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Pseudo-Romantic Friendship

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"It was perfectly acceptable at Baker & Inglis to get a crush on a fellow classmate. At a girls school a certain amount of emotional energy, normally expended on boys, gets redirected into friendships."
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Friendship is a powerful thing, as we all know. Usually, though, there’s a degree of distance between friends, like physical lines they’re not willing to cross with each other. Sometimes, however, the friendship between two people can get very close indeed, as in hugging and holding hands all the time close. Perhaps they're so close that they even kiss, cuddle, finish each other's sentences, and/or platonically share a bed. Now, to an outside observer, this may look like they’ve taken the next step and become full-blown lovers, but not so! They’re still Just Friends, albeit friends who have grown so close that they’re comfortable doing things like this together without any romantic undertones, as they and their friends will tell you right out. It’s all just a sign of their adoration for each other and their deep-seated friendship. This relationship, called a romantic friendship by the other wiki, can be done between children or adults (never between a child and adult for obvious reasons).

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This sort of thing was much more common in older works but started dying off around the late 19th/early 20th centuries as values shifted when such things started being seen as more sexual and homophobia became a major phenomenon, though. it’s still around to some extent, and even making a small comeback in the forms of "bromance," Man Hugs, and Air Hugging. However, the more extreme versions, like cuddling, sharing a bed, and kissing at the most extreme are largely gone from these friendships and, in fiction, are mainly used to suggest certain homoerotic undertones that the characters may or may not be in denial about, or just to screw with the audience. Even when used without intentionally offering said undertones, it tends to make people think there's something more going on. That said, there is one demographic where such activities are still present and treated relatively innocently in media, especially in Japan: young girls. In Japan, when this happens it's known as a "class S" relationship, and they're expected to grow out of it and move on to heterosexual relationships. For similar reasons, this is also why the Gay Romantic Phase trope remains popular there, even as it has been mostly rejected by western audiences for its homophobic implications. Naturally, this also makes the subversion of this trope a popular initial setup in the Yuri Genre, as a young couple gradually realises that they're not just practicing for adulthood, but are very seriously in love.

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Related to Heterosexual Life-Partners and Platonic Life-Partners. See also Gay Romantic Phase for another type of loveless, but very close, relationship, though in that case it’s explicitly meant to be temporary and simply practice for a "real" (heterosexual) relationship. If this close relationship gets sexual but remains non-romantic, then it overlaps with Friends with Benefits. Ambiguously Gay and Ambiguously Bi are sister tropes. See also Homoerotic Subtext.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Misaki and Hatoko from Angelic Layer has a very intimate friendship, especially since Hatoko was one of the first Deus to acknowledge Misaki's talent and encourages her to have more confidence for Hikaru whenever Misaki self-doubts due to her lack of experience. This is especially apparent in the Anime version, when Misaki needs to find someone to act as her "Second" in the National championship and wants to ask Hatoko (a sentiment which Hatoko shares), but the way they tiptoe around the issue is reminiscent of a pair of bashful couple waiting for the other to confess first.

  • ARIA: Alicia and her apprentice Akari appear to be very enamored with each other. Alicia postpones Akari's promotion to Prima since she doesn't want to leave her alone before retiring... to get married, of course.
  • In Asteroid in Love, Mira and Ao are extremely close since they reunited, something fully recognized by their schoolmates that the most dramatic moments of the series to date is Ao's impending move away from the town in Chapter 27/Episode 8note . The fact that Mira mistook Ao for a boy for years and had a crush on "him", and the tendency for her to call joint outings "dates" make the romantic nature of their friendship more obvious.
  • Played for laughs in Ayakashi Triangle: Matsuri is rather comically adoring of and affectionate to his senpai/rival Soga, going as far to publicly hug him and beg Soga not to be replaced by a girlfriend. Since Matsuri was turned into a girl, many characters wonder if he's Jumping the Gender Barrier, something he blithely ignores (and fails to notice Soga has fallen for him).
  • Bakugan:
  • BanG Dream! has a few examples. Afterglow has childhood friends Ran and Moca, who are stated to be the closest in a band composed of childhood friends. There's also Tomoe and Himari. Rosellia has Lisa and Yukina, also childhood friends, with Lisa frequently baking cookies for the band because Yukina likes them.

