Just Friends

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Ricky reading up on how to get that elusive Relationship Upgrade. It Got Worse.

Carly: I thought we talked about this. We can be buds, but you gotta get over this crush thing.
Freddie: I am over it! Seriously! I'm in love with you, you just want to be friends, and I'm totally cool living with that constant pain!

iCarly, "iPilot"

Teasing at a romantic relationship between two platonic friends. The central driving force of many whole series, or an undercurrent to a main plot. The force with which the two deny any feelings is always inversely proportional to the truth. Just Friends is in essence, a relationship, a potential relationship or teased relationship between people who are simply Just Friends, in a normal, and regular manner. When a character uses the line "We're Just Friends" but no-one seems to believe them, this is likely to be the trope involved.

Alice's characterisations often include: All Girls Want Bad Boys, First Girl Wins, Single Woman Seeks Good Man. Often suffers from Oblivious to Love.

Bob's characterisations often include: Unlucky Childhood Friend, Ridiculously Average Guy, Dogged Nice Guy, a Celibate Hero, a Knight in Shining Armor for his friend-girl.

A tease used commonly in SitComs, dramas with single characters as principals. Friends drove this one into the ground repeatedly. Quite popular in teen-centric series that involve a main cast of friends of both sexes split 1:2 or 2:3. A show with this ratio given enough seasons will often produce a Just Friends relationship unless the two best friends of the lead share Belligerent Sexual Tension. It can go either way then.

The Relationship Upgrade is used as a major plot point for a season Cliff Hanger or series finale. An easy way to generate tension.

This can take several forms:

  • Alice and Bob are friends, but start to develop mutual feelings for each other over the course of the series. They may worry that acting on these feelings will end up ruining their friendship.
  • Bob has developed unrequited feelings towards Alice, but has declined to tell her. Bob refuses due to a fear of rejection, fear he isn't good enough, or simply because Alice is involved with Charlie. See I Want My Beloved to Be Happy for more information.
  • Alice has developed unrequited feelings towards Bob, has told Bob of them, and been rejected. The driving force is often Bob's development of feelings towards Alice whilst Alice tries to maintain her feelings for Bob or works to overcome them. Can often become an Unrequited Love Switcheroo situation.
  • Bob develops unrequited feelings towards Alice, that she may be aware of, but nothing he does can get him out of the "friend zone". If he tries to push the issue, this often leads to a crushing Downer Ending and Ship Sinking moment for Bob, often to the point where they never show up again, especially if they are a recurring character who isn't essential to the series.

See also:

It is also the title of a 2005 comedy film based pretty much entirely on the trope. It is now located at Just Friends.

This is a Love Tropes and entries may spoil the endings of relationships and works as a whole. You have been warned.

Examples of Just Friends include:

Anime & Manga

  • In the first episode of the anime D.N.Angel, Daisuki is looking forward to finally confessing his feelings to his longtime crush Risa. Only for just right before he can say anything, she thanks Daisuke for being such a good friend to her, heavily emphasizing the word friend. The look on Daisuke's face made it look like it would of hurt less if he was just kicked between the legs.
  • Helios Eclipse: Helios and Mineko.
  • Kämpfer: Natsuru (in male form) and his childhood friend Kaede Sakura. He doesn't want to outright ask her out and potentially get shot down so he decides to stay friends with her. However, when he changes into a girl, Natsuru quickly gets a Relationship Upgrade with her even though she doesn't seem to realize that the two Natsurus are the same person.
  • Kaichou wa Maid-sama: Poor Hinata. He tries so hard to be more than Just Friends with Misaki, but she's already deep in the throes of Belligerent Sexual Tension with Usui before Hinata even makes the scene.
  • Sugar Sugar Rune: Chocolat and her male school friend, Mimura.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho: Yuusuke actively denies that his relationship with Keiko is nothing more than friendship. However, it's assumed by everyone that the two are dating (including the mentioned pair, themselves—Yuusuke actually asks Keiko not to dump him at one point).
    • That's at the end of the series, when she already did for the very good reason that he's planning to leave for three years and fight demons in another dimension while she goes to high school. She winds up waiting for him, though.
    • He stops protesting that after he comes back to life the first time, really, but it's a pretty strictly fighting manga, so they never discuss their relationship or interact much. It was established quite early on that neither has to even stop and think about dying for the other, though.
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: This is how Makoto sees Chiaki and Kousuke until she realizes her feelings for Chiaki.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: In Episode 21, Souga Kazukiyo the class rep has feelings for Kurakano, who have been good friends for most of their life. Souga doesn't want to cause problems or change things, and also has something of a I Want My Beloved to Be Happy moment when relating Kurakano's feelings for Haruhi.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Kazuki Takahashi claims that this is what Joey/Jonouchi and Mai are. Yeah, sure.
  • For most of Ranma ½, Ryoga Hibiki greatly desires for Akane Tendo to know of and reciprocate his romantic feelings towards her. Unfortunately for him, she is completely oblivious. Not only that, but she sees him as nothing more than her friend and treats him as such.

