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Also known by: "I didn't know you knew I was alive!"

This stock phrase is most frequently used in teenage romance stories, but not unheard of in other media.

Essentially it's a declaration of delighted astonishment that one's object of romantic desire seems to feel the same way, when the person saying it believed they never had a chance with their target partner. Often this occurs when the jock discovers Nerds Are Sexy.

Alice has had romantic feelings for Chuck from afar for some time, but never knew that Chuck was interested, so she's happily surprised when it turns out he is. Cue "I can't believe a guy like you would notice me!" In some cases, Chuck turns out to be a Jerkass who is taking advantage of a girl who likes him because it strokes his ego. And he twists the knife by laughing, "You honestly thought I liked you?" Although, in certain cases, Chuck is being noble by breaking up with her for what he believes is her own good or protection.

Occasionally, there's a socio-economic element. The girl from the wrong side of the tracks thinks the rich boy wouldn't be interested in her. Or the boy from the poor side of town heeds his friends' warnings that the girl he likes is a Rich Bitch, who turns out to be a nice girl who genuinely likes him.

The Stock Phrase is most frequently spoken by a female, but there have been occasions where a guy has said it as well.

When used in live-action media, it often overlaps with Hollywood Homely. If a guy says it about a girl, said girl will often be the latter half of Betty and Veronica. May also overlap with Attractiveness Isolation and Insecure Love Interest. If the bystanders didn't think he would notice, see What Does She See in Him?.

Examples of I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me include:

Anime & Manga

  • This is pretty much Machi Kuragi's reaction when she learns of Yuki Sohma's feelings for her in Fruits Basket.
    • Kakeru's girlfriend apparently felt this way when she found out that he liked her (she had a crush on him but didn't know he returned the feelings).
    • Inverted with Kyo and Touru, where he can't understand why she loves him.
  • In The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya this is pretty much Alternate! Yuki's reaction to Kyon suddenly (from her viewpoint) taking any interest in her.
  • In Kannazuki no Miko, Himeko is positively puzzled about what Chikane sees in an "ordinary girl" like her. The answer Chikane eventually gives (which is probably the most romantic declaration of love in anime) is "If I am the moon, then you are my sun: I may be beautiful and mysterious but I can only shine with your reflected light." Bonus points for this explanation being entirely consistent with the metaphysical laws of their universe.
  • Ako and Natsumi, two self-proclaimed "Average middle school students" hit this trope hard in Negima, regarding Negi's "cousin Nagi" and Kotaro, respectively.
  • Shuya from Battle Royale had this kind of reaction when he found that Noriko had always harbored a crush on him, and had always been watching him. He acts completely shocked, despite how it's later revealed that pretty much half the girls in class harbored crushes on him.

 Shuya: ... me. You watch... me?

Noriko: * Blush* Uh-huh.

Shuya: Me. You watch me. One of the prettiest girls in school...

    • Heresy ! It's from Keith Giffen's Mackere. The dialogue seems even stupider when flash-backs show that Noriko used to hang out with Shuya and his friends. It doesn't happen in the original manga. Shuya still has this kind of attitude towards every girl that loves him, however, but that's rather because he's an Idiot Hero.
      • Yuuchiro's crush on Mitsuko Soma may count as well, seeing how he admits "having been admiring her from afar for quite some time..."
  • This is pretty much how Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke acts all the time.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler plays this from both sides simultaneously with a side helping of Cannot Spit It Out. Hayate continuously argues with others that Hinagiku can't possibly like him. Hinagiku doesn't believe he's interested in her traits. It's made clear through other characters that they are the only ones who can't see the mutual crush.
  • Despite them being practically married, Keiichi has this reaction whenever Belldandy shows him affection. Early on, this showed how thoroughly his self-esteem and confidence has been trashed. Later on, he develops strong self-esteem and confidence, but still cannot get over this. After all he and Belldandy have gone through, this mental block comes off as Ping-Pong Naivete.

