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The Power of Friendship

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"My friends are my power, and I'm theirs!"

A major theme in all media. The villain or Ineffectual Loner mocks the idea of relying on others, insisting that friends make you weak and only fear brings servitude. Then they discover, to their extreme shock and dismay, that the hero and their True Companions really do stand up for each other, and this really does enable the hero to kick the crap out of the bad guy. The Aesop: Having friends makes you strong, being alone makes you weak. Even What You Are in the Dark can depend on your memory of your friends.

The moment The Power of Friendship becomes clear is A Friend in Need, but beware the Apple of Discord. When the loner has been brought into the group, Remember That You Trust Me may be needed to keep him attached.

More often than not a hero who makes good use of this power is going to attract villains who try to prove that it doesn't work. (The biggest reason is such villains rarely have any friends, as heroes occasionally point out.) After slugging it out with the hero one or more times the villain in question may become a Friendly Enemy, a Worthy Opponent, or do a full on Heel–Face Turn.

However, one seeking to use this power should be very wary of the few times it may not work; an antagonist with the sheer strength to back them up may be just as capable of tanking an attack powered by friendship, then using a counterattack of theirs that's so strong that it completely overpowers the hero and their allies.

A Combined Energy Attack is another perk of believing in said power. Taken more literally, the Power of Friendship may be used as a required element of some magical effect, such as a Care-Bear Stare or a Circle of Friendship. Heroes, especially the Magnetic Hero, usually spend the first few episodes building this group of loyal followers. Sometimes it can go too far; Heroes fall prey to becoming a Martyr Without a Cause and allies could be False Friends. Contrast In the End, You Are on Your Own, in which case Friendship becomes less helpful. This trope is a key element of buddy pictures.

The Power of Friendship can be just as strong for the bad guys as for the good guys, but they seldom have enough common sense to play it straight. When they do, expect a pretty wild ride, and a clash with The Remnant once the main conflict's over.

See also Team Spirit, True Companions, The Power of Love, The Power of Family, Power of Trust, Defeat Means Friendship, Fire-Forged Friends, Dying Alone, You Are Not Alone. The risk of Sweetness Aversion or even Narm is present if done poorly. The Good King should be wary of this trope, it can turn into Nepotism (well, technically cronyism). If your characters are entirely reliant on their friends for any characterization or motivation, they will rapidly become Flat Characters.

In The Four Loves, friendship is classified under Philia.

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    Films — Animation 

  • "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers, one of the best-known classics of the Soul genre, is centered upon this trope.
    You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
    We all need somebody to lean on

    Mythology & Religion 
  • The Arabian god Wadd was the deity of friendship, besides being also a moon and snake god.
  • The tyrant of Syracuse was so impressed by the friendship between Damon, who volunteered to be a hostage for Pythias's return and be executed if he did not, and Pythias, who not only returned to his execution to spare Damon but did so in spite of being captured by bandits and Breaking the Bonds to escape, that he pardoned Pythias for conspiring against him. Thus this is Older Than Feudalism.
  • Some interpretations of The Epic of Gilgamesh hold that the friendship between King Gilgamesh and the wild-man Enkidu had the effect of taming both of them, as Gilgamesh's tyrannical rule was mellowed at the same time he was civilizing Enkidu. Furthermore, during their epic battle with the monster Humbaba, each took turns encouraging the other to continue. If this really was the intended reading of these two parts of the story, then it makes this Older Than Dirt.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Kane and Daniel Bryan (Hell No) do this, albeit partially zigzagged (I AM THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, etc.)
  • Interestingly, having a large group of friends means something entirely different in professional wrestling. Factions comprised of more than 2-3 wrestlers are typically called "stables", and their primary function in story telling is usually to have members of the stable assist other members in their matches and post-match beatdowns... which is dirty play and against the rules. As a result, the aesops associated with this trope are usually averted: the heroes are loners who fight alone against the odds, the villains are cowards who come down to the ring with all of their friends in tow.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A common theme in many roleplaying groups, especially long-standing groups of close friends. Many adventuring parties are often made of a combination of various different personalities, who must learn to work together to beat their adversaries. In fact, many a GM will use a villain late in a story to test the strength of the group, with varying success, depending on the players in question.
  • Byron Falls from John Wick's Big Book Of Little Games utilizes it in mechanics — players divide points between their friends, and the more points assigned to a person, the stronger your relationship with them. When you help one of those friends, you use number of dices equal to how many points you spend on them. However, it also deconstructs the trope - you cannot asign the same number of points to two different friends, and if any of them betrays you, they use number of dice equal points you spend on them for all actions against you.
  • Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine runs on this and Coming of Age Story, with one character achieving something impossible - since Actuals can't have souls - because Chuubo wished for a friend. For Nightmares' Angel/Leonardo/Dulcinea, however, it's actually inverted - one of the character's Empowered Wounds is about rejecting friendship. This isn't to say that deep down they don't want it - as one rpgnet poster put it: "Yes, she definitely has the I Have No Friends thing, it's even on her character sheet. But, well... it wouldn't be there if she didn't care about having friends. She doesn't have I Don't Own A Walrus as a source of power, after all." However Leonardo/Dulcinea's unique stew of megalomania and emotional damage means that they're really bad at acting on or expressing it, and as such draw power from loneliness instead.
  • The indie RPG Misspent Youth by Robert Bohl is all about this. Characters are required to be one another's friends by design, you ask questions about your friendship at the start of every session, all conflicts are between The Authority and the friends, the stakes of all conflicts are agreed-upon by all of the players at the table, and usually when a conflict is won it's with a friend's character's abilities.
  • Night's Black Agents has Trust, which can be spent to help out the trusted ally. Of course, since NBA is a dark game of burned spies hunting vampires, it can be flipped to Betrayal if you want to elaborately backstab said ally. Betrayal can only be spent once, however, and even if you patch up your relationship you will never be able to get Trust off the betrayed character again; even helping them find their mother's killer will, at most, mean they're willing to give you real bullets for your gun, and you're still on point for the rest of your life.
  • Absolutely included in Ponies & Parasprites due to the source material. In this game, the positive emotions that one feels when one is self-confident and/or surrounded by their friends is quantified by their Love score, which starts at 1 at character creation and goes up and down as play progresses. When a party is formed, their individual Love scores are summed up and used by every character in the group. Love is added to the total score of any die roll the character makes, meaning a character with quite a bit of Love associated with them can achieve feats they wouldn't be able to alone.
    • Likewise an actual mechanic in My Little Pony: The Storytelling Game, the pen-and-paper role-playing game based on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. There's a pool of "friendship tokens" that can be used for important circumstances. It spills over into the real side of things: the more players at each session (that is, the more friends who came to play), the larger the pool is.
  • Interstitial: Our Hearts Intertwined: Light Links with other players are this mechanically, as the represent friendship and romantic relationships with others, and any move that uses them draws on this power. The Chosen and The Friend are based around this even more than others.

