Does anyone have a clue or an idiomatic phrase for this:

When someone changes themselves in order to fit a role

Ex: When someone gets a new job, they learn new abilities to suit that role.
Ex2: When someone becomes what their significant other needs rather than staying the same.

  • Are you looking for a positive word (someone can adjust well to change) or a negative one (someone isn't authentic and just follows others)?
    – alphabet
    Jan 27, 2023 at 22:00
  • 'Make some adjustments' is what I'd use, but it's far too much of a hypernym to offer as an answer. Jan 28, 2023 at 12:19
  • 1
    You mean something other than learning specific skills needed for the job?
    – Stuart F
    Jan 28, 2023 at 14:51

5 Answers 5


We may say that the person grows into the role.

Grow into something:
if you grow into a situation or activity, you gradually start knowing what to do because you have more experience
She needs time to grow into her new role.

A typical example is this title for an article on developing leadership skills:

“6 Questions to Ask If You Want to Grow Into a Leadership Role”


How about to adapt? It's not an idiomatic phrase, but it works pretty well.

Per Cambridge,

to change your ideas or behavior to make them suitable for a new situation

The examples it offers are pretty similar to what you described,

  1. The good thing about children is that they adapt very easily to new environments.

  2. It took me a while to adapt to the new job.


Conform may express the idea you are suggesting:

to behave according to a group’s usual standards and expectations, or to operate according to a rule:

  • The contract requires that managers conform to high standards of personal conduct.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

Conform to new rules, conform to someone’s expectations or needs, etc.

  • This actually makes sense. I was under the impression that conform was only for situations, rather than peoples expectations as well. Good word. Thanks
    – Elainor
    Jan 27, 2023 at 21:54
  • @Elainor If an answer helps you out, you can show your appreciation by voting them up. This way, proper answers will stand out, and you reward people for their time and aid. Welcome to ELU!
    – Joachim
    Jan 28, 2023 at 21:30

You can say that you mould yourself according to the new circumstances of your job or according to the needs of another person.

To mould someone or something means to change or influence them over a period of time so that they develop in a particular way.

  • Too often we try to mould our children into something they do not wish to be. (Collins)

To reinvent oneself is a phrase sometimes used.

She reinvented herself as a singer.

He reinvented himself as an ideal husband.

It refers to fairly significant change in a way those who knew the person before might find surprising.

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