  • The relationship between witches and their familiars in Ciel ~The Last Autumn Story~ has heavy shades of this. As witches need another witch to pull them out of their field(and thus perform magic), and once such a partnership is set up, it's set for life, their relationships tend to be very close...and then end along with their witch career when they marry. Though not all witch pairs end, and Yvienne focusing on her relationship with Krohiten over her relationship with Lariatte ends up being a very big mistake.
  • The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan has the relationship between Nagato and Asakura. Since, in this world, Asakura isn't a stabby alien interface, she is actually the cheerful, likable girl she portrays herself as. She also frequently goes over to Nagato's apartment to cook for her, wakes her in the morning (and scolds her when she stays up late playing video games), and is the first to notice that something is wrong when Nagato experiences dysmnesia after a car accident.
  • GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class has Aa-san and Buchi, who are very close friends and are almost never seen apart. Their classmates jokingly call them a couple at one point, and Awara herself occasionally allude to the idea (such as referring the scene where she had a huge row with her friend a "lover's quarrel" to make Kisaragi less guilty at having accidentally eavesdropped on their fight). However any serious romance between them is never considered—Awara has more genuine Ship Tease with Uozumi, and Buchi has no qualms poking fun at their relationship.
  • Granny Girl Hinata-chan: In her past life, Hinata had a best friend named Micchio, and Hinata's description of their relationship sounds almost amorous. She even said that Micchio "captivated" her. Following her death and reincarnation, Hinata encounters Micchio, depressed and wheelchair bound, when her kindergarten class visits a nursing home. Hinata makes an effort to reconnect with Micchio with their old favorite game of bean-bag tossing.
  • Clover and Mallow the main bunny characters from Happy Happy Clover start developing a close bond with each other after they became friends in the first story. As the manga progresses, there are times where Clover thinks Mallow is no longer her friend when a female visitors is at her home when sick and runs away crying and both are constantly seen holding hands. One story even had Mallow defending Clover's mother and her teacher that it was her fault that she injured her foot since the adults scolded Clover for disobeying about climbing down a dangerous hill and riding down on a leaf. Mallow starts defending Clover when she see's her starting to cry of shame and says the whole situations was her fault and starts crying into her mother's chest in sorrow and is later seen crying quietly in her bed. Moments later, Clover visits her room and learns that Twirl just gave her a genuine present which Clover believes is a trick until she see's the real gift. The scene then shows an extreme close up on Clover telling Mallow that Twirl actually has a good heart despite being naughty and causing trouble around the two. In the anime adaptation of that story, it looks like they are falling in love.
  • Hidamari Sketch:
    • Hiro and Sae are very close and are frequently subjected to Ship Tease. Hiro talks about giving Sae chocolate for Valentine's Day and how Sae watched over her all night when she was sick; the first season OP even has a Not What It Looks Like moment with Yuno walking in on them (with the context not even being given until the second season). Sae spends an entire episode (the 2nd special) freaking out when Hiro gets a love letter in her shoe locker, complete with an excited Yuno and Miyako misunderstanding the letter as coming from Hiro. And then there's the second season's opening... and they've even shared a mental conversation together!
    • Yuno and Miyako also seem to be a bit closer than average sometimes, which usually gets excused by Miyako's bubbly and innocent demeanor. Miyako also appears to be very open-minded about relationships and hops in the bathtub with Yuno the day they meet, since her own water supply doesn't work. Uh-huh. One time Miyako even tells Yuno that she thinks she is very pretty. Yuno in turn voices her wish to Miyako that they might one day have the same relationship as Sae and Hiro.
  • Seen several times in Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl: first when an upperclassman dismisses Yasuna's obvious romantic interest in Hazumu as "immature", later when Ayuki reveals that Tomari once got a love letter from another girl, and still later when two unnamed classmates (literally "Girl A" and "Girl B" in the credits) get so carried away by Hazumu's exaggerated tales of Tomari's heroics while defending her from reporters that they openly declare their love for her "manliness", which mortifies Tomari to no end.
  • K-On! has romantic tension between the girls in various alignments and levels of intensity. Mio and Ritsu have their moments, especially when Ritsu shows definite signs of jealousy when Mio "dates" another girl. But the most romantically inclined appears to be Yui, who is clearly very enthralled by Mio, only to shift her focus to Azusa once she appears—and she at times even seems to be suspiciously close to her own sister Ui. It's all kept rather light though, in line with the fluffy character of the show.
  • In the last episodes of Love Live!, Honoka and Kotori go through an emotionally fraught arc together when Kotori pulls away from the group due to personal goals, with Honoka stuck on how Kotori didn't tell her, and Kotori anguished about the situation due to Honoka being 'her very best friend,' and Honoka left to chase after Kotori until she finally catches her at the airport, with them expressing honest feelings to each other. The entire scenario feels a tinge past friendship and obviously echoes romantic scenarios between a couple, but come season 2, Status Quo Is God reigns, and that tension is never brought up again.
  • Lucky Star:
    • At the beginning of Episode 7, Konata starts abruptly acting out this trope towards Tsukasa and Kagami. Kagami asks what's going on, and her response to this behavior and the explanation that Konata has become hooked on Marimite is "Are you a kid?!" . Ironically enough, the mangaka stated that either Kagami or Konata has a one-sided crush on the other, but he's never clarified who.
    • Yutaka and Minami have a very close relationship, enough that Hiyori likes to imagine them in more blatantly romantic scenarios. While they're not officially a couple, Yutaka still blushes when meeting Minami for the first time and Minami clearly cares a lot about Yutaka despite being quiet and aloof to most people.
  • Yue Ayase and Nodoka Miyazaki in Negima! Magister Negi Magi have a very close and intense friendship despite only being friends for a few years, and they each try to encourage the other to pursue their teacher romantically over their own feelings for him. The series also drops hints that they're nursing feelings for each other, like Nodoka secretly desiring a threesome between her, Yue, and Negi, and Yue calling Nodoka "beautiful" in the series finale. The sequel, UQ Holder!, confirms that they both proposed a threesome to him. Depending on the timeline, he either accepts or declines.
  • In My Hero Academia, Asui Tsuyu has this sort of relationship with middle-school friend Habuko Mongoose in the 2nd OVA. They reunite during a joint training exercise between their two high schools, and just about every time they're on screen together they are holding hands and staring into each other's eyes.
  • Nurse Hitomi's Monster Infirmary: Chisa Osanai and Kyouko Ooki have been friends since childhood, and Chisa is very protective of Kyouko, who wants to both protect her friend back and prove that she can handle herself sometimes. At the end of Chapter 3, Kyouko is carrying Chisa home, and says that she loves her.
  • In ROD the TV Series Hisami Hisaishi's relationship to Anita King was such that she even turned down the boy who was interested in her because of it. She regularly compares the two of them to Anne and Diana from the book Anne of Green Gables (in Japan it's called "Red Haired Anne"). Both sets of girls refer to themselves as "Soulmates." It also leads to a very heart-wrenching scene when the girls say their goodbyes. Even worse when Anita comes back after the Library puts their plan into action, tearily explains her terrible situation to Hisami and all but begs her for help, and Hisami doesn't remember her at all. Wow. Oh, and the manga also has them holding hands intimately and sharing a romantic dance around the school festival bonfire.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • In the 1990s anime, Usagi and Rei show a somewhat low key version of this in those quiet, sweet moments they're not acting like Vitriolic Best Buds, particularly the original and R seasons. True to cultural expectations, these moments are less common (but not completely inexistent) as Usagi's relationship with her boyfriend Mamoru matures... and they reappear when Mamoru falls victim to Bus Crash (unbeknownst to them). This is lampshaded by Michiru who comments to Rei that, her relationship with Usagi, is just like Michiru's relationship with Haruka.
  • Serial Experiments Lain: Alice's attitude toward Lain involves a slight romantic tint. Lain's confession of love in the penultimate episode make her feelings fairly clear. The anime toes the line between text and subtext with a lot of Lain and Alice's relationship, but it's hard to read Lain deleting herself from existence for Alice's peace of mind, arranging things so that she can marry her high school crush, and spending eternity watching over her from the Wired in a way other than I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.

