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Positive Friend Influence

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"She'd tell me I'm perfect the way I am and I would believe her, because, that sweet dummy, if she loves us, there must be something good about us.[...] You gotta admit, she makes us better people. I mean look at you, two months without her, you poison a Grammy winner."
Lillian to Titus about Kimmy, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

A Positive Friend Influence is a character that helps others within their social circle, be it their friends, family, or Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, to start making their way in overcoming their issues and becoming better people. They often play The Heart to the group or even the Morality Pet. More often than not, the character that is being helped genuinely never experienced being on the receiving end of such kindness or is simply amazed at how this positive friend's actions bear results or simply by the friend being a genuinely nice person who shows heroic attributes.

It's also very much possible for this to be a two-way street. If a character that is nice is also basically an Extreme Doormat, a more selfish character might teach them to stand up for themselves and become more assertive, while also receiving lessons on being nicer and kinder to others.

Different than The Paragon, a Positive Friend Influence can't help anyone in their Character Development if they aren't close by, while a Paragon might influence entire societies in their development. If the one being helped changed after falling in love with their positive friend influence, then this is Love Redeems and likely Single Woman Seeks Good Man, a Positive Friend Influence is a platonic trope, though they can eventually fall for said friend way later in the plot. If the Character Development was not completed or the friendship ended terribly, then it's possible for that friend to revert to their old ways instead of staying as a healthier person if their positive influence isn't around.

Truth in Television, there really is such a thing as a positive influence when it comes to people, and hanging out with good people can help you become better as well.

A character with this trope often has traits of All-Loving Hero, Ideal Hero, The Heart, and often Endearingly Dorky.

See also The Power of Friendship. Compare Contagious Heroism, where the traits passed from one to another aren't just good, but outright heroic and the characters themselves are heroes. Compare also Living Emotional Crutch, a more perpetual, personal version of this; this trope is a step up from that one, where the friend outright cures as opposed to merely being a crutch. This can also overlap with more optimistic variants of Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick.

Contrast Toxic Friend Influence.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Puck from Berserk is this trope in spades to The Protagonist Guts. Someone like Puck who is always cheerful and happy no matter what truly pulls Guts away from the worst aspects of his personality.
  • Blue Flag: Despite being a Classical Anti-Hero, Taichi's kindness and willingness to help others end up being a huge support in Futaba's attempts at becoming Touma's dream girl.
  • Chainsaw Man: Denji's inherent good nature is not always at the forefront, as mostly everyone sees his rude and perverted side, but whenever it's shown it's quite obvious that he has a very positive effect on his closest friends.
    • Both Aki and Power are changed for the better and the two that originally started off fairly selfish end their respective journeys having learned to love Denji and become willing to sacrifice themselves for his and others' happiness.
    • Kobeni, despite being cowardly (for understandable reasons) decided to risk her life to save Denji from Katana Man out of remorse for her earlier behavior, and defies Makima and helps Denji and Pochita despite her being scared of Makima.
    • Denji's kindness earned him the love, affection, and loyalty of the Chainsaw Devil who becomes a pet he names Pochita. While already remarkable due to Pochita being a Devil, Denji's effect on him takes on much bigger meaning once it's revealed that Pochita is in fact The Dreaded Chainsaw Man, who is responsible for erasing some of the most dangerous Devils and their respective fears from history. While Pochita had always wanted a hug he was still Ambiguously Evil, but Denji's influence has led Pochita to try to be more heroic towards others, Taking the Bullet for Kobeni and even encouraging Denji to adopt Nayuta despite all that the Control Devil had done.
    • Kishibe looked genuinely taken aback by Denji's promise to spare him as thanks for training him if Public Safety ever decided to turn on him. Based on his meeting with Makima not too long after, there's implications that this made Kishibe realize Denji was ultimately just another innocent life under Makima's thrall, making him more determined to retaliate against her if she ever showed her true self and turned on humanity, and actually follows through and assists Denji in defeating Makima after hearing how she broke the boy for her own selfish needs, despite Makima being an extremely important asset to the government.
    • Hanging out with him also seems to have given Reze enough courage to make a try for abandoning her mission and life as the Bomb Devil just to be with him.
    • After Makima is reincarnated into Nayuta with all of her previous personality wiped, Denji is entrusted with raising her so she doesn't become another monster like Makima. With his track record, it's very likely Nayuta will grow up having the friends and family Makima had yearned for, and while Nayuta does possess controlling tendencies, she is also far more nicer and cheerful than her past self.
