Alice is fairly popular and well-liked by everyone around her, but then she discovers that there's one person that just doesn't like her. She freaks out because she must be loved by everybody. "How can Bob not like me? What's not to like?" Alice may go through every single event of her life trying to figure out what might have offended him. Sometimes, this type of story is used to teach the audience An Aesop that "You can't please everyone," but other times Hilarity Ensues.
For some reason, Alice never wonders why she even wants to befriend someone who's consistently rude to her and blows her off despite her kindness. At best, she could be genuinely hurt if it's someone she has to interact with on a regular basis. At worst, it's less about the other person and more about her pride. Her attempts to reverse this dislike will only succeed in really giving the other person a reason to hate her.
It may sound like Alice is an attention-starved narcissist, but this trope doesn't always reflect poorly on her. You don't have to be best buddies with someone to show them basic politeness, which Bob refuses to do. If she is of a different race, religion, sexual orientation, or nationality than he is, there may be implications—real or imagined—that he's prejudiced. Alice's attempts at reaching out to him can teach a "Bigotry is bad" aesop if he comes around—or if he doesn't but everyone else finally sees him for the jackass he is. But if he isn't a bigot and has legit reasons to dislike her, then he certainly won't take kindly to her accusations and she can forget ever being his friend (or, albeit rarely, he might realize how he comes across and tries to be nicer to her).
Doing this in Real Life can be the result of narcissism or sociopathy, but it can also be caused if "Alice" has been emotionally abused, bullied, or otherwise personally or socially ostracized in the past and they're finally in a positive environment where they're well-regarded. This can make what happens to them even more tragic, especially when they see it as only trying to protect themselves from abuse or placate haters—and as a result ends up drawing even more abuse and ostracism for falling into this trope.
Related to Unrequited Love Tropes, if the hero romantically pursues the one person who can't stand them, which can range from "sweet if hopeless" to "You're only doing this for the Forbidden Fruit, aren't you?" to "Stalker with a Crush."
Contrast Enemies Equals Greatness, where someone likes that they have the contempt of others.
- Fruits Basket:
- Tohru is deeply distressed at Akito's dislike of her. It stems from confusion over Akito's behavior (their first meeting had Akito being rather shy and eager to befriend Tohru, only for later meetings to have Akito revert back to Standard Creepy Mode) and Tohru's usual belief that if someone is angry with her, it's caused by some fault on her part and that she should do whatever she can to make amends for it.
- Hiro is also one of the few characters who isn't immediately charmed by Tohru being an All-Loving Heroine, and at first he acts quite bratty and condescending towards her. It's later made clear that this is out of jealousy since Tohru was able to help Kisa through her troubles when he couldn't. Though he's never as openly affectionate towards Tohru as most of the other cursed Sohmas, he does eventually come to respect her.
- In one episode of Ranma ½, a cursed brooch made Shampoo despise Ranma rather than love him madly as usual. Rather than being grateful that one of the most troublesome angles on his Love Dodecahedron had fixed itself, he took a massive blow to his ego and set out to win her back, just so he could feel manly.
- The World God Only Knows touches on this when a pop idol insists that The Protagonist love her music in order for her to have a sense of self-worth, ignoring the millions of cheering fans. Ultimately the trope is subverted; by the end of her arc Kanon is able to live with the fact that not everyone will be her fan, and Keima has come to like her music.
- In One Piece, Boa Hancock is very proud of her World's Most Beautiful Woman quality and uses it to screw the rules. Her charm pretty much works on everyone, even on her all-female subjects... except when she encounters Luffy, who's such a Chaste Hero that he's completely immune to her charms. This initially leads her to decide that he cannot be allowed to live. Then she falls in love with him.
