We Used to Be Friends

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Anakin: "I hate you!"

Obi-Wan: "You were my brother, Anakin... I loved you."

One day we rode the mountain crest
And I went east and he went west
I took to law and wore a star

While he spread terror near and far
—Lorne Green, "Ringo"

Our Band of Brothers, the Five-Man Band, whatever, are pretty close. They share a tight relationship, trust and protect each other, would die for each other, if it might be necessary.

Only, what's this? The Lancer, The Scrappy—or even -- The Hero, at least a member of the team, makes a mistake or the wrong call. Or they just become evil by some reason.

The reasons might vary, but bottom line is, the once tight bond between the character in question and his former friend(s) is severely damaged, if not completely broken. Instead of love and sympathy, at least one of them feels aversion, distrust, disdain for the other. Whether they start actively fighting each other or simply share a broken bond and avoid each other will vary, but since things sometimes don't work out the way they are supposed to, they can't reconcile by the end of the episode.

In contrast to a member being Put on a Bus (which doesn't necessarily mean these two tropes can't coincide), this trope focuses on the extraction of a character from his usual environment, due to aversion, distrust or a misunderstanding. However, the character is being kept as a part of the story, which is what differs this from simply being Put on a Bus - the extracted character is not being dropped by the writers. This situation might eventually be resolved by things slowly getting back to normal or -- it doesn't.

Might trigger a Beard of Sorrow, Ten-Minute Retirement, a Face Heel Turn or even a Heel Face Turn, a degree in badassery or - a Despair Event Horizon. The list goes on and on.

Contrast with Heel Face Turn, compare with Achilles in His Tent, Deus Exit Machina, My Greatest Failure, Grey and Gray Morality and Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. Compare Evil Former Friend.

The song by the Dandy Warhols is the trope namer, it being the theme from Veronica Mars kinda figures.

Examples of We Used to Be Friends include:

Anime[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Arashi Kishu in X 1999. In order to spare her lover Sorata from his obligation to sacrifice himself for her, she joins the Dragons of Earth to bypass fate. She battles her former Dragons of Heaven friends and eventually triggers said prophecy with her Face Heel Turn.
    • In the manga, by all appearances, Arashi ends up Brainwashed and Crazy at the hands of Hinoto. With the same result, fighting for the Dragons of Earth.
    • If there's going to be an X1999 example, it ought to be Kamui and Fuma. They were best friends as children, and destined to be on opposite sides of the battle for the future of mankind. Whichever side Kamui chose, Fuma would automatically take the empty seat on the opposite side as a substitute "Kamui".
  • Ash and Gary of Pokémon fame. They were good friends and neighbors when they were very young. It's explained that they fought over a Poke Ball they found and broke it, and stopped being friends over it. It turns out each kept his half of the Poke Ball, and they are on better terms again.
  • Berserk - Guts and Griffith used to be the best of friends during the Golden Age arc. Then Guts left the Hawks over a general dissatisfaction with Griffith's methods, and Griffith's life went straight to hell, and by the time that Griffith was rescued, he all but despised Guts. Guts, however, still held on to his feelings for Griffith up until the Eclipse, where Griffith's monstrous betrayal would destroy the bond of friendship between the two men forever.
  • Pretty much the whole point of Part 2 in Naruto. Sasuke is the patron saint of this. Even his new allies who were ready to give their lives for him were quickly discarded.
    • Even before that, we have Ino and Sakura stop being friends because they are competing over Sasuke (who doesn't much care for either one of them). They become friends again after fighting each other (which, at least to Sakura, was more about proving herself equal to Ino, whom she had held in high regard ever since she met her, than about Sasuke), but do still quarrel over Sasuke from time to time.
    • Jiraiya and Tsunade with Orochimaru. Jiraiya confronts Orochimaru during his escape from Konoha, and reminds them that the Sannin were friends since their team was formed when they were five years old, but Orochimaru mocks his efforts.
  • Oooooh man, Suzaku and Lelouch...big time.
  • Happens to Yomi and Kagura in Ga-Rei Zero, the prequel anime to the manga. Yomi's fall is pretty heartbreaking, and they only further make it more painful by the Big Bad who unleashes an attack on Yomi which doesn't kill her, but severs her voicebox and nerves so she's only barely able to communicate by using her finger, and can't speak. The scene where she's trying to cry in the hospital after her fiance is forced to break off their engagement is particularly heartbreaking.
  • Tower of God: Baam and Rachel. In this case, it doesn't end well, and the falling out started before Baam even realized it: The moment he followed her into the Tower. In the end, she drowns him and he barely survives, crushed by the fact that his only family, friend and possible lover now hates him, where the only thing he truly feared was being alone.
  • Miaka and Yui in Fushigi Yuugi. Yui becomes Miaka's worst enemy after Nakago manipulates her into believing that Miaka doesn't care about her or her feelings for Tamahome.
  • A major force of tension in Gundam Seed is the fact that the two protagonists, Kira and Athrun, are best friends who have somehow wound up on opposite sides of a war. There is a great deal of introspection between the two of them about what this means to their friendship, how each other have changed, and why are they really fighting anyway? Eventually they both decide to Take a Third Option and wind up as part of the Three Ships Alliance, on the same side once again.
  • Muhyo and Yoichi with Enchu. The three were close friends in the academy, but Muhyo and Enchu were considered for the position of Executor; Enchu was desperate to get the position so that he could support his sick mother while Muhyo didn't want it. Enchu losing his mother and the position in quick succession was his Start of Darkness, as he became obsesssed with revenge against Muhyo.
    • Page and Tomas used to be friends before Tomas' nature as a Complete Monster became apparent.