    • Asa Mitaka starts falling for him after seeing past his crass and greedy exterior and learning about his capacity for earnest kindness, and falls so hard that even Yoru can feel it.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, that's actually Tanjiro's greatest power in the series, he only grows stronger as a demon slayer - and his companions follow suit - because the guy is a great friend and a fantastic judge of character; Tanjiro can see the good in people who have it, no matter how unperceived by others at first, and he can see those who really are beyond redemption, mostly demons who really have completely given in to darkness, rejecting any sliver of goodwill they have had once as humans. Some examples include:
    • Tanjiro is the primary reason why Nezuko remained a good person even after turning into a demon, even with Urokodaki's hypnosis precautionary method it is Nezuko's bond with her brother that instigated her to develop into a demon that does not need human blood to live by, and preserved as much of her conscience as she could, turning into a simple-minded demon who can't do too much thinking out of Tanjiro's good guidance.
    • Zenitsu only starts growing out of his self-deprecating hell after finding Tanjiro, the second person after his master Jigoro, who saw anything of worth in him; Tanjiro honestly believed Zenitsu was a strong demon slayer from the start to the point he found out Zenitsu has a trance mode at all to truly become an efficient slayer actually comes off as a surprise to Tanjiro later on; Zenitsu himself recognizes how much of a great friend Tanjiro is, admitting he truly is one of a kind after tragically being informed his master died, via seppuku.
    • Inosuke is the poster wild warrior early in the series, completely insensitive to any conventional social empathy towards others, he actually prided himself in nothing caring about anything other than fighting strong individuals, Inosuke didn't even care about demons, he just wanted to fight the strongest beings, demons just happened to be what matched his target goal; still, slowly watching Tanjiro, seeing how stronger Tanjiro gets by being such an empathetic person, and in turn how hasty and short-sighted Inosuke was when he encounters a true challenge he cannot overcome, pushes him to actually grow nicer and more cooperative towards others.
  • Goku from Dragon Ball tends to have this effect on others. In fact, nearly all of his friends started off as enemies or rivals, before a Defeat Means Friendship occurs and Goku wins them over. It took an especially long time for Vegeta to come round, but the Saiyan prince later admits Goku's kindness had infected him and he had become a better person.
    • Seems like a case of Like Father, Like Son, as Gohan also displays this tendency. He was able to help Piccolo turn over a new leaf, where he goes from the world-enslaving Demon King to an Honorary Uncle who thinks of Gohan like a son.
  • Food Wars! has the titular Yukihira Soma as the trigger to Megumi's development, as he teaches her to have confidence in herself, never give up, and face challenges head-on. By the Autumn Tournament Arc, she has learned to stand up for herself as she faces the very threatening Kurokiba without trembling.
  • Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket has had a positive influence on just about everyone she's befriended, being able to see their best qualities and encouraging them to overcome their issues. In the end, she even manages to be a positive influence on Akito, the abusive Big Bad of the story.
  • Haikyuu!!: Hinata is kind, energetic, and easily believes the best in others. He's a major driving force in Kageyama's development from tyrannical, aloof prodigy to team player, helps asocial and introverted Kenma open up to others, and drives insecure, anxious Yachi to stand up for herself.
  • Hidoku Shinaide: Because he wants to be around the very studious and future-minded Nemugasa as much as possible, Maya dyes his hair back to black, removes his piercings, stops hanging out late with his friends and underage drinking, starts taking his studies seriously, and goes to college. This is acknowledged in-universe by both Maya, who thanks Nemugasa directly for setting him on the right path, and Akira (Maya's cousin), who informs Nemugasa's mother as much when she assumes Maya is a Toxic Friend Influence to Nemugasa.
  • My Dress-Up Darling: Marin Kitagawa becomes this to Wakana Gojo, helping him overcome his self-imposed isolation and enjoy his youth with her cheery and bubbly personality.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Midoriya has traits of The Paragon in training, since he intends to succeed the current one to Japan, he plays this to Class 1-A and to Shinso. In Class 1-A, his influence forces Iida to notice that being driven by revenge is no action for a hero; Todoroki confronts his father's controlling ways as well as the unhealthy way he had been dealing with the trauma; Mineta work harder towards being a hero after watching Midoriya try his best in USJ; and his battle with Shinso ends with the latter deciding to work towards being a hero even if he can't get in the hero course, with implications he started training under Aizawa. His relationship with Uraraka starts as this, up until she starts falling for him.
    • Uraraka also plays this role to Midoriya early on in the Battle Trial Arc, where being pitted up against Bakugo causes Izuku's self-doubt to start breaking his spirits. But Uraraka just being a nice and friendly person to him and reframing Katsuki's childhood insult of 'Deku' into something positive for him leads to him to take the once-insult as his hero name and take on Bakugo in the trial, ultimately winning.
    • The resident Blood Knight, Bakugo, is immune to Midoriya's attempts at rebuilding their friendship, so his positive influence mostly comes from Kirishima being his loving self and getting a position as his Morality Pet.
  • The cast of the game Fortune Lover in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! were originally a Dysfunction Junction, but most of them are significantly better people in the story proper due to Katarina having befriended them when her Past-Life Memories lead her to throw the story Off the Rails (Mary's manipulative streak notwithstanding).