- School Mermaid: The last arc of the original series had the school nurse trick the protagonist into activating the mermaid spell simply so she would fail before its deadline and turn into a mermaid herself. Why? Because all the boys at the school fawn over her save for one boy who just happens to be the protagonist's crush. The nurse finds that unacceptable and wants the girl turned into a mermaid because the girl has the same first letter as said boy (it's due to the odd rules of the spell) and she plans on enacting the spell herself, hunting the girl down and eating her flesh so she can force the boy to love her. Yeah...
- Miss Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles: Yuu-chan constantly tries to be friends with Koizumi no matter how many times she says no. As it turns out, over the course of the series, her obsession with Koizumi is taken to unhealthy levels of delusion.
- In The Disastrous Life of Saiki K., Kokomi Teruhashi is the absolute perfect School Idol, beloved by every single boy in the school... and just sort of ignored by protagonist Saiki, who thanks to his powers knows she's not quite as wholesome as she makes herself to be. Although Kokomi convinces herself that Saiki is actually one of her fans but is just pretending to not be interested in her, her obsession with getting him to react dumbfounded over her like the other boys do is clearly rooted in this trope (at least in the beginning; afterwards, it is more obvious that she has actually fallen for him).
- Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: Illya's school friends become really upset that no matter what they do, Miyu refuses to befriend them or even bother to remember their names. Miyu says they are useless and the only person she considers a friend is Illya. This is because Miyu is very emotionally damaged and Illya was able to prove she was not alone in their shared responsibility as magical girls. Since Illya's school friends are Muggles and Locked Out of the Loop regarding the supernatural, unless someone decides to reveal their secret to them, it is unlikely they will ever be able to connect with Miyu the way Illya has.
- Played for Drama in Irredeemable. The Plutonian has an intense, driving need to be loved by everyone around him and receives endless praise from being the world's greatest super-hero. But he's unable to get over the few people who don't shower him with praise, leading him to bitterly think that the entire population of Earth are nothing but selfish, ungrateful animals.
- Discussed in Wayne's World. Wayne mentions that it's okay if a few people don't like his show and explains it this way:
- Smokey and the Bandit II has Bandit meeting a gas station attendant who thinks he's one of the biggest assholes in America (the rest of the series shows that amongst the trucker crowd he's a Living Legend and regular folks have no problem helping him because they think he's cool and/or because he's annoying The Man). Bandit doesn't take it very well, even threatening to beat him up over it.
- A rare non-comic example may be found in author Flannery OConnor's short story "Revelation". In it, smug Ruby Turpin is the well-bred wife of a successful farmer and highly respected by her town and church; she seldom lets anyone forget how blessed by God she is. Everyone goes along with this and with her constant passing judgments until a girl from a white-trash background insults Mrs. Turpin and hurls her philosophy book at her. (It's implied the girl is mentally disturbed.) Shaken, the older woman returns home, refusing any consolation, shouting at her black farm help who keep saying they admire her. Ultimately the girl's words leave Mrs. Turpin severely upset, recoiling at the unpleasant truths she sees about herself and railing at God.
- Twilight kicks off this way. After everyone Bella meets at school is friendly and welcoming to her, she is nearly driven to tears because Edward Cullen is distant with her. Instead of doing her best to ignore it, she does nothing but obsess over this. In later books, Bella has a paralyzing fear of even talking to Rosalie and Leah, because they are pretty much the only vampire and werewolf respectively who don't like her— though this may be more a case of wanting to avoid supernaturally powerful beings who might have a grudge against her.
- The trope name comes from the Sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, which, yes, built an episode around this trope.
Robert: Is it really that hard to fathom that somewhere, in this vast cosmos, there might exist a single person - a single ENTITY - that thinks ya suck?
- Done in a The Golden Girls episode, in which Rose has a coworker that cannot stand her. Her efforts to make him like her only worsen this, naturally, and quite frankly, border on harassment.