Comics[edit | hide]

  • Depending on the mythos of that universe—and Depending on the Writer—Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr (Professor X and Magneto, respectively) started out as best friends and bosom buddies, until they broke off because of differing opinions.
    • In at least one universe, the 'bosom buddies' business caused (or at least helped) both of their respective marriages to break up. This has not helped the people who protest the Ho Yay between the two at all.
  • Spider-Man: Peter Parker and Harry Osborn. Their rivalry took place some time between Peter 'pinching' MJ from Harry and killing the Green Goblin Harry's father.
  • In webcomic Evil Plan Stanley Kinesis, (back in college) and William sever ties after a fight about the telekinetic chip. Possibly subverted, as it was recently revealed that they're still on speaking terms. Why this is has not yet been explained.
  • In the Silver and Bronze Ages, Superman and Lex Luthor were friends when they were young.
  • Bruce Wayne/Batman and Harvey Dent/Two-Face embody the trope perfectly.
  • In All Fall Down, the Pantheon tries to reason with Pronto this way. They don't quite succeed.
  • Steve Rogers and Tony Stark in Civil War, which was basically portrayed as a particularly volatile break-up/divorce. With Steve coming back from the dead, their relationship has since improved, not a little because fighting each other tore them both up pretty badly in the first place.
  • The Juggernaut and Black Tom Cassidy, thanks to Juggy's Heel Face Turn.


Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

  • In the Katawa Shoujo fanfic Reconciliation Hanako has this with Lilly and Hisao. The fic takes place after her bad ending, in which she snapped over being pitied by Hisao and angrily said she hated him and Lilly, then isolated herself from them out of guilt. This leads to an awkward moment when Hanako introduces her publicist and friend Sho to Lilly, who is unable to describe Hanako as anything more than someone she knew in high school, despite never having been angry with her for how she acted. By the end, the two have renewed their friendship and Lilly visits Hanako in Japan to catch up.
  • Obviously crops up in Inner Demons, as the entire plot is driven by Twilight Sparkle succumbing to her Enemy Within and becoming the new Big Bad her friends have to fight.
    • Also an element in Apple Bloom's subplot. Her friendship with the other Cutie Mark Crusaders (primarily Scootaloo) falls apart after an argument in which she makes it clear she wants to take her search for her Cutie Mark more seriously. Later on, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle are talked into Face Heel Turns, while Apple Bloom stays on the side of the protagonists. Notably, Sweetie Belle clearly still cares about their friendship and wants it back which is why she tries to talk Apple Bloom into switching sides as well.
  • In Naruto Veangance Revelaitons, this trope could be said to define Ronan and Taliana's relationship, along with Face Heel Revolving Door on Taliana's part. After several chapters of Taliana repeatedly switching sides, Ronan arbitrarily loses patience with her and gets a divorce from her. She makes several more attempts to kill Ronan for Madara, but he's still attracted to her despite her being his mother, and they have sex on a few occasions. Then the author broke up with the girlfriend who served as Taliana's inspiration, and Ronan kills her while claiming that he knew all along that she was evil.
  • In Weekend At Hisaos, Hisao ends up encountering his friends who, in the prologue to the game, stopped visiting after a few weeks, and hears that they have a get-together planned with his former crush Iwanako. It takes some coaxing from Shizune and Misha before Hisao decides to attend, but the meeting goes fairly well and his old friends end up getting invited to his wedding a few years later.
  • Warhammer 40,000 fanfic Friends.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Star Wars - Taken to the extreme in the third Episode of the Star Wars saga during the battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan.

Anakin: "I hate you!"
Obi-Wan: "You were a brother to me... I loved you."

  • Thirteen Going On Thirty deals with this. Jenna abandons Matt when she becomes more popular. They reconcile, though. Has something to do with Time Travel.
  • In Fire Over England, Sir Richard Ingolby, the English Pirate Privateer, unknowingly attacks the galleon of his former friend, Don Miguel de Casanz—when they encounter each other in battle, Ingloby tells his son, Michael, "We were friends once." "Enemies now!," shrieks Michael, and attacks.
  • Spy Kids had Gregorio and his estranged brother, Machete. Neither one can remember why they are estranged, so they team up.
  • American History X features this as a result of a Heel Face Turn, combined with Rape Is Redemption.
  • The whole premise of X-Men: First Class is to show how Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr became friends and then ended up on opposite sides with different ideals. It's a theme in the original trilogy as well, where they are Friendly Enemies and the beginning of X-Men 3 depicts younger - and closer - versions of them, when they were still working together.
  • Mark Zuckberg and Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network were once good friends but after Mark had Eduardo kicked out of the company, all bets were off.
  • Mission: Impossible III between Ethan Hunt and John Musgrave.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, Rameses and Moses were raised as brothers. They became enemies when Rameses was Pharaoh and Moses returned from hiding to free the Hebrews from bondage.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Memoirs of a Geisha, the friendship between Sayuri and Pumpkin became strained once two rivals, Hatsumomo and Mameha, adopted each of them. And once Sayuri became more popular than Pumpkin, even having Mother formally adopted her, Pumpkin grew envious.
  • Peter Pettigew in Harry Potter. The other surviving Marauders view him with extreme disgust for siding with Voldemort.
  • Labyrinths of Echo had a moment when Sir Juffin mentioned going after an old pal one more time, and Kofa Yokh responded with a sarcastic remark as to how often this happens to him. Which should not be too surprising, since most mages capable of starting a serious trouble are Really Seven Hundred Years Old, quirky (or imaginatively crazy) enough to attract some curiosity, and a lot of them had shared (and drifting) interests, so eventually a lot of those not being too insular at least know each other personally.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Wesley Wyndam-Pryce from Angel. After Wesley translated a prophecy that predicted for Angel to kill his son, Wesley took the child to save his friend from his horrible fate. When he was about to leave town with the boy, he got his throat slit by The Dragon of Angel's nemesis and the baby was now taken from him and brought to a Hell dimension. His friends didn't take it that well. As a result to this, his friends never wanting to see him again, he takes a major in Badassery and is from then on very reserved concerning his former friends.

Gunn: What happened to you, man?
Wesley: I had my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me.

