Real-life romance doesn’t ever play out the way it does in the movies. Guys don’t hold boomboxes outside bedroom windows, taking off thick-rimmed glasses won’t change your dating life and you (probably) won’t marry a real prince (unless you are Meghan Markle).

Romantic comedies are built around tropes like “the manic pixie dream girl” or “the fake dating scheme,” and some are more entertaining to watch than others.

Let’s rank 11 overused rom-com tropes that almost never happen in real life (but we love to watch):

11. The manic pixie dream girl

Ugh. The manic pixie dream girl. Manic pixie dream girls (or guys) are essentially stock characters who are quirky, attractive and flawless. The male protagonist places his manic pixie dream girl on a pedestal and her whole purpose in the story is to complete him. He becomes a depressed, empty person without her.

“The manic pixie dream girl may serve as a catalyst for male transformation, but in both her real and fictional manifestations, she sends the message that a bright and sensitive young man can learn to embrace life only by falling in love with a woman who sees the dazzling colors and rich complexities he can’t,” explains The Atlantic.

Think Summer (Zoey Deschanel) in “500 Days of Summer.” Viewers are never privy to Summer’s perspective on the relationship — the film focuses solely on the impact she has on Tom’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) rather depressing life.

Manic pixie boys exist as well, although they are rare. Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) in the “Titanic” or Gus Waters (Ansel Elgort) in “The Fault in Our Stars” are both manic pixie dream boys. They are misunderstood guys who push the female protagonist out of her comfort zone and show her the real meaning of life.

Manic pixie dream characters don’t exist in real life. They are underdeveloped characters used to drive a narrative. People don’t require romantic relationships to complete them and there is no such thing as a flawless partner. Although fun to watch, these stories perpetuate unrealistic relationship expectations. It’s time we let this trope go extinct.

Seen in: “500 Days of Summer,” “Elizabethtown,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “What’s Up, Doc?” and “Along Came Polly.”

10. The beauty makeover

Only once the thick-rimmed glassed come off, eyebrows are plucked, a hip outfit is put on and new hairstyle is worn can these ladies truly thrive. Yikes.

The beauty makeover trope is entertaining in the same way “Extreme Homemaker” is. Everyone loves a before and after montage. But this trope has not aged well. The underlying message is problematic. No one should feel the need to change their looks to catch someone’s attention.

“When you take a conventionally beautiful actress and turn her into someone in need of a makeover, you also make attractiveness into a math equation. Pretty minus makeup equals no longer pretty. Pretty minus long, frizz-free hair equals no longer pretty,” writes Refinery29. “The message of the hot girl makeover is clear: If you want a good life, you need to fix your physical appearance — and there’s a lot to fix.”

Luckily, these makeovers often reveal who the real ones are. In “The Princess Diaries,” Mia (Anne Hathaway) catches masses of attention after receiving a makeover from her royal grandma’s (Julie Andrews) beauty team. Finally, the cool guy at school wants to take her out. But it was Michael (Robert Schwartzman), the boy who cared for her pre-makeover, who proves to be the right guy for Mia. Looks didn’t change anything for him. Just as it should be.

Seen in: “She’s All That,” “Pretty Woman,” “Miss Congeniality,” “Princess Diaries” and “Maid in Manhattan.”

9. The Catfish

It’s like watching a train wreck. You know these characters are doomed from the start but you can’t look away.

The catfish is any relationship rooted in a lie. For these characters to make things work, a major reveal is required. Trust is broken. Strong words are exchanged. And it’s really fun to watch.

It’s also known as the Cyrano effect. In the classic play written by Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac is a gifted poet, romantic and all-around talented guy. He also happens to have a very large nose, which leaves him feeling insecure around women. He believes he is too ugly to ever be loved.

To interact with the beautiful Roxanne, Cyrano uses a new handsome, yet dimwitted, cadet, Christian. Cyrano provides the brains and Christian provides the looks — creating the perfect man. So, Roxanne falls for a man that does not really exist. You just can’t have it all!

Modern takes on “Cyrano de Bergerac” show characters using deception to get what they want romantically. In several instances, the lie is rooted in an insecurity about physical appearances.

“Bodies as plot devices and relationships based on lies have all stemmed largely from Cyrano and his eloquence,” Collider writes. “Attitudes toward body image and objectification of bodies in relationships have stayed the same, but creative storytelling has allowed variations of ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ to expose the issues with the story and our cultural norms.”

Any relationship built on lies is destined to fail. Entertaining on screen, but not something to try in real life.