- This often happens to Frasier; it's often lampshaded with the frequently-offered explanation that Frasier is a pretty emotionally needy person and possesses a deep-seated yearning to be liked by everyone. But one notable instance was an episode when his show was being focus-grouped — out of twelve people in the group, only one person (played by Tony Shaloub) didn't like the show and didn't like him. Rather than accept that eleven people did like him, Frasier of course obsessed over the one person who didn't, and ended up hounding him to the extent that he accidentally burnt down the man's news-stand. It turned out that the only reason the man didn't like Frasier before was because he thought Frasier was a bit of a know-it-all, but he certainly had reason enough not to like him after.
- After Babu's restaurant goes under because of Seinfeld's advice. "Was mother wrong?"
- George cannot take it when Jerry's girlfriend doesn't like him; it goes so far that he falls in love with her because she dislikes him so much. Meanwhile, George's own girlfriend is growing increasingly irritated over his obsession with this woman, eventually giving him an ultimatum. When he chooses the girl who doesn't like him, his girlfriend now says that she doesn't like him. George is fine with that. He's used to his own girlfriends not liking him.
- In another episode, this trope was turned on its head, when Jerry starts going out with this cute, perfect girl. The only thing is, everybody else - including her closest friends - talk about her as if she were a loser, like he's doing her a favor by going out with her. George and Kramer are so worried about Jerry's mental health that they even stage an intervention to try and get Jerry to break up with her. Naturally, Jerry obsesses over what hidden trait could possibly make her undesirable. He eventually becomes so desperate for somebody to approve of his relationship with this woman that he introduces her to his parents, and they just love her. He dumps her immediately.
Helen: She's a million times better than that awful Amber girl you were with!
Jerry: Yeah, Amber... I wonder if she's back from Vegas, I should give her a call...
- Jerry's mother's reaction to Crazy Joe Davola wanting him dead: "How can anybody not like him?!" His father is not so surprised.
Morty: Maybe some people don't like him, I could see that!
- A whole episode on Mad About You is devoted to Jaime's need for the new stuffy English couple who move in next door to like her. After many incidents - including Paul getting caught with the neighbor's wife's panties on his head, a mis-delivered pizza, and Murray getting lucky with their prized show dog - the couple can't stand either one of them. Somewhat unique for this trope, they stay on as regular supporting characters.
- On Scrubs,
- JD's constant efforts to get the Janitor to like him, or eventually just to call off his grudge, usually backfire in this manner. There have also been a few episodes where it is implied or outright stated that in fact a lot of people at the hospital don't like him, though he usually manages to avoid the revelation.
- On the episode of "Med School" JD get a negative review from a student after spending an entire class period explaining why he is the best teacher around. JD then spends an episode trying to figure out who that was, only to find out that it was Dr. Cox himself. Also happens when he checks his ratings on the RateMyDoc website, after being rated #1.
- A 3rd Rock from the Sun episode involved Dick getting upset that a cafeteria lady hated him. This is pretty bizarre when you consider how Dick is usually apparently okay with several regular and recurring characters disliking him. In fact, when he got angry that she didn't even hate him for an actual reason, Nina replied "Does she need a reason? 'Cause I can give her reasons."
- Drew Carey was horrified to discover that he had a hate group composed of people he'd accidentally wronged. Drew spent an episode apologizing, only to accidentally wrong another character, starting the cycle anew.
- Friends had a plot like this: Phoebe forgets to mail an invitation to Rachel's mother for the baby shower that Monica is throwing. Rachel's mother blames Monica for it (because it was Monica who called to tell her about the mistake) and Monica spends the rest of the episode obsessively trying to make Rachel's mother like her again. In the end, she learns nothing.
- Another one has Chandler finding out that Monica hasn't told her parents about their relationship because they don't like him. Eventually he finds out that years ago Ross lied and told them that Chandler had smoked pot in his room. When the truth is revealed, they immediately warm up to him.
- On Better Off Ted, Ted found that he was not as popular with males over 50 in the company as he was with all the other demographics. He spends half the episode trying to find out why. He eventually decides that he doesn't want to make them like him, and goes back to normal.
