Ever since Disney released its very first feature film, 1937’s "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," the movie studio has been associated with fairy tale princesses. And over the years, these animated princesses have become household names. From Cinderella and Aurora to Tiana and Merida, there’s a Disney princess for everyone, and people of all ages make their devotion clear by displaying merchandise emblazoned with their favorites — or the entire Disney princess line-up.
We know these characters incredibly well, and many people love them like their best friends. But the truth is that in real life, many of Disney’s most beloved princesses would make horrible pals. After all, between the traumatic circumstances of their upbringings, the constraints put on them because of their royal status, or their limited understanding of the world, many of these characters come with a heaping helping of baggage that would make them a challenge to forge a strong bond with. Here are the Disney princesses who would likely make the worst real-life friends.
Their movies might be animated classics that still boast legions of devoted fans, but the earliest Disney princesses would be difficult for anyone to befriend today — and most difficult of all would be the girl who started the princess craze herself: Snow White.
Snow White’s stepmother, the Evil Queen, persecutes her stepdaughter for her looks, yet instead of resenting this treatment, Snow White bears it all with a smile and a song. Meanwhile, she spends her time daydreaming about falling in love, which she does with the first man who expresses interest in her.
While Snow White’s good nature and optimism in awful circumstances is commendable, it wouldn’t be easy to connect with her. After all, her major activities include cooking, cleaning, and waiting for her prince to come. And while you might be able to exchange recipes with her or discuss the merits of using woodland creatures to help with household chores, even the most supportive friend is likely to be perplexed by Snow White’s insistence that she’s fallen in love with a man she hasn’t exchanged a single word with.
And if that weren’t enough, Snow White’s penchant for constantly breaking out in song would become awfully annoying after a while. Singing is great, but Snow White seems to think every occasion calls for a new ballad. Who needs that in the middle of a girls’ night out?
Cinderella isn’t a princess by birth, but she is born into wealth and privilege. Unfortunately, in her 1950 self-titled movie, when her father marries the wrong woman and then passes away, her stepmother reveals her true colors and makes Cinderella her servant. Cinderella maintains her good nature like Snow White before her, but unlike Snow White, Cinderella knows there’s nothing okay about the way she’s being treated. And given everything she endures from her stepfamily on a daily basis, it’s no surprise she wants a night off to attend the royal ball. That desire to get away and relax suggests a friendship with Cinderella could lead to some fun outings, as long as they end before midnight.
Of course, for most of her life, Cinderella’s best friends have been mice and birds, and on her excursion to the ball, the only person she interacts with is the prince, a guy she believes she’s in love with after a few dances. Given all that, it seems Cinderella is unlikely to have the best social skills when it comes to interacting with humans. Besides, while a night out dancing with her might be fun, in the end, Cinderella’s likely to ignore her friends entirely if she meets a handsome guy — and then run off without explanation, leaving only a single shoe behind.
In "Sleeping Beauty," Aurora is the daughter of a king and queen, but after being cursed at her christening by Maleficent, she’s whisked away to a cottage in the woods by the three good fairies where she grows up with no clue about her royal background. In fact, the only thing she does know was that she isn’t supposed to talk to strangers, leading to a lonely existence without friends or family. This background suggests Aurora wouldn’t exactly know what it means to be a friend.
Plus, outside of being a princess and doing a lot of sleeping, Aurora may not have a lot to offer in an interpersonal relationship. Even the filmmakers responsible for her 1959 movie seemed to believe she wasn’t worth spending that much time with, relegating her to only 18 minutes on-screen — less than 25% of her movie’s total run time — and a mere 18 lines of dialogue. So while Aurora may be perfectly nice, it seems that being her friend wouldn’t exactly be the most scintillating experience … well, unless napping is high on your list of exciting activities to do with your bestie.
Ariel may be her movie’s titular "Little Mermaid," but the fact is there are plenty of fish in the sea, including her six older sisters. But despite all the merfolk and other ocean creatures she could be spending her time with, Ariel mostly ventures off on her own, looking for human treasures to add to her collection. Yes, her one friend, Flounder, is usually in tow, but their connection is built around her single-minded fascination with humanity. She even bullies him into going into shark-infested shipwrecks in pursuit of her interests, even though he’s clearly terrified.
