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Changing Yourself for Love

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"Can't get a date? The person you love doesn’t love you back? Well, according to teen movies, it's probably because you dress in clothing that reflects your individuality, background, and personal style. The solution couldn't be any simpler: just completely erase any evidence of your personality and physically transform yourself into whatever you think your crush will like."

A character changes an integral part of their appearance or personality in the hopes of getting their crush to like them. This often ends in a Be Yourself Aesop where the character learns that they don't need to change who they are for someone else and it turns out that their love interest liked them the way they are. In other works, the character does end up catching the attention of their love interest only for them to quickly realize how shallow their love interest is.

Sometimes, the change in image is portrayed as positive and sticks as Character Development.

Super-Trope to Be a Whore to Get Your Man, where a character changes their image to be more sexual to attract their love interest.

See also Converting for Love, where a character changes their religious beliefs for love and Love Redeems when a villain switches sides after falling in love with a good person.

Compare Shapeshifters Do It for a Change and Shapeshifting Seducer when they literally change themselves for love (or lust and seduction, at any rate).

Related to Positive Friend Influence and Peer Pressure Makes You Evil as well. May involve She Cleans Up Nicely and/or Unnecessary Makeover. Contrast I Can Change My Beloved when a character believes they can change their Love Interest.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In I Want Your Mother To Be With Me!, Ryo confesses to Yuzuki in the first chapter, but she rejects him, especially when he says he doesn't care if it's the age gap, or her 5 year old son, that's the reason she rejects him, showing that he was only thinking of himself. Over the course of the story, his Character Development involves him becoming close to Yuzuki and her son, even acting as a Parental Substitute at times, and learning to care for his own niece. Though he's obviously still into Yuzuki, he's no longer thinking only of himself or acting with ulterior motives.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War features this character arc a few times:
    • Shirogane reinvented himself as a confident academic in order to attract Kaguya after his stint as a Dogged Nice Guy proved unsuccessful. While this did help him catch her attention (to the point that she doesn't even remember that she met him before the change), she ultimately fell in love with the kind person underneath his mask.
    • Kaguya's harsh upbringing and natural talent made it incredibly hard for her to relate with other people and she ultimately adopted an Ice Queen personality to avoid unintentionally hurting others by keeping them away. When she fell in love with Shirogane, she was afraid he would be driven away by that mask so she consciously changed herself to be closer to an ordinary girl.
    • After the Culture Festival, a bit of drama ensues due to both of them worrying that the other only loves their persona. Kaguya decides the best thing for their relationship is to expose their true self to each other so they accept one another fully, flaws and all.
    • Ishigami, after admitting that he's in love with his upperclassman Tsubame, decides to change his attitude and social outlook because he doesn't feel he's worthy enough as a man to approach her. His grades improve a lot, he becomes more active with social groups he wouldn't dream of approaching before, and he makes efforts to look like a cool, reliable guy, but her issues run deeper than him not being cool, and she rejects him. Kaguya also did her best to nurture his feelings for this very reason, because she wanted to help improve his self-confidence and knew from personal experience that love can be a powerful motivator.
    • Iino later develops this mindset after she finally accepts that she's in love with Ishigami. While she is aware of her previously abrasive personality when it came to her crush, she decided to try learning more about his interests and come to see things from his point of view, so she can learn how to be closer to him.
  • Downplayed in Mission: Yozakura Family. Taiyo and Mutsumi are married in the first chapter in order to get Kyoichiro off their backs. But Taiyo soon realizes the magnitude of the danger Mutsumi is constantly in and decides to become a superspy strong enough to protect her and be worthy of being her husband against the expectations of others.
  • My First Girlfriend Is a Gal: Yui and Nene play this trope straight in regards to Junichi, as both tried to adopt personalities they thought he would like in a woman. The former at first acted as a mature, dignified young woman, although she only saw him as her personal lapdog who'd follow her orders without question, while the latter thought he would like a "little sister"-type. When Junichi starts dating Yukana, Nene gets herself a Gal makeover, while Yui realizes that she's in love with him, and after befriending Yukana she's unable to bring herself to break them up, instead deciding to try and become a better person to earn Junichi's affection.
  • Naruto: Prior to getting her Important Haircut, Sakura grew out her hair because she heard a rumor that Sasuke liked girls with long hair.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: After passing a good part of the episodes with the Does Not Like Men attitude, Stocking finally dropped all of that when she fell in love with an ugly devil that was also The Pig-Pen and had little to no interest in her. Stocking not just abandoned her cold attitude, she went like a high schooler in love, and on a date, even she went entirely in pink instead of black (but still in gothic lolita fashion), trying to impress him.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: When she begins to fall for Fuutarou, Miku asks him what type of girls he likes. She's left depressed when he mentions "Always cheerful" and "Good at cooking", since she's the complete opposite of both accounts. She spends the rest of the series trying to be more assertive and learning to cook in order to appeal to him. However, this also benefits her in the long run since by meeting and falling in love with Fuutarou, it enables Miku's Character Development that sticks like a glue even after Fuutarou ends up choosing Yotsuba.
  • Ranma ½: Akari Unryu, in her debut story, does everything she can to force herself to hate pigs (refusing to even say the word "pig") after a standard-issue comical misunderstanding causes her to think Ryoga is ashamed of his pig curse. It doesn't really work, but the effort alone probably makes her the single most considerate human being in the Dysfunction Junction that is Nerima.
  • In You Like Me, Not My Daughter?!, Takkun fell in love with Ayako when he was ten, and resolved to better himself to become a person worthy of her love, and who could help her raise her daughter Miu. He spent the next decade studying hard, becoming fit, and tutoring Miu, only confessing once he was in college.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics: Betty grows her hair out her short hair into her iconic ponytail in order to get Archie's attention after she saw him with a girl with a ponytail.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Shrek 2, after arriving at Far Far Away's kingdom where Fiona's parents live, she and Shrek argue about being more flexible with her parents, where Fiona ends the fight with "I've made changes for you, Shrek. Think about that." Later, Shrek, Donkey, and Puss in Boots sneak into Fairy Godmother's factory and steal the "Happily Ever After" potion since he believes it would be better for her if she had a human husband instead of an ogre, eventually becoming one (of a Hunk type, nonetheless).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • American Beauty: Lester falls for his daughter's schoolmate and, after overhearing her say that she would find him attractive if he just were more buff, starts working out regularly until he's in top shape to impress her.
  • Grease: In addition to Sandy becoming "bad" to impress Danny, Danny himself tried to win her over by getting involved in sports after she expressed interest in a jock, despite that he and the other T-Birds were making fun of the jocks earlier in the film.
  • Love Hard: In order to snag the outdoorsy Tag, Natalie pretends to be an adventurous, athletic young woman who likes the things he likes (even if she can't stand Henry David Thoreau, who wrote his favorite book). It gets to the point that she goes to his family's steakhouse despite being vegetarian.