- Pam admitted in a testimonial on The Office (US) that she was made uncomfortable by the notion that she could be disliked by anyone, even anti-American terrorists.
- An episode of The Latest Buzz has Michael desperate to get validation for his fashion choices from a total stranger after he thinks the stranger made a sarcastic remark about his tie.
- Susan on Desperate Housewives with anyone, but especially when Bob and Lee moved in, and mistook her for being homophobic. She ended up hiding their lost dog so that she could help them find it. Of course, things really backfired when they figured her out.
- On 30 Rock, Jenna is upset by the fact that Frank doesn't like her, and spends an episode trying to win him over. Strange, in that Jenna is a gorgeous blonde and Frank is a geeky, slovenly pervert. In another episode from another season, she was upset that Frank wouldn't brag that he slept with her - Frank had his reasons, though. Everyone is disgusted when they find out; disgusted at Frank for sleeping with Jenna.
- One episode of Will & Grace had Grace and her husband Leo both obsessing over why Karen doesn't like Leo (she doesn't think he's funny). Leo even digs up an old yearbook to show Karen all the signatures he got, proving everyone loved him and thought he was hilarious.
- In one episode of Boy Meets World, Cory discovers that Angela keeps trying to avoid him and spends the entire episode trying to figure out why she doesn't like him. Eventually it is revealed that she is only avoiding him because she is hurt over her breakup with Shawn and being with Cory is a painful reminder. The revelation brings the two of them closer together.
- In How I Met Your Mother, Ted finds out that he's gotten loads of glowing reviews from his students on ratemyprofessor, from "A++++" to "brilliant puns", but ignores them all and fixates on the single person who called him "boring". He spends the entire episode obsessing about it, and sure enough, boring everyone to tears with his constant attempts to prove he's not boring.
- Rocky Blue of Shake It Up! is particularly adamant that everyone likes her, and spends an entire episode trying to win the favor of the cantankerous old witch Mrs. Locassio.
- Teddy Duncan of Good Luck Charlie tries in vain to win the favor of her jerkass English teacher Mr. Dingwall (mostly because he gave her a bad grade). Dingwall has a Pet the Dog moment when he explains to Teddy that just because he doesn't like her doesn't mean there's anything wrong with her.
- In an episode of Dog with a Blog, Tyler tries to find out why Chloe's friend doesn't like him and does all sorts of things to win her over. Even after he learns the lesson, he finds out that she really does like him and was pretending not to so he would keep doing favors for her and Chloe. He then celebrates the fact that he's learnt that not everyone has to like him and that everyone does like him.
- One episode of Community had Jeff finally realize he'd had a locker for three years, which was filled with mail, one piece of which was a note from someone named Kim who hated him. He spends the whole episode obsessing about what could have made Kim hate him, and more or less completely fails to realize that Kim didn't like him because he's honestly a huge jerk to everyone. At the end of the episode there's a twist when the real Kim reveals that he wrote that note due to Jeff never remembering his name as an attempt to get his attention.
- Cheryl in According to Jim, lampshadedly by Dana, when she hears Andy's girlfriend doesn't like her. She learns it's because she is too perfect.
- An episode of Becker has Margaret realising that Mrs. Connolly, a patient she visits at home who has always been strangely cold and crotchety to her, gets along well with both Lynda and Becker (and has done so for years, in the latter case). Rather than go through the usual plot of trying and failing to make her like her by changing her behaviour, Margaret straight-up asks for an explanation. She doesn't get one.
Margaret: John's the one no one likes! Lynda's the one no one understands! I'm the likable one!
- Warwick Davis in Life's Too Short sets up a personal website with a comments section. When one person makes a negative comment (out of several flattering ones, no less), Warwick tracks him down to his school and publicly shames the kid...before seeing that he's a paraplegic and thus can't defend himself from the hordes of bullies Warwick has now subjected him to.
