[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/InvaderZim http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/shoe_aliens.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:In the '70s, aliens appeared as sneakers.]]

->'''Joan:''' Are you -- Are you being ''snippy'' with me? God is snippy.\\
'''God:''' Let me explain something to you, Joan. It goes like this: I don't look like this. I don't look like anything you'd recognize. You can't see me. I don't sound like this, I don't sound like anything you'd recognize. You see, I'm beyond your experience. I take this form because you're comfortable with it, it makes sense to you. And if I'm "snippy", it's because you ''understand'' snippy.
-->-- ''Series/JoanOfArcadia''

Sometimes, when {{God}} or some other [[RealityWarper vastly powerful]] or [[EldritchAbomination very strange]] CosmicEntity needs to have a chat with a [[PunyHumans mere human being]], they are aware that the meeting [[GoMadFromTheRevelation might be a little too overwhelming for the human to handle]]. Sometimes the nonhuman being isn't ''so'' powerful, but still has a [[TheMasquerade masquerade]] to maintain. Or they fear having to deal with ''hours'' of questions and [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman a great deal of prejudice]]; humans tend to flip out when they see a dragon or learn that fairies are real.

In many cases, the nonhuman being will appear in the form of something, usually [[HumanityEnsues a humanlike form]], that the human [[LiesToChildren can wrap his head around]], because [[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm not doing so might ruin the point]] of the [[StarfishAliens entity]] talking to the humans in the first place.

Of course, the real reason for this trope is that it is easier (and more realistic) to [[Film/BruceAlmighty cast Morgan Freeman as God]] than it is to figure out what God really looks like. For added effect, the cosmic entity may also rearrange the local environment into a place the human is comfortable in, just to be extra accommodating.

This is a common practice among {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s, along with TranslatorMicrobes, to allow full communication. Compare how {{Heaven}} tends to be this way for observers/visitors. See also YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm. There is also some crossover with ShapeshifterDefaultForm. Also compare the HumanoidAbomination, which stumbles unintentionally into [[UncannyValley A Form You Are]] ''[[UncannyValley Un]]''[[UncannyValley comfortable With]].

Related to LiesToChildren, especially if the form taken is in some way representative or symbolic of the thing's true nature. Contrast TheyLookLikeUsNow. See also GodInHumanForm and InterfaceWithAFamiliarFace.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''
** In ''The End of Evangelion'', there are millions of supernatural Rei clones that, as a part of the [[AssimilationPlot Instrumentality]], take the shape of a person's loved one or a close friend, and then hug them. It's a trap to make the humans lower their ATF and allow the clones to touch and remove their soul, reverting humanity into souls and LCL. [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption Or, if the person is too scared/doesn't believe that it really is their loved one, just goes ahead and turns them into LCL by force.]]
** Aoba, however, experienced only a multitude of naked Reis, implying there was no-one he truly loved.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'', the demon summoned aboard the Advenna Avis has taken to adopting a human form (which can be recognized as one of the supporting Camorra gangsters, Ronnie Sukiart). His true form [[TheFaceless is never shown in the anime]], but the LightNovels imply that it's rather disturbing.
* ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya''
** This shows up in ''The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya'', since the Data Overmind is of an existence completely alien to physical humanity, yet wants to discover what makes the title character [[RealityWarper able to do what she does]]; it has constructed humanoid Agents who can observe and interact. These Agents are partially their own being, partially of the Overmind. How exactly individual Yuki is in comparison to the Overmind is a common theme in the series.
** However, definitely of this trope is Kuyou Suou, an agent of the competing faction the "Sky Canopy Domain". She has no individuality at all (at least [[UnreliableNarrator according to Kyon]]); she's entirely a humanlike mouthpiece for the Domain. This doesn't quite make Kyon feel more comfortable, though, because Kuyou's horrible social skills (being unable to even ''talk'' coherently or look normal/visible) make the plan for them a failure in that respect.
* In ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'', Alucard, due to the thousands of souls inside him causing a lack of a definite gender, can change his appearance at will. To quote the man himself, "Form means nothing to me."
* The [[MasterOfIllusion wolves]] of ''Manga/WolfsRain'' spend most of their time as humans, even when they should be in wolf form (for example, when humans are nowhere to be seen, or when they ate a dead deer). Presumably this was because [[MostWritersAreHuman Most Animators Are Human]] and it was just easier to have their human forms be on screen. This is most likely a device to reinforce the fact that the "human form" seen by the world and the viewer is really an illusion. Very often, when the plot doesn't force the viewer to see them in a specific way (as people in the presence of people, for example), the viewer sees them switch back and forth: often very quickly from cut to cut.
* Sebastian of ''Manga/BlackButler'' is strongly implied to have no form he's truly comfortable with, not even his own demon form, and simply chooses this human form for the sake of Ciel. [[EpilepticTrees That, or Sebastian just likes the clothes.]]
* In ''The Visitor'', a one-shot manga by Kanno Miyamoto, a {{Shinigami}} explains that when visiting humans, he takes a form that would be comforting to that person. When he checks a file and sees that the dying man is gay, he notes: "That explains why I appeared as a man." So in this version, the Shinigami apparently have no control over which form they initially take.
* Cerberus/Kero and Yue in ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura/Cardcaptors''. At first, they [[SleepModeSize sleep mode]] as a stuffed animal and ordinary human, but even after recovering their true forms, they don't use them much. Probably because a large flying lion with some kind of helmet and a rather scary blueish angel would freak people out. The main cast, however, doesn't care. It serves a practical function as well, particularly in the case of Yue. Their true forms constantly emit magic (since both are the products of magic), which becomes dangerous if prolonged. This becomes a plot point in the "Sakura Cards" arc when a magic field prevents both of them from returning to their "borrowed forms" and Sakura has to come up with a solution.
* Technically, Envy from ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' would count. He is a shapeshifter, and... well, his true form [[OneWingedAngel isn't exactly beautiful]]. Although in his case, it's because he is envious of humans, rather than wanting them to be comfortable. [[JerkassGod Truth]] takes this trope a step beyond: it wears YOUR body parts. So... a form you are ''un''comfortable with?
* In ''Manga/InuYasha'', {{Youkai}} of a particularly high level [[BishonenLine can turn into a completely human form]]. [[BoringButPractical It also makes it easier to wield a sword.]]
* Shinigami in ''Manga/SoulEater'' is in appearance a Lighter and Softer version of your classic {{Grim Reaper}}-type being. He states at one point he took on this look (and associated {{Cloudcuckoolander}} persona) in order to recruit children to his school, as his true form kept scaring them away. Thus he [[InvokedTrope invoked]] DontFearTheReaper. When he loses said persona, it is an indication that he's either truly [[LetsGetDangerous angry]] or simply tired of his staff mucking around.
** Kid's human appearance could be seen as Shinigami deliberately invoking this trope, as it's a long time before Kid's [[EldritchAbomination nature]] becomes apparent, and by the time it does, his {{True Companions}} don't care, they just see him as a [[ThePowerOfFriendship friend]].
* Holo of ''LightNovel/SpiceAndWolf'' is a wolf deity, and over 500 years old, but takes the form of a young girl. She says that the human guise isn't uncomfortable, but her real reason is because she's afraid of frightening off Lawrence. This very nearly happens anyway, as Holo is forced to turn wolf to protect an injured Lawrence. Lawrence reacts badly to being approached by a giant wolf, which in turn only alienates Holo further. Lawrence comes to his senses quickly, though, and manages to salvage the relationship. From then on, Lawrence seems comfortable with both forms, having learned that Holo is the same regardless of appearance.
* It's predictable that demons in ''Manga/AhMyGoddess'' are actually monstrous, but it's revealed at the same time that even [[MagicalGirlfriend Belldandy]] isn't as human as she normally appears. [[IfItsYouItsOkay Keiichi decides he doesn't care.]]
** To be fair, he's only seen one demon's true form, which causes him to [[GoMadFromTheRevelation nearly lose his mind seeing it]], and it did make him consider what Belldandy actually looked like. It also appears that gods and demons don't have too much control over how they look, considering that Skuld is stuck looking like a kid, much to her chagrin. Apparently the forms that gods and demons appear in to humans are a 3-dimensional translation of their true 10-dimensional bodies.
* This is the reason why the Scab Coral created human form Coralians to interact with humanity in ''Anime/EurekaSeven''.
* The Lord of Nightmares from ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' can pick any form she wants, being god and all. She prefers to appear as a slender blonde woman, though... at least, when she's not inside someone else's body.
** This is also the standard skill for Gold Dragons (Filia, however, isn't very adept with it, with frequent tail-related {{Glamour Failure}}s). Among the Mazoku, however, only the truly powerful can convincingly take human forms; middle-level Mazoku like Kanzel and Mazenda tend to have {{Red Right Hand}}s.
* The Seraphim in ''LightNovel/ItsukaTenmaNoKuroUsagi'' appear as a massive, statue-like thing with lava veins and no face to speak of. Apparently, their true form would shatter reality. This doesn't stop Gekkou from talking down to them.
* In ''LightNovel/HaiyoreNyarkoSan'', Mahiro (a fan of the Franchise/CthulhuMythos) comments on how the [[http://bit.ly/17WXUUp last thing he expected Nyarlathotep to look like]] [[http://bit.ly/17WXWeL was a silver-haired teen girl]], [[http://bit.ly/17WXZXZ Nyarko offers to show him her true form]], [[http://bit.ly/17WXXPQ but says that he might]] GoMadFromTheRevelation; he wisely declines.
** This may be a case of A Form '''They''' Are Comfortable With, since in ''Nyarko-San'' most of the aliens are [[{{Otaku}} big fans]] [[AliensStealCable of human pop culture]], and flashbacks show that characters like Nyarko seem to use their human form as their default even in situations where they wouldn't have to, and even characters who don't care about humans (like Nyarko's older brother Nyar-O) take on human form when on Earth.
* Subverted with Heartseed in ''LightNovel/KokoroConnect''. He often takes over their teacher and club advisor, Ryuzen Goto, when he wants to speak to them. While Goto-sensei is indeed a laid back and nice guy, in Heartseed-mode, he appears rather creepy due to making the guy looked drugged out, and speaking to them with a monotone voice. It also doesn't help that when several of the characters attempt to attack him, he can casually block, counter, or evade their attacks.
* Izanami, ruler of the underworld in ''Manga/KamisamaKiss'', takes the form of Nanami's rival Kayako when she appears before her since Izanami's own form rotted away long ago.
* Orochimaru, a major antagonist from ''{{Manga/Naruto}}'', reveals to his former sensei, the Third Hokage, that he has been using a technique called ''Living Corpse Reincarnation'' to transfer his soul into a different body once every three years. As expected, the Third Hokage is horrified by this revelation when Orochimaru shows him the true face of his host's body which comes off as completely unfamiliar to him.
* Backfires on ''Anime/SpacePirateMito'', a small childlike alien who uses a high tech [[MobileSuitHuman "Mail Suit"]] (AKA the [[FanNickname "mom suit"]]) to look like an adult human woman. She tries to re-use the suit after accidentally revealing her true form to her half-human son Aoi hoping it will convince him to call her "Mom" again, but now that he knows the truth Aoi finds the suit even more disturbing than her true form.
* In ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'', BigBad and ManInTheMachine Zone takes the appearance of Sherry's deceased father as a form that would leave her more open to his recruitment.
* ''Anime/MekakucityActors'': It is revealed in the series' penultimate episode that the version of Ayano Shintaro is shown conversing with at the start/end of several episodes is actually [[spoiler:his power, the Recording Eyes Snake, borrowing her voice and appearance while she tries to make him remember everything from past loops. Even after the façade is broken, she retains Ayano's voice]].
* Whoever sees Izanami in ''Manga/{{Noragami}}'' sees her in the appearance of someone who they are most comfortable with. For Yato, it was Hiyori. For Ebisu, it was the old woman who owned his favourite restaurant.
* An episode of ''Anime/SmilePreCure'' featured the Cures visiting Marchenland for the first time. In order to not spook its citizens, Pop uses his magic to turn the girls into fairies.
* In ''Manga/IAmAHero'', [[spoiler:the zombie HiveMind chooses to present itself this way for those who enter it but are still aware that they exist as individuals]]. One of the protagonists, amusingly, experiences it as a MessageBoard.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Happens all the time in ''ComicBook/TheSandman'' series.
** When done by Dream:
*** When appearing to his lover Nada, Morpheus himself takes on the form of a tall, African man covered in tribal markings. He did a very smooth statuesque thing with Augustus Caesar, and got mistaken for Apollo, about which he was rather snippy. Morpheus and the other Endless have a different appearance to each person that looks at them (the one we see seems to be the default British/American Caucasian version, though the art style shifts all the time because different artists came in for different chapters).
---->'''Marco Polo:''' Are you always so pale?\\
'''Dream:''' That depends on who's watching.
*** Dream also appears as a black cat to cats, black fox for foxes, and a blackened face inside a fire vortex to the Martian Manhunter. The conceit is that people see the Endless as being either like themselves or like what they expect.
*** Dream seems to go back and forth with this: half the time he wears period clothing, but he sometimes shows up in the human world wearing ridiculous capes and things, which have drawn comments from humans who run into him. John Constantine complained about the Robe of Flames being embarrassing, so he put on a black trench coat. John then complained about no sense of humor.
*** This trope was also explicitly mentioned by caliph Harun al-Rashid when he tries to summon Dream and demands that the lord of dreams shows himself to the caliph in a form Harun will be comfortable with.
** When done by others:
*** During the ''Season Of Mists'' storyline, Lord Kilderkin of Order manifests himself as the supreme icon of order -- an empty cardboard box.
*** Likewise, the Chaos Lord called Shivering Jemmy of the Nightmare Brigade manifests as a three-year-old girl, complete with a balloon and a love of ice cream.
---->'''Jemmy:''' Nobody ''clever'' bes boxes!
*** Gilbert, a rotund and helpful middle-aged man, was a manifestation of Fiddler's Green, an [[GeniusLoci intelligent place]] that inhabited the dream realm. Also, he looks and sounds very much like Creator/GKChesterton.
*** Cain And Abel also qualify. It's heavily implied in ''A Parliament of Rooks'' that they weren't the first ''human'' murderer and victim, but in fact the first murderer and victim in the entire history of the universe and their true forms are actually StarfishAliens. Also, they aren't really related to Eve, who may or may not have ever been a real person to begin with, let alone whether or not she was really human.
*** Invoked when Delirium actually mistakes a goth-dressed (lesbian) human for her sister Death in the beginning of ''Brief Lives''. (It's unlikely any of the other Endless would mistake a human for one of their own, but Delirium and reality are not always on speaking terms.)
*** Lampshaded when Orpheus pays an unexpected visit to Death in ''Fables And Reflections,'' catching her [[PerkyGoth dressed down.]] She changes her twentieth century apartment, complete with a teddy bear, a fish-bowl and discarded stockings, to something with lots of stone columns and eternal gloom, and her own T-shirt and jeans attire to a black GorgeousPeriodDress and a veil.
** In the ''ComicBook/{{Lucifer}}'' comics God appeared to Elaine in the form of her loved ones at first, and when Elaine told him to be someone she didn't know chose to appear as an elderly British gentleman in a bowler hat. He appears content to stay in this form for the rest of the comic after that, something Lucifer comments upon.
** The "out of continuity but very much inspired" ''Murder Mysteries'' had God disguised as a strange wingless angel, which the protagonist comments had eyes that seemed to contain more than the others as one of the first hints to his real identity. Oddly enough, once revealed as being God himself, he is never shown in panel, despite no evidence of any transformation taking place.
** The entire ''Sandman'' universe could be said to be this in meta form, hence why EarthIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse and we never see any stories that interact with alien life.
* The ComicBook/MartianManhunter, {{ShapeShift|ing}}er extraordinaire, avoids using his "true" Martian appearance to avoid frightening people.
* Miss Martian, similarly, goes for cute green-skinned humanoid because because her original form makes J'onn's Martian appearance look like a cute cuddly teddy bear in comparison.
* ComicBook/{{Galactus}} and other Creator/MarvelComics "higher plane of existence" beings look humanoid to us, but that's just our filter. Most of them "wear" temporary bodies when visiting the material universe, made to order for them by a being called Antropomorpho. Despite this trope, they're almost always shown in the same individual forms. Galactus, however, doesn't have such a temporary body. Instead, his own form looks different to different viewers; for instance, a Skrull sees him as Skrull-like. (Galactus's original form as a mortal being in the universe preceding our own, however, was indeed humanoid.) One issue featured a scene where humans and dozens of aliens gazed upon him at once, the frame was filled with smaller images representing what each of them saw him as.