Fan Works


  • The Battle Royale movie subverts this horribly. Sugimura spends all of his screentime looking for a girl he never had the courage to confess his love to. When he finally finds her, she panicks and sends several bullets in his chest, something she wouldn't have done if he had confessed his feelings earlier... He still has the time to express his feelings in his agony, however. To quote Kotohiki's reaction, "what the hell am I supposed to do now ?"
  • The Saint - Emma says something to this effect to Thomas More [Simon in disguise] before he takes her to bed.
  • Carrie - The phrase itself is not used, but Carrie's reaction to being asked out by Tommy Ross is pretty much identical to the reactions of the people who do use the phrase. This ends disastrously because of the Alpha Bitch playing a cruel trick that made Carrie think Tommy was in on it. (What makes it more tragic is that the book explicitly shows he was starting to genuinely love her.)
    • Hell, the themesong to Carrie and Tommie's dance sequence is even explicitly titled "I never dreamed someone like you could love someone like me" not exactly catchy but...
    • This is also true for The Rage: Carrie 2. The boy in question is part of a football team of Jerk Jocks which results in Rachel having a meltdown when she thinks he is in cahoots with them.
  • Sixteen Candles - Jake Ryan, the coolest guy in school whom Samantha has had a crush on for the whole movie (without thinking he ever noticed her), shows up at the church after Sam's sister's wedding. He waves at Sam, she looks around and points to herself ("Me?"), and he smiles -- "Yeah, you."
    • Hilariously, that is the only point he's been able to reach her. Jake spends the entire movie wanting to confess his love to Samantha, but is prevented by a crazy party, his drunk (soon to be dumped) girlfriend, and Samantha's eccentric relatives.
  • In the documentary American Teen, artsy outsider Hannah says a version of this when she's pursued by the school heartthrob, Mitch: "I mean, there are so many girls in this school who would give their left boob to be with him"
  • Seemingly the entire premise of "She's Out of My League"
  • The independent movie Ten Inch Hero does this heartbreakingly with the character of Jen. Played by Clea Duvall, Jen is the plain Jane of the workers in the store, who befriends a man online named "Fuzzy22." They decide to meet in real life, and when Jen finds out that he's gorgeous, she runs out of the building crying, saying no guy like him could want her. For the Record, in the end, he does want her.
  • In the movie Love Actually, the character Sam races after the girl he loves in order to confess to her before she gets on her plane. He finally catches up to her and says her name. She turns around and says HIS name. Stunned, he mutters, "I thought you didn't know my name." She replies with a sweet smile, "Of course I do."
  • The Princess and the Frog has this line from Ma Belle Evangeline as sung by Raymond the Firefly.

  That someone as beautiful as she / could love someone like me


  • In Ellen Conford's Seven Days to a Brand-New Me, Maddy is floored when she learns that her crush Adam has liked her all along, even before she underwent a makeover to get him to notice her. Adam, however, is the one who actually says a variation of this trope sentence out loud despite being the one who looks like a "Greek God" (in Maddy's words), mainly because of his painful shyness caused by a stuttering problem.
  • This is possibly one of the most annoying parts of the Twilight Saga. Not three chapters can go by without Bella saying something along these lines, apparently just so that Edward can remind her (and the reader) of her good qualities. She even goes on like this when they're married. Although Jake also gets this a bit in Breaking Dawn, when he can't believe that Bella would be friendly with him when she was happily married to Edward.
  • Referred to as "Jerk Syndrome" in the Discworld novel Thud. Nobby's new girlfriend Tawneee is so incredibly attractive that most men don't even consider asking her out, because there's no way a girl like that would go for him. So the only guys who ask her out are either jerks who aren't afraid of rejection, or losers (like Nobby) who are so used to rejection it doesn't scare them.
  • Howl's Moving Castle, both the movie and the book. Sophie doesn't believe that she's beautiful (and doesn't believe Howl, when he says so the first time, in the movie) and doesn't see any reason for Howl to pay any special attention to her. The fact that, for most of the book/movie, she looks like a withered old crone does not help matters.
  • Mindstar Rising by Peter F. Hamilton. Heiress Julia Evans is convinced she's unattractive because she spent most of her teenage years in the company of her absolutely gorgeous best friend Kat. When she finally suceeds in getting the handsome doctor (Kat's former boyfriend) that she'd been pining over, he says the line -- an indication that a not-unattractive teenager who's just inherited a multi-billion dollar Mega Corp is a lot more desirable than she thinks.
  • Played with in the The 39 Clues. Amy always found Ian to be very good-looking. But she never guessed that he would start flirting with HER. But, then again, this IS the clue hunt...
  • In The Princess Diaries first book, Mia has had a long-time crush on Josh, the popular jock. Once she is exposed as being a princess, he asks her out. Cue reaction. Of course, he only did it to get 15 seconds of fame as Mia's boyfriend, and Mia realises this and breaks up with him.
  • A lot of Catherine Anderson's heroines are shocked when the handsome hero pays attention to them or tells them they're beautiful, often considering themselves ugly, plain, boring, or unworthy in some other way despite the narrative going out of its way to describe their beauty and talents. Though in a few cases it's justified as the heroine spent a good chunk of her life being bullied or abused into thinking she was worthless and stupid. (Especially poor Molly Wells.)

Live Action TV

 Tara (singing to her girlfriend Willow): I'm under your spell! How else could it be / anyone would notice me?

 Mr. Feeny: "I can't imagine anyone being interested in us. I'm surprised she's interested in us."

Dean Bolander: "Oh, George!"

Mr. Feeny: "Oh, Lila..."