- Parks and Recreation: In the episode "Bowling for Votes", Leslie tries to earn a potential voter's vote by trying to make him like her, only to come on too strong (plus the guy's just a Jerk Ass anyway). Eventually, she realizes that she can't force people to like her and focuses on the bigger picture.
- Odd Squad: When Agent Olympia discovers one supervillain has given her a 1 on her evaluation form, rather than the 10 she got from every other villain, she becomes obsessed with finding out who gave her the bad evaluation.
- The main character in Hannah Montana believes she has a 100% Adoration Rating across the planet, so it comes to a shock that the (hot) guy she's trying to date casually admits to hating her superstar ego. She spends the rest of the episode trying to win him over, which causes him to get fed up and transfer to another school.
- Christopher Titus is convinced that all comics have this problem by virtue of being inherent Attention Whores, suggesting that the best way to get under a comedian's skin is not to heckle, but to sit in the front row and never laugh. Heckling them means you're still engaged, and "every comedian has sixty things in his head he's used a million times" in response to hecklers. Titus even uses himself as an example of this when he finally snapped and yelled at a woman sitting in the front row who was not only not laughing, but wouldn't even look at him. Turns out that she wasn't looking at him because she was blind.
- Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 has another non-comic example: Natasha goes to visit her future father and sister-in-law.
I know they'll like me, they can't help but like me, everyone has always liked me...
- Heartful Punch of Sleepless Domain is a generally well-liked, popular Magical Girl. While the trope never actually happens to her, part of H.P.'s Establishing Character Moment has her stating that she can't stand the thought of someone she barely knows disliking her, even if she herself believes there's good reason for that dislike. Later, when someone remarks to Undine that H.P. can be intense about recruiting for their workout club, H.P. gets defensive and wonders if that's something people really say about her.
- In the Ultra Fast Pony episode "So Random!", Pinkie Pie stakes her entire self-worth on being regarded as a hilarious comedian. Cranky doesn't think she's funny at all, so she becomes obsessed with convincing him otherwise. The absurdity is lampshaded at the end of the episode:
Cranky: Oh, I'm so happy now! Pinkie Pie, how can I ever repay ya?
Pinkie: Can you please tell me that I'm funny?
Cranky: I don't understand, we've only just met. Why does my opinion even matter?
Pinkie: Look, Lanky, if I can't get the approval of complete strangers for my sense of humor, then my life will never be validated!
- Dreamscape: Jenna is the one person who doesn't like Ahjeen. Not liking him isn't what bothers Ahjeen though, what bothers him is she never gave him a chance. With that being said, he still treats her with kindness and gives her information that anyone whose Dylan's friend would want to know.
- The Simpsons:
- Homer Simpson is rather off-put when he gains a personal enemy in the appropriately-titled episode "Homer's Enemy". Moe tries to comfort Homer by saying that there are people who don't like him, too. Homer refuses to accept this. Meanwhile, the aforementioned enemy is later off-put himself that nobody else feels the same way about Homer when he can clearly see him as being Too Dumb to Live.
- In "Beyond Blunderdome", Homer and Marge go to a remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington where Homer gives the only negative review because it didn't have any mindless action or lowbrow humour. True to the pattern, the director (Guest star Mel Gibson) decides to listen to Homer and only Homer and allows him to help redo the film's ending. It... doesn't go well, to the point where the producers try and burn the film to prevent its release.
- In "Bart Star", Ned Flanders is the coach of the Springfield pee-wee football team and leads it to multiple victories and everybody in Springfield likes what he's done... everybody except Homer of course, who goes on a relentless one-man bullying campaign that ends with Ned, completely fed up, quitting the coaching job and giving it to Homer. Homer then goes on to drive the team into the ground with a barrage of incredibly stupid decisions, not the least of which is showing Bart favoritism that Bart utterly loathes because he knows he's a mediocre player (at best) but Homer won't listen to him when he points this out.