  • Gender-Inverted with protagonists Reki and Langa from Sk8 the Infinity, whose friendship has a romantic aspect to it from early on, to the point that it seems like they're on the precipice of something before Reki suddenly expresses romantic interest in a girl in episode 6 (and is promptly rejected). The main reason the former qualifies for this instead of Bait-and-Switch Lesbians (but gay) is that episode 8 heavily implies that Langa has an out-and-out crush on Reki by his gasping, blushing and averting his eyes when his mom asks if he 'likes' the person he broke a promise with (his mom clarifies she meant the romantic insinuation, though assumes it's a girl, and Langa only questions the gender in confusion). Late series on Reki's side, it's a little more ambiguous, but the animation seems to imply things. As they're left at Ship Tease at the end, they essentially stay a gender-inverted version of this trope.
  • Symphogear: There is a reason fans call it Symphogay:
    • Kanade and Tsubasa (or at least had, before Kanade's death), and Hibiki and Miku, Senki Zesshou Symphogear G extend the latter pair and it introduces Kirika and Shirabe.
    • While Hibiki and Miku are strongly hinted at having romantic feelings for each-other throughout the series (to the point they spend all of it sharing a bed) that are buried under their own respective guilt complex's (Long story), It's very heavily implied that Miku is the first to realize how deep her feelings are during the events of G when her song while wielding the Shenshou Jing is all about her possessive love for Hibiki. It's taken even further in XV, where Hibiki's refusal to act on the desire to allow her own feelings to skew more to the "romantic" as opposed to the "friendship" side of things end up causing part of the conflict of the season, and being open to how she feels for Miku becomes key to resolving it; the show going so far as to present such in the special text of her Final Attack name (Look up the meaning of "Metanoia" some time). Particularly telling is the final scene, which resolves their relationship with a Maybe Ever After, where they both admit, while blushing, to having something they've wanted to say to the other for a while.. The post-series manga, Mobile game XDU and official artwork Additonally confirm Hibiki and Miku are an official couple to the point of Hibiki presenting Miku with an Engagement Ring upon their Graduation.
  • Ran and Midori from Telepathy Shoujo Ran become like this as the series progresses — which is rather peculiar, since Ran actually has a boyfriend and Midori is openly smitten with Ran's brother. Perhaps the makers simply didn't want to drop the dynamic that works so well in similar series.
  • In A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow, Konatsu Amano, a transfer student, forms a very close friendship with her sempai and clubmate Koyuki Honami. The two share a lot of Les Yay, and it's ultimately left ambiguous as to whether they're merely friends or have feelings for one another.
  • In Ultra Maniac one of the two main girls finds out the other has a crush on her. She scoffs it away, saying that it proves the other girl is just a child.
  • Marin and Kanon in Umi Monogatari become very close friends over the course of the series and Kanon finally says "I love you" back to her at the end, but Kanon is in a relationship with Kojima and Marin supports her in it. In the DVD special, it becomes clear that Kanon experiences her goodbye with Marin much like a romantic breakup—which is curious, since she still goes out with Kojima.
  • The relationship between Ichika and Manatsu from Uta∽Kata borders on this trope.
  • This trope appears to be the main element in Venus Versus Virus. There are numerous intimate and tender moments between Lucia and Sumire, causing Sumire to turn bright red every so often. The series has even been called a shounen yuri manga/anime by the official manga translators, even though it doesn't go beyond subtext. The romantic element is certainly there though, and gets a lot of focus, especially in the earlier volumes. However, once Sumire leaves Lucia and her friends, Lucia's affections for her reach above the most extreme RTGF meter. It's unrequited.
  • From Yuki Yuna is a Hero, we have the titular Yuna Yuki and her wheelchair-bound best friend Mimori Togo, who are almost never seen apart. The writers have actually confirmed that Togo wants to be more than just friends with Yuna, and even though Yuna is Oblivious to Love, they have a big chance to get together because of how close they are.
  • Deconstructed in Yuri Kuma Arashi. Any schoolgirls who try to openly take this to the next level are excluded, such as Kureha and Sumika. As a result, everyone has to keep their love hidden and invisible. The schoolgirls that participate in the exclusion are later revealed to be hypocritically homophobic closet lesbians that are in deep denial about their feelings. This also caused a rift in Reia and Yurika's friendship, as Reia moved out of this to form a "real" relationship while Yurika considered her relationship with Reia to be real.
  • In Zombie Land Saga, the creators were surprised that many fans were shipping Ai and Junko together as they only thought of them as "an idol from the Heisei era and an idol from the Showa era". This is in spite of the heavy amounts of Ship Tease in their focus episodes.

    Art 
  • Many of Lawrence Alma-Tadema's paintings feature young women in moments of intimate friendship. Prominent examples include Whispering Noon, The Baths of Caracalla, and In a Rose Garden (which also includes a bonus Lap Pillow).

    Comic Books 
  • Supergirl has this kind of relationship with several heroines of The DCU, mainly Batgirl—whether she's Barbara Gordon or Stephanie Brown—and Wonder Girl (Cassandra Sandsmark). Kara and Babs have hugged and carried each other bridal style more times than you can count, Kara and Cassie kissed at one point, and Kara and Steph... well...
    Supergirl: [after ripping off her top to reveal her costume underneath it] Aren't you gonna... you know...
    Batgirl: Not unless you wanna see my bra.
    Supergirl: Does it have a bat on it?

    Fan Works 
  • Angel of the Bat takes the emotional bond between Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown and turns it up several notches, though there is still a fair amount of ambiguity there.At least until Cassie completely admits she has romantic feelings for Stephanie, thinking she is asleep. Cassie doesn't want to own them to her completely because she doesn't want to get in the way of Steph and her boyfriend Tim's love life, which Cassandra thinks benefits both of them, even if she appears a little jealous of it.
  • In the post-Rebellion Puella Magi Madoka Magica SFW doujin "Towakano" plays with this trope, as Homura's answer to Madoka telling her "I love you Homura-chan" is to say that she has forever been her best friend... But when Madoka ask her about it, this exchange happens:
    Madoka: Wh-what does being your best friend mean, Homura-chan?
    Homura: Well... Best friends hug like this. They flirt. They kiss... and they do naughty stuff together?
    Madoka: You're just playing around with my feelings, aren't you Homura-chan?
    Homura: My, I'm always serious though, Madoka.
    '[all of this happens while they're sharing a bed]
  • Deconstructed in the Harvest Moon DS Cute oneshot Best F(r)iends. Claire is very aggravated that no one in her town recognizes her and Keira as lovers. Everyone simply sees them as "best friends" who live together. Claire chocks it up to small-town homophobia and it only makes her more miserable with her life in Forget-me-not Valley.

    Films - Animation 
  • Barbie movies:
    • In Barbie & The Diamond Castle, Alexa and Liana live together, sing together, and do everything together. They have more chemistry between each other than with their love interests, Ian and Jeremy.
    • The titular characters of Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper, Princess Anneliese and Erika. The girls form an instant and deep friendship, with Anneliese being particularly drawn to Erika's beautiful singing voice, even promising to have Erika come perform at the castle. They then sing a duet together — and it's the happiest either of them have been in the entire movie. When Anneliese is kidnapped, Erika immediately agrees to pose as the princess to help Julian find her, keep Anneliese's upcoming marriage on-track, and trick the kidnapper into giving something away, effectively putting her life on the line by impersonating royalty. This is for a girl she met once. The ending shows the two girls in a double-wedding with their respective love interests, and all but states they remain best friends for the rest of their lives.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • The film Heavenly Creatures (based on a true story) has what appears to be this that becomes a lesbian relationship between the two mid-teen girls. The actresses say that they were told to play it as devoted friends who were sexually naive and roleplayed heterosexual fantasies. Anne Perry claims that they weren't even all that close and it was all played up for the film. Hilary Nathan won't speak to the press, but appears to feel differently about the relationship.
  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me portrays Laura and Donna's relationship this way: after six years of BOB's abuse, Laura's only remaining fear is the prospect of harm coming to Donna, and the two spend a lot of time hugging and kissing during Laura's final few days. (Of course, Laura being bisexual, there's a good chance that there are some actual romantic feelings on her side; but since she very much takes the view that Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny and hates the idea of corrupting Donna more than anything, it's easy to see why she never acted on them.)
  • Tragedy Girls has the friendship between McKayla Hooper and Sadie Cunningham. As evil and psychopathic as both girls are, they truly and deeply love one another, and frequently hold hands, spend all their time together, and kill people together to achieve fame. It's to the extent that their temporary falling-out is treated like a breakup, and both are clearly deeply miserable without each other. Yeah, their friendship is closer than a lot of people's marriages. They share everything with one another, and are also very physically affectionate, frequently holding hands or leaning on each other.
  • Kissing Jessica Stein: Jessica and Helen's relationship ultimately turns into this. It's increasingly clear that Jessica isn't keen on having sex with Helen (though she says it was enjoyable) and likes only the romantic closeness. They break up but remain close friends.
  • A New York Christmas Wedding: Jenni was very close friends with Gabby. They had great affection for each other, and it turns out this extended into regular romance, as the pair later became a couple.
  • Girls Like Magic: Jamie (an open lesbian) and Maggie (who initially thinkss she's straight) become very close friends. Maggie's still dating Jacob, while Jamie's unhappily broken up with Casey at the start. They kiss early on while Jamie is pretending she's her girlfriend to fend off other lesbians, buy some sex toys together, and it gets very suggestive when she looks at Maggie's vagina (who asked to see if it's "ugly"). Both women confide in each other and do many things together. Unsurprisingly, they become a couple toward the end.
  • In The School for Good and Evil (2022), Sophie and Agatha are very close due to being Lonely Together, but it only really moves into this territory in the finale, when Agatha gives Sophie true love's kiss and later turns down her explicitly romantic connection with Tedros to be with Sophie instead, saying "I can't leave my friend".
  • Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl: Adele is obviously attracted to Beth right away. It seems that Beth reciprocates, with her whispering how she loves Adele in her ear, kissing her hand, lying beside her intimately and at last kissing Adele on the lips. Nothing is explicitly said, but you can't blame Adele for her belief they're a couple. Beth though dismisses the idea, hurting Adele deeply. It appears she'd only been interested in Adele for her youth.
  • Trap For Cinderella: Micky and Do's friendship was extremely close. The pair are shown as having spent most of their time together, holding hands frequently. It's thus not too surprising to learn Do had a romantic/sexual attraction for Micky as well.