Akane: Are you worried about what I said? You're the one who forced me to say it! You made me say I hated you.
Ryoga: Please don't try to comfort me!
Akane: But, Ryoga, it wasn't right! Because I actually... I like you, Ryoga!
Ryoga: You do? Really?
Akane: I really do, Ryoga. You're a good friend. Let's be friends forever!

Akane: Wha- No way! Ranma and I are just friends.

  • 5 Centimeters Per Second: Takaki and Akari start as friends at a younger age, share their First Kiss at age 13, and go back to Just Friends because of distance. At least, Akari does. Takaki stays in love with Akari for another 15 years.
    • The 2nd part has Kanae end up with this by default, due to Cannot Spit It Out by her to Takaki as well as Takaki's ongoing feelings for Akari closing his heart to anyone but Akari.
  • Detective Conan: Heiji and Kazuha believe they are Just Friends, even though Everyone Can See It.
  • In Nodame Cantabile, Stresemann and the Academy's director decided to stay this, after the director received an illness that stopped her from playing the piano again when she was younger, though they had the potential to become lovers if the illness hadn't struck, as noted by Stresemann's assistant.
  • Madlax Madlax and Vanessa. Vanessa and Elenore in earlier episodes.


  • X-Force: Cable and Domino have a long history, during which they've been everything from genuinely just friends to teammates to Friends with Benefits to lovers.
  • Yoko Tsuno: Yoko and Vic, after being Just Friends for years, began developing romantic feelings for one another.
  • The Static series has the title character, Virgil Hawkins, and Frieda having this type of relationship throughout the run. Although admittedly, Virgil was initially attracted to Frieda, but she wanted to keep their relationship at this level.
  • An issue of the Gargoyles comics produced by SLG had Lexington ask a pair of gargoyles named Coco and Staghart if they're a mated pair. They both laughingly deny it, but assure him they're very good friends. This has been taken as a hint that Staghart might be "like a nine bob note" as they say in London. Many fans speculate that if the comic had shown more of Lexington's adventures in London, Staghart would've at least been his Closet Key, perhaps someday a permanent mate.
  • Played as a Running Gag in Quantum and Woody, as Woody regularly informs everyone within earshot that he and Quantum are "not a couple."

Fan Fiction

Narrator: As we walked through those flowery meadows (...) my heart became filled with increasing panic. I was in love with Twilight Sparkle! And she probably saw me as nothing much more than another interesting sample from an alternate universe, or even worse –
Narrator: A friend!

Film -- Live Action

  • Not Another Teen Movie: The trope as a whole is mercilessly lampshaded. Ricky is madly in love with Janey, who completely ignores every word he says. She falls for Jake, the Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Ricky ends up having a Race For Your Love, but he gets hit by cars. Whilst the drivers call out things like "You'll never be more than a friend", "She's not attracted to you" and "She'll never love you."
  • Just Friends: Ryan Reynolds as the fat, nerdy teenager in love with his best friend, Amy Smart, who loves him "as a brother". He runs away and 10 years later is rich, cool, and good-looking. He comes back into town where she immediately is struck by his new appearance.
  • Kal Ho Naa Ho: Rohit and Naina, until the Relationship Upgrade.
  • Thirteen Going On Thirty: Matt appeared to be like this towards Jenna at the start of the movie when they are both 13.
  • Zack and Miri Make a Porno: Zack and Miri start the movie as Platonic Life Partners. And then the titular porno comes along...
  • Five Hundred Days of Summer has Tom falling for Summer, as she starts a Friends with Benefits relationship but continues to lead him on with the potential of them becoming more. It culminates in Summer calling him 'her best friend' as he walks away when she breaks their relationship, and his heart.
  • Very narrowly averted in Are We There Yet? when Ice Cube's character is about to get stuck permanently in the "Friends Zone". he can practically hear the warning:

"This is a Friends Zone only. I repeat, this is a Friends Zone only. Please dump your friend and move on with your life."

