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A young character for some reason can't stay with parents or legal guardian, or just wants to spread his wings, but (being too young for the wide world) can't have his own place yet. Friends or more distant relatives provide a home.

A convenient way to give two young characters a way to stay together, and to have one character escape parental influence. May also be a way to evade the Department of Child Disservices. Since Social Services Does Not Exist, this may be the only way to escape abusive or neglecting parents. Pretty Freeloaders is a variant for older characters in the Harem Genre. It can be used to introduce a Naive Newcomer to a Quirky Household.

Examples of Staying with Friends include:

Anime and Manga

  • Fruits Basket has lots of this, all three of the main characters being examples. Tohru moved in with her grandfather after her mother died, then pretended to actually go stay with some friends while his house was being remodeled; in fact, she lived in a tent for a time, then moved in with the Sohmas. Kyo isn't welcome at the main house and Yuki wants to get away from his parents and Akito, so they stay at Shigure's house with Tohru.
    • It's not just the Sohmas. Kakeru lives with his mother, but Word of God is that she's home so rarely and his girlfriend visits so frequently (her own father is also almost never home) that the two pretty much are living together.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist subverts this with Ed and Al. Their mother dies when they're little kids, and their father is out Walking the Earth somewhere; for years they don't even know if he's alive or dead. Although their neighbor watches over them, provides them with meals and medical attention, and basically treats them like her own grandsons, they still live alone in their own house. They're four and five years old when their mother dies, and somehow everyone's okay with this.

Comic Books

  • May not count, but after his father died, Tim Drake didn't want to be put into foster care or be adopted by Bruce, instead wishing to be emancipated. Since he was too young, he instead hired an actor to play his father's brother and act as guardian while he lived elsewhere with Batgirl.

Fan Works


  • Harry Potter with the Weasleys. If it weren't for the limitations of the blood protection spell which required him to call the space under a relative's roof home, Harry might quite reasonably have been adopted by them to start with.
    • After Sirius ran away from home as a teenager, he lived with his best friend, James.
  • The Outsiders and That Was Then, This Is Now both did this. A lot of teen novels, especially those about juvenile delinquents, will pull this.
  • In the Diamond Brothers mystery series, Nick Diamond moves in with his adult brother Tim when their parents move to Australia. This doesn't work out all that well, since Tim is so incompetent as a private detective that they often can't afford food.
  • In Gene Wolfe's Pandora By Holly Hollander, Holly is sent to live with a friend at the end. Finding that she and her friend didn't get along as well when they were under the same roof, she moves into the house of another friend.

Live Action TV

  • Beverly Hills, 90210: Dylan temporarily lives with the Walshes when his father goes to prison and he is injured in a surfing accident.
    • In Season 3, Dylan stays with them again, this time for a few days, after his father is killed by a car bomb
  • Dawson's Creek: Jen lives with the Leerys and temporarily with Jack in the McPhee house after Grams kicks Jen out
    • Jack, conversely, lives with Jen and Grams in Season 3 after they have patched things up, unable to live at home as his father is homophobic.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Part of the backstory.
  • Glee: In the first season, after Quinn's parents kick her out when they find out that she's pregnant, she moves around quite a bit. At first she stays with her boyfriend, Finn, but when he finds out that he's not the father of the child and breaks up with her, she moves in with Puck, who is the father. She's not happy there though, and ends up staying with her friend Mercedes instead.
  • The New Adventures of Flipper: After it's discovered that Maya Graham is an orphan, she moves in with the family of her friend Mike Blondell rather than enter foster care.
  • Hannah Montana: Lilly moves in with the Stewarts to avoid moving to Seattle with her mother.
  • Riverdale: Jughead briefly moves in with Archie in their sophomore year, after Archie finds out Jughead is living under the stairs in the school.
  • 7th Heaven: The Camdens' house was basically a revolving door for any friend/acquaintance/random kid who couldn't stay at their own house for whatever reason.
  • That 70s Show: Steven Hyde moves in with the Formans' in late season 1 when his mother abandons him. He moves out briefly when his step-father returns in season 3, but moves back in with the Formans' after he abandons him again.
  • The Wire: In late season four, after Dukie's caregivers are evicted from their house while he's not home, he moves in with Michael and Michael's little brother Bug.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: Harper Finkle moves in with her best friend Alex when her parents (conveniently) move out of town.

Web Comics

Visual Novels

Western Animation

  • The Simpsons: A couple of episodes have Milhouse staying with the Simpsons, notably when his parents disappear during their second honeymoon. There is also an episode where Bart, Lisa and Maggie are placed in the foster care of the Flanders.

Real Life

  • It happens.
    • In some states, it is a felony to take in a runaway child... but not if they've been kicked out of the house. Nor is it illegal if the minor's actual parents simply don't give a damn. If it's not reported, it's not a crime.
    • Sometimes perfectly loving parents let the child stay with friends for a time, for all sorts of reason — not to interrupt their school work, or to avoid dragging them on a trip with many stops and little for the child to do, or to keep in touch with a close friend, or just to let them spend a vacation in a vacation home.