    Literature 
  • Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra in Dracula by Bram Stoker. In the early chapters of the novel, the private correspondence between Mina and Lucy are very passionate, they almost read like love letters, as both girls express their love and adoration for one another. In one letter Lucy writes: "Mina, we have told all our secrets to each other since we were children. We have slept together and eaten together, and laughed and cried together..." and "I wish I were with you, dear, sitting by the fire undressing, as we used to sit, and I would try to tell you what I feel." Later in the novel, when Mina and Lucy are together, they sit on a bench by the seaside and are so moved by the beautiful view that they hold hands.
  • Ozma and Dorothy have this in L. Frank Baum's Oz books. Completely innocent, it included good morning kisses. Betsy later gets included. Baum implied this relationship would last indefinitely because nobody in Oz ages if they don't want to. This is especially amusing when you realize that Ozma spent the first 10 years of her life as a boy. This passage from Tik-Tok of Oz, Betsy's introductory adventure, says it all. Context is the discussion of whether or not the orphaned Betsy should be invited to live in Oz. Dorothy's opinion was very positive.
    Ozma laughed at the wistful expression in the girl's eyes, and then she drew Dorothy to her and kissed her.
    "Am I not your friend and playmate?" she asked.
    Dorothy flushed.
    "You know how dearly I love you, Ozma!" she cried. "But you're so busy ruling all this Land of Oz that we can't always be together."
  • Enid Blyton's six-part Malory Towers series has a strong tendency towards its girls pair-bonding and there's hand-holding and arm-linking too, though this is a reflection of girls' behaviour in British boarding schools at and prior to the time the books were written. One of the friendships, between a daughter of the aristocracy and a very tomboyish girl who goes by the male form of her given name has suggestions of butch-femme dynamics, and their future paths after school are described as going into business together to run a horse-riding school.
  • Piknim and Craklyn in the Redwall book Pearls of Lutra, in their intro scene, sing alternate verses of a cute little love song from the point of view of a male character about his girlfriend. The two are never seen apart, and speak in tandem. When Piknim is killed, Craklyn sings a lament over her grave, in which she actually addresses her as "my beloved".
  • This trope is examined from a few different angles in the two currently-released Wells and Wong novels by Robin Stevens, particularly the first, Murder Most Unladylike.
    • Platonic "pashes" are a common feature in the boarding school the story takes place in (co-protagonist Daisy is something of a magnet for them due to being rich and beautiful) but two girls are also mentioned "canoodling" in a way that obviously transcends this into straight-up romance.
    • Hazel grew up on a diet of English boarding school stories and firmly expects this trope to take effect as soon as she arrives; it does, but mixed with a hefty dose of Vitriolic Best Buds due to Daisy's personality. There are also a few hints scattered about that Hazel's feelings for Daisy might run deeper than just friendship (according to the author their relationship was modeled after the famously ambiguous dynamic between Sherlock Holmes and Watson, who the two girls compare themselves to frequently) which would ultimately subvert this trope if proven true.
  • In Ellen Foster, there is the friendship between the titular Ellen and Starletta; during the last chapter, Ellen takes great pains to have her new home look nice for Starletta's visit, muses about how nice it feels to have Starletta sleeping next to her, and wonders if they could take a bath together.
  • War and Peace uses almost loverlike language to describe the eventual relationship between Natasha Rostova and Marya Bolkonskaya, particularly in the depths of their grief over Natasha's former fiance and Marya's brother, Andrei Bolkonsky. For quite some time they simply can't bear to be apart. Later graduates to Best Friends-in-Law when Marya marries Natasha's brother, Nikolai.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Daenerys and her handmaids, particularly Irri and Missandei. Missandei spends a lot of time with Dany, attends her baths, and sleeps in her bed, but there's no actual romantic implications between them since Missandei is 10-11 when Dany is 15-16. Irri, on the other hand, used to sleep in Dany's bed & attend her baths and still helps her get dressed in the mornings, and twice actually pleased Dany sexually (although Dany was just lonely without Drogo and most likely didn't feel desire for Irri herself, it's possible that Irri had some feelings for Dany). After the second time, Dany thinks Irri "was sweet and skillful, but all her kisses tasted of duty."
    • There's also Cersei and Taena Merryweather. They were very close friends, and at some point began a sexual relationship with each other. While Lady Merryweather is implied to be genuinely attracted to Cersei, Cersei loves her more like a sister and just rolls with the sexual aspect of their relationship as a means of having more emotional control over Lady Merryweather.
  • An essay on 1920s feminism by Maureen Honey outlines this trope:
    One substantial shift that occurs in the decade that weakens this tie to other women is the undermining of what Lillian Faderman calls "passionate friendships" between unmarried women.26 There are instances in magazine fiction when women form companiate relationships with each other that withstand a marriage offer to one of the couple. Most often, though, the heroine's companion will introduce her to a relative, who has all the qualities of her friend but whose maleness opens her mind to marriage.
  • Jessica Darling and her best friend Hope were extremely close, to the point where Hope moving away throws Jess into a year-long depression. Despite that, Jess is surprised and annoyed that anyone would think that she's a "vagitarian."
  • In The Neapolitan Novels, Elena and Lila are not only extremely close even in their periods of "break-up" (and as the novels span a period of over sixty years, there's more than a few), to the point that when Lila feels she can't keep her childhood diaries at home anymore during one such period she gives them to Elena and Elena takes them, no questions asked, many of their actions and achievements are done to impress each other, and the first thing Elena thought to do at Lila's wedding when she saw her new husband had done something unforgivable was to escape with Lila (and was disappointed when she thought Lila had decided to forgive her husband), that she's the only one to refer to with that nickname (Lila's real name is Raffaella, but everyone else calls her Lina. Lila is the nickname that only Elena uses, and her narration says that if she ever called her anything else Lila would know they had broken up for good). It's strongly implied the reason it remained to this level and didn't become a full lesbian relationship is the extremely conservative culture of Italy at the time the early parts of the series are set (the protagonists having been born in 1944)
  • In Middlesex, borderline romantic friendships are stated to be considered normal at the all-girls school Cal goes to; this is due to the belief that a certain amount of emotional energy which is normally reserved for crushes on boys gets redirected into friendships with other girls instead.
  • Just Juliet: Lena and Juliet start out having one of these. They hold hands, lean affectionately on each other, Juliet lays down in Lena's lap, they spend long periods together, and Lena constantly gushes about Juliet's qualities. However, it then goes beyond as they're attracted to each other and Lena asks her out, with them starting a relationship.
  • Tarma and Kethry in the Vows and Honor trilogy explicitly have Incompatible Orientations. Tarma had a boyfriend before he was murdered with the rest of her clan and she then swore herself to serve her Goddess, which means becoming asexual. Kethry likes men. However, they become oathsisters, which to Tarma's people is the most recognized and esteemed relationship save for lifebonds, making it more important than a normal marriage - when she takes Kethry to the Plains, there are shades of Maligned Mixed Marriage in how people react. The partners wear matching rings, are "closer than sisters, closer than lovers", and live together for their whole lives. The first story of the first book ends with them sharing a bed, Holding Hands, and "in the darkness of the night it is sometimes possible to say things that are too intense and too true for daylight." Kethry swears to have children for Tarma, and her desire to do so with a man she loves who also cares for Tarma and won't try to keep them apart lends a strong Threesome Subtext.
  • Carmilla: Carmilla is very affectionate towards her new friend Laura, telling her how much she loves her and that she wants them to be together forever. Laura sees Carmilla as a dear friend, and has no sexual attraction to her, and initially she believes that the same holds true for Carmilla, and that she's just using pseudo-romantic language to express her friendship (as was, indeed, common at the time). Laura soon senses something deeper in Carmilla's affections, though, which is worrying and somewhat repulsive to Laura. When it is revealed that Carmilla is a vampire, it is obvious that she wanted more than friendship from Laura, but whether her desires were just predatory or sexual as well is left unsaid.
  • One of the possible interpretations for Licorice Nielsen and Cleao Everlasting's relationship in Sorcerer Stabber Orphen. Their start is kinda skittish due to how different in personality they are (Licorice is by the bookish and girlish, Cleao is a fiery Tsundere), but after a bout of Teeth-Clenched Teamwork, they started getting along really well, Cleao became very protective of Licorice, and when Licorice was horribly hit by a huge wave of Break the Cutie (including the discovery of her origins, a massive gambit that had her as the vortex, and how her family story was revealed with terrible results), the one who supported her the most was Cleao.
  • Kumiko and Reina from Sound! Euphonium develop one over the course of the story. They often spend time together, two scenes involve Reina intimately touching Kumiko's face, and they declare their love for each other on a regular basis—sort of. However, in the manga and books at least, nothing romantic comes of it. Nothing happens in the anime either. Reina likes her (male) teacher Taki but it's unrequited, while Kumiko never explicitly likes anyone.
  • In Sword Art Online, Asuna strikes one with Yuuki during the Mother's Rosario arc. The "romantic" undertones are milder than in other examples, but Yuuki still lampshades it, suggesting that they should "get married" as a joke; Asuna even gets a bit flustered, and Yuuki has to calm her down reminding her that she has a boyfriend already anyway. And then it turns out Yuuki is terminally ill in the real world...
  • Taishō Baseball Girls has the mild infatuation between girls so typical for the setting of an all-girl high school. Most notable are Tomoe's attraction to Koume and Kyokou's crush on Tomoe, which at times comes close to being somewhat more intense.
  • Minori Kushieda from Toradora! has genuinely deep feelings for her best friend Taiga Aisaka—so much, that at one point she openly questions her own sexuality.
  • Of Fire and Stars: Mare and Dennaleia's develops into this as they become closer, with them holding hands or lying affectionately on each other's bodies. In their case it's explicitly while the pair are also becoming attracted to each other.

