the guilt.
    • Following on from this, in "Before the Dawn", Miss Martian does take the above revenge, learning the truth in the process. She realises she's actually Mind Raped an undercover teammate and is filled with guilt, while her teammates praise her for taking down the traitor who killed Artemis.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • "Fools in April": Squidward (trying to apologize to SpongeBob for his nasty prank) asks Patrick where SpongeBob is and Patrick's response winds up making Squidward even more guilty.
    Squidward: Patrick?! What're you doing here?
    Patrick: Digging.
    Squidward: Why are you wearing that hat?
    Patrick: Oh, I dunno. (takes it off)
    Squidward: Where's SpongeBob?
    Patrick: He's in the house. He's impressed. note 
    Squidward: With what?
    Patrick: I dunno, but it must've been pretty good to make him cry like that.
    (Squidward shivers with even more guilt, then sprints over to SpongeBob's house)
    • "Dying For Pie": As SpongeBob and Squidward are watching the sunset.
    SpongeBob: You know, if I were to die right now in some sort of fiery explosion due to the carelessness of a friend, well...that'd just be okay.
    Squidward: (tears up)


Video Example(s):


You Need to Chill Out

Rudy may not have the highest score, but he's glad to compete against his friends in a fair contest. Tina, who helped rigged the contest with Mr. Frond, feels bad and needs to chill out.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / ObliviousGuiltSlinging

Media sources:

Main / ObliviousGuiltSlinging