  • Nodoka Miyazaki in Negima! Magister Negi Magi is this for her Best Friend Yue Ayase. A brief flashback shows what Yue was like before she became friends with Nodoka: Coming off the death of her beloved grandfather, Yue was a bitter young woman uninterested in making friends or anything else in her life. Yue admits to herself that thanks to Nodoka, she rediscovered that life is worth living and as the series progresses Yue becomes a hard-working, mature character.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Brock plays this role with Ash, Misty, May, Max, and Dawn as his skills of being a former Gym Leader helped them be better Trainers. Also, they look up to him like a big brother figure as Brock has many brothers and sisters that he takes care of.
    • Ash even plays the role of positive influence towards many people who are closest to him, his traveling companions, and some of his rivals.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • Kirito was this for his would-be friends and party members, such as Asuna, Lisbeth, Silica, and Sinon. Prior to meeting Kirito they tended to keep to themselves, lacked confidence, or both. But hanging around Kirito would inspire them to open up and feel safer.
    • Asuna has also displayed this during the "Mother's Rosario" arc, helping Yuuki to feel happier and want to get the most out of life.
  • Yugi Muto of Yu-Gi-Oh! might as well have the word "redeemer" tattooed on his forehead, as his Incorruptible Pure Pureness redeems former bullies like Joey (now Heterosexual Life-Partners with Yugi), former villains like Marik, and even his own Superpowered Evil Side (the Pharaoh within the Millennium Puzzle). It also works both ways, as Yugi's friends help him grow stronger and more assertive to the point that he eventually surpasses the Pharaoh himself.
  • In Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Akira's honest, carefree, and relentlessly optimistic personality quickly rubs off on the people who get to know him. Kencho overcomes his past regrets over his work as a salesman and joins Akira on his road trip to finish his bucket list thanks to Akira's encouragement. Akira's honesty convinces Shizuka to lower her guard and enjoy her life rather than trying to live it completely rationally. When Beatrix loses confidence upon seeing the zombie horde between her and the sushi she dreamed of eating, one Rousing Speech from Akira is enough to get her back on her feet.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bridge: Twilight Sparkle winds up being this to the unified Sirens and Dark Hunters, despite being taken as a hostage due to a misunderstanding. It helps the sirens had already gone through a minor Heel–Face Turn on their own into a neutral party and the Hunters were a group of Punch-Clock Villains and were receptive to her once the misunderstanding was quickly cleared up. By the end of the arc, the group all basically got a case of Lima Syndrome from her and changed for the better.
  • Code Geass: Paladins of Voltron: Bonding with the other Paladins has had a positive effect on Lelouch, Kallen, and Suzaku.
    • Lelouch having people he can completely trust has made him far nicer than he was in canon, while also allowing him to grow as a leader. Additionally, he's sorted through a fair amount of his family issues that, in canon, cost him dearly. He's also lost many of his negative character traits (his tendency to deceive his allies and act impulsively when Nunnally is in danger being the most obvious) and made efforts to open up more to his companions and actually be a person.
    • Kallen's Fantastic Racism towards Britannia has been tempered a bit, and her temper has calmed, though it is still there.
    • Suzaku has changed the least, but the results are noticeable - his Death Seeker tendencies have started to abate (but it will be a while before they are truly gone), and he's finally started to realize he may have made the wrong choice siding with Britannia.
  • Code Prime:
    • Throughout the story, Optimus Prime's influence starts to rub off on Lelouch, slowly turning him from a vengeful young prince into a stalwart and good-hearted revolutionary leader. A lot of Lelouch's changes can be traced back to the fact that Optimus is a moral anchor whom Lelouch can trust wholly and unconditionally, something he lacked in canon.
      • In canon after dealing with the Refrain, Lelouch didn't intervene in the circumstances involving Kallen's mother. Here, he uses his Geass to not only make sure she doesn't serve jail time but to arrange for her and Kallen to live in an apartment, away from Kallen's cruel stepmother.
      • Instead of Bulkhead using himself as bait to lure out the Scraplets, Lelouch uses his Sutherland instead which earns the trust and respect of the other Black Knights as well as the previously distrustful Ironhide, Arcee, and Ratchet.
      • He allows the Autobots to warn the city of Narita of the upcoming battle and get them to evacuate, allowing much of the civilian casualties in canon to not happen.
      • And in a massive deviation from canon, after his first encounter with Mao, he does not erase Shirley's memories of him with his Geass. Instead, he comes clean with her about who he is and why he's fighting. He even introduces her to the Autobots, which soon leads to Shirley joining the Black Knights.
      • This all eventually culminates in Chapter 27 when Lelouch reveals his true identity and his heritage to the Black Knights, who still put their trust in him nonetheless.
      • A less noticeable change at first is how Lelouch refers to the Black Knights. In canon, he referred to them with chess terms (Q1, R1, etc.) signifying how he viewed them as pawns on a board. While he still did at the start of the fic, he eventually stopped doing so, signifying how Lelouch instead views them as people.
