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I'm playing a game at the moment and have come across a phrase that I can't seem to wrap my head around.

ってなんでまたここにいるの!?

こないだのレースの祝賀会をバイトの仲間が開催してくれたんだよ。

無駄に仲間思いの人たちがいたものね。

I don't understand what the function of 無駄に is here. I understand the dictionary meaning (being a waste) and know it can refer to a negative in contrast to a positive such as in 無駄にかっこいい (good-looking but is shy or something else negative, so it's a waste), but don't see how having people he thinks of as friends is negative if they held him a party? What am I missing?

If I had to guess a translation, I would say:

Oh, so he has people he thinks of as friends, but that's a waste.

Obviously a terrible translation, so please help!

  • It could have to do with that character's personality, maybe they dont like that group of friends or doesn't like groups in general kind of thing? – ishikun Nov 17 '16 at 17:42
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The usage of 無駄に here is the same as the usage of 無駄にかっこいい。

Actually, the nuance of 無駄に in 無駄にかっこいい doesn't neccessarily mean negative, although it may have originated in that meaning.

Correct nuance I recognize for these 無駄に is The characteristic is being more than neccessary. For 無駄にかっこいい, the translation (reflecting the nuance) would be It is cool. Way much cooler than it neccessarily has to be.

So, the translation(not direct, but making it close to the intention) for 無駄に仲間思い would be

They care about their friends, way much more than neccessary.
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This 無駄に can be seen as "more than needed", in somewhat negative sense.

The first point is that 仲間思いの means "thoughtful of friends" or "who care about friends", but not "think of as friends".

The next is that 無駄に modifies 仲間思いの, thus 無駄に仲間思いの人たち is "people doing wastefully good to you". Note that it refers to バイトの仲間.

So, 無駄に仲間思いの人たちがいたものね。 would be something like:

So they are wastefully thoughtful of friends.

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