Exploring How Social Media Has Us Struggling From ‘Main Character Syndrome’

Social media has a lasting psychological impact, and it is becoming more apparent by the day. For example, the latest ’main character syndrome’ phenomenon is one of the most prevalent effects of social media today. 

There is no arguing the effects that social media has on our brains as human beings since many of us have experienced it. Even those who aren’t as affected as others can recognize the psychological effects it has. 

Main character syndrome is one of the most visible effects of social media use these days. Read further to discover more about main character syndrome and how social media has managed to put it on the rise. 

What Is Main Character Syndrome?


the walking song reuploaded and censored for slippage

♬ original sound – ramsey

When watching a movie, you will almost always be able to identify the protagonist in the film. The movie’s main character drives the film’s story, and everything that unfolds is a reaction to the protagonist’s choices and motives. 

Over the past couple of months, more and more people have adopted the behaviors of film protagonists. As explained above, these people act as if they drive the’ movie’ story and events that are their lives. 

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

This idea that one’s life is one big production is caused by a condition dubbed main character syndrome. Those who suffer from this condition see themselves as life’s protagonist and everyone else as extras. 

Many people who have main character syndrome often come off as narcissistic and have self-promotional behaviors. Several experts have blamed social media for this strange psychological phenomenon that’s plagued many. 

How Social Media Bolsters Main Character Syndrome


Take a second and listen #fyp #foryou #aesthetic #lovelife #drone background song: @hannah_harpist

♬ A Moment Apart – ODESZA – Ashley Ward

Last year the TikTok user @ashlaward encouraged her fellow TikTokers to start romanticizing their lives. The dramatic video included a voice-over that presented acting as the main character to appreciate the little things in life. 

Soon, more self-indulgent videos started trending on the app, and while others were cool, some took it too far. Pretending to act like a movie protagonist on TikTok is fine until it starts skewing one’s perception of reality. 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

“Young people can often feel the need to escape from their reality, whether that’s from the pandemic or other societal pressures. Social media provides them with the tools to escape, but it can be all-consuming and self-perpetuating.”

Says Psychologist Dr. Shungu Hilda M’gadzah

Social media has the power to offer people a space for escapism, making it easier to fall into the main character syndrome trap. The gratification they get from views and likes also bolsters this behavior. 

Recognizing The Signs Of Main Character Syndrome

Main character syndrome can be difficult to identify, mostly because some people are only pretending. Additionally, not all cases of main character syndrome are severe and affect others, making it even more challenging to spot. 

Many people may not even be able to identify when they suffer from main character syndrome until it’s too late. Thankfully, there are a few behavioral takeaways one can keep an eye on to help identify the issue. 

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Making up and living alternative versions of reality and creating narratives for an audience’s validation are signs of the condition. Being hyper-focused on other people’s social media and constantly comparing yourself is another sign. 

Experts encourage those who identify these behaviors in themselves to practice mindfulness to combat them. Living in the moment and being more present in your life can help you enjoy your being without the strange behaviors. 

Written by:
Siba Mosana

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