      • This is further shown in the first chapter of R2. After Lelouch uses his Geass on a Vehicon to make him help the Black Knights free the slaves at Mt. Fuji, he tells the Vehicon to leave the base and consider the choices he has made in life, instead of simply telling him to commit suicide. Optimus himself notices this change in Lelouch, and is proud of him for it.
    • Contrast this with Megatron's influence on Suzaku.
    • While it takes longer than with Lelouch, C.C.'s negative traits, particularly her cynicism, have dampened as well from being with the Autobots. She begins opening up to them in Chapter 20, telling them about V.V. and Charles's Geass. She even goes so far as to terminate her contract and telepathic connection with Marianne in Chapter 23, but not before declaring that she will tell Lelouch and the Autobots about Ragnarok once the Decepticons are dealt with, and they will stop her and Charles. By the final chapter of R1, C.C. admits to the original Primes when she's giving a Geass to Optimus that instead of her former Death Seeker behavior, she now wants to help her new friends and not lose them.
    • Cornelia becomes a better person herself in R2 upon joining the Autobot/Black Knight alliance, and reuniting with Lelouch and Nunnally.
  • Equestria Girls: A Fairly Odd Friendship: Gradually, the Rainbooms help Timmy become a kinder and more empathetic person. Despite being angry enough at their duplicity to push them away, he still finds their influence and the lessons they sought to instill into him to be helpful on his personal journey to save Cosmo and Wanda.
  • In Icarus, this goes both ways with Lelouch & Lloyd, Cécile, and ASEEC. Suzaku ended up walking into a tighter group that loves and supports Lelouch to the point they disliked Schneizel for nearly killing Lelouch and Suzaku. Lelouch, having a support system he can trust and rely on, started to lean on his friends and family more and made mentally healthier choices - including not killing Clovis as he realized Clovis and Cornelia still loves and misses the vi Britannias and accepting his identity as a prince, returning to the royal family - as they gently admonished him they are here to help as his trust issues are tackled as a result.
  • In Incarnation of Legends, Bell's admiration for Kojiro and pure, honest desire to learn from him and become a hero embarrasses Kojiro to the point that he decides to act more like the hero Bell envisions him as, defending Bell and those he cares about from harm, giving him genuinely good advice, and beginning to care more about his image so he won't bring shame on Bell.
  • Janna vs. the Forces of Evil: This goes both ways with Janna and Marco. After the two start regularly hanging out together, Jackie observes that Janna hasn't been getting into as much trouble as she used to, while Marco's parents point out that he's grown more confident and outgoing.
  • The Karma of Lies:
    • Played With when it comes to Chloé and Marinette's relationship. Specifically, Chloé sees Marinette as somebody who can help her stay on the straight and narrow path as she seeks to make amends for how much of a Spoiled Brat she used to be. Notably, one of her first takeaways is that she shouldn't expect to be rewarded for basic decency, resulting in her doing good things without Marinette's knowledge... something that deeply impresses Marinette when she finds out through other means.
    • Juleka serves as this for her girlfriend Rose, influencing her to break away from the rest of the class when they keep acting like Entitled Bastards towards Marinette and refuse to acknowledge how much they hurt her.
  • In Konoha's Fatal Joke, Naruto inspires the rest of the Konoha Twelve to follow in his footsteps and better themselves to the point of becoming Adaptational Badasses. After all, he refused to give up on his dreams despite all of the odds stacked against him, so what could they achieve if they really put their minds to it?
  • In The Line Between Midoriya Izuku and Bakugo Katsuki, Masaru is highly impressed with the positive influence the rest of Class 1-A is having on his son, especially when compared to the toxic cronies who followed him around throughout his time at Aldera. As a result, he decides to let Katsuki continue attending Yuuei so he can stay with his friends.
  • A Loud Among Demons: Lincoln has a knack for bringing out the better aspects of the various demons he meets, either because they recognize he doesn't actually deserve being stuck in Hell or due to being won over by his sincere kindness.
  • Izuku Midoriya the Rabbit: Izuku turns out to be such a Magnetic Hero that when he's kidnapped by the League of Villains, all eighteen of his classmates are eager to help him out in his time of need, with the whole lot heading to Kamino Ward. Later on, when he thwarts the Hero Commission's attempt to groom Eri into another Hawks, their attempt to take revenge results in full-on revolt and revolution.
  • A Rabbit Among Wolves: After accidentally killing Adam Taurus, Jaune finds himself in charge of a group of White Fang members. While he seeks to reform them for mostly self-serving reasons, his kindness and optimism gradually convince them to moderate. He later does so to Adam's spirit haunting him as well, after the ghost of Taurus is forced to see Jaune's peaceful methods and kind leadership are honestly better than his. Adam eventually repents and assists Jaune.