  • Clerks II has Dante trying to tell himself that Becky and him and this. So not.
  • In On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Tad Pringle (played by Jack Nicholson) is utterly in love with Daisy Gamble (played by Barbra Streisand) and even declares outright that he'd be better for her than any of the men she's been seeing; unfortunately for him, she considers him her best friend, and only her best friend. The fact that he's technically also her step-brother (their parents married after both Tad and Daisy were adults) doesn't help his case much, despite his pointing out that "We're only related through marriage."
  • Isabel told Donald Morton that she wants to be this in Mozart and the Whale. Soon after Donald in his social clumsiness does something that provokes such trauma in Isabel that she attempts suicide. He asks her to marry him. When she has recovered from this she actually does marry Donald.
  • In Friends With Benefits, Dylan and Jamie veer between this and Friends with Benefits.
  • In the Finnish film Lights in the Dusk (Laitakaupungin Valot), the only person Koistinen can depend on is the local hot-dog stand owner Aila ("Grillija"), who clearly wants them to be more than just friends. Koistinen blows her off the first chance he can get a lady, but persists in returning to poor heartsick Grillija whenever he needs help.


  • Aubrey-Maturin: Padeen seems to be stuck in one of these in regards to Clarissa.
    • In the later books, Stephen and Christine Wood.
  • Everlost: Nick and Allie.
  • Harry Potter - Harry and Hermione were confirmed by Word of God to be Platonic Life Partners. The relationship was never intended to be seen romantically. Nevertheless, this ship is a cruise liner, with several of the film adaptation leaders at the helm.
  • Girl, Fifteen, Charming but Insane: Jess and Fred.
  • 3001, the final book in the The Space Odyssey Series has Frank Poole introduced to the future by Indra, one of the few historical experts in time he came from. After forming an extremely close friendship, they begin a relationship when he returns from a mission to Jupiter.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry and Murphy.
    • At the end of "Changes", the possibility at becoming more is hinted at rather strongly until Harry's apparent death
  • My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger plays with this. The protagonist, TC, spends most of the book in a mutually flirtatious not-quite-relationship with his classmate Alé. At one point, he tries suggesting that they just remain friends... as a gambit to trigger a Relationship Upgrade. It doesn't work.
  • In the early books of the Anne of Green Gables series, Anne is constantly telling people that she and her childhood-enemy-turned-friend Gilbert Blythe, are just friends. She's not in love with him, does not harbor any type of feelings for him other than friendship, etc. etc. etc. Anne really does have feelings for him, she is just unaware of them. This question is never posed to Gilbert, since the entire town already knows he's madly in love with Anne.
  • Tre and Allie of Stuck. The two of them are best friends, yes, but they both agree that they're better off that way.
  • Lampshaded and averted in The War Against the Chtorr when the protagonist Jim McCarthy and his Colonel Badass girlfriend Liz Tirelli have a very loud breakup. When things quiet down, Liz half-heartedly suggests that maybe they could just be...whereupon Jim interrupts saying—forget it, they can definitely not be Just Friends. They end up getting married instead.