** God him/her/it/none-of-the-above-self appears to the Fantastic Four as Creator/JackKirby. Or ''is'' Creator/JackKirby. It's not clear.
*** Jack Kirby created the Fantastic Four and several other characters in Marvel, so to them, Jack Kirby IS God. And since he did the same for several characters over at DC, so perhaps over there he is also God.
* In ''Adam: The Legend of the Blue Marvel'', ComicBook/TheWatcher turns into a black man in order to talk to the title character. Humorously, the Watcher only did so because [[SarcasmBlind he misinterpreted Blue Marvel's joke]] about finding a white man on the moon.
* ''ComicBook/DoctorStrange''
** Inverted intentionally by his foe Shuma-Gorath, who invades dimensions in whatever form will terrify the inhabitants most. On Earth, he appears as a single glaring eyeball surrounded by tentacles.
** Played straight with the Vishanti, who take vaguely human or animal visages to avoid [[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm terrifying their worshipers]].
* One time-travel adventure for ComicBook/TomStrong sees him encounter one his recurring enemies, The Pangean, who generally takes the form of a giant slime mold (who at this point, is roughly the size of a small country). Reasoning that Tom would rather speak to a biped, he splits off a part of his biomass, forming it into a shape resembling a green man wearing 17th century style clothing so that they can communicate more easily.
* Implied by Franchise/{{Superman}} story ''ComicBook/WhateverHappenedToTheManOfTomorrow'' as the reason for the [[GreatGazoo fifth-dimensional trickster]] Mr. Mxyzptlk's usual form as a little man in a purple suit, when he mocks the characters for thinking that's what he actually looks like. Narrating the story years later, Lois Lane describes being confronted with his true, hyper-spatial form: "I can't describe what Mxyzptlk then became. He had height, width, depth... and a couple of other things". Within the comic, he's drawn as a [[OneWingedAngel gigantic energy being]].
* Lampshaded and justified by Creator/CrossGen when Ilhan of ''ComicBook/{{Meridian}}'' visits Ingra of ''ComicBook/TheFirst''. Ilhan balks at her {{Stripperiffic}} [[BreastPlate default]] [[AbsoluteCleavage outfit]], and Ingra amusedly transforms it into a more modest beige gown for his comfort, taunting him as she does so.
* Variation: In ''Proposition Player'', Bill the Angel of The Lord claims he uses that name because were he to speak his ''real'' name, the sky would rupture, the oceans turn to blood, a thousand virgins die, etc., etc. Given that he's a bully and leg-breaker for the forces of Heaven, it's not certain whether he's sincere or just being an egocentric jerk.
* In one issue of ''ComicBook/{{Fantomas}}'', the thief/hero tries to steal a unique duck-billed dog. It turned out to be an alien sent to Earth to study humanity, who ''tried'' to take the form of a dog to go unnoticed, but something went wrong with the process. At the end of the story it changes into an eagle instead, this time more successfully.
* In ComicBook/UltimateMarvel continuity, the Kree aren't the HumanoidAliens of the regular Franchise/MarvelUniverse, but are StarfishAliens. Pluskommander Geheneris Hala'son Mahr Vehl (Ultimate ComicBook/CaptainMarVell) takes a humanoid form to talk to SHIELD.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Powers}}'', the aliens who direct the Millennium Corps appear to Walker in human forms, most commonly those of Zora and Retro Girl. A subversion in that Walker has made it clear that he is ''not'' comfortable with them taking on the shapes of his dead friends and lovers.
* ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}''; John's original dealing with his long-term enemy Nergal dealt with this. His summoning demanded Nergal appear in a form pleasing to the human senses. So Nergal took over the body of a little girl. Then it got worse.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'', Xavin deliberately shapeshifts into the form of a human teenage boy when he first meets Karolina, believing that it's something that she'd be comfortable with. When she's shocked by his appearance, s/he figures that her parents prepped her for him/her arriving in his/her natural Skrull form (really, she's surprised at the fact that her parents promised her hand in marriage to him/her.) When Karolina reveals that she's a lesbian, Xavin takes the form of a human teenage woman, a form which s/he stays in most of the time when around Karolina. For the few times when Xavin thinks it's more helpful to be in a male form, Karolina does not interact romantically with him/her ("If you were a girl right now, I'd kiss you.")
** Inverted during the "Dead End Kids" arc, where Xavin assumes a white male form for most of the team's stay in 1900s New York, as s/he assumes that she'll experience less problems that way. Karolina comes ''this'' close to dumping her over it.
* {{God}}, in ''ComicBook/LennyHenry and the Quest for the Big Woof'', appears as a slightly geeky white guy, in green-tinted glasses and Joseph's dreamcoat. When Lenny questions this, he says he could manifest an explosion of white light, but "Who'd want to sit behind ''this'' at the cinema?"
* In ''ComicBook/{{Earth X}}'', it is revealed (as part of a broader MetaOrigin for all the superpowered races in the Franchise/MarvelUniverse) that the Asgardians from ''[[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]]'' are simply {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s who used [[{{ShapeShifting}} shapeshifting]] abilities to make themselves ''look'' like Norse deities.
* When, after being exposed to the Terrigen Mist, [[Comicbook/MsMarvel2014 Kamala Khan]] receives a vision of someone or something calling themselves "faith". The form they appear in? Captain Marvel, Iron Man, and Captain America. This surely tells us something about the [[{{fangirl}} girl]].
** Immediately afterwards, as her shapeshifting abilities manifest, she subconsciously turns ''herself'' into a clone of Carol Danvers in her old Ms. Marvel costume. This reflects Kamala's own insecurity and her wish-fulfillment, but she quickly finds that she feels incredibly uncomfortable, and soon learns to fight crime as herself.
* In ''ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog'', the goddess Aurora looked like whatever those who saw her imagined her to look like. To Knuckles, she looked like an echidna.
* In the Creator/NeilGaiman iteration of ''ComicBook/TheEternals'', the Dreaming Celestial takes on Sersi's form to communicate with Makkari. After he complains that it's kind of creepy having the Celestial's voice come out of her mouth, the Celestial puts its face on her body, which Makkari finds even creepier.
* In Marvel's ''ComicBook/SecretWarsII'' CrisisCrossover, the Beyonder (a non-corporeal CosmicEntity) has to take a physical form when he comes to Earth. His initial form is a bizarre humanoid patchwork consisting of bits from the many heroes and villains he met in the original ''ComicBook/{{Secret Wars|1984}}''. After some experimentation, he settles on a superficially modified version of Captain America's body.
* In ''[[ComicBook/ConanTheBarbarian Conan the Slayer]]'', a hideous-looking sea witch desires to breed with Conan, so she uses a glamour spell to look like a beautiful nymph in order to seduce him. It doesn't work because he already knew what she looked like beforehand.
* ''ComicBook/TheGreatPowerOfChninkel'': Volga the {{Seer|s}} explains that she needs to have sex with J'on to be able to use her powers of foresight to help him with his quest. However, Volga is a writhing blob of flesh, tentacles, and multiple mouths and eyes, so J'on is understandably hesitant. However, she uses her magic to change both their forms to an athletic black man and a buxom white woman respectively so he's able to perform.
* When ComicBook/RedSonja finally meets Death in a fever dream, Death appears as Sonja-but-more-so: ten feet tall in chainmail bikini with a skull motif. Death intends it as a tribute to Sonja's service by delivering so many lives to her.
* In the Storm comics the living planet Pandarve appears in several forms, most often something the hero would recognize from millions of years ago on Earth, such as Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), Medusa, and Marilyn Monroe.
* [[ZigZaggingTrope Zigzagged]] by Marvel's [[TheGrimReaper Death]]. She might appear as either an attractive hooded woman or a hooded skeleton depending on her fancy. Played straight when she first met ComicBook/{{Thanos}} in his origin story and basically copied his mother Sui-San's appearance to gain his trust, but defied in another story when she appeared before the adult Thanos as a little girl while speaking of [[FilleFatale her desire for him]]. Played for laughs in her interactions with ComicBook/{{Deadpool}}, who seems to ''prefer'' her skeletal look.
-->'''Thanos:''' Do you really have to take that shape?
-->'''Death:''' Lesson learned, Thanos of Titan. I am Death. I am not of comfort.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In one ''Comicstrip/{{Garfield}}'' StoryArc, Garfield's conscience took the form of Garfield's food dish for this reason. (He really looks like everyone's mother.)

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'': After their ascension to godhood, the new ''[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Chaos Gods]]'' [[spoiler:-a., k., a. Shinji, Asuka, Rei and Misato-]] have a miriad of shapes and faces visible to mortals, but they usually take human form to talk to their followers or keep themselves grounded.
* In ''Fanfic/TheManyWorldsInterpretation'', blending the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' and ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'', Sheldon Cooper has a brush with the DEATH of the Roundworld. He is angry and irritated that DEATH takes the traditional form of ''Film/TheSeventhSeal'' type - a medieval robed spirit with scythe. Sheldon defiantly folds his arms, digs his feet in, and stubbornly says that unless DEATH takes the form of [[ComicBook/TheSandman a perkily pretty Goth girl in her late teens]], then ''he isn't going anywhere''.
* Some ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' fanfiction show the various bijuu choosing to assume human forms in order to communicate with their containers. Whether the bijuu are more sociable or not varies from author to author, but the Kyuubi almost invariably ends up being [[EvilRedhead a redheaded woman]] [[SelfFanservice with a model's body.]] Following Kyuubi appearing female, cue standard speech about "You think a female can't be strong?" from the demon. The fact that bijuu are living masses of chakra with no actual physical form, and thus no gender, is conveniently ignored.
** ''The Melt'' has the Kyuubi appear as a SharpDressedMan in black with slicked red hair. Upon Naruto saying "I thought you were a fox.", the Kyuubi shows his true form promptly scaring Naruto and the Kyuubi to point out that he chose that form for a reason.
** In ''Fanfic/DestinyIsAHazyThing'' the Kyuubi and Daiki (Yog-Sothoth) appear as (according to Naruto) "The most beautiful women he had ever seen with red-gold hair and in a plain brown dress." (Kyuubi) and a rather handsome man with short black hair wearing either blue and gray robes or leather vest, trousers and boots (Daiki). Justified in that Daiki is a RealityWarper and in foresight thought of this trope and chose genders for both him and the Kyuubi to make conversations with Naruto easier.
* Played with in ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached''. The Fans look like featureless human mannikins to the four, but that's because they're stuck using standard humanoid telepathic avatars; they aren't especially worried about what the four might think of their real forms.
-->"So what ''do'' you two really look like?" Ringo asked again.\\
"Not as pretty as you guys," said Varx.\\
Shag elbowed him. "[[CatchPhrase Shut up, Varx!]] We're not human, Ringo. We'd show you, but we don't have the ability here. This is a preset background with limited variability, so we're stuck with these avatars. But we're kind of... um...."\\
"Kinda lizardy, kinda birdy," Varx said helpfully.\\
"With claws," said George.\\
* A benign version in ''Fanfic/{{Strings}}'', when [[WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra Korra]] reaches Avatar State [[spoiler:after being forced to return to Tarrlok,]] [[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender Aang]] appears to Korra as his twelve-year self.
* ''FanFic/TheStarsWillAidTheirEscape'': [[BigBad Herald]] looks like an ordinary stallion, but is actually an EldritchAbomination in pony form ([[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Nyarlathotep]], in fact). This carries over to a cutie mark that seems to constantly be changing form (though it's hard to see on his dark coat, and trying only gives you a headache), and the fact that if you see him without his mask on, [[DrivenToMadness you go insane]] [[spoiler: (which he inflicts on Twilight)]].
** It's also implied that the princesses do this as well, as when they fight Nyarlathotep [[spoiler: outside reality]], they take on forms of pure power that no pony would recognize as them.
* Played with in ''FanFic/SonOfTheWarp''. A [[EldritchAbomination Lord of Change]] sent to mentor Joseph tries to invoke this by taking the appearance of Chiron. Joseph actually finds this uncomfortable, and instead orders the daemon to take the form of UsefulNotes/WinstonChurchill.
* ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'':
** Defied by [[EldritchAbomination Havoc]], Discord's father, in the [[BadFuture Dark World Series]]. Rancor, Discord's little sister, says He was going to drop her off personally using an Avatar, but didn't because He was outright trying to ''avoid'' this trope and couldn't decide if His pony Avatar was still scary due to being 'outdated' or more scary due to UncannyValley. Considering He's the AnthropomorphicPersonification of Mass Hysteria, this makes sense. [[spoiler:During Starlight's [[JuryOfTheDamned trial]], He assumes the form of an alicorn version of Starlight, but this is less for her comfort and more to appeal to her ego trying to win her soul. During the Finale arc he seems to have gotten better at this, as he assumes the form of a young pegasus foal named Phobia to guide the CMC.]]
** The Father of All Alicorns also averts this, as the few times we've seen Him, He doesn't bother to disguise Himself, even though [[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm His true form is rather confusing]]. This may be because His presence is ''naturally'' comforting, so he doesn't see the need. [[spoiler:When He appears in Starlight's trial, He assumes the form of a colt, but that was presumably because His true form would've tipped Starlight off as to which side was on her side. He also appears as a colt named Pearly Gates while helping combat the villains during the Rumors Arc, which is much more this trope.]]
** His wife, Fauna Luster, also does this, even once in the spirit world. Given she's empathy incarnate, she's probably playing this a bit straighter. [[spoiler:During the Rumors Arc, she assumes the form of a filly named Creative Spirit while helping combat the Rumors with the other Elders.]]
** Referenced in the Finale Arc when Nurse Redheart asks the being before her, [[spoiler:Saint Sweetheart]], if she is really an alien being posing as her idol to make her more comfortable, until she is told she truly is who she looks like.
** Entropy has taken to using [[spoiler:her mortal incarnation Maud Pie]] for this purpose. [[spoiler:Her original manifestation during the Rumors Arc was a unicorn mare with a cracked horn named Mrs. Void, but it was altered into Maud's by shielding the CMC from the WorldWreckingWave that started the rumors.]]
** The deities all do this when interacting with mortals in their true cosmic state. When Strife and [[spoiler:Cadenza]] manifested before Moochick and Heathspike, they appeared as a member of their respective species to them.
* Parodied in [[http://groups.google.com/forum/#!original/alt.religion.kibology/vfW_8udygqI/4HC0SoMaSqYJ this short story]], which itself is a loose parody of Creator/StanislawLem's Ijon Tichy short stories.
* In ''[[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda the Legend of Zelda]]'' fanfic ''[[FanFic/BoundDestiniesTrilogy Wisdom and Courage]]'', [[spoiler: the three golden goddesses, Din, Nayru and Farore take on [[HumanityEnsues human forms]] to meet with Zelda in chapter 35 because, as Din states, their true forms are [[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm beyond her mortal comprehension]].]]
* In the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' story ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8688354/1/Crucible Crucible]]'', a star if not reincarnating as a living being will usually appear in the form of a loved one of whoever was looking at them.
** The bare-faced turian called The Trickster, meanwhile, appeared just like that but had hinted that he had many other forms. One of them was a batarian deity with 8 arms and blue tatoos when he came to get the soul of a dying batarian girl. Another form of his was Jane's [[spoiler:father, Sam Shepard]]. He took that form again once to take away her soul and ease her pain at the beginning of the second game.
* In ''Roleplay/WeAreAllPokemonTrainers,'' Tagg theorizes that the creation trio might do this when interacting with mortals, considering their eldritch natures. He turns out to be quite right when he sees Dialga in the Temporal World, who takes the form of a vaguely draconic shaped mass covered in diamonds.
* ''Fanfic/TheBridge'': Mothra arrived in Equestria in the form of a Changeling Queen. Since Changelings are feared by the population, she shape shifts into an Alicorn in public.
* Played with in the ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9920512/1/Reaching-for-a-Dream Reaching for a Dream]]'' series after Naruto and Xanna ascend to godhood. While their HornedHumanoid forms do make dealing with mortals easier as their true forms don't even exist on the same plane of existence as humanity, they also do so because they enjoy a number of activities they can't do without corporeal forms such as eating, sex, and cuddling.
* Like in [[Videogame/WorldOfWarcraft canon]], dragons in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8933408/1/Wizard-Runemaster Wizard Runemaster]]'' can take on humanoid forms when dealing with mortals. When Harry remarks on the differences between Ysondre and her mother Ysera, Ysondre changes her form to more resemble her mother and informs him that their forms are entirely a matter of choice. Onyxia uses three separate forms over the course of the story: Katrana Prestor, a more draconic version of Katrana resembling Alexstrasza's humanoid form, and a blonde bombshell. The last is used around anyone who doesn't know her true identity.