  • In Danny Phantom fanfic Resurrected Memories: Befriending Danny, Sam, and the others is what truly makes Ember go from being The Mole to Becoming the Mask and undergoing a Heel–Face Turn. Despite the fact that it was slow, their friendship and kindness towards her causes her to come to truly care for them as her friends and she becomes happier, friendlier, and generally a better person as a result.
  • Scarlet Lady:
    • Mme. Caline Bustier attempts to Invoke this with her teachings. Not even she can deny that Chloé is a Spoiled Brat; however, she's convinced that punishing her bad behavior will never convince Chloé to change... so instead, she expects the rest of the class to forgive every slight and treat their tormentor like she's a dearly beloved friend. In practice, all this has accomplished is enabling Chloé to become even worse and completely unrepentent, smugly secure in the knowledge that she never has to face any consequences for her actions... at least, not at Bustier's hands...
    • Alix provides a much straighter example, as she reaches out to both Sabrina and Lila while each of them are going through hardships, offering them genuine friendship that results in the trio becoming a tight-knit Girl Posse. The change is especially noticable in Lila, who becomes Reformed, but Not Tamed.
  • Slice of Velvet and Pear has Spike forge a friendship with Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. While the two initially just think that having a baby dragon for a friend would be cool and want to show him off, he becomes a proper Morality Pet for the two over time, to the point that he and Diamond Tiara wind up dating.
  • Referenced but Averted in Two Letters: According to the new Ladybug, many residents of Paris secretly resented her predecessor because they didn't want to try following her example. Of course, the new Ladybug has plenty of reasons to be a Unreliable Expositor here, but given how one of the main reasons Marinette retired was because she was convinced everybody was expecting her to solve all of their problems for them...
  • Unfair Rule: Bloo is this to Mac. Bloo is not only a supporting friend who protects Mac from his bullying older brother Terrence, but Bloo encourages Mac to stand up for himself and not obey the rule that Terrence is left in charge that allows him to abuse Mac.
  • We're Not Friends Kacchan: After the extent of Katsuki's Barbaric Bullying is revealed, Izuku's friends Ochako, Tenya, Tsuyu and Shouto rally around him, doing their best to counteract all the years of abuse by convincing him that he's more than just Katsuki's favorite victim, and is in no way responsible for Bakugou's horrible behavior. With their support, Izuku is able to stand up for himself at last.

    Film — Animation 
  • The Bad Guys (2022): Governor Diane Foxington has this influence on gang leader Mr. Wolf, as she sympathizes with him and motivates him to change his and his friends' lives for the better by turning good like she did before him, and the new relationship between the two is one of the main reasons Wolf finally turns good for real. Once he reforms, he has this influence on the rest of the gang, who he convinces to turn good with a Batman Gambit.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Hiccup was this to Astrid. Hiccup got her to be more open and empathic and cause her to become a more cheerful and happier person. Lampshaded in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. Astrid tells Hiccup that she credits him with making her the person she is today.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Knives Out: Hanging around his personal nurse Marta made Harlan into The Atoner; seeing her genuine kindness, work ethic, and selflessness contrasted against the behavior of his Big, Screwed-Up Family is part of what made him realize he was at least partially to blame for how they all turned out. Most of his actions the night he died were taken in the hopes of fixing some of the damage he caused, and force his family to be better.

  • In the Discworld novels, Carrot is this for the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that is the City Watch. One of his friends observes that he always assumes the best of you, and is so darn likeable that you can't bear to hurt his feelings by proving him wrong.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine has Peralta and Holt playing this to each other. Peralta learns with Holt to take his own job and life more seriously and start growing out of his adoration for the Cowboy Cop trope and his Manchild tendencies, while Holt learns with Peralta about not taking everything that seriously.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In her first proper conversation with Willow, Buffy encourages her to seize the moment and ask out a boy. Hell, she directly and indirectly inspired her friends to come out of their shells (Willow and Tara), unlock their hidden potential (Xander), or become better people (Cordelia, Angel, and Spike).
    • Xander can sometimes be relied on to get people on the right track with some wise words, getting Buffy out of her crisis of confidence and helping her through her Spike infatuation, giving Willow some male perspective on her relationship with Oz, and telling Dawn that just because she has no superpowers doesn't mean she's not special.
    • Tara helps Buffy through her breakup with Riley, her mother's death, and her relationship with Spike. Really, she's the glue of the group.
  • Ever since Ga-on from The Devil Judge has stepped foot into the Kang family mansion he literally added cheerfulness to the somber mansion which their housekeeper points out. He made sure they eat healthy, full meals and made Elijah and Yo-han have more fun and Elijah even warmed up to him after initially disliking him.
    Ms. Ji: What's all this? Master Yo-han. The cheerfulness that doesn't suit this house.
  • Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 has both main characters playing this to each other, despite Chloe being an evil Jerkass.