Live Action TV

  • As written in the intro, this type of pairing often 'loses' to Belligerent Sexual Tension pairings. Nickelodeon/Analysis discusses why this is so especially in Kid Com shows.
  • A.N.T. Farm: Chyna and Fletcher. The former however seems to be acknowledging the latter's behavior, but has to yet return the feelings.
    • Same show, different pairing: Paisley and Fletcher. Paisley likes him in a "Adorable kid" way. Neither is returning the feelings.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Leonard and Penny. They eventually got a Relationship Upgrade that lasted almost a full season before they broke up.
    • But are back on the will they won't they path again.
  • Bones: Booth and Bones often claim that this is the case, at least until the 100th episode, at which point, according to your interpretation, Bones may consider this a reason not to start a relationship.
    • And it got a lot more complicated with the end of season 6 and Brennan becoming pregnant with Booth's baby.
      • And they're together.
  • Boston Legal: Jerry and Katie became friends when they shared an office/cases together. Jerry develops feelings for Katie, which ends in a Last-Minute Hookup in the last 5 minutes of the last ever episode.
  • Caroline in The City: Richard had been hiding his feelings for Caroline through the run of the show.
  • Coupling: Sally and Patrick are friends, but develop feelings for each other.
  • Chuck: Chuck and Sarah have feelings that they're hiding from each other, while simultaneously faking a relationship for the outside world.
    • Not anymore.
  • Community: Although Britta and Jeff primarily had this happening for them in the first season, the case can be quite convincingly made that practically all of the study group members have had this with most-if-not-all of the other members at some point or other. The primary examples are Britta/Jeff, Jeff/Annie and Britta/Troy, as those pairings have more than just self-referential Crack Ship style Ship Tease.
  • Dawson's Creek: Joey and Dawson.
  • The Doctor Who episode "Let's Kill Hitler" shows that Rory and Amy had known each other since primary school, and that Amy was the only girl Rory had ever shown an interest for the entire 10 years they knew each other. Amy has an extreme case of Oblivious to Love because she thought he was gay due to the fact he hadn't shown any interest in girls the entire time they'd known each other.
    • A DVD exclusive scene set after "Flesh & Stone" has the Doctor describing his previous companions this way. Unfortunately Amy tricks him into making the TARDIS computer display their images, and notes how many are young sexually-attractive females.

Amy: Is that a leather bikini?

    • And in "The Impossible Astronaut"

Doctor: Shout if you get in trouble.
River: Don't worry, I'm quite the screamer. Now there's a spoiler for you.
Canton: OK what's going on here?
Doctor: Errr nothing...she's just a friend.
(Awkward pause)
Rory: I think he's talking about the possible alien incursion.