* Deconstructed in ''Series/Supergirl2015''/''Series/TheFlash2014'' crossover ''Fanfic/CallMeKara''. When Jeremiah lets J'onn know that's he's alright with J'onn taking on the appearance of Hank Henshaw, despite the fact that Jeremiah only knew the man as a villain, because he knows that his shape-shifting Martian friend finds it more comfortable.
* Faith's mind in ''[[https://m-mcgregor.livejournal.com/176718.html The Zeppo In Mind]]'' appears to Xander as a combination of office and control room, with the changes made to her body by him or the slayer spirit [[spoiler:or the Primal or Soldier]] appearing as paperwork that they have to fill out. It takes Xander some time to realize that both are just how his mind interprets things rather than how they truly look.
** Likewise, any minds in Faith's head appear in a way that are easier to comprehend. The slayer spirit takes the form of the First Slayer and Faith's conscience takes the form of Xander (though appearing as Faith for Xander's sake). [[soiler:The primal spirit appears as a giant Hyena and the Soldier looks like Faith in [=BDUs=] and a ponytail.]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In Disney's ''Disney/AladdinTheReturnOfJafar'', Jafar's true form of a huge red Genie is too much for thief Abis Mal, so Jafar spends most of the film looking as he did while human, transforming back to his genie form during his musical number/confrontation with Genie and the climatic battle with Aladdin and his friends. Granted, this only helped a little, since let's face it, even human Jafar is pretty damn intimidating.
* God in ''WesternAnimation/ThePrinceOfEgypt'' manifests Himself as a burning bush. He also speaks to Moses with Moses' own voice. Of course, there's ''some'' precedent for that in [[Literature/TheBible the novelization]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey''
** The situational variant of this is used in the first movie. David Bowman travels through the Star Gate, which we presume is even more mind-blowing in the flesh, so to speak, and ends up... in a hotel room. Not only that: in the novel, Dave notices that it's a bad rendition of a hotel room. It might look okay on the surface, but he quickly finds out that he can't open any drawers, the books are painted on the bookcase and all food and drink containers, such as cereal box and beer cans, are filled with some spicy, blue stuff that smells like macaroons. It's as if someone was trying to imitate a hotel room without understanding it. He finally finds out why when he turns on the TV and sees the same room in an old soap opera on the screen. The aliens had based the room on what they had learned from [[AliensStealCable various earth broadcasts]]. But then again, it is the result of the trope being played as straight as possible. It never was the idea that Dave should take residence in the room; its function was merely to calm him by placing him in a familiar environment, in order to prepare him for his transformation into the Star Child.
** In ''Film/TwoThousandTenTheYearWeMakeContact'', Dave, having [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence ascended to a higher plane of existence]] in ''2001'', creates a holographic image of himself as a human in order to communicate with Dr. Heywood Floyd aboard the ''Discovery''. The film version is something of a MindScrew, as he changes appearance randomly throughout the encounter; this is [[AllThereInTheManual explained in the novel]] as Bowman having trouble remembering being human.
** The Monoliths themselves are often described as having a dimensional ratio of 1:4:9 (1, 2, and 3 multiplied by themselves). Dave Bowman heavily implies that the progression continues into dimensions that humans cannot perceive, and also that every Monolith encountered is actually the ''[[MindScrew same]]'' one, and that despite appearing from several feet to several miles in length, it has only one size, "as large as necessary".
* It is revealed that the chairman of ''Film/TheAdjustmentBureau'' has met with every single living person at some point in their lives, each time with a different look and gender.
* Inverted in ''Film/{{Avatar}}'', it's the ''humans'' who take on the form of ''aliens'' in an attempt to begin diplomatic negotiations with them [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters while they plan to destroy the planet]]. Inverting this trope was the main thrust of Cameron's original script, in which the Na'vi are StarfishAliens. (Sully still falls in love with a Na'vi in his Avatar form.) The avatars are still different from the Na'vi, being Na'vi/human hybrids. They have smaller eyes and ten fingers and ten toes (the Na'vi have eight of each). Presumably, this is because a human wouldn't know how to function with only four fingers on each hand. Though they seem to have no problem getting used to the tail...
* Used up to a point in ''Film/BlessTheChild'', where most of the demons and angels look like regular people until the climax of the movie.
* In ''Film/BruceAlmighty'' and its sequel, ''Film/EvanAlmighty'', God first appears as a [[AlmightyJanitor janitor]], played by Creator/MorganFreeman.
* One of the {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s in ''Film/{{Contact}}'' takes the form of Eleanore Arroway's dead father in order to be able to talk to her. The Caribbean beach upon which they hold said conversation is also an example of this trope. Everything she saw outside the capsule after entering the second wormhole was previously shown in the film, implying that she was in some kind of VR from that point until she was returned. The alien's "unfocused" form implies that it's a tall Gray Alien, similar to the one in ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind''.
* In the remake of ''Film/{{The Day the Earth Stood Still|2008}}'', Klaatu says that his true form would "only frighten [humans]".
* This trope is the entire point of the Metatron's existence in ''Film/{{Dogma}}''.
-->"Human beings have neither the aural nor the psychological capacity to withstand the awesome power of God's true voice. Were you to hear it, your mind would cave in and your heart would explode within your chest. We went through five Adams before we figured that one out."
** And this turns out to be [[ChekhovsGun important to the finale]].
** God also does this, spending most of the movie in the form of a middle-aged homeless man in a coma, and at the end appearing as Alanis Morissette.
* This trope was weaponized in ''Film/{{Dreamcatcher}}''. The true form of the aliens is a massive, tripodal creature that can devour humans; knowing that this form will instigate aggressive reactions, they project a telepathic image of the traditional Gray alien into human minds, making them appear weak and near-human.
* Gozer in ''Film/{{Ghostbusters 1984}}'':
-->'''Winston:''' I thought Gozer was a man.\\
'''Egon:''' It's whatever it wants to be.
* ''Film/ItCameFromOuterSpace'' (1953). The aliens can copy human form; naturally this only serves to freak out those humans they're trying to reassure about their peaceful intentions.
* In ''Film/MrDestiny'', Fate itself manifests to Jim Belushi as a bartender who looks a lot like Michael Caine.
* In ''Film/OhGod'', God specifically tells Jerry Landers that he could have appeared in any other form, but chose one that Jerry could understand. God does the same thing in the two sequels. And both times, he looked like George Burns. So did The Devil. Which stands to reason, since God specifically tells the protagonist, who just thought the Devil was trying to trick him, that Harry O. Tophet (H.O.T., get it?) always wants to look like and sound like him.
* The fairies in ''Film/PansLabyrinth'' at first appear more like overgrown grasshoppers but when Ofelia shows them pictures of the fairies in her storybook, they transform into them to please her.
* The recent ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'' [[TheFilmOfTheBook movie adaptation]] has Hades, whose style resembles Mick Jagger's. When Percy, Annabeth and Grover are a little bit surprised by his appearance, he shows them his true form -- a big, talking flame -- and changes right back. His looks aren't discussed any further. The humanoid version is implied to be closer to his true form -- the flaming-demon-shape was just a form he picked to make them uncomfortable.
* Similar to the example from ''Film/{{Dreamcatcher}}'', the aliens in ''Progeny'' project the Gray form to make the abduction ordeal more comfortable for humans. Their real form, as revealed part-way through the movie, is horrific, non-humanoid, and vaguely reptilian.
* In ''Film/{{Purgatory}}'', the Indian and coach driver are actually [[spoiler:angels]].
* Likely in an homage to this trope's use in ''Franchise/StarTrek'', the Thermians in ''Film/GalaxyQuest'' disguise themselves as humans when visiting Earth. Their native form looks more like a mollusk than a human. In one scene, the Thermians forget to put on their disguises when visiting the ShowWithinAShow's stars -- causing the latter to be quite disturbed.... They also keep up the disguises when no humans are around, because their slavish devotion to the ''Galaxy Quest'' "historical documents" made them build the ship ''exactly'' as they saw it -- i.e., with controls designed for human beings. In their true forms, they can't use their own ship!
* ''Santo vs. la Invasion de los Marcianos'' (''Santo vs. the Martian Invasion''): The Martians are human-shaped to start with, but decide to run themselves through a transformation machine to get more human bodies. This meant they wouldn't have access to their DeathRay Third Eye while in human form ... but that's good, because now the scriptwriters don't have to try explaining why Santo doesn't get vaporized when he goes mano-a-mano with them. Being able to ditch the long blond wigs probably made life easier for the wrestlers playing Martians.
* The title character in ''Film/{{Starman}}'' takes the form of Jenny Hayden's recently deceased husband for exactly this reason.
* ''Film/StarshipTroopers3Marauder'': Subverted. Turns out that using the zombified remains of the dwindled members of the DwindlingParty as your mouthpiece only really serves to make everybody a lot ''less'' comfortable. Even TheMole is visibly thrown a bit by this.
* Used in ''Film/StarTrekVTheFinalFrontier'' with the alien "God" on the planet Sha Ka Ri. Inverted when [[spoiler: [[ThisIsntHeaven the alien turns out to be not so nice]] (in the original screenplay, he's the [[SealedEvilInACan imprisoned devil]], trying to escape). He then uses this to torment WellIntentionedExtremist Sybok by becoming a mirror image of him and telling him that rather than enlightening people, [[VillainousBSOD he had created a God in his own image]].]]
* ''Film/TerminatorSalvation'' has [=SkyNet=] take the form of Dr. Serena when she debriefs Marcus in his role as her UnwittingPawn. To add extra creepiness to the "kindness", she offers to switch her appearance into that of John Connor or Kyle Reese... as ''she is having both killed mere floors below!'' Needless to say, this was not a successful persuasive tool. Oh, and her [[RedEyesTakeWarning eyes turned red]] like a Terminator's do.
* PlayedForLaughs in a little joke in the adaptation of ''Film/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader''. Liliandil is a star that transforms into a beautiful woman.
-->'''Caspian:''' You are most beautiful.\\
'''Liliandil:''' If it is a [[DistractedByTheSexy distraction]], I can change form.\\
'''Edmund & Caspian:''' ''(hastily)'' No!
* ''Zarkorr! The Invader'' has a man who is judged to be [[UnfazedEveryman the median of human society]], chosen to prove his species's worth by (somehow) defeating the titular monster. The one who relays this challenge to him takes on a form that is made to be "familiar and unthreatening". In the protagonist's words: a "tiny, teenage mall-tramp."
* In ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2'', Ego the Living Planet has the ability to create a humanoid avatar in order to interact with other sapient beings that he states comes complete with everything seen in organics, including working genitalia. [[spoiler:He uses this form to [[BoldlyComing create progeny with others races]] with the hope of finding one that has inherited his powers as a Celestial to aid him in his AssimilationPlot.]]
* In ''Film/TheShack'', protagonist Mack was abused as a child by his father and has difficulty with the concept of accepting a father's love. To make him less apprehensive, God spends most of the film appearing as the kind-hearted neighbor woman who used to give him apple pie, played by Creator/OctaviaSpencer.

* ''The Android's Dream'' by Creator/JohnScalzi features an example of "a form we're ''both'' comfortable with." Two characters interacting in a cybernetic mindscape (one which is otherwise abstract rather than a reality-mimicking "{{Cyberspace}}") shape themselves a nice little garden in which to chat, and human "bodies" to wear while doing it.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}''
** The Ellimist takes the form of a girl known by the Animorphs when he humbly requests their help. As he also stops time along with this, Jake thinks to himself that it's not really all that humble. Most of the time, he appears to the Animorphs (and Elfangor, in the 80s) as an adult male, or a wrinkly elf-like creature (as seen on the cover of ''The Ellimist Chronicles''). At the end of ''The Andalite Chronicles'', Elfangor sees the Ellimist as he truly is: "An indescribable being of light and time and space."
** When the Ellimist appears to Tobias in ''The Change'', he appears as a mixture of birds. "I saw it flying toward me. It was a bird of prey. A raptor. Some undefinable shape, part falcon, part eagle, part hawk. It had a snow-white belly and reddish-brown back and a tail that spread to show a dusky rainbow of colors."\\
When Tobias comments that this wasn't how the Ellimist looked the last time the Animorphs saw him, the Ellimist says that he chose a shape Tobias would identify with.
** The Ellimist tends to prefer this even when it's not necessary; in his confrontation with [[EldritchAbomination Crayak]] at the end of ''The Ellimist Chronicles'', he chooses to take the form of an ordinary Ketran (the species he originally belonged to).
* Creator/IsaacAsimov used this in a number of his short stories. Notably in "Buy Jupiter", where aliens who inhabited the coronas of stars (and thus existed at temperatures in the thousands of degrees) interacted with humans by projecting human forms to Earth. The humans are fully aware that they are talking to simulations.
* In a short story by Margaret Attenborough, when God visits Kitty Heaven (which is actually Human Hell) he takes the form of a white Persian.
* Played with in Literature/{{The Bartimaeus Trilogy}}: spirits' forms can be purposefully disturbing, to distract their masters, but some of their ''true'' forms border on Eldritch Abominations. To better mingle with the humans, however, spirits often take on humanoid or animal forms. Some are also more comfortable ''themselves'', such as it is, in a humanoid ShapeshifterDefaultForm. In fact, if he has a choice, Bartimaeus prefers to become Ptolemy because it is the form ''he'' is comfortable with, Ptolemy having been [[spoiler:the one master who showed him true respect, got to know him on a personal level, and even ventured into the Other Place.]]
* Mirror Girl from ''Literature/BlindLake'' adopts the image of little girl Tess in order to talk to humans.
* The [[FallenAngel eloim]] took on human forms in ''Literature/BuryingTheShadow'' to avoid overwhelming humans by merely existing.
* In ''Literature/ChildhoodsEnd'' by Creator/ArthurCClarke, the Overlords hide their true form [[spoiler:(they look like classic demons)]] for a long time, because they know that we will not be comfortable with it.
* ''Literature/ConSentiency'' has interfaces in the "Beachballs" as the main means for contact with a Caleban -- very tenuous, between [[StarfishLanguage barely understandable speech]] and apparently meaningless visual representation. But it turns out this counts as a quite good job, considering the scale of the problem.
-->'''[=McKie=]:''' And all we see here is this... this bit of nothing.\\
'''Caleban:''' Not put ''something'' here. Self-I put something here and uncreate you. [=McKie=] discontinues in presence of I-self.\\
'''[=McKie=]:''' Do you hang that, Tuluk?\\
'''Tuluk:''' Hang? Oh, yes. She seems to be saying that she can't make herself visible to us because that'd kill us.\\
'''[=McKie=]:''' That's the way I read it.
* Near the end of Carl Sagan's novel ''Literature/{{Contact}}'', the main character encounters an alien being that has taken the form of her long-dead father in an attempt to make the experience less frightening. The other characters encounter something similar. One person sees his granddaughter. Another sees her long-dead husband. And the Chinese archaeologist sees Confucius.
* ''Literature/TheCosmere'': The Shards, the people who wield the PiecesOfGod, typically choose to appear in the form they had before they Ascended. Looking too closely--[[WindowsOfTheSoul especially at the eyes]]--can lead to seeing the Shard behind the form, [[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm which is usually so overwhelming that the person looking breaks down into tears]]. It should be noted that the evil Shards are more likely to alter their forms to something people find more comfortable, as well as more likely to throw off the facade and humble people with their true form. [[Literature/{{Mistborn}} Ruin]] appears as Vin's brother and Kelsier at various points, while his opposite Preservation only ever shows up as a humble man with a survivalist's knife on his belt. [[Literature/TheStormlightArchive Odium]] appears to Dalinar as a human but to the parsh as a parshman, both times wielding an ornate golden scepter. And [[ComicBook/WhiteSand Autonomy]] has apparently created multiple pantheons where every single member is just a different version of herself.
* Most entities in Creator/HPLovecraft's ''Franchise/CthulhuMythos'' don't know what form humans ''would'' be comfortable with or don't care to try:
** The Great Old Ones avert this trope, as they can't be concerned with whether their appearance causes puny human minds to [[GoMadFromTheRevelation shatter like glass]].
** The Outer God Nyarlathotep, however, does take the form of a Pharaoh, a swarthy Egyptian man, or a [[HumanoidAbomination pitch-black humanoid]]. This is because he likes to interact with humanity more than his brethren, albeit for his own malicious reasons. In an odd inversion, each of his forms is said to drive some race in the universe into gibbering insanity, [[HumansThroughAlienEyes without exception]].