It’s this preoccupation with the world above the water that would make her a terrible friend. There’s nothing wrong with being interested in places and cultures unlike one’s own, of course, but Ariel is so obsessed with not only learning about humans but becoming human that she doesn’t have any life outside of this one passion. She can’t even make time to show up for rehearsals for a concert being offered by her family, let alone appear for the final performance. Unless you’re just as intrigued by people as Ariel, it would be impossible to be friends with her. And even if you matched her zeal, she would be unlikely to show up for any activity that didn’t revolve around learning more about what happens on land — even if you really needed her help out of a jam, like an ill-considered deal with the sea witch.
As 1991’s "Beauty and the Beast" makes clear, Belle has a lot of positive qualities, including her intelligence, strong sense of self, and love for her father. However, Belle spends so much time getting lost in the romantic stories and far-off places she finds in the pages of her books that she doesn’t see any value in the people in the small town where she lives.
It’s true the townsfolk’s lack of interest in reading and their contentment doing the same thing day after day doesn’t make them the most exciting group of people, but Belle doesn’t give them much of a chance either. Instead, she wanders through town with her nose stuck in a book, guaranteeing that no one — outside of someone as arrogant and clueless as Gaston — will approach her.
Given her proclivities, getting Belle’s attention would be a tall order, and even if you did, unless you have a book club to invite her to, you’re unlikely to keep it. Forming solid friendships takes time, and this isn’t time Belle seems willing to put in. After all, she only develops feelings for the Beast after he imprisons her, forcing her to socialize with him. Since the average person isn’t going to insist Belle hang out with them, a friendship with her seems unlikely.
Disney’s 1995 film "Pocahontas" plays fast and loose with history, but the movie’s vision of the title character is admirably devoted to nature. However, although this Pocahontas may know how to paint with all the colors of the wind, she’s also so devoted to following her free-spirited whims that she pays little attention to anything else. While following her heart enables Pocahontas to see things about English settler John Smith that the other members of her tribe overlook, it also makes her a flaky and unreliable friend.
In fact, Pocahontas is one of the few Disney princesses whose poor treatment of her human friends is on full display. Pocahontas’ best friend, Nakoma, is loyal and helpful, but she seems to spend most of her time chasing after Pocahontas and then enduring her teasing when she finds her. Even Nakoma acknowledges that the last thing Pocahontas is likely to do is listen to her, even when she’s trying to keep Pocahontas safe. Through Nakoma, the movie demonstrates that being Pocahontas’ friend is a thankless task.
Although she was almost part of the official Disney princess line-up, Giselle from the satirical "Enchanted" didn’t make the cut due to a technicality — Disney would’ve had to secure life-long rights to the face of Amy Adams, the actor who portrays her. However, Gisele’s not actually a princess, even though in the animated realm where she lived, she was moments away from marrying Prince Edward before his evil stepmother pushed her into the real world.
Still, she bears all the hallmarks of the classic Disney princesses like Snow White and Aurora, including her desire to find a prince, her belief in true love’s kiss, and her ability to put animals to work tidying up and making her clothes. And even though some of her ideas are a little old-fashioned, Gisele’s innocence is a breath of fresh air to many of the cynical New Yorkers who meet her.
Nonetheless, as a friend, that quality is likely to quickly become tedious. The fact is, Gisele’s perspective is still rooted in her background as an animated character. Real talk about dating, work, and the realities of life in New York is likely to shock her, and her lack of understanding would prevent her from being a genuinely supportive friend.
Like many Disney princesses, Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog" has a dream, but hers has nothing to do with finding a man. Tiana dreams of opening her own restaurant, and it’s that goal that consumes her every waking hour. She works two jobs to save up for the down payment on her restaurant’s location, leaving her no time to have even the slightest bit of fun. Not that she has any interest in fun. When her friends invite her out dancing during the movie, she declines, claiming she has to work, but she also mentions she has two left feet, making it seem like dancing or any activity that doesn’t get her closer to her dream just isn’t of any interest to her.