    Live-Action TV 
  • In Farscape, Sikozu's black-leather-and-tattoos makeover in the Wrap It Up "The Peacekeeper Wars" is blatantly designed to appeal to her boyfriend Scorpius's fetishes.
  • Hannah Montana: In one episode, Miley decides to try and turn her tomboyish best-friend Lily into a Girly Girl to help Lily win over her crush (and because Lily's antics were annoying her), especially after seeing the Alpha Bitch duo flirting with him. However, this only makes the boy less interested in her, to the point where he stands her up at the dance; it turns out, he liked her because she was a cool skater-chick.
  • In an episode of Happy Days, Richie tries acting like a greaser to impress his crush. When it doesn't work, he says to Ralph, "It worked for the Fonz!" Ralph replies, "Everything works for the Fonz!"
  • iCarly: In "iMake Sam Girlier", Sam requests Carly and Freddie to help her become more of a Girly Girl to impress a boy she likes. It works until the new school bully starts harassing Carly and Freddie and she reverts back to her old self to save them. It turns out Sam's crush actually likes her for being who she already is instead of who she tried to be.
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of My Family; in one episode, the Harpers host an attractive female exchange student from France, and Nick tries to woo her by acting extremely French (wearing a beret and black turtleneck); when that fails, he then acts extremely British (wearing a red smoking jacket and ascot and smoking a pipe).
  • One two-parter from Salute Your Shorts sees Budnick fall in love with Dina and force himself to become the classy, nice guy that he assumes she wants. This ends up backfiring, as well she is initially flattered by his attempts to change, she finds the "respectable" and "composed" Budnick boring, and tries to get him to dump her and go back to normal.
  • An episode of Saved by the Bell has Lisa pretend she was an intellectual to impress a boy she liked because he scoffed at her real personality.
  • Suburgatory: In one episode, Lisa develops a crush on a new boy at school. However, Tessa believes he's gay after she keeps catching him staring at the jocks. Lisa isn't phased and aggressively pursues him. She even starts dressing up as a boy in order to get his attention. In the end, it's revealed he was actually an undercover narcotics officer who was posing as a teenager to catch a jock who was using steroids. He also had a wife.
  • In the TV series of Train Man (2004), Yamada gets a makeover before going on a first date with Saori, as he's an Otaku but doesn't want her to know that he's one (Saori wasn't wearing her contact lenses when he defended her, so she didn't know what he looked like). Later on, it turns out that she's fine with his Otaku nature, and she has a good time in Akihabara when Yamada takes her there.
  • Victorious: In one episode, Cat meets a boy while she was wearing a blonde wig for a short film she was shooting. She lets him think she's a natural blonde as she worries that's the only reason he asked her out. However, eventually her wig is knocked off and the boy sees her actual hair. He admits he thinks she's beautiful, but prefers to date blondes and breaks it off with her.

