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Playing With / Oblivious to Love

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Basic Trope: A character who is completely unaware of any romantic intentions.

  • Straight: Alice has a thing for Bob. She repeatedly hints that she'd like to ask him out on a date, but he either doesn't understand or ignores her hints.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Alice goes the whole nine yards — she writes songs for Bob and buys him gifts. But at the end of the day, Bob still doesn't realize that she likes him.
    • Bob doesn't just notice Alice's crush on him. He also didn't notice Charlotte's crush on Danny neither Ethan's crush on Francine.
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    • Bob noticed everyone else’s crushes, only he never notices Alice crush on him.
    • Alice outright tells Bob she loves him, and even proposes to him. He still doesn't get the hint.
  • Downplayed: Bob is not sure whether Alice is flirting with him or not.
  • Justified:
    • Bob is completely unaware of things like love and romance, so Alice has her work cut out for her.
    • Bob is autistic and/or Literal-Minded.
    • Bob knows that Love Hurts, so he protects himself with Selective Obliviousness.
    • Bob has No Social Skills (can go hand-in-hand with being autistic).
    • Bob is The Matchmaker, and he never sees love as something for himself.
    • Bob is a poor relative, taken in by his cousins after his parents — a mesalliance — died; he's aware that he was no money by the standards of the women he meets, and that they consider him below their class; he can't believe any woman would throw away her life to be with him.
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    • Bob is considerably older than Alice and the normal age of marriage in their culture; he can accept being doomed to bachelorhood by his age and does not realize that she would accept it.
    • Alice Thinks Like a Romance Novel and doesn't notice Bob's feelings for her because things aren't playing out like they did in the novels she read.
    • Bob is afraid of making the wrong assumption about how Alice feels about him and making himself look like an ass.
  • Inverted:
    • Alice has a strange feeling and is oblivious on her own feelings.
    • Bob thinks everything that Alice says is a come-on — even when it's not.
  • Subverted:
    • Alice is able to get through to Bob — he agrees to go out on a date with her.
    • It turns out that Alice is an Unreliable Narrator, and never really got enough courage to give any good hint.
    • Alice did drop hints, but ended up getting rejected multiple times by Bob.
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    • Bob knew along. He just played dumb instead of rejecting her because he didn't want to hurt her feelings or make things awkward between them.
    • Bob pretended not to notice Alice's feelings because he sees her as beneath him. The thought of her having a crush on him gives him an ego boost, but he would never reciprocate it.
  • Double Subverted:
    • However, he had a vastly different understanding of what a "date" is.
    • Alice sends out a truly good hint and Bob still doesn't get it
    • Bob was rejecting her for other things, not the date itself. For instance, Alice says "Do you want to see Movie X with me?" and Bob says "No" because he doesn't want to see Movie X. He had no idea it would be a date.
    • Then Charlie hits on Alice and Bob has a Green-Eyed Epiphany. He was oblivious to his own feelings, not hers.
    • Alice ultimately gives up on Bob and moves on to someone else. Bob misses her more than he expects but she doesn't believe it, thus provoking an Unrequited Love Switcheroo.
  • Parodied:
  • Zig-Zagged: Alice ignores Bob's advances, but then blushes towards small flirts, which she forgets, and then he moves on. Alice becomes jealous and takes Bob back for herself, but then forgets why the next day. Essentially, Green-Eyed Epiphany meets "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • Averted: Bob understands what Alice means the entire time.
  • Enforced: "Alright, how can we drag out the sexual tension between these two?"
  • Lampshaded:
    • "I don't get it, Maria. I keep trying to ask him out, but he keeps giving me these vague answers."
    Bob: How do you think I can find love?
    Charlie: Well, getting rid of your Alice-shaped blind spot would help.
  • Invoked: Bob is very aware of Alice's interest in him but doesn't want her as a girlfriend, so he hopes that by invoking this trope and feigning obliviousness she'll eventually stop trying to woo him.
  • Exploited: Charlie manages to temp Alice away by pointing out that Bob will never reciprocate.
  • Defied: Alice decides to sit Bob down and clearly enunciate her feelings for him.
  • Discussed: "I don't understand it. How can Bob be a whiz at picking up non-verbal cues from everyone around him but fail to notice I'm crushing on him? He can't be faking it... right?"
  • Conversed: "It's a wonder Bob is so clueless.", "Don't forget Alice, she could always just ask outright and see what happens."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Alice gives up on Bob because he never gets the hint. He misses out on what might have been an incredibly fulfilling relationship.
    • Bob grew up in a troubled environment, so while he can love, the idea of someone loving him is something he finds shocking. He doesn't know how love is and it's a hassle for both parties.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Alice eventually succeeds in letting Bob know how she feels.
    • Alice leaves Bob and uses her experience to find fulfillment with Sam, who she didn't realize was attracted to her.
  • Played For Laughs:
    • Alice tries to get Bob's attention to the point that she kisses him, but Bob, as clueless as he is, wonders why Alice kissed him in the first place, causing Mood Whiplash to her and the audience in the most hilarious way.
    • Alice goes to absurd lengths to let Bob realize her feelings, including holding a giant neon sign and numerous Zany Schemes.
  • Played For Drama: Alice's inability to get through to Bob sends her into a deep depression.
  • Implied: Bob complains that no one loves him. Alice gets uncomfortable and says, "I know for a fact that's not true." We never find out what she really meant.

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