    • Chloe grows into the role of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, she learns she needs to care better for her friends, that sometimes she needs to tune down her selfishness in other to help others. A few episodes imply she had a near sociopathic Lack of Empathy, but this slowly changes when she starts feeling sad and guilty after some of her actions due to June's influence.
    • June learns that she needs to grow out of her Naïve Everygirl status and become more assertive to get the things she wants and that she can't just trust everyone and be nice all the time if she wants to live in New York City. Furthermore, she decides to enjoy life more, especially when around Chloe, who knows every bar and cool party in town.
  • Barry Allen/The Flash from The Flash (2014) has done this a few times. In a case of Contagious Heroism, he manages to bring out the good in his former nemesis Leonard Snart/Captain Cold, eventually helping him do a full Heel–Face Turn.
  • On Gilmore Girls, the defining feature of Jess and Rory's Odd Friendship is their unwavering confidence in each other. Jess is introduced as Brilliant, but Lazy, and Rory calls him out on it, saying he could and should do more with his life. In season 6, we find out he's written a novel and co-runs a publishing house with friends. He tells Rory he couldn't have done it without her, as she was one of the first people to have faith in him. During this time, Rory is adrift, having dropped out of college to live with her grandparents and date a guy who would rather party than study. Jess calls her out on it, giving her a Character Check via a What the Hell, Hero?, which prompts her to re-enroll at Yale and get her life together. Later, in the 2016 reboot, Rory is adrift again, and Jess once again acts as the ballast to get her back on track.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki: Ren takes it pretty bad when he finds out that Shinji is rubbing off on him and he just can't keep the same jerkass facade as before. Having a heart somewhere people can stab it is definitely not desirable in a There Can Be Only One conflict. This even holds true for Shinji himself, who dies before the show ends, but his influence convinces the man running the Rider War to finally give up and bring it to an end.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Emu is essentially the only thing that holds the CR doctors together at the start of the show. When he doesn't succeed at directly convincing them to stop being jerks, he finds much more success at conning them into Teeth-Clenched Teamwork for long enough that they eventually realize they actually make a good team. Taiga and Nico also serve as positive influences on each other, with Taiga teaching Nico some much-needed lessons in responsibility while Nico brings out the kinder impulses that Taiga buried to protect himself on his self-destructive mission.
    • Kamen Rider Build: Sento goes from here into Contagious Heroism as he inspires people to be their best selves and fight alongside him for the sake of love and peace. Kazumi sourly notes that Sento's optimism and ideals are infectious. By the end of the show, he's managed to pass on his ideals to everyone in nascita, two of whom were originally trying to kill him and another one of whom was an enemy spy.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O is entirely an exercise in this, as nothing can stop Sougo from becoming the tyrannical Oma Zi-O, ruler of the Bad Future, and nobody can defeat him. The only thing that actually works to stop him is Geiz and Tsukuyomi's friendship causing him to steadily overcome his worst impulses throughout the show so that he willingly gives up the power once he's used it to dispose of the Big Bad instead of keeping it for himself. Along the way, Sougo returns the favor and helps Geiz become his best self, by abandoning his pretenses of being a hard-hearted resistance fighter so he can be the genuine savior of the future he wants to be.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • Even with the kind of friendship they have, Abe notes that Stevie became more confident and outgoing from hanging out with Malcolm.
      Abe: You're the one who always pushed him to try new things. Dances. Ski trips. Basketball. Before he met you, that boy could hardly handle a yo-yo!
    • In one episode, Malcolm and Stevie get their Krelboyne friend Dabney to disobey his mother, in the end turning him from an Extreme Doormat Mama's a more confident and assertive Mama's Boy.
  • The page quote above from the third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt shows that Kimmy plays this to the rest of the main cast, with Lillian lampshading it when Kimmy and Titus fight. She also plays this to Jacqueline.
  • In Smallville, Clark manages to influence Tess into a full Heel–Face Turn by actually inviting her to be a friend and generally supporting her when she is feeling blue.
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Jake Sisko is a positive influence on his friend Nog, helping him go from an illiterate troublemaker to a gung-ho Starfleet officer, making him the first Ferengi ever to do so.

    Video Games 
  • Hades: The protagonist, Zagreus, is a genuinely nice and kind young man, whose charisma and selflessness inspire others, as well as his active role in helping them through their issues, like reuniting Achilles with his long lost lover Patroclus, mending the issues between Orpheus and Eurydice, and especially, challenging his family into dealing with their issues.
  • Life Is Strange:
    • The plot is kicked off by Max returning to her hometown to attend a private school after moving away 5 years ago, shortly after the death of her best friend Chloe's father (implied to be the reason they slowly fell out of contact). In the present, Max has become withdrawn and lacking in confidence (despite her talent as a photographer) and Chloe has become a rebel without a cause; both to the point of unnamed mental disorder. Chloe's mother, Joyce, hopes that Max will be able to invoke this trope, although it ends up being mutual (Chloe helps Max be more outgoing; Max helps rein Chloe in and gives her emotional support).