    • Wesley steadily reconciles with them during the fourth and fifth seasons, however - despite the pain of what happened, Angel later states that overcoming this trope made their friendship afterward stronger than ever.
    • Also happens in the second season, when Angel fires Wesley, Gunn and Cordelia from Angel Investigations.
  • Buffy left her friends after she had to kill Angelus/Angel seconds after his soul was restored. She took off to Los Angeles, leaving her friends behind. Her return to Sunnydale is awkward - at best.
    • The entire point of Faith becoming The Dragon to the Mayor.
    • Cordelia also fits since 'Lovers Walk'. Though she doesn't fully repair her vitriolic friendship with the Scoobies completely, however, they manage a reconciliation by the end of the third season, and all interactions between them from then on are on generally good terms.
    • Rupert Giles and Ethan Rayne.
  • Michael from Lost is another good example. During Season 1, he seems to be a nice and well-liked member of the Losties. When his son Walt is kidnapped in the Season 1 finale, he knocks out Locke and Jack in order to get a head-start going after the Others. When he returns eventually, he decides to betray his friends and lure them into a trap to retrieve Walt.
  • General Hague in Babylon 5 is killed in battle after organizing a mutiny against President Clark's authoritarian regime. It's mentioned that his final engagement was against a fellow Earthforce carrier, captained by a close friend who had known him his days at the academy but nonetheless had remained loyal to Clark.
  • Ted and Barney for some time at the end of the third Season of How I Met Your Mother.
  • Briefly lampshaded in the fifth season of Friends when Ross tries to work things out with Emily by agreeing to never see Rachel again. Phoebe and Rachel even discuss setting up a new 'group'. It didn't happen. Apparently.
  • The OC - Ryan Atwood at the end of Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2 - oh, and the beginning of Season 4. Leaving the Cohens after Marissa's death, becoming a cage-boxer, driven by revenge and grief along to Placebos 'Running Up That Hill'.
    • Also Seth claims to not care about Ryan and his family anymore, as they try to persuade him to come back to Newport at the beginning of Season 2. They manage to reconcile quickly.
  • Merlin and Morgana, as well as Arthur and Morgana, from Series/Merlin.
    • Also Gwen and Morgana. Heck, we may as well state "Everybody and Morgana" from season three onwards.
  • Veronica Mars used "We Used to Be Friends" as its Real Song Theme Tune, and it shows: as we learn in the first episode, following the murder of her best friend Lilly, Veronica's boyfriend ignores her (actually, that happened a couple of days prior), her former friends turn against her, and she gets roofied and raped. Thus begins her descent into Film Noir.
  • Apollo and Starbuck from the Battlestar Galactica remake are a looping On-Off-Couple/Friends. When the fleet reaches New Caprica however and Apollo and Starbuck sleep together they seem to share a now very distant relationship. We only learn later on why.
    • Also happens to the Old Man und Col. Tigh. Twice actually. The first time when the exodus from New Caprica succeeds and Saul can't really deal with what happened, the second time when the XO reveals to Admiral Adama that he has been a Cylon all the time. They manage to reconcile eventually.
  • Doctor Who - The Doctor described The Master as having been his friend, once, before the latter went insane by staring into the Temporal Schism, a gap in the fabric of the space-time vortex itself. The first of the Tenth Doctor's two finale specials features reminiscences of their shared childhood. Apparently the Master was a rich boy: His father had estates. They played together on them.
  • Supernatural- The angel Balthazaar, a former friend of recurring character (and fellow angel) Castiel. At some point during the Apocalypse, Balthazaar went rogue and has started making deals with humans for their souls. When Castiel discovered this, and Balthazaar tried to get him to do the same, he stated how disgusted it made him, and declared the two of them enemies.
    • Gabriel and Lucifer could count. They used to be very close, as Lucifer claims that he taught Gabriel everything he knows. Lucifer then kills Gabriel because Gabriel sided with humans.
    • Near the latter end of Season Six, Sam and Dean discover that Castiel is working with Crowley to gain control of Purgatory and all its souls. Castiel tries to justify his actions, but the brothers want nothing more to do with him (especially as of the season finale, where he jumped off the slippery slope). In an interesting inversion of the previous example, when Balthazaar discovers what Castiel is up to, he is horrified at what his friend is becoming, and starts spying on him for the Winchesters. This ends up costing him.
  • Clark Kent and Lex Luthor in Smallville, who go from close friends to Arch Enemies over the course of the show, while the breakup of their friendship is an obvious Foregone Conclusion throughout the earlier seasons.
  • Gossip Girl: Serena and Blair at the very beginning of the series.
  • The Walking Dead: Rick and Shane - former best buds - share a tensed friendship since the outbrack. Partly due to the fact, that Shane slept and is in love with Rick's wife.
  • In Bones, Zach turned out to be working for a Serial Killer. This puts a damper on his relationship with the other characters. He is promptly written out.
  • Also happens in Scrubs. Especially to Elliot and JD at the beginning of the fourth season. A milder case of the trope though.
  • Snow White and the Queen in Once Upon a Time, though due to the age difference it was more a niece and cool aunt relationship. As Snow White grew older and the Queen grew more bitter in her loveless marriage to the King, the two grew to hate each other.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]