This is a serious red flag for her potential as a friend. While Tiana’s work ethic is admirable, she has no work-life balance. As a result, her workaholic tendencies leave little room for even the most superficial friendship. And Tiana has spent so much time focused on starting her restaurant that even if she succeeds, it’s hard to see her being able to relax enough to take a night off, which would make it challenging to maintain any kind of relationship with her.
In "Tangled," Rapunzel has spent her entire 18 years of life trapped in a tall tower with only a chameleon for company. What she doesn’t know is that she’s a princess who was kidnapped by the villainous Mother Gothel as a baby. But Mother Gothel doesn’t love her as she claims — she simply covets Rapunzel’s hair, which has magical powers that can maintain the deceitful woman’s youth forever. In order to keep Rapunzel’s powers for herself, Mother Gothel feeds her a steady stream of horror stories about the perils of the outside world, all while undermining her confidence by telling Rapunzel that no one besides Mother Gothel herself could possibly like her or do anything other than hurt her.
So although Rapunzel is sweet and curious, she’s also pretty messed up by the time she finally sets foot beyond her tower. Mother Gothel’s manipulations may be obvious to anyone who hasn’t spent their whole life trapped like Rapunzel, but for our hero, Gothel’s pronouncements about the world are all she’s ever known. It’s no wonder she wields a frying pan to defend herself against every new, unknown threat during her journey with Flynn Rider. So while you might be able to form a friendship with Rapunzel in safely controlled circumstances, most of the time you spend together is likely to focus on reassuring her that everything beyond her walls isn’t out to get her.
Merida from "Brave" may be born into royalty, but she chafes at the responsibility that comes with it. And unlike most of the other princesses in Disney’s movies, the last thing Merida wants is to get married, especially because it’s one of her royal duties. Instead, Merida is a rebellious wild child who spends most of her days running through the forest and shooting her bow and arrow — to the chagrin of her prim and proper mother, Queen Elinor. Merida is at odds with her mother so regularly that she blames her for forcing her to get married, so when she finds a witch who can grant her a magic spell to change her mother, she gladly takes her up on the offer without asking about what the magic will actually do.
Merida’s shocked and horrified when the spell turns her mother into a bear, but at that point it feels like too little, too late — especially when she refuses to take any responsibility for her mother’s predicament. And if Merida treats her mother that way, just imagine how she’d treat a friend if they had a disagreement about something. Besides, Merida seems more interested in running around the countryside solo than making a connection with another person. And even if she was willing to bring someone along on her adventures, she’s likely to leave them in the dust if they can’t keep up with her.
Elsa and Anna from "Frozen" are probably the two most popular princesses in recent Disney history, yet they aren’t officially part of Disney’s line-up because both of them become queen at one point or another. Nonetheless, the pair’s royal lineage can’t be denied. And while they rely on and love one another, there are a number of reasons why they may not make great friends. When it comes to Elsa, the reason for that is simple: She has trouble getting close to people.
While Anna and Elsa were great friends as children, after Elsa almost kills her little sister with her ice powers, she stays away from Anna and everyone else for fear of hurting them. And when people discover her powers as an adult, she runs away to the mountains and builds herself an ice castle for one. Elsa eventually returns to Arendelle and assumes the throne, but she’s still guarded and slow to trust, not exactly a surprise given she spent most of her life believing she had to suppress a key part of who she is. Still, it’s hard to form a genuine friendship with an ice queen.
In "Frozen," Anna is the opposite of Elsa. Where Elsa is cold, Anna is warm. Where Elsa is wary, Anna is open. And where Elsa keeps her distance, Anna dives in head first. Yet Anna’s lengthy isolation from her sister and everyone else has also made her needy, with a desperation for human contact that leads her to get engaged to the first guy she meets. So although Anna is charming and outgoing, as a friend, she’s also likely to be overbearing and insecure, qualities that could take the fun out of any relationship.
On top of that, Anna’s a little too overprotective of her sister. Even though she’s undeniably a good sibling to Elsa, whenever she becomes concerned about her, Anna is unable to think about much of anything else. This is shown in "Frozen II" when Kristoff keeps trying to propose to Anna, but she’s too busy worrying about Elsa to notice. As a friend, Anna would probably be a combination of way too available when she isn’t worried about Elsa and not nearly available enough when she senses Elsa is having an issue, making for a topsy-turvy friendship.