  • In early Smallville, Clark Kent was usually baffled whenever a girl expressed interest in him, because his self-esteem was so low that he was oblivious to the fact that even without superpowers, he's still very attractive.
  • Take a look at Odo's face after he finally gets his girl. I guarantee you this line will be written all over his face whenever he so much as looks at her.
  • Adrian Monk sometimes says he can't believe his Trudy ever chose him among all.
  • In Dollhouse, when Bennett meets Topher, it is very obvious that Bennett has a massive crush on him. Meanwhile, Topher is too much in shock that Bennett, who he knew of by reputation as a brilliant programmer, is a beautiful girl, and he is too tactful and embarrassed to really express his own attraction to her. It doesn't come out until later, when Topher, on a hunch, uses his Doll-disrupting device on Bennett, suspecting she isn't in her real body but rather a Doll's. Bennett isn't, and she is initially confused as to why Topher would think that, because Dolls are supposed to be beautiful...and when she makes the mental leap that Topher thought she was a Doll because of her beauty, this trope is written all over her face.
  • Glee: More or less Artie's reaction when Brittany reveals she likes him back. Rachel also seemingly reacts this way with Jesse and Finn (to a lesser extent).
  • Another "written all over his face" example from Farscape: John Crichton, as played by Ben Browder, has an absolutely astonishing talent for looking at Aeryn Sun like she's his Earth, moon and stars all at once. Cue swooning fangirls - and swooning Aeryn.
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun. Sally goes through a period thinking she's ugly, and believes her far-less-attractive boyfriend is a saint for even noticing her.
  • Despite his incredible arrogance, Rodney McKay of Stargate Atlantis gets a little of this with Keller. When he discovers that Ronon Dex is also interested in Jennifer, he continues pursuing her, but seems quite surprised when she reciprocates.


 She's walking over to me,

This must be fake.

My lip starts to shake.

How does she know who I am?

And why does she give a damn about me?

  • Stephen Speaks' Out of My League:

 Cause I love her with all that I am

And my voice shakes along with my hands

And she's all that I see and she's all that I need

And I'm out of my league once again...

  And I feel, you don't even know I'm alive...


  • This occurs in Zanna Don't during the song "I Think We Got Love."

 Steve: I never thought that someone like you would go for someone like me!

Mike: Ditto!

 Elphaba: My wildest dreaming could not foresee/Lying beside you, with you wanting me.

 Cyrano: Blessed be the moment when you condescend —

Remembering that humbly I exist —

To come to meet me, and to say... to tell?...

Video Games

  • Mass Effect 2 has this with returning squadmate Tali'Zorah vas Neema/vas Normandy, mostly because she and Commander Shepard are of entirely different species, and Tali's race cannot survive outside of their environmental suits for long due to a weakened immune system.
  • In Dragon Age, Alistar has this kind of reaction if the PC begins a romance with him. He basically says that he's thrilled he has an amazing, beautiful woman as his girlfriend and can't believe his luck.
    • One of the player's possible responses when Leliana suggests becoming more than friends is this.
  • In Dragon Age 2, Fenris, Merrill, and Anders all have this reaction if Hawke expresses interest in them. All three of them are quite attractive in various ways, but have severe self-image issues thanks to being, respectively, an amnesiac ex-slave, an outcast blood mage, and a rebellious Humanoid Abomination (that elves and mages are both oppressed minorities in the setting doesn't help anything either). Isabela is a variation; she's not surprised if you romance her, but she is surprised that you would want to be friends with her, especially once it comes to light that she's responsible for the Qunari Crisis and you become the Champion of Kirkwall in ending it.
    • Hawke seems to have a gift for making the people around him/her feel completely inadequate. Just ask Carver.


  • Girl Genius: Said by a male character here (spoilery).
    • The consequences of his saying this were rather... dramatic.
      • Not at all. Right after she flattens Klaus, while everyone's mourning Lars' death, all Agatha can say is, "Gilgamesh'll be pissed..."
        • I do believe that she was referring to crushing Gil's father in that statement, and not referring to Lars at all.
  • Does Megatokyo count? What with Piro feeling unworthy of Nanasawa's attentions and all.
  • Appears to be happening in Questionable Content with Marigold towards Angus.
    • Cruelly subverted here
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, Bob has told Jean that he's "amazed" that she loves him, too, and he doesn't want to do anything to mess it up. He says he's also shocked that Voluptua showed any interest in him, but he makes plain that he doesn't want to betray Jean by pursuing anything with Volly.
  • Slightly Damned hits up a rare inversion here.

Western Animation

 Sokka: "No, no, see, that's the thing. I think I do understand now. You're a princess, and I'm just a southern peasant."

    • Technically, since Sokka is the son of the chief to the Southern Water Tribe, he is actually a prince himself, but the Southern tribe is considerably smaller and poorer than the Northern so he doesn't get any prestige out of it.
  • In Danny Phantom, upon discovering her crush Danny Phantom is the unpopular Danny Fenton, Rich Bitch Paulina declares him "hot" and the two date. Then the episode reveals she's really being possessed by a ghost.
  • Ron, to Kim Possible. Not that she's never noticed noticed him, with his being her Sidekick and a fair amount of mutual S/he Is Not My Girl/Boyfriend going on, but he still felt like this in the (first) Grand Finale.
    • Justified, and lampshaded in the Uncanceled final season. Kim's nerdy cousin gets kidnapped because the kidnapper directed his henchmen to grab "a young man with Kim Possible who doesn't look like he belongs with Kim Possible".
  • Doyle in Galaxy High pulls the bait-and-switch version on Aimee in the pilot episode. It bites him on the ass later, including (but not limited to) Aimee doing the same thing to him.
  • Candace spends an entire episode of Phineas and Ferb trying to find out why her boyfriend, Jeremy, likes her.
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