Seen in: “Roxanne,” “She’s The Man,” “While You Were Sleeping,” “Sierra Burgess is a Loser” and “Never Been Kissed.”

8. The love triangle

The love triangle might be the most common romantic trope on television. Anyone currently watching the Amazon Prime series “The Summer I Turned Pretty” understands how painfully frustrating — and captivating — it is to watch a love triangle.

I think the most entertaining part of watching the love triangle trope is picking what “team” you are on. It’s like sports for people who don’t actually watch a lot of sports (me). You might find yourself rooting (screaming at the TV) as you defend your “team” member’s honor or fighting with your friends who associate with the wrong team.

“If you’re drawing out a tense, emotional love triangle plot through multiple books, it strengthens community formation by encouraging readers to join teams for a ship war. And ship wars are not an accidental happenstance,” Ethan Calof, PhD candidate in English and Comparative Media Analysis and Practice at Vanderbilt University, told Vox.

But watching love triangles play out on screen gets tired. It’s frustrating watching your team fail and sometimes a simple, happy ending is preferable.

Also, love triangles feel very high school. I don’t know any adults caught in the middle of a love triangle. Just commit to the nice, reliable guy and move on.

Seen in: “Sweet Home Alabama,” “This Means War,” “The Hunger Games,” “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and “Twilight.”

7. Taming the notorious player (or commitment-phobe)

We all want to be special enough to change someone. Relationships should have positive impacts, but don’t expect to change a commitment-phobe or get a notorious player to settle down. You’ll probably be wasting your time.

In “Hitch,” dating coach Alex “Hitch” Hitchens (Will Smith) is finally ready to enter a committed relationship when he meets the perfect girl. She is the only one alive who can prompt such a change in him. The same thing happens in “Something’s Gotta Give,” when womanizer Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) falls for Erica Barry (Diane Keaton).

It’s romantic watching this play out in the movies, but don’t be fooled. It typically does not happen in real life.

Seen in: “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “Taming the Shrew,” “Hitch,” “Something’s Gotta Give” and “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.”

6. The Cinderella story

It’s a classic for a reason. Meeting a prince charming — either in the form of real royalty, high school royalty or financial royalty — is the basis of pretty much every fairy tale romance. Transitioning from the ordinary world into his royal universe is challenging, but she always does it with elegance and grace.

These stories also have a built-in villain in the form of a wicked stepmother (or something of the sort) and evil stepsisters. The Cinderella character is also always a hardworking, self-made woman prepared to succeed despite her dire circumstances (think Rachel Chu in “Crazy Rich Asians”) — usually with the help of a fairy godmother figure who provides her with a dazzling ballgown and sweet ride to the party.

In “A Cinderella Story,” Sam (Hilary Duff) works tirelessly at the family diner to earn enough money to attend Princeton University. Her ruthless stepmother (Jennifer Coolidge) makes this challenging through curfews, extra work shifts and cruel commentary. But Sam proves to be a Cinderella worth rooting for. She perseveres and earns the prince, the Ivy League acceptance letter and her hidden inheritance.

“Cinderella is not a passive wimp who simply wishes upon a star. She makes things happen through her fortitude, perseverance, and wise decisions — albeit with some help from a magical fairy godmother,” says Smithsonian Magazine. “In similar fashion, Americans regard themselves as can-do people who take the bull by the horns, not letting the grass grow under their boots on the ground.”

Modern fairy tales like “A Cinderella Story” and “Crazy Rich Asians” make for really good rom-coms, but most of us won’t end up with royalty. But we can relate to the modern Cinderella — who, through enough hard work and initiative, earns the American dream.

Seen in: “The Prince and Me,” “A Cinderella Story,” “Pretty Woman,” “Ever After” and “Crazy Rich Asians.”

5. Breaking high school social norms

For any freshman girl who was madly in love with the handsome senior, this trope speaks to you. We’ve all been there. Something about the unattainable is really attractive. But usually, that’s exactly what it is — unattainable.

But this trope also teaches viewers that coolness and smarts are mutually exclusive, which is far from the truth.

“For decades of film and television, handsomeness has suggested caddishness while homeliness and studiousness have connoted devotion and wealth. Those are really simplistic binaries, ones that will continue misguiding generations of love-seeking young people for as long as we perpetuate them,” writes the National Post.

Once the popular guy decides he sees something in the uncool girl at school (or vice versa) he usually has to put up with some pretty intense backlash from his friend group. When high school hotshot Blane (Andrew McCarthy) asks Andie (Molly Ringwald) out in “Pretty in Pink,” he pays for it socially. It’s a hurdle they must overcome and Steff (James Spader) doesn’t make it easy.