** The Mi-Go in "Literature/TheWhispererInDarkness" take a stab at this trope with the... materials they have at hand.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** This apparently used to be the case for Death, who would appear in the form of whatever {{Psychopomp}} the deceased expected. But he eventually decided it was more trouble than it was worth, and it's not like anyone ''really'' expected him to turn up at all, so nowadays he sticks with the [[TheGrimReaper robed skeleton carrying a scythe]], because it's a form ''he's'' comfortable with.
** The God of Evolution in ''Discworld/TheLastContinent'' takes the form of an elderly man with a long white beard, despite possibly not being familiar with humans at all (his backstory seems a bit confused on this point), because he can sense that this is a form which the wizards (who are mostly elderly men with long white beards) associate with wisdom.
* A rare audio example from ''Literature/TheDivineComedy''; the speech of Dante's great-great-grandfather in the Heaven of UsefulNotes/{{Mars}} expresses thoughts so deep a mere mortal could not comprehend. In his deep sympathy for his great-great-grandson, he allowed "his speech to descend to meet the limit of our intellect" and refrained from speaking truths beyond mortal comprehension.
* ''Literature/DoctorWhoNewAdventures'' novels by Dave Stone reveal that the way the TARDIS interior appears to humans is "A Form You Are Comfortable With" (in its natural form the controls try to ''bite'' you), and strongly imply that the same applies to the Doctor himself.
* In ''Literature/{{Dragonvarld}}'', [[MeaningfulName Draconas]] is the the designated guy for to do this on behalf of his entire species. He's a dragon inside, and can use their magic, but generally looks like a normal human, so can be sent among humans without fuss.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' book "Ghost Story", [[spoiler:Harry starts out the book in a place that's "in-between" the normal world and the afterlife, possibly some sort of limbo. When he asks one character there what's going on, Harry is told that he's "allowed to see as much as he can handle".]]
* In the ''Literature/DumarestOfTerra'' book ''Prison of Night'', Dumarest meets with a HiveMind. It takes the form of a [[GoodShepherd religious leader]] he'd known years before, stating that the hive has assumed this appearance because "the shape is one you find comforting and trust." Dumarest isn't a very trusting person, so this is a strong statement.
* Creator/DavidEddings' ''Literature/TheElenium''/''Literature/TheTamuli'':
** Subverted by Aphrael. Although she is a goddess, she chooses to appear as a barefoot little girl -- not so much for the comfort of the humans with whom she interacts, but for her ''own''. She likes to be cuddled and kissed and treated like a little princess, so she adopts the form that is virtually guaranteed to win her such treatment. Her true form isn't that difficult to get around -- a gorgeous, pale, nude young woman. Who glows. And flies. And is a source of magic. And can destroy you with a thought, if she feels like it. The only reason Sparhawk isn't comfortable with her true form is [[PleasePutSomeClothesOn her nudity goes against his gentlemanly propriety]].
*** Also, by the time he first sees her true form she's already assumed a new disguise form as [[spoiler:his daughter]], so naturally seeing her as a beautiful naked woman is a little off-putting.
** Played straight in ''The Tamuli'' trilogy with Xanetia. The most skilled of the Delphae, when she ventures outside her city, she alters her natural light emission to make herself look like an ordinary Tamul. This is not so much for the comfort of the heroes who are by this point used to the idea but rather for the general public since the general reaction to seeing a Delphae (better known as the [[PhosphorEssence Shining Ones]]) is to run in terror.
* ''Literature/{{Everworld}}''
** Senna has her astrally-projected form take the form of a military-looking man when communicating with her followers, wisely suspecting they would find that more authoritative than a pretty sixteen-year-old girl. When she actually brings them to Everworld she eventually creates the illusion of herself as a pseudo-Valkyrie for the same reason.
** Dionysus also admits that the gods (at least the Olympians) do this, taking whatever form they feel suits their particular profession; he, for example, goes for a more "approachable" look since he enjoys mortal company. When Christopher questions why Artemis (goddess of virgins) would choose to look attractive, Dionysus replies that a pledge of eternal chastity wouldn't be worth as much if men didn't ''want'' to have sex with her.
*** Zeus is so overwhelming that seeing him will kill a mortal (referencing the Semele myth). He talks with mortals by first taking some other form (first an eagle, later a bull) and slowly easing himself into a more humanoid appearance. April notes that she has to look away as he does this, since looking for too long feels like staring into the sun.
* ''Literature/{{Flatland}}: A Romance of Three Dimensions'', features an interesting variation of this trope. As the Square passes through Lineland, the king of Lineland can only perceive the Square as another Line. When a Solid passes through the plane of Flatland, the Square can only perceive the Solid as another Shape.
* ''Literature/GarrettPI''
** In Glen Cook's book ''Petty Pewter Gods'', it turns out that practically all of the gods of the various pantheons are actually refugees from another dimension that feed on faith. Their true form seems to look something like a giant glowing sea anemone -- or at least, that's the form of something that tries to break free and into the real world.
** In ''Cruel Zinc Melodies'', a mysterious presence [[spoiler: that's really a miles-long sentient fungal mass]] under the World Theater's construction-site sends a projected image of Eleanor to communicate with Garrett.
* In ''[[Literature/GauntsGhosts Ghostmaker]]'', [[spoiler:an Eldar Farseer]] requires the aid of Rawne's Ghosts to [[spoiler:defend a lost webway gate]], but doesn't want the [[spoiler:Eldar]] presence to be known to them. So, he uses his psychic abilities to produce a [[LotusEaterMachine sort-of Lotus Eater effect]], making them believe that they're on Tanith fighting alongside other Guardsmen against the forces of Chaos, when in reality, they're fighting through the ruin and the Guardsmen they're fighting alongside are actually [[spoiler:Dire Avengers]]. The masquerade isn't very convincing and it's eventually broken by the Ghosts themselves.
* Played with in Creator/JoeHaldeman's short story "A Time to Live", when the protagonist is talking to a SufficientlyAdvancedAlien.
-->I asked him why he didn't show me his true form. I am too old to be afraid of bogeymen. He did change into his true form and I asked that he change back into one of the others. I had to know which end to talk to.
* Subverted in ''Literature/HaloHuntersInTheDark'': After Olympia Vale is kidnapped by an ancient artificial intelligence, it assumes a holographic form resembling Vale so the two can converse. Rather than being comforted by it, though, Olympia finds talking to "herself" to be rather unsettling, especially when [[spoiler:the AI reveals it's the one that activated the Halos, which will cause the xenocide of all living species.]]
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'',[[spoiler: after being "killed" by Voldemort, Harry finds himself in an AfterlifeAntechamber that looks like King's Cross Station. Dumbledore, who meets him there, is a bit surprised by the description, but says it's what he can cope with. When Harry asks if he has to go back, Dumbledore extends the metaphor: he could, if he wished, metaphorically catch a train. "Where would it take me?" "On."]]
** Another possible interpretation of that scene is that [[spoiler: Dumbledore himself is actually Death, in a form Harry would trust as advisor.]]
* The [[OurAngelsAreDifferent angels]] in ''Literature/HisDarkMaterials'' have a true form which is apparently something like architecture, but humans and ''panserbjørne'' (and others) see them as {{Winged Humanoid}}s because their mind just can't wrap itself around their true forms. Technically, the angels aren't even taking this form, the mind of the observer just interprets them as looking like angels. This even applies to witches, who have much more expanded minds than other races and were aware of things like parallel universes long before them.
* In the ''Literature/{{Illuminatus}}'' trilogy, an entity presumed to be the Devil manifests at the climax of a memorable Black Mass. The defrocked priest (defrocked for detrousering altar boys) Padre Pederastia, screams ''Come not in that form!'' as the entity begins to appear. Bidden to come in a form we can be comfortable in seeing, the form in which you move and go about your business in the world, the entity complies. He adopts the form of evangelist Billy Graham.
* In Ilona Andrews' ''Literature/KateDaniels''' series, there's a shapeshifting infodealer named Saiman who uses his ability to physically become any man or woman he can imagine in his efforts at ferreting out information and for various social dealings. When he's doing his thirty-six-hundred-dollar-an-hour infodealing business (which, truth be told, he's worth the price because he gets results) in the comfort of his own home, he chooses to look like a pleasant, intellectual fellow approaching forty. The trope is subverting, too, as Saiman really doesn't like his own natural form [[spoiler:-- a pure-white-skinned, ice-green-haired brutish looking absolute brick of a bruiser who's incidentally about eight and a half feet tall. See, Saiman owes his shapeshifting powers to his heritage. He is one-half ice giant, one-quarter human, and one-quarter god. Specifically, his grandfather is Loki. And he doesn't feel his muscles-like-rock exterior matches his genius interior.]] So the various striking appearances he crafts -- striking men and beautiful women, depending on what he feels is appropriate -- are all an effort to make a form he himself is comfortable with.
* Parodied in ''Literature/JohnDiesAtTheEnd'' by David Wong. When traveling to another dimension, the inhabitants there greet them completely in the nude for fear of appearing otherwise would disturb the visitors. They couldn't be more wrong.
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': Gods in general are like this.
** The innards of Noitearc, the Great Tree that Supports the worlds, are seen as tunnels of rainbow light by the mortals traveling them. This is because they can't comprehend its true nature.
** Right in the first chapter of the first book, Tasio's true form is stated to be something "far less pleasing" to behold than his default elven form.
** Reapers look like TheGrimReaper because that's what humans are familiar with. Being abstract creatures, they shift their physical manifestation [[DontFearTheReaper in order to appear more comforting]] (rogue reapers do the same to inspire terror).
* Played with in a ComicBook/JudgeDredd spin-off novel, ''Wetworks'' by Dave Stone: An alien adopts the form of a certain famous cartoon character in an attempt to make the humans it deals with more comfortable; it doesn't really work, partly because seeing a cartoon character in the flesh is actually pretty discomforting, and partly because although the alien's shape has changed it neglected to do anything about the fact that it constantly emits a toxic gas.
* In ''Literature/TheKharkanasTrilogy'' Azathanai don't have one fixed physical form, as they can shapeshift at will. So, when Draconus poses as a Tiste to be able to live among them they accept him as one of them.
* The reason Walter o' Dim took the appearance of Roland's bondsman, Marten, in Creator/StephenKing's ''Literature/TheGunslinger''.
* Abstract example: Creator/StanislawLem's ''Golem'' (an artificial intelligence of the 14th generation) is pure intellect and has no personality whatsoever. When it gives lectures at the M.I.T. for a while, it is forced to assume a personality (an eloquent and apodictical preacher) so the humans can at least begin to accept it as an interlocutor, even though both sides are perfectly aware of the pretense.
** Subverted in ''Literature/{{Solaris}}'' by Creator/StanislawLem, where a planet-sized alien intelligence spawns human replicants convincingly interacting with the protagonists, while the purpose of this phenomenon and the message, if any, behind it are a maddening enigma.
* The ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'' series:
** The Arisians. Mentor, in particular, has manifested as a giant brain in a jar, a giant brain ''not'' in a jar, a hard-bitten detective, a university professor, and a seven-foot woman. Though, given how the Arisians work, this may be less "A Form You Are Comfortable With" and more "A Form That Will Elicit the Desired Reactions". In any event, they don't achieve this by taking physical forms but rather by projecting the desired forms as mental images to their audience.
** Played straight later when one of the Lensmen encounters an Eddorian. The Arisians, knowing that even a second-level Lensman looking upon the true form of an Eddorian will go mad, "disguise" the Eddorian as a giant brain-thing and pass it off as a renegade Arisian. The ''third''-level Lensmen who later encounter Eddorians presumably get the full experience, but they're also mentally equipped to handle it, having minds that (at least ''in potentia'') surpass the Arisians' own.
* Creator/CSLewis:
** Explored in ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia''. Aslan the talking lion isn't just a CrystalDragonJesus, he actually ''is'' Jesus. Or rather, on Earth, among humans, he went by that name and form, while in the TalkingAnimal world of Narnia, he manifests as a fellow talking animal.
** In ''Literature/TheGreatDivorce'', a spirit in Heaven posits that all our choices, and even Time itself, are essentially a kind of image through which we can perceive eternal reality.
** Yet another C. S. Lewis example from the finale of ''Literature/TheScrewtapeLetters''. Screwtape is reaming Wormwood for [[spoiler:allowing his patient to die]], and in his beautifully goosebumps-inducing description of what it is like when humans encounter God after they die, one of the things he says is that God "wears the form of a man."
** Near the end ''[[Literature/TheSpaceTrilogy Perelandra]]'', two [[OurAngelsAreDifferent eldila]] attempt to find a suitable form to take when they meet the king and queen of Perelandra. Good thing, too, as their first two attempts wouldn't have worked at all. In particular, one of those forms is described as being a particular perception of the eldila in much the same way as suffering a concussion and seeing stars is a particular perception of a rock (i.e. one that has been thrown at your head).
* Explored extensively in C.S. Friedman's ''Literature/TheMadnessSeason''. The forbearer-type aliens called Saudar went to immense efforts to tame and enslave the inherently formless beings known as the Mara, who could not only adapt themselves to ''any shape,'' but could analyze the brain of the shape they took to immediately become fluent in spoken language, body language, and given enough time, social and cultural nuance as well. They went to all this trouble because, as we find out towards the end, the Saudar were ugly as sin and would not have been accepted by any alien race they encountered; they needed the shapeshifters to act as their ambassadors.
* ''Literature/TheMemoryWars''
** Gods present themselves in a variety of forms, to fit how a given culture or society has interpreted them. Morrigan, for instance, has also been known as Hecate, Janus, and Loki.
* ''Literature/TheMortalInstruments'': Nobody from Earth would want to see [[EldritchAbomination what Asmodeus really looks like]], so in ''Literature/CityOfHeavenlyFire'' he presents himself in a humanoid form not that different from Magnus.
* In ''Literature/TheNekropolisArchives'', the collective being called the Watchers originally had no physical form. After observing the Darkfolk, they learned to assume shapes in order to interact with other beings. They primarily manifest as insects, but can also take any other form.
* In ''Literature/{{Neuromancer}}'', Wintermute speaks to the main character through cyberspace and takes the forms of people from his past. Largely because he lacks a personality of his own, adopting that of others is the only way he can communicate with humans. Neuromancer on the other hand, [[spoiler: has constructed a personality for himself, and takes the form of a 13-year old Brazilian boy.]]
* Wheeler, an alien of some kind or other beyond human understanding in the books ''Signal to Noise'' and ''A Signal Shattered'', by Eric S. Nylund takes on a sort of human form. He takes on the form of the protagonist, Jack, except for perhaps some odd little differences such as the spinning gears in his eyes.
* Literature/OrionFirstEncounter: The titular ship Orion reshapes itself to fit its pilots.
* In ''Literature/{{Otherland}}'', Jongleur tries to force this on The Other through the use of computer simulations. However, it's alien enough and has enough control that the simulation always warps into something disturbing. It may be telling that he ends up preferring to communicate with it as Anubis, while it whispers to him from a coffin.
* In the ''Literature/ParrishPlessis'' series, after the hero is infected with TheCorruption, the Eskaalim parasite appears in her mind in the form of an angel. It claims that her subconscious mind is responsible for giving it this appearance since she [[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm cannot comprehend its true form]].
* ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians''
** The Mist is used to blur the perception normal people have when witnessing demigod events. For instance, in ''The Lightning Thief'', during the showdown between Ares and Percy on the Los Angeles beach, they have swords but bystanders and LAPD officers think they are having a gunfight. It causes a GasLeakCoverup event afterwards since it is said that Ares "fired" a shot that caused an underground gas line to rupture and blow up several police cars -- in reality Ares waving a fireball at the cruisers.
** In ''The Last Olympian'', Percy believes that the reason Mrs. O'Leary is not noticed while bounding through the busy streets of Manhattan at mid-day is because the Mist makes them mistake her for a semi truck.
** Chiron can choose to appear in a wheelchair instead of Centaur form depending on what he feels like.
** In general the gods, Titans and the like take human or humanoid form around company, partly because it allows them to [[MesACrowd multitask elsewhere]], and partly because any lesser beings who see their true, divine forms tend to [[BrownNote disintegrate into ash]].
** In the SequelSeries ''Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus'', [[spoiler: [[EldritchAbomination Tartarus]] takes humanoid form to engage in direct combat with Percy and Annabeth, [[MindScrew thus manifesting]] [[EldritchLocation inside his own heart]].]]