Religion[edit | hide]

  • Angels and devils in The Bible.
    • Also God and Lucifer.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • Rent - Roger, Collins, Maureen and Benny used to be tight when they were roommates, but when Benny moved out, bought their building and married Muffy Allison, a rift grew between them when it became clear he no longer believed in the same things they did. He's hollow and they're childish. It's a stupid old world all around. Only Maureen hates Benny for "no longer believing in the same things." Mark and Roger hate him both for abandoning them after Roger got sick and for reneging on their deal. But yeah, they do all express themselves childishly.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Persona 3: Happened to Akihiko/Mitsuru and Shinjiro, though without the Face Heel Turn.
  • Final Fantasy II: Firion, Maria and Guy with Leon. Even at the end, after his Heel Face Turn, he suggests that too much has happened for them to go back to the way they were before, but Firion holds out hope.
  • Final Fantasy IV: Kain and Cecil.
    • Not really a true example, as Kain was Brainwashed and Crazy at the time, and though there's some tension they resume their friendship after he snaps out of it.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Cloud and Sephiroth. Or at least that's how Cloud initially frames how they know one another. In reality, Cloud and Sephiroth were never friends, but Zack and Sephiroth were and did act out this trope.
    • And in Crisis Core Zack and Angeal in addition to Sephiroth and Genesis.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Quite popular in the series. GTA III featured Claude and Catalina, Vice City features Tommy Vercetti and Lance Vance, San Andreas has CJ and Big Smoke and Ryder.
  • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake: Solid Snake and Gray Fox. They patch things up in Metal Gear Solid.
  • Skies of Arcadia: Fina and Ramirez.
  • Resident Evil 4: Leon and Krauser
    • As well as Leon and Ada. They are not that distant, though.
  • Dead Rising: Frank eventually meets Kent, a fellow photographer whom he gets along quite nicely with. Until Ken seems to crave a little too much for sensation.
  • The Cousland family and Arl Howe in Dragon Age: Origins.
  • Shepard and the Virmire Survivor in Mass Effect 2. Joining up with terrorists (no matter how noble your intentions) will do that.
    • Worse at the start of Mass Effect 3, although they're prepared to hear you out. Depending on whether you take the time to clear the air, they can end up rejoining you, going to work with Hackett or, uh, dying at your hands. That last one's not too hard to avoid, though.

James Vega: You know the Commander?
Virmire Survivor: I used to.