    • Max/the player has the option of being this to other characters. Most notably Kate (assuming you talk her out of her suicide attempt in episode 2) and Victoria (who you can come to an uneasy "not enemies" situation with, if you spend the game making an effort to bury the hatchet). Word of God is that if you sacrifice Chloe at the end of the game, most of the cast is present at her funeral to support Max, because of this trope.
    • Rachel Amber befriended Chloe after Max left, and (if Chloe's anything to go by) helped support her as she and Max drifted apart in the aftermath of William's death. Unfortunately, she disappeared sometime before Max returned; Chloe has not taken it well. The prequel game Life Is Strange: Before the Storm explores this in more detail, but implies that she might have been something of a Toxic Friend Influence, having introduced Chloe to a lot of the bad habits and company she has in the original game.
  • In the Mass Effect trilogy, Commander Shepherd can be this depending on the player’s choices and certain how certain missions play out across the trilogy.
  • Night in the Woods: In Bea's route, she will play this to the Womanchild Mae. Because Bea is bitter over Mae getting the chances she could never have and not even caring due to her own immaturity, she will call Mae out on her behavior, how she can't just waltz through life not caring, as well as being a burden for everyone else, her parents and friends especially, to support. In the face of that, and of all Bea suffered between her father's dismissive attitude, her mother's death, and working with a possible sexual abuser, Mae is forced into the realization she has to grow up and mature.
  • In the Persona series, the Wild Cards help many of their Social Links/Confidants become better people through their influence.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: While he is a criminal as well, Hosea Matthews' position as Dutch van der Linde's best friend and co-leader of the Van der Linde Gang, is the key factor in keeping Dutch's already fragile sanity intact. Hosea's murder at the hands of Agent Milton, as well as Dutch's head wound, causes Dutch to completely unravel, to the point Dutch believes Micah Bell (the actual rat) when he claims that John Marston (a man Dutch and Hosea raised together since he was 12 years old) is ratting them out to the Pinkertons.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney has, most prominently, Miles' Heel–Face Turn after the first game, largely resulting from rebuilding his friendship with Phoenix.
  • Danganronpa has the protagonist play this at large to their fellow classmates, who are a bundle of emotional and psychological messes with issues from low self-esteem to downright mental disorders. Often, they help a classmate through their fears, past traumas, and insecurities in the Free Time Events, and they end up with renewed strength and self-esteem, promising to better themselves once they get off the school/island. Examples include Makoto giving Leon the strength to try to pursue a musical career and Hinata making Sonia calm down and feel more comfortable in her role as future queen.
  • In Double Homework, Johanna is this for the protagonist and Tamara. And in fact, it’s lampshaded by both the protagonist (who says Johanna is the only functional one of the three) and Tamara (who says that Johanna’s influence makes the protagonist a better person).
  • The protagonist of Melody teaches the title character about the consequences of her actions (for herself and others), and of the importance of taking responsibility for one’s mistakes.

  • Dr. Frost: Song says that since Frost came to the counseling center, he's become visibly more human and expressive, and she feels much of that progress is due to Yoon's influence.
  • Questionable Content: The chilled-out but shy Dale and cranky and abrasive robot May bring out the best in each other. Dale brings out May's kinder instincts, introduces her to new people, and showed her compassion when she really needed it. May gave Dale a solid push toward admitting his feelings to the girl he liked and brings out his more passionate side.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia:
    • Throughout the first season, it was becoming increasingly clear that the Plantars, Sprig in particular, were having a good effect on Anne Boonchuy, who had started off as a Troubled Teen due to the toxic influence of her friendship with Sasha Waybright and Marcy Wu. The results of her Character Development were shown in the first season finale when her eyes were finally opened to how much of a controlling jerk Sasha really was.
    • In direct contrast to Anne, who had friendships that were initially toxic but eventually improved, King Andrias in his youth once had friends that were a good influence on him only to have a falling out with them. When he was the prince of Amphibia, he was under pressure from his father, then King Aldrich, to live up to his family's legacy of being Planet Looting, multiverse-scale conquerors, but his friends, a frog named Leif and a toad called Barrel, started bringing out his better side by showing him how to actually have fun. It got to the point that Aldrich had to do a little Gaslighting by sewing seeds of doubt into Andrias in order to prevent him from turning against him, which was compounded by Leif's betrayal and theft of the Calamity Box, resulting in Andrias cutting ties with her and Barrel (who suffered from Neutrality Backlash), believing they were actually False Friends. It gives Andrias's character a bit of Tragic Villain as it shows how he really could've been The Good King rather than a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing had his friendship with Leif and Barrel not soured.