  • Anaïs Mitchell: The subject of "Tailor" is a woman who has tailored herself to fit her lover's expectations and has an identity crisis when he leaves her.
  • The Big Time Rush song "Any Kind Of Guy" is about the guys announcing their intent to become any kind of guy the girl might want:
    Changing my point of view
    Everyday something new
    Anything to get next to you (gonna get to you)
  • Bowling for Soup: "Girl All The Bad Guys Want" is about the singer crushing on a "chick a little cooler" than him. Because she's into things like wrestling, mustaches, and rap metal, he admits in one verse that now he's watching wrestling, listening to rap metal, and struggling to grow a mustache.
  • Deliberately averted in the song "Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel
    Don't go changing to try and please me.
    You never let me down before.
  • The 60s standard "Wishin' and Hopin'", first recorded by Dusty Springfield, exhorts the listener to stop moping around and start changing yourself to get your man:
    "Do the things he likes to do/Wear your hair just for him"
  • In "Pristine" by Snail Mail, told from the perspective of an insecure lover, asks their crush who they change for (a.k.a. who they really like), and then offers to make herself into her lover's type of girl:
    Out out of everyone, who's your type of girl?"
    [...]"I can be anyone."
  • In "The Beers" by The Front Bottoms, the narrator is taking steroids because his girlfriend likes a man with muscles.
  • HoneyWorks' "Confession Rival Declaration" has its narrator, Koyuki, decide to change his whole attitude in the hopes of attracting the attention of a girl he likes. While he doesn't stop being shy and tending to flowers, he sheds his feminine looks and starts participating in sports to build up a reputation as a cool, handsome guy. Everyone is impressed, he stops getting bullied, and girls genuinely flock to him...but his crush likes someone else and gets with him instead.

  • In The Addams Family, Wednesday Addams changes from a sombre, unorthodox young woman who wears black to a cheerful, generic young woman who wears yellow for her love interest, a guy who is basically just the definition of generic.
  • Much Ado About Nothing: The first sign that Benedick had fallen in love with Beatrice is when he shaved his beard. Earlier in the play, Beatrice had mentioned how she could not stand the thought of kissing a man with a beard.

    Video Games 
  • Fable: Parodied in a Sidequest where a man promises to introduce the Hero to his daughter if he gets "her favourite" haircut — a Gag Haircut that takes three trips to the barber. He then admits that it was a joke to make the Hero look silly and that he doesn't have a daughter.
  • Yandere Simulator:
    • One way of eliminating your rival peacefully is Matchmaking, which involves finding out what her type of boy is, find the boy who has a crush on her and convince him to change his appearance to the one the rival finds attractive. If the rival finds an intelligent boy attractive, Yandere-chan will help the suitor study and then impress the rival with his wisdom.
    • Gema Taku's task for the player is to ask the bully girls (Musume and her Girl Posse) he has a crush on what they think about him. Yandere-chan will tell him what physical traits they don't like at him, so the next day, he will change his appearance (change his messy hairstyle with a neat ponytail, shave clean, improve his posture, remove his bandana, and replace his opaque glasses with transparent ones) and the bullies will all fall in love with him.