    Visual Novels 
  • The story of Silver Crisis goes out of its way time and time again to show how important it is to place your trust in others and not isolate yourself. By the end of the story, the bond and trust Lucario and Lucas made with each other gives them the opportunity to make Silver lower his guard and defeat said Godlike being in the end.

    Real Life 
  • Dennis Rodman seems to be trying to invoke this with his visit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, telling him that he has a "friend for life." It is Rodman's hope that his visit may help, if even in some little way, to cool the hostility of the North Korean government towards the United States.
  • Hoplites in battle, whose main strength was in trusting that they could depend on each other.
    • Also done by any successful army: when they trust their companions their teamwork make them stronger, but if they don't they're liable to break up at the first trouble even when they should have a crushing advantage against the enemy.
  • Invoked by the US military after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on the 11th of March 2011. The aid mission that they launched on the 12th was called "Operation Tomodachi" (Japanese for friend).
  • The most successful animals in nature tend to be those who cooperate with others, either of their own species or not.
  • Truth in music? Queen wrote an awesome song about the Power of Friendship, the aptly titled Friends will be Friends
  • The reason why the Human species has become the dominant species of Earth, along with great creativity, the ability of think out strategies and unlimited ruthlessness.
    • Some anthropologists also suggest that the Toba Event forced the early humans of Eastern Africa to learn to work together or face extinction.
    • Not just Humans, Mammals in general tend towards being social animals, and it's a large reason to why they're so successful. Orcas, Wolves, and Chimps also have complicated strategies relying on teamwork to take down prey.
  • The relationship between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill helped save Britain and the world from Nazi Germany.
    • There was an attempt to arrange a dialogue in Munich between Hitler and Churchill in November 1932, when both struggled for power. Hitler declined.
  • This is the reason Jason Mewes is still alive. Kevin Smith told him that he couldn't watch Mewes throw his life away using drugs, and that if Mewes wanted to keep being friends, he had to stop using drugs. It worked, and now he's Happily Married and a father.
  • The Gatsby Sandwich, which is a local favourite of Cape Town, is rumored to taste better when shared among friends. There is a grain of truth to this as it was originally invented by factory workers who would share their lunches together into a single sandwich, as they each had little. Thus every other person who joined in added a bit more to a sandwich that would become far greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Daryl Davis is a musician and activist who has used the power of friendship to lead countless people to renounce their racist views.

  • This Trope is actually how we managed to progress beyond just being a tribal people, so much had been done since the Start of civilization

Alternative Title(s): Power Of Friendship, Friendship Speech


Friendship is Magic!

Twilight Sparkle and her newfound friends obtain the Elements of Harmony and defeat Nightmare Moon.

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