- The Recess episode "Nobody Doesn't Like TJ" has TJ obsesses over why Gordy doesn't like him. After going through the typical insanity that is normal to this plot, Gordy talks to TJ and tells him that he actually thinks he's cool... he just doesn't likes him, and doesn't even know why he doesn't likes him, and TJ shouldn't go crazy about it to the point of leaving those that do like him in the mud.
- In The Weekenders, Tino spends an entire episode trying to get someone to invite him to a party, and he doesn't even like the guy. At the episode's conclusion, that same guy asks if Tino likes him. Tino reluctantly admits that he doesn't, even if he doesn't know why, and is told that feeling is mutual.
- In an episode of Family Guy Brian finds out that Quagmire hates him. As you'd expect from any sitcom, he goes through several ordeals to improve their relationship, only to make it worse and horribly awkward (including thinking that Quagmire's sister [whose boyfriend is abusing her] is one of Quagmire's dates and tricking Quagmire into thinking that Cheryl Tiegs [the only woman whom Quagmire was really in love with; the break-up of which was what turned Quagmire into a sex addict] was taking him to dinner). When Brian asks him why he hates him, he replies with a long tirade based on viewers' complaints about Brian's personality.
- In another episode, this reaches the breaking point when Brian unknowingly sleeps with Quagmire's father, who just had a sex change. Tellingly, Quagmire was fine with this until he found out it was Brian.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The episode "A Friend in Deed" has Pinkie Pie encounter Cranky Doodle Donkey, the one creature in Equestria she's met who refuses to be her friend. She spends the rest of the episode trying to change that, and true to the pattern, makes it worse. She pulls it off by reuniting him with his lost love.
- Spongebob Squarepants has "Plankton's Regular" which features Mr. Krabs throwing fits and going to ever increasing measures to lure back the one, count 'em, one customer who ignores the Krusty Krab in favor of Plankton's Chum Bucket. Though it turns out that Karen was paying the customer to eat there, who got sick after eating his food.
- One episode of the 2007 George of the Jungle has George growing increasingly upset over the one animal in the jungle who doesn't call him a friend, a sloth that shows no affection or even interest in him. He runs around screaming and crying himself into a complete nervous breakdown before finding out that the sloth actually does like George, but is very, very, very slow to show it.
- Arthur has the episode "One Ornery Critter". Apart from the above formula, Arthur gets so worked up about one dog's dislike of him that he stops working at the local animal shelter, since he's great with dogs otherwise. Arthur comes around when Buster tells him that the dog is very selective of who she likes: She only seems to like one of Buster's cousins out of her owner's immediate family.
- The late-fifties Terrytoons short "Flebus" about a guy who is genuinely liked by everyone. When he meets the one person who doesn't like him, Flebus starts obsessing over him. Turns out the guy who hates Flebus is obsessed with him as well, as he's the only one he hates, and doesn't understand why either.
- All Hail King Julien has Julien find out that his approval rating is "only" 99%, which means that one citizen doesn't like him. His efforts to find out who this person is results in nearly everyone hating him. Saving a baby (and a mango) gets his popularity back to where it was at the start and he decides to compensate for the one guy who doesn't like him by loving himself twice as much.
- Tangled: The Series: In "Rapunzel's Enemy", Rapunzel tries to figure out why Uncle Monty, an otherwise kind-hearted and lovable sweet shop owner well liked by everyone in Corona, seems to hate her. It turns out he doesn't like the way she's been shaking up age-old traditions ever since her return, and he's also not happy she disguised herself and deceived him in an attempt to find out why. Rapunzel decides she doesn't like Monty's grudge-holding and stubborn traditionalism, and the two part as "not-friends".
- An episode of Harvey Street Kids centers around Friend to All Living Things Lotta trying to win over a cat who likes everyone else on Harvey Street. After the cat gets stuck in a tree, she goes up there to save him, to which he claws at her, letting her grip go. Once she is saved by other animals, she learns her lesson, and the cat, who easily lands on his feet, gets some comeuppance.