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Playing With / Loving Bully

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Basic Trope: A character bullies someone to hide their true affections towards another.

  • Straight: Alice picks on Bob, but she's really doing that to hide the fact she likes him.
  • Exaggerated: Alice beats up Bob on a daily basis because she likes him.
  • Downplayed: Alice insults and belittles Bob to shield her feelings for him.
  • Justified:
    • Alice doesn't know how to express her feelings.
    • Alice hangs around a group of bullies. When she develops a crush on Bob, she only hides it to maintain her image with the group.
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  • Inverted: Bob wants Alice to pick on him because he has a crush on her.
  • Subverted: Alice reveals that she never had a crush on Bob and hates him through and through.
  • Double Subverted: She really is denying that she likes Bob.
  • Parodied: Alice, a tomboyish bad girl who wears all-black clothing, is attracted to the scrawny and nerdy Bob and bullies him as a way of loving him. Bob instantly falls in love with her because of her bullying.
  • Zig Zagged: ???
  • Averted: Alice is a straight-up bully and doesn't have a crush on Bob.
  • Enforced: "I find it cute that Alice is tormenting Bob. She'll make a great love interest for him!"
  • Lampshaded: "I think she likes you, Bob."
  • Invoked: Claire tells Alice that showing your romantic feelings for someone by bullying them is a social norm.
  • Exploited: Daniel starts picking on Claire the same way Alice picks on Bob to see if he can get away with it. After all, Alice has set a precedent.
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  • Defied: Alice shows how she feels about Bob.
  • Discussed: "If you really like me, Alice, why don't you just show it instead of bullying me to hide it?"
  • Conversed: "The media seems to get a kick at characters who bully others because they like them."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob, after being tormented by her one too many times, scornfully turns her down when she finally asks him out.
    • Alternatively, he develops a fear of her because of the trauma of her antics.
  • Reconstructed: Bob turning down Alice so emphatically makes her realize how poorly she's treated Bob and how badly it hurt someone she loves. Later on, Bob gets targeted by Claire and Daniel but Alice comes to Bob's rescue this time by using the same bullying techniques on Claire and Daniel to get them to back off Bob. Alice and Bob eventually become friends, and though Alice will still pick on Bob verbally both of them understand Alice is doing it as her way of showing affection and Alice makes sure not to go too far. Bob may even start to get some zingers back at Alice, turning them into Vitriolic Best Buds.
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  • Played For Laughs: Alice shows her love for Bob by beating him up, and his peers find it hilarious and adorable.
  • Played For Drama: Bob gives Alice a chance, but she turns out to be, in reality, a toxic person.

Back to Loving Bully

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