  • In Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth were part of a Power Trio with Larry Butz during the fourth grade after Miles and Larry were the only ones to stand up for Phoenix when he was accused of stealing Miles' lunch money. It was Larry. When something smells, it's probably the Butz. Then Edgeworth switched schools after his father was murdered and switched career goals from defense attorney to prosecutor. Phoenix was inspired by Edgeworth and Butz to become a defense attorney himself, which led to a legendary courtroom rivalry between Wright and Edgeworth. They do become somewhat friends by the final case of the first game when Edgeworth actively helps Wright get the true killer of a case to confess.
    • This also happens with Lana Skye and the rest of the SL-9 investigation team. Because she was blackmailed by Gant into fabricating evidence, and she became cold and distant as a result, Angel Starr and Jake Marshall became quite bitter toward her.
  • In Dead or Alive Dimensions, a few scenes suggest this of Kasumi and Ayane, as flashbacks show the two playing together, and their mother, Ayame, tells Ayane that they used to get along quite well, and hopes they will again.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, Jade and Saphir (who now goes by the name Dist the Rose) are this trope, although Jade denies it and Dist claims to regret it ever having been true. Their past association was broken when Jade chose to abandon fomicry due to personal and ethical concerns, while Saphir refused to stop trying to revive Professor Nebilim, considering Jade a traitor for giving up too soon. The party speculates they like each other better than either wants to let on, and it's usually Played for Laughs.
  • Katawa Shoujo has Lilly and Shizune, who are also cousins. Lilly joined the Student Council when most of the older members had left, but got into many arguments due to their personalities clashing (Lilly thought Shizune was too harsh and tyrannical, while Shizune thought Lilly was too unreliable). In Lilly's route, the two reconcile shortly before Lilly is to leave Yamaku. In Shizune's route Shizune admits that she was in the wrong.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic Revan and Malak.


Web Animation[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In Gargoyles this occurs between Macbeth and Demona, as seen in "City of Stone": best of friends when they first fought together against Duncan and won Macbeth his kingdom, things go south when Demona, mistakenly believing that Macbeth was about to betray her and her clan, betrays him first, causing him to lose his kingdom, family, and identity.
  • Occurs in the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 'toon between Leonardo and the Shredder's adopted daughter Karai, who in previous seasons had developed a rapport of sorts with him, despite their Feuding Families. When the turtles successfully stop the Shredder's plan to leave Earth to conquer the Utrom homeworld, and end up getting him imprisoned and exiled, Karai takes it as a betrayal, and vows to avenge her father. Later, after Karai destroys the turtles' lair and believes she's killed the other turtles and Splinter, she heads into April O'Neil's shop and asks her to give Leonardo a message. When April asks Karai (whom she's never met before) how she knows the turtle, she responds with the trope name.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Often found in political discussions and developments. Former associated politicans changed their views or motivations.
    • This troper being from Germany has to think of Gerhard Schröder (who would become Chancellor of Germany years later) and his fellow social-democratic party (SPD) buddy Oskar Lafontaine who had an intense fight spanning years due to differing opinions.
  • Pete Doherty and Carl Barât of The Libertines seem to have estranged over the years.
  • It's always well publicised and seems particularly poignant when two musicians who are songwriting/performing partners and/or relatives fall out. Examples include John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, Axl and Slash, Levon Helm and Robbie Roberson, Ray and Dave Davies, and Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
  • Before Genghis Khan was Genghis Khan, he was Temüjin, and he was best friends since child hood with boy named Jamukha. Eventually, Jamukha was declared a Khan himself. Temüjin refused to accept this, and the two who had been as brothers went to war with one another, with Temüjin being victorious due to his more progressive methods and tactics, along with Jamukha's forces betraying him. After rewarding the traitors, Temüjin offered the defeated Jamukha a place by his side so that they could resume their friendship, but Jamukha declined with the following speech;

Jamukha: What use is there in my becoming a companion to you? On the contrary, sworn brother, in the black night I would haunt your dreams, in the bright day I would trouble your heart. I would be the louse in your collar, I would become the splinter in your door-panel...as there was room for only one sun in the sky, there was room only for one Mongol lord."

  • Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Big time.
  • Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. After a few years as colleagues, Jung tried to convince Freud that focusing purely on the sexual roots of human motivation was too limiting. He believed that the subconscious is not so much the repository of repression as it is the wellspring of creativity. He also promoted the idea of the Archetypal Character, and that many actions are based on patterns that tend to repeat themselves. (Perhaps this makes him the ultimate Trope Codifier of ... well, of tropes.) Freud disagreed with what is now called Jungian psychology because, naturally, he believed that All Psychology Is Freudian.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche and Richard Wagner.