    Live Action TV 
  • Penny Dreadful has Vanessa and Mina. They are shown to have been very close when they were younger, sharing beds and occasionally exchanging kisses.
  • 2 Broke Girls makes jokes about the relationship between Max and Caroline. Although they exclusively date guys, they are very close to the extent that it can be seen as romance.
  • The relationship between Sam and Carly in iCarly can be interpreted this way. In the episode "iMake Sam Girlier", Sam's Unstoppable Rage is triggered after a bully pushes Carly down.
  • Serena and Blair on Gossip Girl are really close and oftentimes put each other above their respective male love interests in importance without a second thought. They call each other "sisters", but the vaguely lesbian nature of their relationship is even lampshaded in the series by Chuck. Of course, he's one to talk... It's also acknowledged by the actresses, who in the Season 3 gag reel jokingly pretend to make out in their Trapped In An Elevator scene - which actually fits the tone of the episode quite well.
  • In season 9 of Big Brother Australia Angie has been rather prone to this, falling asleep holding hands with Estelle, and openly exchanging "I love you"s with Layla after they had to take a challenge together in the middle of the night.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Skye (later known as Daisy Johnson) and Jemma Simmons. Even though they both had male love interests in the main cast they were seemingly more likely to be physically affectionate with one another, and were shown to develop an almost immediate friendship compared to the difficulty Skye had in gaining the trust of the rest of the team. They would continue to be this way for the next four seasons, and the only time they're not having each other's back is mid-season 5, when Jemma's husband has a psychotic break and tortures Daisy to reactivate her Inhuman abilities, over which Jemma chose to stand by him despite that.
  • Boy Meets World:
    • On the male side, Cory Matthews and Shawn Hunter were the example of this for children in the nineties. Even when Cory and Topanga, two main characters, got married in a later season, Topanga regularly concedes that Cory's loves his best friend Shawn more than her, and that Shawn reciprocates. In fact, some people credit this show for the resurgence of "bro-mance" in millenials.
  • A much lesser, but still strong, example would be Eric and Jack, Cory and Shawn's older brothers. Jack in particular complains that, even years after the last time he saw Eric, he still hears Eric's voice in his head constantly no matter what he does.
  • In Euphoria, Rue and Jules hold hands, cuddle, often fall asleep together and tell each other "I love you". Jules even references Puella Magi Madoka Magica at one point. Episode four sees their relationship finally become a romantic one.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: Moira and June are an adult version. They're so close, a couple people mistake them for lovers (though Moira being gay probably adds to the confusion). They even tell each other "I love you" more than once too. However, they're just very close friends.
  • House of the Dragon: At the start of the series, Alicent and Rhaenyra's relationship is extremely close, as Alicent is her primary lady in waiting and closest confidant. In the first episode, with her head in Alicent's lap, Rhaenyra tells Alicent ride off into the sunset on dragonback with Alicent by her side and eat cake. Their relationship begins to deteriorate once Alicent marries Viserys, with Rhaenyra becoming notably cool towards Alicent, not unlike a jilted ex, but it absolutely crumbles once Alicent learns Rhaenyra lied to her about sleeping with Daemon, with Alicent exhibiting some barely contained Tranquil Fury. Seeing as Alicent's father was deposed as Hand because Rhaenyra swore he was lying about that, it's not unwarranted but the depth of the betrayal comes off just as much as a Woman Scorned, especially since Alicent's relationship with her father was cool at best.
  • One Day at a Time (2017): Lydia suspects her granddaughter Elena is "queer" because of her close friendship with her classmate Carmen, who eats dinner at their house every day and sleeps over often. Subverted because this is because Carmen is homeless because of her parents' deportation, not because she and Elena have any romantic relationship. Then it turns out to be Double Subverted when Elena comes out as gay.
  • In Van Helsing (2016), Jack had a close friendship with classmate Shelley, who constantly told her how awesome and hot she was, but whose hints she rebuffed because she wasn't sure if Shelley's feelings were genuine or if she was just teasing. Unfortunately for her, Shelley was bitten by a vampire during the Rising and chose to kill herself in order to avoid becoming a vampire... after confessing her love and kissing Jack.
  • In Dare Me, Addy and Beth's friendship goes a fair bit beyond just normal friendship. Towards the end of the pilot, they're seen cuddling in bed together, and while there's no kissing or petting, it's implied that Beth prefers this arrangement to having a steady boyfriend.
  • Clarice: Having relocated to DC for her job, Clarice is now rooming with her old friend Ardelia Mapp, and the two spend much of their non-working time together. They end up sharing a bed, share meaningful looks and have intimate conversations in their underwear, making the two come off more like a couple at times.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: Ruon Tarka and Oros get very close while confined together by the Emerald Chain. It's not clear whether there's any sexual or romantic quality to their connection or whether they're Heterosexual Life-Partners, but they're shown being physically affectionate, Booker calls it love, and Tarka is willing to risk pissing off a massively powerful unknown civilization (and damn the consequences for the rest of the galaxy) for even the chance of gaining the ability to join Oros in the alternate dimension they planned to escape to.
  • Yuri Or Another: Yuri and Kairi's relationship is this on the surface, with Kairi finding Yuri attractive but would rather the two be best friends rather than lovers, claiming to have been sexually "broken" by her traumatic experiences as a junior idol. This doesn't stop the two from doings like kissing or having fantasies about the other person, and the scene in #7 where the two put on each others friendship rings even has the feel of two lovers expressing wedding vows.
  • I Am Not Okay With This: Sydney and Dina's friendship starts taking on these overtones by the third episode. Sydney wants to take it further, while Dina doesn't, though she later indicates her feelings may be growing. Regardless, they go to the homecoming dance together, with Syd unsure about her feelings for Stan and Dina coming off a bad breakup with Brad.

