You have probably just become aware of the term Main Character Syndrome and are here trying to learn what it means and to know if you have it.

Nearly every day, new trends and terms emerge on the internet and media as people try to understand and explain various aspects of themselves and their lives. One of the latest inventions is the main character syndrome; a term that doesn’t have any known scientific origins but is quite popular on social media, especially on TikTok.

If you are unfamiliar with this term, this post will define main character syndrome, how to know you have it, the effects of the main character syndrome, and how to get rid of it. Read on to learn more about the main character syndrome.

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What Is The Main Character Syndrome?

Have you ever gazed wistfully out of the window of your car, bus, or train while soft music plays in the background and imagined yourself as the protagonist of a movie? Almost everyone has done this at one point, and that means we all have main character syndrome to some extent. But how do you define it? In psychology, the main character syndrome is when a person believes and acts like they are playing the lead role in a fictional version of their life.

The term ’main character syndrome’, or ‘protagonist syndrome’ as it is sometimes called, is derived from books, TV shows, and movies. In these, there is usually a character in the lead role around whom the story revolves, and all the other supporting characters’ actions either affect them or advance their storyline.

So, in simple terms, the main character syndrome means thinking and acting as if your life is a movie in which you are the star, and everyone else is in it to support you. It is closely related to narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) because those with the main character syndrome often exhibit similar signs as narcissists.

Most people like to think that they are the main character in their stories, and that is not always a bad thing. Except that, sometimes, thinking we are the main character of our lives can become a problem if it turns into self-absorption and self-delusion, or lead to an inflated sense of self-importance.

When you have the main character syndrome, you could cease to value the people around you and instead view them as supporting characters and extras that are only there to move your story forward and support you.

Since it can affect your life negatively, it is vital to know the signs of main character syndrome. If you suspect yourself or someone you know has it, read on to know how to tell whether you have the main character syndrome so that you can try to overcome it.

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10 Signs of Main Character Syndrome

There are many ways to know if you have the main character syndrome. While most people who have it are unaware or think it is normal, some who have the protagonist syndrome usually know it and even brag about it on social media. But having the main character syndrome is not always a good thing. So, if you want to tell whether you have it or someone you know does, here are the signs of main character syndrome to look for;

  1. Being self-centered and self-absorbed.
  2. Loving and seeking attention, thus, you are often overly dramatic or fishing for compliments.
  3. Creating and living in an alternate version of reality where you are thriving.
  4. Presenting yourself as someone you are not.
  5. Thinking the world revolves around you.
  6. Making your problems everyone’s problems.
  7. Romanticizing hardships and thinking of them as part of your character development instead of looking for solutions.
  8. Expecting people to be at your beck and call.
  9. Dressing up and behaving as if people are watching you at all times.
  10. Thinking your life is a movie where you are the star.

READ ALSO: 5 Ways to Stop Chasing Perfection and Be Happier

Effects of Main Character Syndrome

  • Inauthenticity

Being the central character in a story comes with many responsibilities and standards to uphold. When pretending to be the main character of your life, you might have to fake some aspects of yourself and your lifestyle to fit into the narrative you are creating.

The negative effects of the main character syndrome on your authenticity will happen because you might have to change your image or manipulate the truth to present to the world what you think they want to see. But how long can you live a fake life before it all unravels?

  • You will lose friends

Losing friends is another negative effect of the main character syndrome. People like to feel valued, and no one wants to be a minor character or an extra in another person’s life because it can be exhausting. So, if you continue acting like you are the main character and keep disregarding your friends, you will push them away, and most of them won’t stick around.

Moreover, what if your friends aren’t satisfied with being minor characters and want to be the main character of their stories as well? That would be confusing, right? It is okay to be the main character in your life but don’t try to force it on anyone else’s. Being a supporting character in other people’s lives is also fine because we are all part of each other’s stories.

READ ALSO: How to Keep More Good Friends in Your Life

  • Avoidance behavior doesn’t erase the problem

Most people who show the signs of main character syndrome have it because they are using it as a coping mechanism to avoid dealing with problems in their real life or escape unfulfilling lives. When they present themselves as the main character and control the narrative, they feel better about themselves and avoid dealing with the unpleasantness of their reality.

Everything works better in your fake little world. But what will happen when the bubble bursts? Your problems will still be waiting for you when you come back to reality, so it is better to deal with them than avoid them if you want to live a fulfilling life.

  • It can ruin your personality

Having main character syndrome helps you learn a bit more about self-love and boosts your self-confidence. However, if these two go unchecked, they can easily make you egotistical and self-centered.

Some of the effects of main character syndrome are that people who have it consider their needs first and what can make them happy, disregarding anyone else. They have an inflated sense of self-importance and thus, think that everyone should stop whatever they are doing in order to meet their needs or change who they are to accommodate them.