* Subverted with Reketrebn in Doug Naylor's solo ''Literature/RedDwarf'' novel, ''Last Human''. As a Symbi-morph, it attempts to please Lister by appearing as Kochanski. He tells it not to, as he is missing her deeply. Reketrebn takes Rimmer's form, which Lister definitely doesn't want to see. As a result, Reketrebn takes on its neutral form unless required for practical reasons (such as appearing as Kryten will allow Lister to access his subconscious, as Lister generally knows what to do, but consults Kryten as he lacks confidence in his own intelligence).
* In ''Literature/{{Seraphina}}'' dragons must stay in their saarantras around human territories.
* In ''The Seventh Sword'' by Creator/DaveDuncan the demigod of volcanoes always appears as a five-year old street urchin. Early in the first novel Wally asks him to show his true form and "sees" an immensely powerful and wise being making him feel incredibly inferior. [[OOCIsSeriousBusiness Wally cowers and incoherently begs for mercy]] and the demigod in his boy form has to calm him down.
* Michael Scott Rohan's ''Literature/TheSpiralSeries'' does this twice to the protagonist. In ''Literature/ChaseTheMorning'' it's part of the BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind with the BigBad, and in ''Literature/CloudCastles'' it's his interaction with the BigGood. Both times it's presented as a business deal in his office, since that's how his brain could best handle what was happening.
* In ''Literature/TheSpaceTrilogy'', the angelic Eldila are ordinarily barely-visible disturbances in the light. In ''Perelandra'', two make an effort to pick a more accessible form (to meet some very important humans), but it takes some practice--after a couple of failed attempts (including one EldritchAbomination) they settle on "giant glowing humanoids".
* Franchise/StarTrekNovelverse
** The Seleneans; in their natural state they are only semi-humanoid at best, and rather ferocious-looking. The Selenean Pod Mothers, who have great control over their offsprings' genetics, have bred certain broods designed specifically for offworld contact. These individuals, Y'Lira Modan of ''Literature/StarTrekTitan'' among them, take a form more pleasing to humanoid eyes, but retain the ability to shift into their natural state if need be.
** Inverted in the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' novel ''Eyes of the Beholders''. The ''Enterprise'' encounters an artifact of an extinct race that is sending out a psychic beacon that causes insanity with prolonged exposure. It's so oddly shaped that they can't look at the thing, and beaming aboard it overloads Data and sends Worf on a homicidal rampage. Although they deduce that it's the cultural legacy of an extremely unique race (it was a spacefaring art museum with psychic advertising) Picard orders it to be destroyed, before they realize that they can reprogram Data to be comfortable enough with it to go in and turn it off.
** In a couple of novels, Q tries to expand Picard's horizons; one time he has them take the form of a 3-headed serpent, but it's too much for Picard; another time, when he takes Picard and Data to the Continuum, the unfiltered sensory perception of the Continuum makes Data ''shut down''.
* ''Franchise/StarWarsLegends'':
** In ''Literature/LukeSkywalkerAndTheShadowsOfMindor'', the rock-inhabiting energy beings humans call [[StarfishAliens Melters]] have none of the same senses humans do, but sense the slight electricity in human bodies. Luke is known for being able to communicate with anything, but when he tries to [[StarfishLanguage communicate with Melters]] he has to perceive the world the way they do, and it's too alien for him to be able to make sense of it. Instead he interprets the experience as floating in space, with himself and all other lives, including theirs, as different stars. He's aware that it's a metaphor and that if he stretches it too far it's just not going to work.
* ''Tomorrow and Tomorrow'' by Creator/CharlesSheffield has its protagonist awaken in the insanely-far future, where most sapience has existed in the form of computer software for untold ages. The locals have no clue how to communicate with the uploaded copy of a 20th-century mind, and he has to teach this trope to them simply to avoid having his mind shattered. All the story's 'characters' from there onward are instances of this trope, technically including the protagonist himself.
* The dragons in ''Literature/TheTraitorSonCycle'' are not exactly very approachable in their natural form, so they shapeshift whenever they want to chat.
** The Wyrm of Erch pretends to be a human - "Master Smythe" - whenever he interacts with people.
** [[spoiler:Ash]] mocks the trope - every time he interacts with Thorn, he takes on a form of a human afflicted with a bad case of BodyHorror.
* The {{Web Serial Novel}} ''Literature/TheZombieKnight'' features reapers who act as {{Psychopomp}}s for the dead. The reapers are basically imaginary. They don't have a "true" form and those who can see them perceive them exactly as they expect a reaper to look.
* ''LightNovel/TheUnexploredSummonBloodSign'' has a slightly predatory variant. The [[EldritchAbomination White Queen]] is not mortal, but she shapeshifts to match the age of her LoveInterest, regardless of how many years it's been since they last met. The form(s) she takes when she's afraid or angry are much less human.
* In ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'', the Ainur, who are normally incorporeal spirits, capable of changing their physical shape as easily as people can change clothes, upon arriving to Arda, take on a form closely resembling the "Children of Iluvatar" - Elves and Men, for the sake of convinience during future interactions with them.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The Argonds in ''Series/TheAdventureGame'' look like dragons (hence the many anagrams of the word "dragon" in the series, including "Argond" itself and the names of the various Argonds), except in Series 2 when they looked like they were wearing fuzzy Halloween ghost costumes. However, when the planet is visited by teams of time-travellers, they transform themselves into humans (so that in the credits, the humans are credits as being ''played by'' the Argonds instead of the other way round) to make the contestants feel more at home... except for their monarch, the Rangdo of Arg, who turns into a potted aspidistra in Series 2 and 3 and a giant teapot in Series 4.
* Done in the ''Series/{{Animorphs}}'' live-action adaptation, where the Andalite Visser 3 takes the form of a human in order to make his enemies (humans who he thinks are Andalites) more comfortable. If you think that sounds like a poor excuse to cut corners on the show's special effects, congratulations, you're smarter than the target demographic. (In the books, Visser Three does a human form that he uses on a few occasions, but ''always'' with a specific purpose; it's a tool like turning into a bird or a bear is for the Animorphs themselves, and he has more than one. On Yeerk ships, he looks like his usual Andalite self, and in combat, he has a different horrifying alien morph every book. In the show, V3 ''not'' in human form is a rare sight even when there's no in-universe reason to do it.)
* Depending on your interpretation of the ''Series/AshesToAshes'' [[GrandFinale finale]], Nelson [[spoiler:could be an Angel in Human form (supposing that Angels wouldn't look like humans to begin with),[[EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory Jesus]] or God himself.]]
* ''Series/BabylonFive''
** Lorien appears as a wizened old man-alien... but his true form is a starship-sized ball of tentaculared glowy gas...
** The Vorlons -- When Kosh saves Sheridan, he appears as whatever each person thinks an angel (or the equivalent) looks like, and he appears in Sheridan's and G'kar's fathers in their minds. It isn't until later, when Ulkesh (and the remaining fragment of Kosh hiding in Sheridan's body, which has apparently called Ulkesh out for a fight to the death) appears outside his encounter suit, that the true form of the Vorlons (thus far revealed only to Dr. Kyle and Lyta) appears: giant flying plasmatic squiddy things. Slightly subverted with the Shadows, who are frequently invisible but always corporeal and vaguely resemble giant spiky scorpions.
** Londo claimed to see nothing when Kosh left his suit, with the implication that this was because he was touched by the Shadows. WordOfGod is that "Londo saw what he said he saw". It has been proposed by some that Londo saw nothing because he is an atheist, although his status as an atheist is only suggested in a conversation reported by Vir many years later.
** ''Both'' the Vorlons and Shadows play the trope when they try to make one final push to woo the Younger Races in the Season 4 episode "Into The Fire". Sheridan, being convinced by the Vorlons, sees an AnthropomorphicPersonification of justice encased in ice. Meanwhile, Delenn, being convinced by the Shadows, sees the people she's been most familiar during her time on B5, one by one, eventually seeing a duplicate of herself.
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003''
** Angels appear to characters throughout the series in the form of other characters. Notably Six to Baltar and vice versa, as well as an angel who looks like Leoben to Starbuck. Head-Leoben is the only one who confirms this, though. Head-Six and Head-Baltar appear in these forms even when no-one is around to see them. In fact, [[spoiler:Tyrol]] implies that the Final Five designed Cylon Model Six after the angel they saw, not vice-versa.
** That incident where Head-Baltar appeared to Baltar. Baltar was everything ''but'' comfortable.
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica1978'': The angelic-like ascended aliens (called Beings of Light) from the original series did this when they needed Apollo's help with a mercy mission. He got a sidekick that only he (and later Starbuck) could see called "John".
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''. Played with by [[UltimateEvil the First Evil]]. Able to take the form of any person who has died, the First ''sometimes'' will manipulate people by appearing as a comforting, departed loved one... but more often than not, it will maliciously choose whatever form will ''most'' freak its victim out. ''And it's really good at it, too.''
* ''Series/{{Angel}}''
*** Jasmine goes through great pains to manifest as a beautiful black woman in this plane, but her real form that can be glimpsed when she's feeding involves green light and tentacles. Also, anybody who comes in contact with her blood will see her as a rotting corpse.
*** Again used with Illyria who uses the general form of Fred (granted she's blue) despite the fact that it makes some people (especially Wesley) uncomfortable. Leads to a Major TearJerker in the final episode.
*** In "Birthday", Skip creates a "reality construct" to talk to Cordelia. It's TheMall, [[RetailTherapy where he assumes she'll be comfortable]].
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E8LetsKillHitler "Let's Kill Hitler"]], the TARDIS did this when communicating to the Doctor how much time he had left to live. It was even PlayedForLaughs when the first form the TARDIS used is himself, he said, "Oh no, no, no, no, no. Give me someone I like." The interface turned into Rose, Martha and Donna, but this just made the Doctor feel guilty. It settled on Amelia Pond - as in, Amy as a child before her various Doctor-related traumas.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E13TheNameOfTheDoctor "The Name of the Doctor"]] the Doctor admits that having travelled in time more than any other Time Lord in history, long-term exposure to the background radiation of the Time Vortex has rendered his "true form" as a NegativeSpaceWedgie woven within the fabric of the universe. This is revealed to be the "corpse" held within his tomb, rather than the actual physical body of his final incarnation.
--->'''The Doctor:''' What were you expecting, a body? Bodies are boring. I've had loads of them.
** In the 50th anniversary special [[Recap/DoctorWho50thASTheDayOfTheDoctor "The Day of the Doctor"]], the sentient superweapon known as the Moment appears as the Bad Wolf version of Rose Tyler, since it knows she is someone the Doctor trusted. Except he hasn't met her yet.
--->'''The Moment:''' She's from your past. Or was it your future? I always get those two mixed up.
** Done by the TARDIS as a TakeThat against Clara in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E9Hide "Hide"]], where the holographic interface specifies it took the form Clara has in the highest esteem, which is Clara herself.
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS36E7ThePyramidAtTheEndOfTheWorld "The Pyramid at the End of the World"]]: The Monks, RealityWarper aliens who look like tall, cadaverous forms in tattered red robes, claim they chose that form for the benefit of humanity. When an American military officer points out that they look like corpses, they respond that they see humans as corpses due to [[WeAreAsMayflies their short lifespans]].
* Parodied in a Christmas special for ''Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond'' where Rob pretends to be Santa, but Ray's daughter isn't fooled. His response? He had taken the form of her uncle Rob because it's a form she'd be comfortable with. This is immediately {{Lampshaded}} by Ray, who says "You're Santa Claus, not a [[Franchise/StarTrek Klingon]]."
* Both types of Ancients in ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' use this trope to appear to John Crichton: "Jack" of the Endangered Ancients typically appeared as Crichton's father, only manifesting his true insectoid form three times - including his [[ThisWasHisTrueForm death]]. On the other hand, Einstein of the interdimensional True Ancients chose the form of a well-dressed gentleman with [[BlackEyesOfEvil pitch-black eyes.]]
-->'''Crichton:''' Nice threads. Helps to humanize you. Makes it easier for me to sympathize with your problems.
* In ''Series/{{The Flash|2014}}'' Barry briefly enters the speed force while attempting to regain his speed after surrendering it to Zoom. The whole place appears to be Central City, though mistier than normal, while the force talks to him in the forms of people he values in life, like Joe and Iris. He finds the whole situation more unsettling than comfortable, though.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': Presumably why Arya's instructor(s) at the House of Black and White look like "Jaqen H'ghar".
* TheEighties Creator/Channel4 EdutainmentShow ''Helping Henry'' as described in the ExpositoryThemeTune:
-->''And so we crossed the universe [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext disguised as dining chairs]].''
* This occurs in ''Series/HannahMontana'' during the Creator/DisneyChannel "Wish Upon A Star" crossover. After Miley wishes herself to actually be Hannah Montana, a guardian angel appears to her in the form of her bodyguard, Roxy, saying she is shaped like Roxy to "make her feel comfortable".
* In ''Series/JoanOfArcadia'', wherein God tells Joan directly, "I look and sound like this because this is what you can understand." Check the page quote for more.
* The Imagin in ''Series/KamenRiderDenO'' have an interesting take on this trope. They ALWAYS take a form their host has knowledge of, as their form is from their memories. While this normally more comfortable than taking with a random floating orb of yellow energy with no face, it's different in that it's not for the host's benefit but because the Imagin wants a physical form.
* In ''Series/{{Lost}}'', the Man in Black/Smoke Monster can take the form of any person he wants, and he takes different forms to appeal to different people. To Jack, he was Christian; to Eko, he was Yemi; to Ben, he was Alex; to Richard, he was Isabella; and in his final form, when he intended to influence the island's entire population, he was John Locke. He could create hallucinations of almost anyone, but itís implied that he could only physically mimic a limited number of people. Every solid human shape he takes is of a dead person whose corpse is on the island ("Isabella" never physically interacts with Richard). This would explain why he took the form of Christian in front of characters for whom that form carried no significance; Christian was the most convenient non-threatening form that he had in his repertoire at the time.
* Subverted in a ''big'' way on ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'' where the GrimReaper takes a form that Al is ''not'' comfortable with at all - Peg. And worse, while she does promise to spare him if his family admits that they need him, she cruelly mocks him the whole time, telling him about terrible fates waiting for him in the afterlife, then adding "maybe" to the end, just to keep him guessing. She does keep her word after Al wins the bet, but still manages to make one last jab before she leaves, saying she'll be back the day after he wins the lottery (adding "maybe" to the end once again).
* Played straight in ''Series/OdysseyFive'' when the chararacters meet a member of a race of {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s:
-->'''Sarah:''' I guess I should've expected it.\\
'''Neil:''' What?\\
'''Sarah:''' God ''is'' an old white guy.\\
'''Kurt:''' It's probably an artificial construct so we won't freak out, derived from TV transmissions.\\
'''Sarah:''' How do you know that?\\
'''Kurt:''' 300 hours of ''Franchise/StarTrek''.
* Used in ''Series/PowerRangersMegaforce'', where mentor Gosei, an alien, admits quickly to the Rangers shortly after recruiting them that his appearance as a tiki-like face on the wall is merely one taken because its more comfortable for them than his true appearance, conveniently making him look similar to ''his'' mentor, [[Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers Zordon]], not that the Rangers could know it.
* On ''Series/{{Revolution}}'', [[spoiler:the nanites]] like to mimic the forms of people familiar to and loved by the person they're talking to, specifically because the person will pay attention and not freak out ''quite'' as bad (they do occasionally tend to think they're going crazy, though). They don't physically manifest, though; they simply alter the brain of the person to perceive them as being there - which tends to support the crazy theory, as others think they are TalkingToThemself. Of course, since they're actually [[spoiler:robots the size of viruses]], seeing them at all would be quite difficult for a naked human eye.
* ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'' makes a literal date with Destiny and he shows up in the form of a handsome young man. He says he could transform into the form with the flowing robes and white hair but most people tend to prefer the young man.
* The Operators, Specialists, et. al. of ''Series/SapphireAndSteel''. [[ShrugOfGod Maybe.]]
* ''Series/StargateSG1''
** Both the Ancients and the Ori use this trope. The series even [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] it stating that the Ancients used to be human-like beings anyway, so taking our form is as natural to them as breathing. If they still breathed, that is. Similarly to the [[Series/StarTrekVoyager Q Continuum]] example above, the plane of the Ancients is also presented in "A Form You Are Comfortable With" -- as a homely American diner. Not just any diner, but one Daniel Jackson had gone to as a kid. Interestingly, [[spoiler:Anubis]] appears as an overweight guy, which is definitely meant to trick Daniel, as [[spoiler:Goa'uld always take beautiful hosts]] (his true form would be [[spoiler:a small snake]]).