  • Eureka: In the later seasons, Jack and Allison's has had their friendship as the core of their romantic interaction. After being sent to and back from 1947, they get in a Love Triangle, that is eventually resolved when they discuss being Just Friends, and both hesitantly decide not to risk it. Carter then turns back and kisses Allison, who kisses him back and they get together.
  • Gilmore Girls: Marty towards Rory in the later college seasons. These seasons were characterised by a heap of Relationship Writing Fumble, the pairing got sunk, he got written out in exchange for the rich, bad boy Logan, and he came back a season later as a huge Jerkass.
  • Gossip Girl: Vanessa and Dan. A strange version where they both apparently had some feelings for each other when they were younger, but it became Platonic Life Partners until they had a drunken threesome with Dan's current girlfriend. That threesome revealed previously hidden (even to the audience) feelings for Dan towards Vanessa. They got together shortly afterward, but being a drama/soapy show, it hasn't been straightforward.
  • Hannah Montana: Lily and Oliver. Quite a weird example as they'd been friends since pre-school, but their friendship had evolved into a Platonic Life Partners type deal, then something of a bickering Slap Slap Kiss thing, until it had a very sudden, off-screen Relationship Upgrade and turned into a Masochism Tango.
  • The Hour: Freddie and Bel. It is implied that Freddie had feelings for Bel when they first met, but she did not reciprocate and now they're just friends with UST.
  • iCarly: Freddie has had a crush on Carly for his entire adolescent life, being in Love At First Sight. Carly initially wants to stay as Just Friends. Freddie grows up physically and emotionally in Season 2 and 3, into an mature and sensitive young man, and it appears Carly is beginning to realize feelings for him. Also an example of an Official Couple (Albeit temporarily).
    • In Season 4 this ship gets frozen, not given any closure and the focus of the romance on the show shifts to the Slap Slap Kiss styled Sam/Freddie pairing. But since that arc's over, this has yet to return...
  • JAG: Harm and Mac, get forced into UST through Just Friends under the lame excuse of avoiding fraternization rules. Which probably wouldn't have applied to them since they are both officers.
  • Lizzie McGuire: Gordo developing feelings for Lizzie, as Lizzie remains oblivious. Eventually, the Alpha Bitch points out that Gordo isn't trying to show off because he thinks he's better than Lizzie, but that he's trying to impress Lizzie because he likes her.
  • Life with Derek: This trope is the actual title of an episode which is devoted entirely to playing straight, subverting, deconstructing, and generally having fun with the trope.
  • Numb3rs: Charlie and Amita had to remain Just Friends whilst Amita was still a student (or a student teacher, one or the other) at CalSci. After she became a professor, their relationship blossomed.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: Ned and Moze. Complete with Last-Minute Hookup.
  • The Mighty Boosh: According to Word of God (as if it wasn't already clear enough) this is what's going on with Howard and Vince. There's an obvious attraction between the two that's sometimes Lampshaded, but the show is on Hiatus and they still aren't together
  • My Name Is Earl: Randy towards Catalina. Randy loved her, but she considered them Just Friends. They end up getting married for a green card. For some reason, they went through with the wedding night sex except that Catalina made herself completely undesirable. Randy got over her because of her actions. This led to a Unrequited Love Switcheroo that was never really followed up on.
  • Pretty Little Liars: Hanna and Lucas. Lucas the nerd (and not a Hollywood Nerd either), Hanna the homecoming queen.
  • Reaper: Andi wants to remain just friends with Sam, even when he wants more. Until she decides to be his girlfriend.
  • Scrubs: J.D. and Elliot went down this road for 7 seasons. They covered pretty much every variation of these tropes, the Will They or Won't They? getting Lampshaded on multiple occasions, becoming Friends with Benefits, Everyone Can See It, Near Kiss, Better as Friends. It was torture. In the final season, the writers finally decided not to play games with the pairing anymore, hooked them up, and gave them only minor drama. And the Fandom Rejoiced.
  • Spaced: Tim and Daisy became Just Friends after pretending to be a fake couple to move into a flat, but Word of God is that they had a post-finale relationship upgrade. This is confirmed in a DVD extra showing the pair together with a newborn son.
  • Stargate Atlantis did this with both Sheppard/Weir and Sheppard/Teyla, neither of which ever went anywhere, but both ships were definitely teased.
  • Stargate SG-1 had this with Carter and O'Neill, going so far as to have the characters admit that they do have feelings for each other, but never letting them get together (well...)
  • Stargate Universe: Eli and Chloe. Poor Eli...
    • Kinda sucks for him considering the guy on other side of the triangle is pretty much his best friend on the ship (they have something of a Shep and McKay vibe at times). And the three of them got marooned together after missing the ship.

Eli: Talk about your third wheel.

    • As of the season finale Incursion, it's made perfectly clear that she isn't Oblivious to Love at all. She also drops some major friend zone bombs on Eli, and in a way tells him off for acting like her friendship is "second prize".
      • And poor Volker. It's like the scientists on the ship can't catch a break, with all the hot soldiers taking the chicks.
      • Varro and TJ after the time travel to 2,000 years in the past.
  • The X-Files: Mulder and Scully are constantly trying to explain to people that they're Just Partners. Including two ghosts in a haunted house. And the series Big Bad. And random people off the street. It never works.
  • Zoey 101: Zoey and Chase.

Lola: Ginny, could you come here a minute?
Ginny: What's up?
Lola: 'Blank' is in love with Zoey. Fill in the blank.
Ginny: (as though it were the most obvious answer in the world) Chase.
Lola: Thanks for playing.

  • Depending on who you listen to, Benson and Stabler may count.
    • Let the fun begin. They are portrayed as Platonic Life Partners, but that subtlety is often lost, by the writers as much as by the fans. In the early and late seasons, when Elliot is married, it is upheld well, but there are some fairly Ship Tease moments in the middle, and it's understandable - they are, after all, very close. It doesn't help that Olivia often acts as if she were hopelessly in love with Elliot, which is obviously problematic and only adds to her Iron Woobie status, or that she has no family but him. On the whole, the fandom are split between thinking that they are an intense barrel of UST waiting to explode, or that they really are just friends, but of such an unusual sort that it is often mistaken for sexual tension. Your Mileage Is Guaranteed To Vary.
  • Xander and Willow flirted with this, starting the show as Platonic Life Partners; however Willow was very much the Unlucky Childhood Friend who was secretly in love with Xander. Then they started developing feelings for each other while they were involved with other people, before they finally decided they were Better as Friends. Then Willow realized she was gay , which slammed the door on the question of her relationship with Xander for good.
    • Also, Buffy pulls this with Angel (and later Spike) after their respective breakups. Nobody buys it.
    • Spike sums up this trope most famously in "Lover's Walk", when referring to the Bangel relationship.