READ ALSO: The Ugly Side of Beauty: Can Being Attractive Ruin Your Personality?

  • You could become a better version of yourself

Yes, there are positive effects of main character syndrome as well. As mentioned earlier, wanting to feel like the protagonist in your own story is not always a bad thing. When the main character memes first started trending on TikTok and other social media under the #maincharacter hashtag, they were harmless.

The videos and posts using the main character hashtag were meant to help people see the positive side of things, reinvent themselves, appreciate the little things, live in the moment, and take charge of their life so it doesn’t pass them by.

Hence, in moderation, having the main character syndrome can be empowering and could help you practice self-love, be more confident, and become a better version of yourself overall.

READ ALSO: 7 Ways to Make Your Life Extraordinary

How to Get Rid of Main Character Syndrome

It is okay if you don’t feel like being the protagonist all the time or don’t like how being one is affecting your life. If you are exhibiting any of the above signs of main character syndrome, you have to decide what to do to avoid suffering from the negative effects. So, here is how to get rid of main character syndrome if you don’t like having it;

  1. Be more self-aware

Since many people have it but don’t know the signs of main character syndrome, increasing your self-awareness is one of the first things you should do when learning how to overcome it. Start paying more attention to how you think, behave and react to situations.

Other ways to increase your self-awareness include meditation, checking in with yourself regularly, requesting feedback from trusted friends, and journaling. By being more self-aware, you will recognize the signs of main character syndrome, such as when you are being overly dramatic or self-centered, and stop those destructive behaviors.

READ ALSO: Feeling Disconnected? 6 Ways to Connect with Your Inner Self

  1. Realize that some things just don’t work in the real world

See that main character in that movie you are watching shout at her boss and then get promoted after the confrontation? Yeah, don’t do that. Behaving like the protagonist of a movie might not work well in the real world and could also be a form of self-sabotage as you might get yourself fired.

Staying grounded in reality is the best way to learn how to get rid of main character syndrome. So, the next time you feel like telling your boss to f*ck off, remind yourself that you are not in a movie, and this is real life where consequences exist.

  1. Stop romanticizing everything

In movies and TV shows, the main character is subjected to many trials and tribulations but they somehow always find a way to come out on the other end by the time the credits roll. But your regular life is not a movie, and the solutions to your problems won’t come as easily. Also, you will likely not get a sequel to your life or a remake to redo things when you make mistakes.

If you are in a tough situation, being too optimistic about it won’t make it go away, and instead might worsen it because of denial and avoidance. To learn how to get rid of main character syndrome, you must stop over-romanticizing your life and face reality or deal with your problems. Solutions won’t come from thin air, and the credits won’t roll when your life is over.

READ ALSO: Toxic Positivity: What It Is, Why It Is Harmful, and 5 Ways to Avoid It

  1. Reduce time spent on social media

Lately, it seems like social media is the root of all evil as its harmful effects on society have become very prevalent. Since most of the trends that push you to pretend to be someone you are not usually start there, reducing your social media usage is one of the best actions to take when learning how to get rid of main character syndrome.

By detoxing from social media, you will reduce your exposure to toxic trends, have better mental health, get over the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), and spend your time on more meaningful things and people.

  1. Get over yourself

Walking around and acting as if you’re the main character of your neighborhood and thinking that everyone around you is there to be a supporting character in your story is not a good way to live.

You may even think that everyone is watching you ready to be at your beck and call. In most cases, no one even cares that much, and nobody is watching you. Well, unless they are a stalker or you are a celebrity or famous person, in which cases keeping your personal life private is paramount.

Learn how to get rid of main character syndrome by getting over yourself and realizing you are only a tiny part of something bigger than yourself. The world doesn’t revolve around you. Everyone is too focused on their own lives and problems to give you that much attention, and you would realize this if you brought yourself back to reality and stopped overthinking or having an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

READ ALSO: 10 Reasons Why You Feel Like You Don’t Belong Anywhere (and How to Stop)

Final Words

The main character syndrome is a fairly new concept, and as of now, not much research has been done to learn more about it. It is popular on social media platforms, and especially on Tiktok, with many people self-identifying as having the main character syndrome.

While it has a good side because it helps people be more optimistic and value the little things in their life, the negative effects of having main character syndrome could outweigh the positives. It can also easily slip into narcissism which further confirms how harmful social media can be.

If you suspect yourself or someone else of having it, now you know the signs of main character syndrome to look for, the effects of having the main character syndrome, and how to overcome main character syndrome.


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14 thoughts on “10 Signs of Main Character Syndrome and How to Get Rid of It

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Geoff!❤️ MCS is really new but not something you should worry too much about unless you have it and it starts turning you into a narcissist or affecting your life negatively. It is also more of a mindset than an illness.

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