    Theater 
  • Glinda and Elphaba from Wicked. In the context of the show they clearly count, as they're only explicitly described as best friends and though they are both in love with the same man, they consider the other the most important person in their lives. However it's also been confirmed that their relationship was written with a lot of romantic implications and several members of the original cast believe them to be in love. The marketing team has fun with this too, especially during Pride Month. The original book also confirmed Glinda loved Elphaba, but leave Elphaba's feelings more ambiguous.
  • The Children's Hour revolves around two women whose close friendship leads to them being Mistaken for Gay by an Enfant Terrible spreading rumors. This causes them to be ostracized. Subverted when it turns out Martha was secretly in love with Karen.

    Video Games 
  • In Harvest Moon DS: For Girl this is shown to great lengths. You can marry one of the four Special Girls from the boy version (Leia, Witch Princess, Harvest Goddess, Keria) except you don't marry them, and they aren't your wife. You Best Friend them, and they're your Best Friend. It doesn't help that their dialogue is exactly the same in both versions. However, Natsume, when translating it to create Harvest Moon DS Cute, took this feature out, but left the best friend events in. Most likely the "Best Friend" system was created due to the fact they're needed to pass important milestones in the game, if you want to 100% complete it.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade has Florina with either Ninian, Nino, or Serra, but especially Lyn, despite her being slightly older than usual subjects of this trope (in the English version, anyway), and Rebecca and Nino.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening has Princess Lissa and her best friend Maribelle, plus Noire and Severa from the second generation. The first one is even lampshaded by Old Hubba: "Now that is a girl-girl friendship".
  • Fire Emblem Fates has Princess Elise of Nohr and her retainer Effie, and Princess Sakura of Hoshido and her retainer Hana. Sakura and Elise themselves can form this in Revelation. However, the biggest examples are the Female Avatar and Princess Azura in all paths, even when Azura is a bit older than the standard note : they develop Undying Loyalty towards one another pretty much on first sight, their supports and interactions are almost exactly like those between the Male Avatar and Azura (lacking only the possibility of them getting married), etc.
  • Tales of Legendia has the female lead, Shirley Fennes, become extremely friendly with another girl of her own race, Fenimore Xelnes. Their relationship is Les Yay to the most sincere letter, and Fenimore's Heroic Sacrifice to save her, along with being tricked into believing that her beloved Senel hates her, is one of the reasons that ultimately cause Shirley to snap.
  • Tales of Vesperia repeatedly hints at an attraction between Rita and Estellise/Estelle, but leaves the exact nature of their relationship ambiguous.
  • Latooni and Princess Shine's relationship has strong hints of this in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation, though they have clear romantic affections for SRX Team members Ryusei and Rai, respectively. It's probably worth noting that the series also has an example of the stereotypical connotations of immaturity lesbianism has in Japan. The somewhat childish and flighty 20-something Excellen Browning, though in a comitted relationship with fellow mecha pilot Kyosuke Nanbu, often flirts with other female characters (male ones, too) and has an especially strong girl-crush on SRW Alpha's Viletta.
  • Persona 4 gives us Chie Satonaka and Yukiko Amagi. Childhood best friends, they think the world of one another and are very often seen together. However, it's a bit more evident with Chie given how her facing Shadow embodies her envy of Yukiko being more traditionally feminine and beautiful than her while also enjoying how Yukiko relies on Chie to protect her.
    • For a male example, Yosuke is this to the protagonist. Originally planned as a gay (well, bi) option, he instead became the protagonist's closest friend and thus if the player has not had the protagonist romance anyone, he hangs out usually with Yosuke. The two call the other "partner" and have a close and understanding bond (likely as both were outsiders to Inaba and as PQ2 later revealed, both moved around alot as children and thus had friendless backgrounds.) However, Yosuke becomes uncomfortable at any implications at his and the protagonist's bond being romantic and his motivation in the game originated when his First Love was murdered.
  • BlazBlue has a three-way example with Noel Vermillion, Tsubaki Yayoi and Makoto Nanaya. They met in the military academy and watched out for each other, becoming fast friends and helping each other with quite severe issues. The all ended up joining different branches of the NOL and don't get the chance to see each other much anymore, but enjoy spending time with each other. Noel and Makoto's main motivation in Chronophantasma is trying to get Tsubaki back after she was manipulated by Terumi. Notably, Noel and Tsubaki were originally planned to be a lesbian couple and Makoto has been confirmed to be bi (and felt up Tsubaki's chest in a gag reel). However, Tsubaki only has eyes for Jin.
  • Tomb Raider (2013) has Lara and her best friend Sam, who display the most physical affection out of any other pair of characters in the game. Sam is the first one to give Lara the benefit of the doubt when she shares her theories about the true nature of the island, while Lara is completely devoted to protecting Sam from its many dangers.