Spike: "You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other till it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends."

  • Inspector Lynley and his partner Sergeant Havers are this. Really. Even though they've both called each other their reason to get up in the morning. And even though he turned up at her flat at midnight to tell her that he wasn't sure he had ever really loved his wife, something he'd never talked to anyone about before. Swear to God, they're just friends!
  • Noah and Saskia have this going on big time. Saskia decides she's in love with Max (aka Noah), but Noah's getting hassled at school about his internet girlfriend, so to prove to himself he's not that much of a geek, he has a chat with Indy (aka Saskia) about how he's just figured out the point of the comic-in-progress, that is, that guys and girls can just be friends. Like they are. You know, 'buddies'. As the tie-in novel puts it: "what's about to happen is that two people who are friends are going to decide they're friends and that's kind of going to ruin their friendship".
  • Barney and Robin's slow-building romantic relationship starts as this during season 3 of How I Met Your Mother.

Blah Blah: So Robin, how did you and Barney meet?
Robin: Oh no! No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! No! Barney and I are not together.
Barney: Really? Sixteen 'no's?

  • Mysterious Ways has a Just Friends triangle-type thing going on. Declan can be shipped with either his brilliant grad student Miranda or his psychiatrist friend Peggy as both spend plenty of time with him on cases. It is implied that both Peggy and Miranda have feelings for Declan, but there is never any evidence that he is interested in either of them.
    • In one episode, the idea of "not being able to shake" your soul mate is posited. After Peggy and Miranda have called Declan's girlfriend's cell phone for the umpteenth time trying to reach him, said girlfriend says "Seems like you can't shake either one of them." That's about the strongest ship tease you get, though.


  • "Just Be Friends" by Dixie Flatline featuring Luka Megurine.
  • "Roll to Me" by Del Amitri.
  • "You Belong with Me" by Taylor Swift.
  • "Why Don't You Kiss Her?" by Jesse McCartney.
  • "Seven Days in Sunny June" by Jamiroquai.
  • "You Don't Know Me", which is a country song that was written by Cindy Walker and Eddy Arnold. Covered many times, but the two most recognisable ones are by Ray Charles and Michael Bublé.
  • "Friend Is a Four Letter Word" by CAKE.
  • "Just a Friend" by Mario.
  • "Deep Waters" by Incognito.
  • "My Best Friend's Hot" by The Dollyrots.
  • "Don't Let Go" by En Vogue.
  • "Friendly Duet" by Flanders and Swann parodies this trope.
  • "Why Do All Girls Think They're Fat" by Reel Big Fish is about a character who develops feelings for his friend but she refuses to let him go farther than being this trope.
  • "Love to Love You" by The Corrs is just one of several songs that reference these type of relationships. The Corrs Wild Mass Guessing page shows that several of their songs put together portray a Just Friends relationship with a happy ending. At the start, the woman's feelings for her ex block any romance with the man. Despite both knowing he has feelings for her, he helps her through her pain. However the man decides that he wants his beloved to be happy and stops trying to make her fall for him. There is the woman's Love Epiphany, an Unrequited Love Switcheroo, until both finally realising their feelings are now reciprocal. Next comes the moment they first make love, the honeymoon period, falling deeper for each other, until they are well and truly in love with each and wanting to spend the rest of their lives together.
  • "Friend Zone" by Your Favorite Martian, obviously.
  • "Friends" by Marshmello & Anne-Marie.


  • I'm Sorry Ill Read That Again once made a pantomime special edition called Black Cinderella 2 Goes East, which subverted this trope with Cinderella and Buttons. At first, it seemed like Cinderella didn't know that Buttons was in love with her, but thought they were just friends...and then it turns out she knows, but just doesn't like him. It could have stopped there, fairly graciously, but then she gets a song about it.