** The Asgard, whom in their real shapes are typical grey aliens, have been impersonating the gods of the Norse pantheon by the way of holograms for millenia, until they deem the societies they protect are advanced enough to handle the truth.
** The Gadmeer are a sulphur-based, reptile-like species that can't live in a regular nitrogen/oxigen atmosphere and have a very different set of senses compared to humanoids. So, to deal with the human-descended Enkarans and SG-1, their giant ship creates an android based on the appearance of an Enkaran.
** Turned sideways with the Spirits from the episode of the same name. In their true form they're typical RubberForeheadAliens. For centuries they've posed as various animals to take on the roll of the Native American Spirits that the humans on their planet worship. At the end of the episode when the truth is let out they offer to use whatever form the humans want.
---> '''Xe-Ls:''' You view us now in our true form, but this is one of many forms we can take. Our friends from this world call us aliens. You call us spirits. From now on, Tonane, you and your people may view us in the form which pleases you best.
---> '''Tonane:''' You have always been kind to my people. So, whatever makes you happy.
---> '''Xe-Ls:''' I think this form makes us happy.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** Every time a member of the Q Continuum visits the ''[[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration USS Enterprise]]'', [[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine the Deep Space 9 station]], or the ''[[Series/StarTrekVoyager USS Voyager]]'', this trope occurred. Often, the Q in question would make some sort of snarky remark about having to wear a meatbag suit while doing it. When the crew of ''Voyager'' was taken to the Q Continuum itself, the appearance of this place was a version of this trope because the true nature of the Continuum is beyond the safe limits of mortal comprehension. It joked in one appearance that it should have chosen a female body to deal with Picard after seeing how easily his current love interest manipulated him.
** Data zigzags this trope. His distinctive pale gold color and inability to use contractions were purposefully done because the colonists on Dr. Soong's planet were intensely uncomfortable with his earlier more human models. They were more comfortable with a form less like their own.
** ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' featured Trelane ("The Squire of Gothos"), the Organians ("Errand of Mercy"), and the Metrons ("Arena"), all of whom took human form in order to interact with the mere mortals.
** ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'':
** The wormhole aliens used the forms of the various cast-members when they manifested to Sisko. In the first episode they keep showing him the battle where his wife died, and one of the aliens takes her form. When Sisko angrily tells them he doesn't like this, she replies that "You exist here"--in other words, it's what they can get out of his mind because it's the thing he thinks about the most. Once, Quark found a way of talking to them, and they got to use Sisko's form as well.
** The Changelings. Odo was essentially doing this every episode, which would actually make this the most frequent occurrence of this trope in the whole franchise. It was actually an instance of CharacterDevelopment when he ''stopped'' being so compulsive about "A Form You Are Comfortable With" and became more interested in experiencing his own shapeshifter-hood, acquiring quarters and outfitting them with various objects to imitate, and "sleeping" anywhere he liked instead of in a bucket in his office. It was also provocative when he met Laas, another one of the Hundred changeling babies sent to explore the galaxy, and one who, bitter at the Solids, had no interest in making them "comfortable". But like the Q example above, all of the other changelings appear in a form resembling Odo's [[UncannyValley mostly-human-but-just-a-little-off appearance]] despite being capable of perfectly mimicking any species in the galaxy.
** ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'':
** The Caretaker in the pilot episode appears to the crew as a kindly old man in a holographic simulation of a Southern plantation, because it believed that would be a more comfortable venue than its true jellyfish-like form, briefly glimpsed at the end of the episode.
--->"Well! Since no one seems to care for any corn, we'll have to proceed ''ahead of schedule.''"
** Earlier Tuvok speculates this is meant to calm down the [[AlienAbduction abductees]] prior to their [[MedicalHorror medical examination]].
** After Species 8472 took some mood stabilizers and stopped killing everything, they took human form to rehearse infiltrating the Federation headquarters on Earth. Later they have peace talks with ''Voyager'', which would likely have been difficult in their original three meter tall form, where they kill everything they touch. Note that they were only killing everyone because they thought everyone was like the Borg, who tried to assimilate them.
** In "The Fight", StarfishAliens communicate with Chakotay via a ClipShow montage of dialogue taken from his memories. Even then [[EldritchAbomination he doesn't find it very comfortable]].
** A Vadiian scientist attempts to do this, but fails spectacularly. Because Vadiians suffer from a [[BodyHorror disfiguring disease]], the scientist tries to make B'Elanna Torres more comfortable in his presence by ''stealing her shipmate's face and grafting it over his own.'' Torres is understandably horrified.
* In the '80s medical drama ''Series/StElsewhere'', Dr Fiscus (Howie Mandel) had an out of body experience while in surgery after an accident. During his ordeal, he meets God, who looks exactly like him. God's explanation: "I made you in my image, didn't I?"
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''
** Played with the Crossroads Demons, who almost ''always'' takes form of a sexually appealing woman. Considering that the demon seals her [[DealWithTheDevil Faustian deals]] with a kiss, this probably plays into her advantage. Same goes for Lilith, who at first appeared as a CreepyChild to murder their families, but when she realized she had to broker a deal with Sam she showed up in an older meat suit. Subverted in later episodes. The demons will appear in whatever body they've decided to possess, and they don't ''always'' pick a body just to seduce a human. Instead of a sexy lady or a young stud, Crowley (King of the Crossroads) possessed something along the lines of a well-heeled, middle-aged Englishman.
** Angels have to possess human "vessels" in order to interact with humans, because seeing an angel's true form will [[EyeScream burn out a person's eyes]] and its true voice causes [[BrownNote shattered glass and bleeding ears]]. Castiel eventually reveals his true form is "about the size of your Chrysler Building." This is inverted with the FallenAngel Anna, who takes a form she's comfortable with. She was a human, but became an angel again, which destroyed her human body. She decided that she liked that body, and "calls in some favors" to get it back.
** In season 5, when Lucifer is released but has not taken a human vessel yet, he appears to his first vessel Nick in the form of Nick's deceased wife to make the offer to become his willing channeler more persuasive. Later in the season, he appears to Sam as [[spoiler:his dead girlfriend Jessica.]]
** In "Dark Side of the Moon", the brothers visit Heaven. While there, the garden at the center of Heaven will change its appearance according to what the viewer most expects it to look like, becoming the botanical gardens in Cleveland for Sam and Dean. Also, angels still appear human and wingless, which is even lampshaded by Zachariah:
--->'''Zachariah:''' In Heaven I have six wings and four faces, one of which is a lion. You see this because you're... limited.
** Reapers also tend to appear in the form of a human to the recently deceased, such as Tessa appearing to Dean as an attractive young woman when her true form proved rather frightening to him.
--->'''Dean:''' You sure are a lot prettier than the last reaper I saw.\\
'''Tessa:''' You saw my true form and flipped out. It kinda hurts a girl's feelings.
** In "Death Takes a Holiday", the ghost of a young boy was frightened of even Tessa's human form, until on Dean's advice, she changed her denim and leather outfit into a cute white dress.
* The bringers of the dome in ''Series/UnderTheDome'' gave this a shot in the season 1 finale.

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* This trope is at the least OlderThanFeudalism, with gods taking forms that appeal to mortals, most notably [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Zeus]]. Indeed, the story of Semele has Zeus forced to show her his true form, which promptly kills her. And seeing as this is Zeus, he's got his reasons to make himself appeal to mortals.
* ''Literature/TheBible''
** Averted in Abrahamic religions. Seeing the face of God is said to result in instantaneous death. Moses, a favored prophet, was however treated to a view of the back of God. It sent him flying out of a temple and left his face glowing. The chariot of God, the Merkabah, is similarly unusual. Ezekiel and Isiah are great sources for descriptions of God as being difficult to describe. Also, these religions generally emphasize God having no physical form; it's considered fairly blasphemous to ascribe one to him. You'd have to ask a rabbi how someone could "see God's face/glory" then. Moses didn't even get to see the form of God, he was only allowed to see His radiance.
** Generally speaking, if God does have to speak with someone, He does so by sending an angel to speak for Him. Jewish tradition holds that the angel who usually does this is named Metatron, and that in all cases where the Bible does not explicitly identify an angel being present to speak for God, it's Metatron who's actually doing the talking. However, God did appear before Moses in the form of a bush that was on fire yet not burning.
** Additionally, [[OurAngelsAreDifferent angels tend to have disturbingly non-standard numbers of things]] like [[WingedHumanoid wings]], [[EyesDoNotBelongThere eyes]], and [[MultipleHeadCase faces]]. It's telling about the "true form" of angels when, almost without exception, their first words are "Don't be afraid". Even the angels were described using this trope, since their descriptions don't normally work in the natural realm. Wings and wheels covered in eyes? They sometimes took on the appearance of humans, and they were still described as looking different.
** The [[GodInHumanForm manifestation of God as a human]] in the form of UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} is (or at least was 2000 years ago before people got used to it) playing the trope straight then, but subverting the expectations people had at the time.
*** Technically, God taking on a human form had less to do with this, [[MessianicArchetype than needing to taste death to serve as a price to save mankind from eternal death]]
* The ''Tao te Ching'' is an attempt to do this to the Tao, through a series of analogies.
* For the most part, the followers of Myth/EgyptianMythology understood that the various forms ascribed to their various gods weren't supposed to be how the gods actually were. Those forms were supposed to be symbolic of concepts and traits found in the gods, with the actual gods themselves being thought to exist as abstract forces.
* In Hinduism, this trope is sometimes performed trough the use of avatars. Most famously, Vishnu occasionally manifests on earth to communicate to mortals in human form. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Vishnu speaks to prince Arjuna trough his human avatar Lord Krishna. At one point, Arjuna asks if he can be allowed to see Krishna's true eternal divine form and the avatar agrees. He does first have to grant Arjura a divine sense however, since human eyes cannot see or comprehend the universal form of God.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** Most Beholders are insane, convinced that they embody the perfection and any minuscule deviations from it should be exterminated, and thus (being an ''extremely'' flexible species) wage constant species-wide civil war. It's caused by their deity, "Great Mother" who also spawns different hive mothers in every clutch who in turn spawn different variant beholders. But how it's compatible with seeing Great Mother itself? Simple: every ''individual'' sees its own features (scaled up).
** More literally, the very intelligent large or magically mighty beings in ''D&D'', like dragons and deities, will often use their shape-changing abilities to become a human simply to make their human associates less freaked out (usually for the ulterior purpose of getting laid). It's where all the ridiculous half-whatever templates come from. Although sometimes it does cross over with forms the being finds comfortable -- silver dragons stereotypically ''really like'' hanging out in humanoid form to the point they have been known to do it long-term with only other silver dragons around.
** In the few instances from ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' history when the Dark Powers have contacted someone, they've done so with an audio-only inversion of this trope: taunting, tempting and tormenting a nascent darklord using the voices of said darklord-to-be's friends, family, and enemies. In short, A Voice You Are ''Un''comfortable With.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** The Emperor did this as a matter of necessity, appearing as (very) large human wearing armour because his true form would also expose any viewers to his psychic presence, which even ten thousand years after his apparent death is powerful enough to burn out the eyes of anyone who makes even momentary psychic contact with him and is capable of maintaining a galactic navigation beacon. Sort of. He actually IS a giant man in stupendously ornate armor. Whether he grew into gianthood or performed genetic experimentation on himself is never stated. What he actually masks is his ''psychic power'', not his body. Baseline humans that see him are dazzled by a blinding light about one notch down from a Beatific Vision. Psykers get a wonderful dose of YourHeadAsplode. Then he starts actually ''doing'' things and it makes sense why he's referred to later on as the God Emperor. On the other hand, Psychic ''blanks'' like his Sisters of Silence bodyguards see... just a man.
** Slaanesh, like the other Chaos Gods, can't really be said to have a true form due to being a product of the Warp (the collective psychic energy of all living things). What makes her/him/it a little different from the other gods is that as the god(dess) of desire, she/he/it shapes itself to the person's deepest desires. As you might have surmised from the confused pronouns, this includes {{Gender Bend|er}}ing.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}''
** The Unconquered Sun has appeared in the form of a handsome four-armed human since the time when humans became the dominant race of Creation. Prior to that, he appeared as a golden scaled humanoid tyrannosaurus in honor of the Dragon Kings, who were his most ardent worshipers. He's also capable of assuming practically any form if he wants to make himself more (or less) comforting to another. His reason for assuming other forms is partially as an expression of respect and solidarity, partially for the sake of being comforting and partially because his true form (a humanoid figure of molten gold and obsidian studded with galaxies, with blazing eyes and countless arms) would [[BrownNote burn out the senses of practically any being that viewed it]].
** Other Incarnae also have the power to assume more comforting forms. Luna in particular is defined by being a [[VoluntaryShapeshifting shapeshifter]], with a multitude of forms and identities, some of which are specifically assumed to be comforting to others.
** There's also the implication that some of the jouten (bodies) of certain [[EldritchAbomination Primordials]] serve the purpose of giving them a means of interacting with lesser beings in a context other than complete awe and terror. In most cases, this doesn't constitute actual shapeshifting; they're just capable of existing as multiple bodies simultaneously.
* ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu''
** Nyarlathotep, alone among the Outer Gods, cares enough to manifest in an appearance that won't drive human beings insane. Ultimately subverted, as this is just a subtler way for him to spread madness and destruction.
** Nodens and Hypnos also exhibit this trope, albeit for very different reasons.

* In Marlowe's ''Theatre/DoctorFaustus'', the eponymous scholar is appalled by the first form Mephistophilis presents himself in after being summoned (it's never made explicit in the text what that form resembles), and asks him to come back in the shape of a [[DeathByIrony Franciscan Friar]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The alien conqueror Jenova from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''. Her original form is that of a naked woman, though it's not a very convincing disguise: she's missing arms and feet, is surrounded by [[EvilIsVisceral fleshy tubules]] (or, in the updated ''VideoGame/CrisisCore'' version, [[BeatStillMyHeart a giant heart]]) and monstrous wings, and Jenova was apparently fuzzy on where eyes are supposed to go. However, it was enough to lure the Cetra to their doom. Jenova's been locked in this form ever since she was mummified and placed in cold storage by Shina Inc. Upon reawakening, she spends much of the game disguised as Sephiroth, who - in a role reversal - is frozen solid and requires Jenova to come free him.
* Happens a few times in ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' verse.
** ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'' has Nyarlathotep, an excellent shapeshifter; being a mass of literal living, breathing ''evil'', he often uses his powers to duplicate people to stab people from where it hurts most in the shape of the people they admire or love most by [[BreakThemByTalking breaking them by talking]], and mostly inverting this trope, generally with the purpose of [[DespairEventHorizon heightening his enemies' despair so they break]], [[ForTheEvulz general attrition damage]], and [[ForTheLulz for]] [[KickTheDog shits and giggles]]. Being born of Humanity's collective unconscious has made him ''very'', '''''very''''', good at this.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'', Teddie, a Shadow, does this unconsciously so as to appear nonthreatening to the humans he wants to become like. Also, [[spoiler:Izanami as the gas station attendant, and when she reveals herself for what she is. She just appears as a young woman wearing a ''shimenawa'' mask, whereas her true form is the hideous, rotting corpse from the myths, seen here as the final phase of her boss fight (Izanami-no-Okami).]]
** In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'', [[spoiler: a God heavily implied to be YHVH]] disguises himself as Metatron in order to con the PlayerCharacter into freeing his power.
** One character in ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2'' is actually an EldritchAbomination, but appears as a human most of the time. [[spoiler:It's the Anguished One, or Alcor/Al Saiduq.]]
* Alex Mercer and Elizabeth Greene, from ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', look human enough to begin with, albeit able to shapeshift and turn parts of their bodies into weapons. Eventually, though, you realize that [[spoiler:the human form of Alex is just like all of his other disguises and that he is really the Blacklight Virus, released at Penn Station by the real Alex Mercer; before that, "he" just looked like thick, bright red goop in a test tube]]. Later in the game, Elizabeth Green turns into a mountain of flesh and biomass growing out of the sewer at Times Square, giving you a hint of how Alex might truly look. Subverted by the fact that Alex himself genuinely believes he is his human form, at least until someone tells him otherwise.
** Unclear if this actually counts, since it's less of a case of "A Form You Are Comfortable With" and more of a case of ShapeshifterDefaultForm, as once [[spoiler: you defeat her]], Elizabeth Greene's OneWingedAngel form falls over and the "original" chunk of biomass that is her plops out looking just the same. It's difficult to rule it one way or the other as it's never fully explained in the game.