    Visual Novels 
  • Hanako and Lilly in Katawa Shoujo. Hisao even thinks at one point in Lilly's route that their relationship seems to go beyond normal friendship, and the two use "love" to describe their feelings for one another, although it seems to be more of a mother-daughter type situation than romantic.
  • Miyuki Tanaka and Mikae Morikawa from True Love Junai Monogatari seem to have a lighter version of this going on. In fact, Miyuki once tells the MC that she and Mikae are about to meet up... using the word "date" for their reunion. And not to mention, when Mikae formally introduces Miyuki to them MC, she pretty much tells him "If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her..."
  • Rika and Satoko from Higurashi: When They Cry are two 9-13 year old best friends who live together after being orphaned. They display the typical girlish examples of this trope such as holding hands and being quite close. Satoko happens to be Rika's Living Emotional Crutch, and vice versa. Centuries of being stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop has left Rika jaded and almost apathetic towards the tragedies around her, but seeing Satoko in pain always hurts her badly. It goes to the point where in one arc she'd rather die now than see Satoko suffer through abuse. Whether they count as this trope or something more is hard to say though. Umineko: When They Cry's Bernkastel is an incarnation of Rika and is in a twisted relationship with Lambdadelta (who looks like Miyo did as a child but sounds and acts like Satoko).

    Web Animation 
  • Batgirl and Supergirl have this going on in DC Super Hero Girls , much more so than other media. It's probably due to not having Batman and Superman around, so they're much freer and more emotional around each other. For example, while all the girls except Cheetah were welcoming towards her in "Super Hero High", Barbara Gordon was the only one shown going out of her way to help her adjust. Supergirl takes note of this, and gives her a special suit, which prompts her to become Batgirl to help her save the other students. There are plenty of episodes where their dialogue and/or interactions can be seen as flirty, like "Batgirl V Supergirl", "Batnapped", and the Lego Brain Drain movie.

    Webcomics 
  • Gunnerkrigg Court has Zimmy and Gamma. Zimmy's reality-warping powers are uncontrollable except when she's around Gamma. Even though Zimmy's normally rude and dislikes everyone, she's outright stated that she loves Gamma, and indeed seems to be happy only in her presence. Annie even states that she thinks the two girls are "an item" when Jack tells her that he is in love with Zimmy. Their relationship is not all it seems, though. Gamma speaks only Polish, and communicates with Zimmy telepathically, with Zimmy providing translations for her - to make sure Gamma never leaves her, Zimmy intentionally mistranslates what other people say, to make Gamma think all the other students think she's stupid and ugly. Gamma seems to at least be aware of the mistranslations, to a point.
    • Annie and Kat shift between this and Heterosexual Life-Partners - they're very close, and certain strips like this make it seem like they might be more than just friends. It took Word of God to state that they aren't kissing in the fifth panel.
    • Chapter 42 Confirms that Kat is bisexual, but she starts dating Paz instead of Annie. Nevertheless, her friendship with Annie is still just as important to her.
    • There are also strong implications that Annie is asexual, but not aromantic - a combination that typically results in a person disassociating love and sexual attraction, and leads them to seek exactly this sort of relationship.

    Web Videos 
  • Out With Dad: Rose and Vanessa appeared to have this dynamic with one another before Rose had begun questioning her sexuality. The two are very close, inseparable even, so it's no big deal when they both practice kissing together. However, then Rose realizes she's attracted to Vanessa, which starts her self-realization that she's a lesbian. Vanessa first pushes her away, but eventually admits she returned her feelings and is a bisexual girl.