Oh I never could marry you, Buttons
I'm sorry, but that's how it goes
Partly because I'm in love with another
But mainly because you get right up my nose

Video Games

  • Mass Effect: The romances between Male Shepard and Tali, and the romance between a Female Shepard and Garrus are much like this, as they were not romance options in the first game. Tali herself says she wants to be "more than just friends", whilst the romance arc with Garrus is about overcoming his initial doubts, and hoping to make their strong friendship into something more.
    • In ME 2, there is a turian male that the fandom has nicknamed the "Friend-Zoned Turian". A quarian female (herself called "Quarian Valley Girl") and the turian male are talking to one another at a bar. If you listen in to their conversations, the quarian is complaining about breaking up with her human boyfriend. It becomes clear over the series of conversations that the turian is clearly infatuated with her. At one point, he asks if she wants to watch a movie which "won awards for portraying turian and quarian relationships". The quarian is completely oblivious to his advances.
    • In Mass Effect 3 a female Shepard can hit on Joker, who declines, saying he never really thought of it. He then declines because of the 'chain of command' and because of his crush on EDI.
  • Averted by Crusader Kings. The game assumes that any two characters of the opposite sex who are friends are actually lovers.
  • This apparently cheeses off a Mad Scientist in the intro to Sam and Max Hit The Road:

Scientist: Friends? Friends?! We've only gone out together three times, and already you're telling me you just want to be friends?!

  • Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield.
  • In the backstory of Xenogears, Sophia only ever saw Krelian as a friend. Krelian accepted this state of affairs and managed to be friendly with her true love Lacan despite his hidden jealousy.
  • In Star Ocean the Second Story Rena actually invokes this trope regarding her relationship with Claude a number of times, despite Claude's interest. Later in the game she stops being so vocal about it. It's possible for them to end up together, and in fact they appear to be the closest that this game has to an Official Couple if the anime cutscenes in the remake are any indication.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

Ron: Oh, please! Are they still teasing that Charity and Danny are gonna get together?
Kim: Like that's ever gonna happen! It would end the series.

  • In Justice League, Batman insists that he and Wonder Woman are just friends. No one really buys it, including Wonder Woman herself, since she wants a Relationship Upgrade.
    • Of course, whilst the feelings might be there nothing ever comes of it. Bruce grows old alone.
      • Of course, nothing is seen or heard of Wonder Woman in the entire Batman Beyond series.
  • Speaking of Batman Beyond, Howard has the nerve to say this to a super-strong gynoid girlfriend he bought when said gynoid has been actively trying to kill people for most of the episode. It does not end well. Terry even lampshades it:

Howie: (as Cynthia starts to malfunction in rage) Wrong thing to say?
Batman: Is it EVER the right thing to say?!

    • Terry and Max are poster children for this trope. They're best friends, she's his only confidant (other than Bruce), they spend more time together than Terry and his actual girlfriend, they're both pretty attractive...and there is never any indication that either of them wants anything but friendship.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: There's indications of this with Jack and Sally before their Relationship Upgrade.[1]
  • After kissing in Total Drama Island, LeShawna basically cancels her relationship with Harold, saying their just friends. Harold still pines for her though, The feelings are mutual.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants towards Sandy.
  • The Simpsons: Towards the end of "Lisa's Date with Density", after finding out that he lied to her, Lisa and Nelson eventually broke up and simply became friends. The friendship is sustained later in the end of "Loan-a-Lisa" in which Lisa and Nelson skate with each other.
  • This is how Henry and June appear, however June has some pretty obvious feelings toward Henry, his are more subtle.
  • In an episode of 6teen, Wyatt and a girl named Marlowe eventually break up after spending too much time together. When Wyatt wonder if they would be just friends, Marlowe instead said they could be the "best of Exes".
  • Futurama with Fry and Leela. It's implied they will eventually end up together.
  • In the The Legend of Korra episode "The Spirit of Competition," the Sibling Triangle of Bolin, Mako and Korra articulate their feelings towards each other in various ways. After resulting interpersonal tensions nearly cost them their place in the finals, the three settle back into a mutually friendly dynamic, with the larger underlying Love Dodecahedron unresolved.
  1. which makes the whole "He-barely-notices-her" thing some fans claim for their relationship some serious Fridge Logic.