* A rare example of this being played for horror comes in ''[[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon Project Origin]]'' with Alma. She pins Beckett to a wall, looming over him looking like an emaciated corpse, but then retreats and takes on the form of a healthy, attractive young woman. Made horrifying by the fact that Alma is [[StalkerWithACrush in love with Beckett]], and it's quite clear that she's doing this to appeal to him.
* The main characters of the ''VideoGame/MegaManZX'' series have to do this. If you attempt to talk to civilians while not using their human forms, the civilians flip out. The official explanation for this is that they're afraid of you, but this hardly seems to hold for those who tell you that to talk to them, you need to [[DudeWheresMyRespect "ditch the crazy outfit"]]. The human form is also the only form that doesn't aggro city guards.
* ''Videogame/{{World of Warcraft}}''
** All powerful dragons have the ability to take on a human(oid) form whenever they want. Some even adopt aliases and pass themselves off as (relatively) normal people to suit their purposes (be they good ''or'' evil). That said, the method of getting aliases and infiltrating mortal societies has become so well-known that savvy people can [[TheyWalkAmongUs spot a dragon-in-mortal-form from a mile away]]. In response, some dragons have stopped bothering with perfect disguises and let [[RedRightHand some of their draconic featured remain visible]], thus increasingly subverting this trope. Most dragons prefer to take elven forms, as they believe humans to be inferior creatures. Even Korialstrasz/Krasus, who is pretty friendly to humans, takes the form of an elderly elven mage. Deathwing and his ilk only take human forms in order to infiltrate the human society. Other dragons occasionally appear as other races, such as goblins, but only when they're undercover. [[ViewerGenderConfusion Chronormu/Chromie]] seems to be the only dragon who preferentially adopts a gnome as their mortal form because it suits [[GenderBlenderName her]] personality.
*** According to Alexstrasza, dragons tend to take humanoid forms when meeting each other because it's easier to have a meeting space large enough for several humanoids than one for several dragons.
** The ethereals also invoke this trope. Beings of pure energy in their normal form, they take a more approachable guise when trading with mortal races.
** Implied with the goblin bank manager Glutonia. Alodi references her being an elf only for Meryl Felstorm to reply that she's a goblin, to which Alodi makes a remark about her changing forms every so often.
* The various dragon gods in ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIV'' each possess two different forms, a giant, monstrous form they take when summoned and a smaller humanoid form they take when conversing with the party. During the party's first meeting with Pung Ryong, the wind dragon, he comments "perhaps this form will be easier on your eyes" as his humanoid form appears.
* Mephasm, an AffablyEvil pit-fiend in ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'', always takes the form of a purple-skinned half-elf when the player character sees him.
* Male Morrigi in ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars''. Being powerful psychic beings, they automatically give off a psychic aura that makes anyone looking at them see a divine, "good" creature from their own mythology instead of [[OurDragonsAreDifferent their true forms]] (as an example, most humans see angels). Since the Morrigi are traders and diplomats by nature, this tends to smooth over diplomatic functions with other species quite nicely. Interestingly, this aura is primarily meant to attract females, similar to the tail feathers of male peacocks. Morrigi females look for a male with the most beautiful (i.e. strongest) aura, while Morrigi males look for a female who can resist their aura.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'' with Joshua, because downtuning his vibe automatically gave him a human appearance. Played more straight with the Reapers, who appear in the Realground without their bat like wings.
* [[spoiler:Alvis]]'s human form in ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}''.
* It is hinted that Yukari Yakumo of ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' only appears to be a middle-aged woman because she specifically [[RealityWarper altered herself]] to appear that way. Her gaps, tears in reality she [[MundaneUtility uses for transportation]], provide a glimpse of her original appearance, and it isn't pretty. More than just hinted: given [[EldritchAbomination what (many) Youkai are]], it's probably safe to assume that many ''Touhou'' characters merely take human form for convenience and to [[ElegantGothicLolita wear frilly dresses]]. Outright stated with some characters that [[ShapeShifting are shown to change into a human form]].
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife'': Likely the reason the G-Man appears human and yet is so clearly ''not''.
** Confirmed by WordOfGod: G-Man's [[UncannyValley appearance]], [[BlueAndOrangeMorality demanour]] and [[AcCENTUponTheWrongSylLABle speech patterns]] are meant to invoke the image of something non-human that's trying to come off as being human but isn't bothering to make it a convincing act.
* In the God Game ''VideoGame/BlackAndWhite'' (specifically, the first one), the mortal villagers of Eden only see You as a rotating ball of energy with a symbol on it. As the player, You see a hand... one that that [[Literature/ThePictureofDorianGray reflects everything You've done on Eden]]. As the developers wrote in the making-of book, ''there are no mirrors on Eden''.
* Implied to be the case with the shapeshifting Flemeth in the ''Franchise/DragonAge'' franchise. In the first game, she presents herself as a ragged old woman, and only goes OneWingedAngel if forced. In the second, when rescuing the Hawke family from darkspawn, she starts out in her [[spoiler:dragon]] form and then shifts to a white-haired valkyrie look. She notes how "bodies are such limiting things" and alludes to the fact that she's much more than a "simple" MonsterLord. What she is exactly remains a major mystery of the series.
-->'''Hawke:''' Impressive! Where'd did you learn to turn into a Dragon?\\
'''Flemeth:''' (''Laughs'') Perhaps I ''am'' a Dragon?
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'':
** Inverted with the Nightmare Demon. It, and the aspects of it that the group fights, take the form of what each person fears the most, though we only see from the Inquisitor's perspective. The Inquisitor and [[spoiler:Hawke]] see [[SpidersAreScary spiders]], [[spoiler:Alistair or Loghain]] see darkspawn, Cassandra sees maggots crawling through filth, Sera sees empty blobs of nothing for a literal example of NothingIsScarier. The Iron Bull [[TakeOurWordForIt refuses to mention what he sees]].
** Cole, the friendly HumanoidAbomination from the same game, tells Varric during banter that the reason he took a human shape was [[TheHeart because it was the best way to help others]] - by which he means that it was the least likely to terrify the living daylights out of everyone.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect''
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', [[spoiler: the Catalyst]] appears as the little boy who was killed at the beginning of the game.
** When Shepard enters the [[spoiler: [[LotusEaterMachine geth consensus]] to remove the Reaper Code infecting the system, Legion installs sensory filters so that an organic can make some limited sense from a virtual world designed for synthetics. The anti-virus software takes the form of a giant gun. When asked about it, Legion clarifies that the geth chose something familar for their benefit, which Shepard takes as a backhanded compliment.]]
** In the ''Leviathan'' DLC [[spoiler: the actual Leviathans resemble the Reapers (since the first Reaper was created from them,]] but when telepathically communicating with Shepard they do it via a continuously changing vision of various people they have met. As the Leviathans are merciless and believe themselves [[AGodAmI akin to gods]] as much the Reapers do, including brainwashing and killing many people to prevent their discovery, it is unlikely they were doing this for Shepard's comfort, since the mental link causes Shepard to suffer a nosebleed.
* Played with in ''VideoGame/{{Catherine}}''. [[spoiler:Catherine is a succubus, meaning that she changes appearance playing up to the fetishes of the men she seduces prefer. You only see one form during the game, but we possibly see her true form in the True Cheater Ending]].
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'': The aeons have two forms, their original human form for talking with summoners and their guardians and their spiritual form for fighting.
* Implied in ''VideoGame/FTLFasterThanLight''. The Engi are beings composed of lots of nanomachines. They usually have a humanoid shape, but one event describes some Engi becoming [[StarfishRobots vortices]] to work on special machines.
* Used with terrifying effectiveness in ''VideoGame/{{Off}}'', in [[spoiler:The Judge's ending, wherein The Batter suddenly changes forms to become a HumanoidAbomination.]] However, this can be considered as an [[EpilepticTrees Epileptic Tree]], due to the fact that we don't know if he suddenly changed, or if ''he looked like that the whole time.''
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonGatesToInfinity''. The Voice of Life, the embodiment of the world's will to survive, has chosen you to help combat the forces that seek the world's demise. To do so, it takes the form of [[spoiler:Hydreigon, a three-headed dark-type dragon with pupilless red eyes that even the Pokédex refers to as "the brutal Pokémon". It's more of a meta example, however, as the only Pokemon in the story who actually seems to be bothered by his appearance at one point is Dunsparce, who isn't exactly brave. The fact that he introduces himself as Hydreigon seems to imply that he might not have any choice in the form he takes, either.]]
* ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear'': The true form of [[spoiler:the main protagonist, Sol Badguy]], is that of a humanoid dragon with a crustacean-like carapace. It's partly to hide [[spoiler:his]] identity as a Gear, and partly [[WillfullyWeak holding back]].
* In ''VideoGame/TheWolfAmongUs'', Fables with monstrous appearances have to regularly purchase Glamours, magical disguises, so that they can freely walk around human society. Toad without a Glamour looks like a frog walking around on two legs and dressed like an English farmer, a sight that even New Yorkers would find weird. And then you have Bigby, who takes on the form of a grizzled mid-30's detective, but is actually [[spoiler:a wolf about the size of a ''Stegosaurus'']].
* The Thin Men of ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown'' were apparently designed with this trope in mind. Taking on the appearance of gangly suited humans, they were specifically engineered to be spies that can blend into crowds with ease, though it [[PaperThinDisguise does not take much effort at all]] to see something's [[UncannyValley not quite natural]] about them. Picture the ''VideoGame/HalfLife'' G-Man with sunglasses and hisses like a snake when his cover is blown and you're not too far off.
** The Faceless take on a similar role in [[VideoGame/XCOM2 the sequel]], albeit disguised as mundane civilians to infiltrate the resistance communities undetected. Their deception is actually much more lifelike compared to the Thin Men, appearing undistinguishable from the other ten-or-so cowering civilians around them until discovered, at which point they revert back to their real EldritchAbomination selves.
* ''VideoGame/AVeryLongRopeToTheTopOfTheSky'': {{Invoked}}. He is initially formless, but adopts his old body while quipping "Is this the form you're used to?" [[spoiler:Raccoon says that when the heroes find him in Ubiquity's computer system, when Yvette requests he make himself tangible.]]
* The Conductor in ''VideoGame/{{Obsidian}}, as a physical humanoid interface for the nanobot-controlling AI, Ceres. For some reason she appears as a RobotGirl with a porcelain-like face and sports a plasma disc as a hat.
* The [[PowersThatBe Elder Powers]] in ''VideoGame/NexusClash'' are never seen in game, partly because their true forms are unknowable and partly so someone doesn't [[LordBritishPostulate figure out how to kill them]]. In lore, they have a mutual agreement [[GodsHandsAreTied not to intervene]] lest they provoke similar intervention from their rivals, but several of them tried to game this by creating knowable mortal forms to puppet. Eventually, ''all'' of them took up this habit, which did away with the benefits of having an avatar to begin with.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
** This is implied to be the case for Nirn's AlienSky. The [[WeirdMoon two moons]]? The rotting "flesh divinity" of the "sundered" [[GodIsDead "dead" creator god, Lorkhan]]. The eight planets? The bodies of the eight [[OurGodsAreDifferent Aedra]] who aided Lorkhan in creating Mundus, the mortal plane, and were thus bound to it. (Other theories state that the planets are their "bodies" after they died during creation (similar to Lorkhan and the moons), but now "dream" that they are alive and thus, can still influence the world.) The sun and stars? Holes punched from Mundus into Aetherius, the realm of magic, by Magnus and his followers, the Magna-Ge or "star orphans", who [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere bailed out on creation]] rather than be bound to it like the Aedra. The nebulae visible at night? Magic flowing into Mundus from Aetherius. It's all implied to look this way because [[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm it's all your mortal mind can comprehend]].
** This is likewise the case for the Daedric Princes. According to some interpretations, the Daedric planes ''are'' the Daedric Princes is a GeniusLoci way. The vast majority of the Princes will take more humanoid forms when dealing with mortals, with [[EldritchAbomination Hermaeus Mora]] as the main exception. In all cases, it is speculated that mortals [[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm Cannot Grasp Their True Forms]], similar to the Alien Sky example of Lorkhan and the Aedra above.
* ''VideoGame/MiddleEarthShadowOfMordor'':
** In flashbacks, Sauron appears as a fair-faced elf in elegant clothing. Until things get dicey, of course, at which point he transforms into an armored giant capable of crushing armies by himself. Some of the things Shelob and others say about him imply that the armored form isn't merely [[InstantArmor magically putting on armor]], it's transforming into [[AnimatedArmor an empty suit of armor controlled by his dark will]]. This, apparently, is the closest to his "true" form.
** Shelob is a formless force of darkness who [[ShapeshifterDefaultForm prefers spending time as a giant spider]]; every time Talion enters her lair, that is the form she is in. However, after the first time they meet, she is careful to never let him see this form, and instead appears as a beautiful woman with long black hair.
* Inverted by the V'rix in ''VideoGame/EarthAndBeyond''. [[AllThereInTheManual Design documents]] indicated that the insect-like appearance of them and their ships seen in game is not their true appearance. They took this form specifically to play off humanity's deepest primal fears.
* The FinalBoss of ''VIdeoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' inverts this trope. Fi's scan reveals that his form is different every era based on what humanity fears at the time. [[spoiler:A fitting trait for [[GodOfEvil Demon King Demise]]]].

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Played with in ''VisualNovel/SayaNoUta'': [[EldritchAbomination Saya]] appears to Fuminori as a cute girl not because ''she's'' changed her form, but because Fuminori's altered perception makes her look that way to him; as a result, he's the only person who doesn't go insane just by looking at her.
* ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' subverts this heavily with [[spoiler: Hanyuu]]. While the basic objective is the same (bonding with Rika better) [[spoiler: her true form is actually just 10-12 years older than the one she uses]].

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', when speaking with Caboose, [[spoiler:Epsilon (or, rather, the memories of other AI fragments within Epsilon]] takes the form of Delta, who he knows Caboose was comfortable with. He explains he isn't ''really'' Delta, but considering Caboose's mental state, he probably didn't fully understand that.
* ''WebAnimation/DSBTInsaniT'': The Goddess Waterfall Girl inhabits a human body to communicate with mortals.
* ''WebAnimation/{{Dreamscape}}'': Keedran '''hates''' this trope, but she knows that its a necessity. Thus she takes the form of a golden angel/mermaid/dragon instead of a [[CreepyCentipedes Creepy Centipede]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Something does this by accident in ''Webcomic/BeyondReality''. It's trying to ''not'' appear as something the human is comfortable with, but doesn't know much about humans, and thus has to make an educated guess.
-->'''Interdimensional Being:''' You... don't find it frightening?\\
'''Orion:''' Um... well, why a fish? It's not even a particularly freaky fish.\\
'''Interdimensional Being:''' Fish are scary!\\
'''Orion:''' You're scared of fish?\\
'''Interdimensional Being:''' No! It's just... dammit, I'm an interdimensional being. Do you know how tough it is to tailor your intimidation to billions of different cultures? 98% of sentient beings in the multiverse find fish terrifying. How was I to know you came from the other 2%?
* Hilariously subverted in [[http://starslip.com/2009/02/13/starslip-number-977 strip #977]] of ''Webcomic/{{Starslip}}''.
* The [[StarfishAliens insectoid]] Princess Voluptua in ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' usually interacts with Earthlings by disguising herself as a beautiful woman. One of her subordinates criticizes her that "'Tis undignified for the heir apparent to dress like a monkey!"
* The Sovereign of Sorrow in ''Webcomic/CaptainSNES'''s appearance depends on "how [someone's] mind understands [her]", though she typically appears as female video game royalty. For example, Magus from ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' sees her as Queen Zeal and [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Roy Koopa sees her as Princess Peach]].
* When Sissy in ''Webcomic/UmlautHouse 2'' ends up [[http://maskedretriever.com/uh2/d/20090811.html in the far future]] she meets Volair and first recognizes him as Dr. Lee's husband and then guesses that he's some [[TheSingularity post-Singularity]] spook who took on a form that would be neither too familiar nor too strange for her to talk to. He tells her that she was right [[SubvertedTrope the first time]], and [[TransHuman the second really]].
* Inverted in ''Webcomic/TheGodsOfArrKelaan''. The mortals-turned-gods can look like anything they want, but they default to what they looked like as mortals because it makes ''them'' more comfortable.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Narbonic}}'', a demon coming to claim a fleeing demon's soul does this, picking an image from Dave's head. That image just so happens to be [[http://www.webcomicsnation.com/shaenongarrity/narbonic_plus/series.php?view=archive=45751&name=narbonic_plus#strip5 Helen, dressed like a nerdy fanboy's wetdream]].