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • We have the backstory with Rainbow Dash and her old classmate Gilda. While their relationship was most likely more platonic than "romantic" (this being both a western show and a kids show), they can easily be slotted into every other point, since neither had any other friends to hang out with and they started growing apart after they both dropped out of school.
    • There's also Rainbow Dash's friendship with Applejack, Fluttershy, and Pinkie which could be interpreted as this. They all have massive amounts of subtle Les Yay between them (Rainbow Dash managing to stay amazingly patient for Fluttershy in Hurricane Fluttershy, the butterfly migration which she even has a picture of for a keepsake in Dragon Quest, helping her get her bird whistle in "Trade Ya", and even letting her in on her plan to hoard cider.) While Applejack and Rainbow share a few moments (their rivalry for one) as do Pinkie Pie and Dashie, but most prevalent next to Fluttershy and Dash is probably Applejack and Rarity who have some slight Ship Tease in Look Before You Sleep (what with the very tomboyish Applejack actually willing to try a makeover), Trade Ya (both are willing to trade everything they have just to make the other happy, fighting like a married couple), and Rarity seems jealous of Applejack receiving Trenderhoof's affection, because she's madly in a crush with him, going as far as to act like Applejack) Tellingly, Rarity and AJ make up by agreeing that their friendship is much stronger than Rarity's crush, and it's not long before the struggle turned into something personal between them, and Trenderhoof was quickly put to the side as they worked out their rivalry.
    • Fluttershy and Rarity count too as they attend the spa together on a weekly basis in Green Isn't Your Color, have been referred specifically as best friends in addition to Rarity telling Fluttershy that there is no pony that can match her beauty and poise, and in Putting Your Hoof Down Rarity repeatedly calls Fluttershy "sweetie". The aforementioned episode and Filli Vanilli also show that Rarity is the one who is most aware of how timid Fluttershy really is, and instead tries to gently coax her out of her shell in a major contrast to the rest of the Mane Six's more blunt attempts for that very reason.
    • The 100th episode, as a sendup to the most prominent fan pairing, has Lyra and Bon Bon acting like an old married couple with the constant qualifier of "best friends". After revealing her secret identity as a spy to Lyra, Bonbon and her have a falling out, Lyra questioning if their friendship meant anything, or if it was just another part of her cover. Thankfully, they do reconcile by the end, again putting particular stress on the words "best friend" as if to draw attention to the phrase as much as they can. Subverted after they propose to each other in "The Big Mac Question.
    • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks has Princess Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer. Their growing trust in one another, finding and relating to their shared backgrounds as Celestia's students has them do a lot of bonding. Indeed, Sunset's trust in her new friends forms the crux of the plot, as she struggles to shake off her bad past.
    • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games takes this further with the native human Twilight. Her shy personality and inquisitive nature contrasts with Sunset's brashness. Being younger than her, Twilight has something of a Sempai dynamic, Sunset seeing many of her own qualities in the younger girl she admires and dislikes. After giving a harsh "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Twi, calling out her dangerous use of Equestrian magic without any understanding of the consequences, it eats Sunset inside seeing her cry. In the climax, Sunset helps a corrupted Midnight Sparkle to see that she doesn't have to be alone, and takes her hand, forgiving her mistakes just as Twilight's pony counterpart had done for her.
    • My Little Pony Equestria Girls Rollercoasterof Friendship ramps up the Rarijack moments, with near constant blushes, hand touches, and longing gazes. The story kicks off with them being disappointed they won't be working a summer job together, and plays out like a girl jealous of her lover's new friend and lack of attention. The makeup hug at the climax comes within inches of a kiss, Rarity even managing a Foot Pop. The ending is the whole band performing, but the focus is just the two of them singing to one another. Subsequent movies give them temporary male love interests who are blatantly Rule 63 versions of each other.
  • The New Batman Adventures:
    • Interesting enough, Batgirl and Supergirl are into this:
      Harley: Oh, Ivy can't hurt me. She gave me a special shot once so we can play and I won't get sick at all.
      Batgirl: You mean you two...?
      Harley: What?
      Batgirl: You and Ivy are... well... [crosses her index and middle fingers in that "I'm implying you're in a relationship" gesture] friends...
      Harley: Yeah...?
      Batgirl: Y'know... friends... like...
      Harley: Like what everybody says about you and Supergirl?
      Batgirl: What?! Who says...? Forget it! Forget it!
    • Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are a Friends with Benefits form of this, while sex is confirmed.
  • Kimber and Stormer from Jem develop this type of relationship in the episode "The Bands Break Up", though it's inexplicably missing in future episodes. The only thing stopping them from seeming like a couple is them both saying it's "friendship" several times. They seem to live together for a while, hold hands on the beach, and act very buddy-buddy. The IDW comic made thirty years later outright makes Stormer and Kimber an Official Couple.
  • Franklin: On the male side, Bear and Franklin; on the former's side, he's very close and attached to Franklin, more than best friends usually are, and exclusively hangs out with Franklin for most of his time. Bear also likes to get very touchy-feely with Franklin and routinely tickles him, in odd positions.
  • Elena and Naomi can get rather emotional around each other in Elena of Avalor. In Naomi centered episodes, or ones where they have major interactions, some of their dialogue with each other can sound rather flirty, like the beginning of "Captain Turner Returns". Also, while they're both still best friends with each other, Elena tends to act more like a lover who wants to help her out, like in the aforementioned focus episodes. The fact she's usually the only one in those episodes either going out of her way to help her adds to this. Naomi's behavior in these episodes is like of that of the lover who wants to prove she can be a good partner to her girlfriend.
  • June and Jody Irwin in The Life and Times of Juniper Lee are best friends that think the world of each other; they're at least Heterosexual Life-Partners if only by the fact they have shown overt attraction to boys, even spending the beginning of one episode complimenting each other when they both express disbelief that boys would find them attractive enough to ask them to a dance. Of all June's friends Jody is the that is most hurt by her frequent absences and lame excuses and starts calling her out hard about it in the series finale and she's the only one of June's friends to figure out that magic exists and sees June performing superhuman parkour in the very last scene. June does a have a canon male love interest that Jody is a Shipper on Deck for (she actively tried to sabotage their date when she accidentally said yes to him to taking her to the same dance so he'd end up with June), but it's clear that outside of June's family Jody is the most important person in June's life. The fact that they live in an city based on Judd Winick's hometown of San Francisco is just icing on the cake.
    • June also has a more down-played version of this with Lila after she takes the disguised Bigfoot girl in, helped by the fact that Lila is aware of her double life and able to keep up with June's fights pretty easily. The plot of the episode "Make Me Up Before You Go-Go" is June trying to integrate Lila into her social group not unlike a new paramour while also dealing with the Monster of the Week.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart and Milhouse, with Marge pointing out in one episode that each is pretty much all the other has since they're "too young for girls." Bart can be quite cruel to Milhouse (who gives back as good as he gets) and often takes him for granted, but he's heartbroken to the point of tears any time anything comes between them and each has admitted to loving the other. In "The Haw-Hawed Couple" Nelson turns it into a Love Triangle when he declares Bart his best friend only to be deeply wounded when Bart reaps the social benefits of having a Bully Turned Buddy while sneaking around with Milhouse behind his back.
    • Lisa and Juliet in the episode "Lisa The Drama Queen." Even before the spoof of Heavenly Creatures kicks in, you get a nervous Lisa admitting she hasn't been on a "playdate" in a while, Juliet asking Lisa to be her Best Friend with an eager Marge whispering "Say yes!" on the other side of the door, and a Meet the In-Laws story with Juliet's classy parents having the rest of the Simpsons for dinner to discuss the developing relationship and toast "young friendship."

    Real Life 
  • Bella Thorne and Zendaya's friendship can be interpreted as this. One could think that if they kept going like this, one of them might have to reveal someday (or not) that one of them (or both) would be queer (as of 2019, Bella Thorne has come out as pansexual, but there's no indication that Zendaya is LGBT+). It doesn't help that they call each other "boo".
  • Marie Antoinette with both the Princesse de Lamballe and Gabrielle, Duchesse de Polignac. Rumors abounded back then about their relationship, including claims they were lovers, although no historical evidence has been presented for it (this seems to be a homophobic smeer by their enemies).
  • This practice was quite popular among young women and men until the mid 19th century. Two people of the same sex would hold hands, kiss or even sleep in the same bed without any sexual context. The whole thing was seen as normal and both parties were expected to move on and distance themselves after marriage. Sometimes that didn't happen, and it could be cover for bi or lesbian women. Living together long term at the time was also pretty acceptable, called Boston marriages (some were probably couples, others not).
  • Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux of Blue Is the Warmest Color developed a very strong friendship that continued long after filming ended and are very affectionate with each other in film festivals, interviews, photo shoots, and with Adèle thanking L&a in her speech and calling her ''my boo'' after winning best actress at the LAFCA awards. This causes massive Squee among the fans of the film which makes them ship the actresses hard even if they have boyfriends at present and both have said they're straight.
  • Similarly to the above Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner have both referred to each other as “wife” and used to lightly kiss each other on the set of Game of Thrones, where they play sisters Arya and Sansa.
  • An online column addresses this trope.
    At what point does making something 'subtext' become an attempt to bury it, fending off potential accusers and planting those that do notice and speculate safely in the 'fans reading too much into things' box? Anybody who isn't looking for it probably won't pick up on the girlfriend element, leaving you with a deep friendship if you see it that way and a cute girl-girl relationship if you notice it's there. Does everybody win, or lose?
  • There is much speculation among historians whether the relationship between James Buchanan and William Rufus King's entailed this, or they were lovers. Even while they were alive there are indications others had suspicions: Andrew Jackson referred to them as "Miss Nancy and Miss Fancy" (a term for effeminate men). If they were anything more than simply romantic friends, it would have been kept a secret, given that at the time homosexuality was completely taboo, and sex between men illegal.
  • This was quite common in the Progressive Age in the United States. During the early 20th century, there were a number of prominent, feminist women from upper-middle-class backgrounds who eschewed marriage in favor of activism on various social causes, and many were known to form passionate, close relationships with other women that some scholars have interpreted as lesbian, but with no evidence of sexual activity. Most notably, Jane Addams, the pioneer of social work and sociology, was known to have passionate romantic friendships with several women.

Alternative Title(s): Two Girl Romantic Friendship, Class S, Romantic Two Girl Friendship, Intimate Friendship

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