  • BoJack Horseman: Most prominently, Hollyhock in season 4, BoJack's possible illegitimate daughter (actually his half-sister through the same father). While they live together, BoJack starts noticing more about himself and the way he should be behaving around her now that he is potentially a father. By the end of the season, BoJack made large strides in his Character Development, becoming more mindful of others, especially Princess Carolyn, Beatrice, Todd, and Diane. This is also partially because of the trauma he suffered the previous season and the events of "The Old Sugarman Place". Her cutting ties with him, when she later discovers the details of some of his worst treatment of other young women, is a key factor in his final downward spiral in the show.
  • Philip J. Fry in Futurama to both Bender and Leela, as he makes the former slightly less evil (though Bender would probably still describe him as a Morality Pet) and helps the latter to overcome her Dark and Troubled Past. He's arguably a positive influence on the rest of the Planet Express crew as well.
  • In Inside Job (2021), a flashback showed that as a child, Reagan had a friend who was considered to be a positive influence on her upbringing to the point that her principal advised against letting her skip fourth grade for the sake of her emotional development. Unfortunately her father Rand saw the friend as a moron who was potentially infecting his daughter with his mediocrity and not only ignored the principal but erased all memory of the friend from Reagan's mind. The result was that Reagan grew up to be incredibly intelligent but emotionally stunted, which her father considers a positive. Luckily, she starts to regain her empathy and social skills thanks to her coworker Brett, a naive, optimistic Nice Guy.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has the word "friendship" in the title, so this happens a lot. In particular, it is easier to count antagonists who weren't made into better people by someone.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes has K.O. playing this to his coworkers, but most prominently Enid, who becomes increasingly protective of him.
  • The Owl House: Throughout the show, it becomes increasingly clear that Luz Noceda has become a good influence on nearly everyone she meets. This is especially prominent with Amity Blight, who mentions in "Escaping Expulsion" that part of the reason why she hangs out with Luz, Willow, and Gus is that they encourage her to be a better person.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Jet is a positive influence on everyone he meets and befriends throughout the course of the show. He helps Sean be more open to making mistakes, encourages Sydney to think outside the box, strengthens Mindy's leadership skills, helps Mitchell come out of his shell, and inspires a sense of wonder and childlike joy in the DSA scientists.
  • Rick and Morty: Invoked by Rick Sanchez and Beth Smith in the "first episode", them stating that by being around Rick, Morty Smith, who had a Friendless Background, can improve in academics because he has the same genius potential his grandfather; Rick proves it by showing that Morty has gained a large knowledge of advanced physics. This turns out to be a ruse, as Morty acquired a short-lived super intelligence due to an alien seed that dissolved inside him and isn't really more than average intelligence. Long term, this isn't true, as Morty grows to become cynical, ruthless, and more like Rick in a bad sense as the show goes on.
  • Steven Universe: The titular All-Loving Hero Steven Quartz Universe plays this to several characters in the city, but especially to the Crystal Gems, who have a boatload of issues showing up as time goes, ranging from self-loathing to outright undiagnosed PTSD.
  • Sofia the First: The titular princess does this throughout the show, her kind and determined nature and high morals, inherited from her mother, and propensity for seeing the good in everyone help her to reform numerous characters throughout the entire run and even prompt numerous villains into making full-fledged Heel–Face Turn. Most notable amongst these are:
    • Her stepbrother Prince James, who was a bad loser and prone to Unsportsmanlike Gloating and acting without thinking, but became more gracious, humble, and learning to look before leaping.
    • Prince Hugo, who went from being an arrogant, misogynistic bully desperately seeking his father's approval to a kind, selfless team player willing to do what he loved openly without hiding it.
    • Cedric the Sorceror, who had been scheming for most of the series to steal her magical amulet in order to take over the kingdom and rule as an evil wizard, but who through the Power of Friendship grew to care for her enough to forfeit his ambitions and become a great sorcerer on his own merit and through doing good.
    • Princesses Hildegard, Clio, and Vivian: a Spoiled Brat, Yes-Man, and Shrinking Violet, respectively, under Sofia's tuition they became less selfish, more confident, and less shy.
    • Her mentor Chrysta learned to be more accepting of humans and willing to open herself up to others rather than be cold, aloof, and haughty.
    • And finally, Princess Amber, Alpha Bitch stepsister to... well, scarcely recognizable as the same person at the end of the show's run.
  • Teen Titans (2003):
    • Starfire served as this for the team. Her ever-present kind cheeriness would help the other Titans through dark days. The episode "How Long is Forever?" reveals a Bad Future where Starfire's absence caused the team to break apart, but her return managed to bring them back together again.
    • In another sense, all the Titans played a part in helping Raven become less brooding and more attentive and open to others, being more selfless instead of just seeking revenge against her father or running away from her fate.
  • Wander over Yonder is an entire show founded around this premise. Wander is an All-Loving Hero who consciously tries to befriend the many bad guys who inhabit his universe in order to bring them to a Heel–Face Turn. His many success stories include his best friend Sylvia, originally a bounty hunter who met him when she captured him.


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