* [[TricksterArchetype Coyote]] of ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' appears as a somewhat stylized coyote -- [[ShapeShifting usually]] -- but his [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=679 true form]] can be seen by the spiritually aware. [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=678 Carefully]], as it's like picking out details on the sun.
* In ''Webcomic/OlympicDames'', this trope is Pan's excuse for appearing as a tall blond human to the leads. He really just wants to get laid without [[DoubleStandardRapeDivineOnMortal hearing women scream.]]
* Played for laughs when Webcomic/BladeBunny expresses disgust for being stared at by a big gooey dragon's eyeball that is bigger than she is. The dragon then voluntarily shrinks down small enough... [[BatmanGambit for Bunny to punch out]].
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', Chaos seems to be trying to invert this trope by appearing as a little girl. What she says and does is more creepy that way. Also played straight later as she takes the form of Fox, Nanase's summon, to wake her up and get Nanase to listen to her so Nanase will do what Chaos asks with out freaking out too much. Nanase eventually catches on that she's not Fox but by that time she doesn't care and is willing to do what Chaos asked anyway.
* Lampshaded in ''Webcomic/DubiousCompany''. [[RandomNumberGod Phred]] visits Sal and Leeroy as a [[VisualPun pair of sweatpants]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Wayrift}}'', the Arweinydd ''Zemi Dreigiau'' appears to people in person form or dragon form -- depending on his mood. The Arweinydd ''Zazo'' also takes on a wolf form to communicate with people, and eventually takes the form of a woman to gain attention from the man she's in love with.
* For King, from ''Webcomic/{{Housepets}}'', the [[CosmicChessGame Universes & Unrealities]] game is an overglorified TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons game... played by two celestial beings who happen to take the respective forms of a giant eastern-style dragon and a griffon.
* In ''WebComic/{{Erfworld}}'', the mysterious Charlie assumes a variety of different forms whenever he psychically communicates with someone. To the reader, they come off as fourth-wall-shattering references, but given that almost everything in Erfworld is a warped version of Earth pop culture to begin with....
* ''Webcomic/OffWhite'': Hati goes from [[http://off-white.eu/comic/page-192 this]] to [[http://off-white.eu/comic/page-194 something less fierce]] for Iki.
* Played with, parodied, and inverted in one of the ''Webcomic/PvP'' Halloween storylines, in which Brent was abducted by aliens. They first appeared as tentacled slime-blobs, [[PaperThinDisguise wearing plastic superhero masks in order to blend in.]] Once they'd kidnapped Brent and were trying to speak with him, they revealed that this form was an attempt to appear pleasing to Earthlings. It didn't work, so they tried option #2: ''Series/{{Alf}}''. (This just made Brent scream louder.) Finally, they dropped the disguises and appeared in their true, horrifying visages: cuddly hamster-creatures similar to ''Anime/{{Hamtaro}}.''
-->'''Alien commander:''' Have everyone in research killed.
* In ''Webcomic/TheKamics'' Seneschal appeared as [[http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/The_KAMics/5420201/ a little girl]] and [[http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/The_KAMics/5417384/ an older girl]].
* In ''Webcomic/The10Doctors'', [[spoiler:the Guardians]] say that their appearances change with the needs of their desired champions. In the story proper, they manifest as attractive humanoid women in order to toy with the Tenth Doctor's need for meaningful companionship, and in a flashback, [[spoiler:the White Guardian]] manifests to Davros as a military officer.
* In ''Webcomic/AllNightLaundry'' [[spoiler:the TV monster apparently. We're not sure what it is exactly, but Bina seems to be the only one who sees it as a TV.]]
* The Great Old One Nyarlathotep has cameos in ''Webcomic/FriendlyHostility'', where he takes a form reminiscent of Creator/NeilGaiman with eyes of infinite space.
* Sam from ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'' is a StarfishAlien who wears a humanoid spacesuit, otherwise humans would be squicked out seeing him.
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'': The [[DeusEstMachina nigh-omnipotent AI]] Petey appears as something like a cross between a koala and a hobbit, which is the same as the species that originally created him. Of course, he could choose to change that if he wished.
-->'''General Bala-Amin:''' The persona he presents is strikingly "human," and although I know that's an illusion to facilitate communication, I ''trust'' the unseen hyper-mind behind the furry face.\\
'''Petey:''' What if I'm actually like this?\\
'''General Bala-Amin:''' Don't tell me that. Your fuzzy avatar is every last kind of insufferable.


[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'': On Parents' Day, [[HumanoidAbomination Carmilla's]] father showed up looking like a charismatic dad of Hispanic ancestry. He's actually the [[EldritchAbomination demon Gothmog, child of Shub-Niggurath]]. In his first appearance, he looked like a giant mass of flesh and slime and eyes and tentacles.
* On the final episode of ''Website/{{Cracked}} TV'', Clippy (after [[AIIsACrapshoot going insane]] and trying to take over the show) appears before Michael -- played by the exact same actor with a sombrero, a fake moustache and a bad Mexican accent.
-->'''Michael:''' Clippy. You're taller than I expected.\\
'''Clippy:''' I have chosen the form that is most pleasing to you.\\
'''Michael:''' ''(beat)'' Is that a gay joke?\\
'''Clippy:''' Eh. More a narcissism joke. Plus, this is the easiest way to shoot the finale.
* All of the AnthropomorphicPersonifications in the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' are made of this trope because, being the physical incarnations of ideas, everyone has a different interpretation of that idea. What this means is that two people could be talking to The King (the AnthropomorphicPersonification of "The Legend of Elvis Presley") and he'd look precisely like how they think Elvis Presley looks like when they think of Elvis Presley (meaning if one person pictures Ed Sullivan-era Elvis, he looks like Ed Sullivan-era Elvis; if they picture Vegas-era white-tassle pudgy Elvis, he looks like Vegas-era white-tassle pudgy Elvis).
* Kaja of ''Roleplay/{{AJCO}}'' is normally quite human in appearance, despite the wings and halo, solely to make sure humans like and trust her. Get her angry enough, however, and she'll drop the act. [[http://angelkaja.tumblr.com/post/94792850919/k-aja-do-not-doubt-what-is-in-front-of It's pretty horrifiying.]]
* On Website/DeviantArt there is this prose piece called "God Drinks Black Coffee". The main character meets God on the sidewalk in the form of a woman.
* In ''Phaeton'' the aeons are implied to be this.
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', [[spoiler:Scion is actually the avatar of a SufficientlyAdvancedAlien, who deliberately chose an appearance that would appeal to human ideals of worship.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'', the Contemelia are an alien race from the fifth dimension that cannot be perceived by third-dimensional beings, who instead see what holds the most emotional sway over them. Ben saw the Mr. Smoothy mascot, Rook saw his father, and [[BigBad Maltruant]] saw [[{{Narcissist}} himself]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers''
** An alien takes the form of Dr. Venture's father. Venture then calls the alien out for doing so because he wasn't initially clear he wasn't ''actually'' Jonas Venture and it brought up a lot of painful memories, so the alien reveals its [[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm true form]] and freaks out everyone present.
-->'''Alien:''' See?! You practically crapped your pants! Except for him, ''[[BowelBreakingBricks he crapped his pants]]!''
** Possibly parodied/subverted with The Master, Dr. Orpheus's teacher. We've never seen his true form, so we have no idea is he's human, or what. But instead of taking on forms to comfort people, he seems to choose ones to screw with their heads (or at least to engage in PowerPerversionPotential) though he always claims there's a valuable lesson in them.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''
** {{Lampshaded|Trope}} and DoubleSubverted in "Cancelled". An alien initially takes the form of Stan's father and the kids first think that this trope is lame, so the alien changes into its true form, which is a [[EldritchAbomination gigantic, hideous monster]]. The boys scream and quickly ask it to go back to a "comfortable" form. They then [[OverlyLongGag spend quite a while]] going through possible forms (including Santa Claus, Saddam Hussein, and Missy Elliot) until Cartman suggests "a taco that craps ice cream", which the boys decide is acceptable.
** The form of Moses in the Super Friends episode -- a giant spinning orange energy prism! Yeah. Not just any spinning energy prism, but a carbon copy of the [[Film/{{Tron}} Master Control Program]].
** {{Parodied|Trope}} in "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes", when the Wall-Mart (who looks suspiciously like [[Franchise/TheMatrix The Architect]]) tells Stan and Kyle he can take many forms. He then proceeds to put on a hat and ask: "Does this form please you?" and takes on several other "forms" such as the same guy but wearing a jacket. About a minute later, when the Wall-Mart store is falling in on itself, he says "Now you shall see my true form!" then rips off his (apparently) fake moustache and jumps up and down in place while grunting. [[http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/104412/wall-mart-implodes This description does not do it justice.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' gives a humorous example with the Meekrob:
-->'''Dib:''' Who--what are you, and why did you transform into giant shoes?!\\
'''Meekrob:''' We are beings of pure energy. This is merely a form your human brain can understand.\\
'''Dib:''' But--you just looked like aliens before you turned into shoes.\\
'''Meekrob:''' Hmm... yes. But you couldn't ''comprehend'' that.\\
'''Dib:''' Yes I could.\\
''(the lead Meekrob slaps him with a shoelace)''
* Parodied twice on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In "The Last Temptation of Homer", Homer's guardian angel appears to him in the form of UsefulNotes/IsaacNewton, "a man you would respect and admire." When he realizes Homer has no idea who Newton is, he instead takes the form of [[Series/HogansHeroes Colonel Klink]] -- which he ''really'' didn't want to do.
** In "Hungry, Hungry Homer", when Homer loses faith in his hunger strike, he is visited by the ghost of Cesar Chavez -- who appears in the form of Creator/CesarRomero, since Homer doesn't know what Cesar Chavez looks like.
* ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad''
** Steve and God in episode "Stan of Arabia".
--->'''Steve:''' Wow! Creator/AngelinaJolie! I have so many questions to ask you. Is that whole thing about you sleeping with knives in the bed true?\\
'''God:''' I'm not Angelina Jolie, Steve. I'm God. I simply chose the form most pleasing to you.\\
'''Steve:''' Oh, you're God. ...So is that thing about Angelina Jolie sleeping with knives in the bed true?\\
'''God:''' Yeah. It's messed up, isn't it?
** Oddly, He later appears again as a typical GrandpaGod in Heaven. Well, that's how he appeared to Stan, who's something of a Christian fundamentalist, so Grandpa God is probably the only form Stan is willing to accept.
* When the Vok talk with Optimus Primal in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'', they take the form of the head of Unicron, having scanned his mind and determining it to be a "figure of authority" that Optimus would listen to, though it was more likely "A Form You'd Know Not To Screw With". Pulling such a stunt is entirely in character for the Vok. They do show their true form to Tarantulas, when he tries to mess with their Tigerhawk puppet. He freaks out and tries to kill them with a [[FrickinLaserBeams big laser]], only to get himself killed. [[http://tfwiki.net/w2/images2/thumb/d/d4/Purple_vok.jpg/300px-Purple_vok.jpg Here is their true form]]. The ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' in general have this trope as their M.O.; thus the CatchPhrase, "Robots in Disguise". But in ''Beast Wars'' it works both ways. Not only do the Maximal and Predacon Beast Modes provide a way to blend in with their environment, but the forms also provide a "skin" that protects them from dangerous raw energon radiation, thus also making it a form ''they're'' comfortable with. At least through the first season, if they stayed in their robot forms for too long, their systems start overloading.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "The Magicks of Megas-Tu". The inhabitants of Megas-Tu do this for their own bodies and their planet's surface so the crew of the Enterprise can comprehend them. Lucien turns the planetary surface to a forest glade, and the other Megans change it to a recreation of Salem, Massachusetts during the Witch Trials.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}''. Daria met many holidays at the "Depth takes a holiday" episode. Christmas, Halloween and Guy Fawkes day wanted to start a band, but Cupid and Saint Patrick day wanted them to return home. They are supposed to say that home is "in your hearth", but it was actually in another dimension they could access through a dimensional wormhole at the back of the Chinese food restaurant. The holidays seem and act like common teenagers, and in their dimension they are all at a place that seems like Lawndale High, but which is worse (a quote that Daria and Jane will be repeating in their adult life).
* In ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'', [[spoiler:Miss Martian is a White Martian. Since White Martians are pretty hideous by human standards she uses her shapeshifting powers to look like an attractive young green-skinned humanoid. She based her humanoid form along with her ''entire personality'' on broadcasts of an old television show "Hello Megan!" since she hated her lonely life on Mars. As far as she is concerned, her "disguise" ''is'' her true self, so this is actually more a case of a form ''she'' is comfortable with.]] While the Team is momentarily creeped out by her NightmareFuel true form, they get over it quickly.
--> '''Kaldur'ahm''': Did you really think we would be so shallow?
* In both ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' and its SequelSeries ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', the Avatar Spirit (basically the setting's {{God}}) [[SymbioticPossession inhabits a human body]] to learn more about the humans it has chosen to protect. Most of the spirits either play this straight or invert this, as their usual form tends to be something like pandas, giant wolves, or owls, but they're capable of looking like an EldritchAbomination when angered. It's unknown which they prefer.
* Deconstructed in the ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' episode "Reformed", where Amethyst is self-conscious of what Garnet thinks of her and constantly "poofs" back into her gem and comes back in different forms to counter Garnet's criticisms of her. At the end, Amethyst learns to think for herself and takes the time to come back in a new form, which Garnet is comfortable with because ''she'' is comfortable with it.
* ''WesternAnimation/MiloMurphysLaw'' has Time Ape, Dr. Zone's partner [[spoiler: and brother]]. His [[spoiler: presumed]] original form would have made any person's head [[YourHeadAsplode explode]], so he took the form of an "ape with a clock for a head." [[spoiler: Althogh, we do learn why he changed form thanks to Melissa.]]
* Alebrije in WesternAnimation/LegendQuest he is a mythological creature that appears as a different animal to normal people, but Leo and the Ghost can see him in his true form which is a dinosaur-like [[MixAndMatchCritters mix-and-match creature]].

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Some zoos have been known to feed animals using hand puppets that look like an adult of that species.
** This is actually necessary for baby primates when humans are feeding them. The human wears a monkey suit to simulate the fur of the mom. This way the baby will accept the mother when he's returned to her.
** It's also necessary for avians. Birds that "imprint" on humans as infants [[ObliviousAdoption will think that humans are like them, or that they are like humans]]. This can lead to difficulties if the bird in question is a part of a breeding program to keep the species from dying out. Ducks and geese are best known for this problem, and may actually end up not knowing how to fly since humans don't. This is referenced in the Literature/{{Discworld}} novel ''Discworld/GuardsGuards'', in which a human raised by dwarves is likened to a duck raised by chickens.
*** Worse, a hawk or owl who is imprinted on humans may not be able to hunt and would fly to humans it found once released in the wild, hoping for food. A raptor imprint can end up a permanent captivity resident.
*** The most famous phenomenon this leads to is talking birds; for a parrot to be ready to learn to talk, it has to be separated from any other parrot, so that it imprints on its human owner and tries to imitate it.
** Some Chinese zoos have had their zookeepers [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fXBRKWmICU dress up like pandas]] when taking care of baby pandas in the zoo. The logic behind this is that the baby pandas won't form human attachment so that they can be released into to wild later on.
* Quantum mechanics can be a bit like this. One example is the quadrupolar echo pulse sequence in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The math works out perfectly, but trying to visualize it invariably winds up with the spin pointing 90 degrees from where the math says it should be and where experiment confirms that it actually is. The lesson here is that once you get deep enough, physics really ''is'' just math, and what you ''think'' of as "physics" is just a Form You Are Comfortable With.
* Computer interfaces. Raw binary data is near-impossible to process for humans, and the inner workings of software are not only difficult to understand, but aren't of interest to most users. User interface is an abstraction that presents only the data the user wants, and in an easily understood form at that. Even most programmers deal with high-level programming languages and platforms that abstract away many layers of complexity irrelevant to the task.
* A less extreme version of this trope would be "a form you will find more useful," and is practically ubiquitous with diagrams and route maps. If you're trying to find your way around a metro system, or build a complicated electrical circuit, a simplified not-to-scale representation using accepted symbols will be much more helpful than a completely accurate photorealistic image of the system.
** By extension, pretty much all metaphors, allegories or symbolism could be said to be aspects of this trope.