    Web Original 
  • ACTUALLY HAPPENED: In "I Lost All My Hair Because My Boyfriend Made Me Become Blonde", Kimberly dyes her brunette hair blonde because she heard that her crush liked blondes.
  • Dad: In Daughter's attempts to attract her crush, the Big Man on Campus Griffin, she decided to cut her hair, rationalizing that she liked short hair too, in a way that made it pretty apparent this isn't something she'd have done naturally.
  • The Nostalgia Critic: In the Princess Diaries 2 review, Hyper Fangirl kidnaps the Critic and bribes him to stick around by showing her all the nerdy, masculine media she supposedly likes. However, near the end of the review when he's supposedly given in to her, he learns she has the Transformers Film Series movies. When she has a breakdown asking him to tell her which movies to like, he realizes she was just pretending to like most of these things to manipulate him to fall in love with her.

    Western Animation 
  • 6teen: In "Lights Out", Starr, Jude's love interest, decides to go goth in pursuit of other interests. Jude tries to follow suit as well but both know that's not who he is and mutually break up over it. Which wouldn't be the first time and won't be the last.
  • Futurama:
    • A variant in "Parasites Lost," in which Fry gets a beneficial parasitic infection that increases his intelligence and physique, as well as giving him the ability to play the holophonor perfectly. This allows him to express himself to Leela and successfully win her over, and neither of them want him to get rid of the parasites. However, when Leela tells him, "I love what you've become," Fry realizes he wants Leela to love the real him, and threatens the parasites to leave his body. His attempt to impress her without them doesn't go well, but he keeps playing the holophonor to win her over.
    • The Sequel Episode, "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings," has Fry make a literal Deal with the Devil to swap his hands for the Robot Devil's hands, as he wants to play the holophonor well enough to impress Leela, culminating in an exuberant opera written in her honor. The only thing that makes him swap back is when the devil threatens to take Leela as his wife. While Fry loses his incredible abilities, Leela is still endeared enough to listen to the rest of his opera.
  • The Loud House:
    • In "Back in Black", Lucy hair is suddenly blonde and she wears a pink outfit instead of her usual black and white one, and starts talking like a Valley Girl and avoiding mentioning her morbid interests, to impress her crush Rocky. It turns out Rocky has similar interests to her.
    • In "White Hare", Lincoln dresses as a greaser to impress the new girl Stella. In "Be Stella My Heart", he slicks back his hair, Clyde takes off his glasses, and Rusty puts on a suit, again to impress Stella. Eventually, Stella becomes their platonic friend.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Zig-zagged in the episode "Simple Ways", Rarity isn't so much trying to change herself and imitating (what she thinks of) Applejack out of love to get Trenderhoof's attention so much as trying to impress him and getting jealous when he keeps focusing on Applejack whom he becomes smitten with. Played straight with Trenderhoof however near the end when he nearly decides to leave his job and city life to be a "country bumpkin" (even dressing in overalls) just out of his crush for AJ though she manages to talk him out of it.
  • My Little Pony Tales: In "Roll Around the Clock", Bright Eyes and Lancer are encouraged by their friends to change their looks and personalities to attract each other. Unfortunately, they liked each other the way they already were, and both end up being repulsed by the other's "new".
  • The Peg + Cat episode "The Roxanne Problem" does this with an Implied Love Interest. Cat meets another cat, Roxanne, and it's implied that he has a crush on her. In order to impress her, he pretends that he's Good with Numbers and has Peg lip-synch for him. when he reveals that he doesn't know squat about mathematics, she says that it's fine as he can always learn.
  • Tuca & Bertie: After Tuca starts dating Kara, Kara's passive-aggressive comments and Bertie saying that relationships require "compromise and change" convince Tuca to dress and act more professionally so Kara will stay with her. Bertie is quick to realize that something is very wrong when Tuca isn't being her usual outgoing Genki Girl self, and Tuca herself starts to realize it as well when Bertie asks her if Kara is also changing for her or if it's just one-sided.