Despite being mostly unrealistic, the breaking high school norms trope speaks to our inner high schooler. We all want to leave our sister’s wedding to find Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) patiently waiting to sweep us off our feet a la “Sixteen Candles.”

Seen in: “Pretty in Pink,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” and “She’s All That.”

4. Best friends to lovers

Best friends to lovers is probably the most realistic rom-com trope. For some, this might make it relatable or even provide some much-needed inspiration to tell their friend how they really feel.

“Making your friend a lover can certainly seem very appealing. There’s the satisfaction you’d feel after your friend finally turns around to look at you like that,” writes Refinery29. “You’ve already established closeness and intimacy, and the release of any sexual tension that’s been building up for who knows how long can be a relief. It’s romantic, confidence-boosting and sexy — and it certainly makes for a really great story.”

The best friends to lovers trope is really wholesome to watch. No schemes. Just pure romance built off a history of friendship. Isn’t this what everyone wants?

Seen in: “When Harry Met Sally,” “Some Kind of Wonderful,” “13 Going on 30,” “Yesterday” and “Reality Bites.”

3. The “fake dating” scheme

There is something special about the fake dating scheme — it’s like an ideal combination of the friends to lovers trope and the enemies to lovers trope. It’s also really fun to see how these fake dating duos pull off their scam.

Generally, the false relationship is between two people from different worlds who can help each other out. In “The Proposal,” Margaret (Sandra Bullock) needs to avoid deportation, so her assistant (Ryan Reynolds) agrees to marry her in exchange for a promotion. And in “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” Peter (Noah Centineo) proposes he and Lara Jean (Lana Condor) fake date to make his ex-girlfriend jealous and save her from some embarrassment with the boy she likes.

Chaos usually ensues as the fake daters develop some not-so-fake feelings for each other, unraveling their plans and setting themselves up to get hurt.

“Fake dating is the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too of romantic tropes. It grants audiences all the satisfaction of seeing the central couple in an established, domestic relationship, but it doesn’t deflate the will they/won’t they tension because you are always waiting for the two fake lovers to realize that they’re actually really in love,” writes Vox, adding, “It’s a trope that lends itself equally well to both fluff and angst.”

I have not met anyone who has tried the fake dating scheme out in real life, but if we have learned anything from the movies, this scheme gets messy. Maybe it’s better we save this one for the screen.

Seen in: “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” “The Proposal,” “Pretty Woman” and “Housesitter.”

2. Enemies to lovers

We owe a big thanks to Jane Austen for popularizing the enemies to lovers trope in “Pride and Prejudice.” The tension between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth is unmatched (for example, the viral Darcy hand flex) and wildly entertaining.

Witty banter, misunderstandings, snide remarks, frenemy relationships and all-around feuding bring the comedy to rom-coms. It’s like middle-school flirting on steroids. Audiences know these two are madly in love with each other (or about to be) and watching the characters realize it themselves is wonderful.

When the characters finally let go of their pride and reveal their true feelings, it comes as an emotional scene viewers cannot get enough of. In “10 Things I Hate About You,” Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) does this well through an emotional poem.

“I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair. I hate the way you drive my car. I hate it when you stare. I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind. I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme,” Kat reads to Patrick (Heath Ledger).

“I hate it, I hate the way you’re always right. I hate it when you lie. I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry. I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call.”

“But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.”

Seen in: “Pride & Prejudice,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “27 Dresses,” “10 Things I Hate About You” and “The Proposal.”

1. The third-act declaration of love

Ah, the declaration of love. It usually involves running, sometimes in the rain, and it always happens in the third act.

The declaration frequently follows a nasty fight or misunderstanding and happens just as the window begins closing on the relationship. But before all hope is lost — as viewers scoot to the edge of their seats — comes a poetic speech or act to win back the heart of a lost lover.

One of the most legendary third-act declarations of love is featured in “When Harry Met Sally,” when Harry tells Sally, “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts.”

“I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

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I’ve personally never had anyone hold a boombox blaring “In Your Eyes” outside my bedroom window or had a man run two miles to a New Years Eve party out of a desperate need to declare his love for me.

And I can honestly say experiencing one of these out-of-the-movies grand gestures would make me feel rather uncomfortable in real life — which probably a good thing, because I don’t know a single man who could pull a third-act declaration off without assistance from a team of writers and directors.

But in movies, the third-act declaration of love just works. Every. Single. Time.

Seen in: “When Harry Met Sally,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Say Anything,” “A Cinderella Story” and “13 Going on 30.”

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