Oh, You Want To Be The Main Character? Get In Line

So none of us have ever had an original thought in our lives, huh?
Loading the player...

You’ve just stepped out onto your porch. The wind is whipping violently through your hair. You wrap your cardigan tightly around yourself and stare pensively off into the distance as Lana Del Ray’s Mariners Apartment Complex blasts in the background. Congratulations, you are the main character.

It’s an amazing accolade to have, especially considering how difficult it is to attain.

WATCH: Gen Z is exposing their main character syndrome

What is Main Character Syndrome?

Main Character Syndrome is when you think you’re destined to be the “cardigan character” of life. And you have no problem showing it.

Suddenly, your every move becomes uncanny to a character in a film. You act “different” in an attempt to be the protagonist of any and all situations. It’s ~dRamAtic~, it’s fierce, the sidewalk doesn’t even know what’s hit it. That kinda energy. 

In true Gen Z fashion, we are using TikTok to share all of the “unique” things we do to stand out and assert ourselves as the main character. Or at least, we thought they were unique.

Clueless Cher
Oh, to be Cher in Clueless. (Credit: Getty)

But, lo and behold, we’re all just too relatable for our own good as on almost every one of these videos there is a comment along the lines of, “wow, I’ve never had an original thought in my life”.

And so, if you’re reading this hoping for some advice on how to be a main character then be warned, the competition is as fierce as ever. Nevertheless, here’s how you can attempt to be the protagonist of life….


#mytiktokvs 7 year old me, in the back seat pretending to be in a music video

♬ Stay With Me – Sam Smith

The “dramatically staring out a window and picturing yourself in a music video” plot. (Extra points if it’s raining)

For this main character plot to work, you’re going to need an elite travel playlist. Like, seriously, we’re talking Mariners Apartment Complex, Freakin’ Out On the Interstate and Fine Line kind of vibes.

Once your headphones are blasting a sufficiently dramatic song, stare out of the car/bus/train window as you picture yourself in a music video. If you can time your trip to fall on a rainy day that will seriously help you gain protagonist points; water plummeting onto the window significantly adds to the theatrics of your performance.

It allows you to gaze thoughtfully at the droplets as though you’re undergoing significant character development and not just riding past Wondabyne station blaring Toxic by Britney Spears – yes, that song is totally worthy of the elite travel playlist.

Of course, it will be a rude reality check once the driver proclaims, “due to the weather, this train will be terminating at the next station”. It’s OK though, just pop your tote bag over your shoulder and put your hands in your pockets as you exit the train as mysteriously as possible – that should be enough to maintain your main character status.

The “browsing for classic literature and reading it right there in the bookstore” plot

This is a tricky one as you will have a lot of competition, but here’s how to be the main character of your library or bookstore.

First, make a beeline for the classics because you’re not a basic young adult reader (and you definitely weren’t reading fanfiction on Wattpad last night). At this point, if the script goes to plan, you should see someone cute and indie staring at you as you browse the works of Jane Austen.

Pick up Sense & Sensibility to prove that you’re not like those Pride and Prejudice stans (definitely don’t mention that you were watching Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy pond scene on repeat last night). Frown as you read the blurb to show you’re taking it all in. Finally, open the book and begin to read it right there in the store.

You are now the main character. That is until you leave the classic behind to go home and finish your fanfiction. We don’t blame you.

The “walking mysteriously away from your parents while travelling” plot

Your family is planning a trip? Perfect. This is the ultimate time for a new main character plot in your life. Think about it – you’re going away where no one knows you; it’s an entirely different cast, a time to reinvent yourself. And it can start as soon as the airport.

The minute you enter those gates it’s time to pretend you are travelling solo – sorry rents, it’s all for the plot. Wander slightly away from whomever you’re travelling with and act as though you’re a seasoned holiday-er who does this every other day. Don’t wander too far though, your parents probably have all the plane snacks and coin for the holiday activities.

Of course, this plot will only work up until your brother loudly says “lol, what are you doing?”, bringing you firmly back to reality. Sigh, we guess you’ll just have to enjoy the trip with your side character family members.

The “pretending to work at a café” plot

Everyone knows all the serious writers flock to cafés. Now, it’s your time to shine.

Grab your laptop and head to a café of your choice – preferably an indie/hipster spot and not a Maccas, but it’s entirely up to you. Order a beverage with oat milk (soy or almond work too but dairy just gives off major side-character-energy, we can’t explain why).

Sip on your drink as you type away on your laptop, looking determined and contemplative. If all goes to plan, other impressive café-goers will ponder, “what are they writing about?”, “a new script, perhaps?”, “is it the next Harry Potter?”.

At this point, we recommend that you turn your brightness down so no one can see that you’re actually online shopping. Just sip on your oat latte and continue to act mysterious.

The “getting the musician to fall in love with you” plot

We don’t mean to alarm you but this is a very high stakes main character plot.

It all starts with the outfit selection – a make or break moment. You are going to want to don something that grabs Harry Styles’ attention (we’re just assuming you’re after Harry in this scenario, especially after that Grammy performance). It’s got to be an outfit that is unique enough for him to spot you among a sea of screaming fans, but that also looks like you just threw it together last minute because you didn’t really care that much.

That’s right, if you want to be the main character you need to stand out from the other stans by proving “you’re not like everyone else”. Next, and this is optional but it works in the fanfiction world, whip out a book and read it during Harry’s set. Except, we recommend not doing it through Kiwi because we’re pretty sure it’s illegal not to dance to that song.

Once you’re reading your book, if the script goes according to plan (which we see no reason why it shouldn’t), the pop star should spot you in the crowd, invite you backstage and fall in love with you.

So, there you have it, those are the various plots you can incorporate into your daily life to try and be the “cardigan character”. But don’t be alarmed if you see another classic-browsing girl in a bookshop, or a headphone-clad boy gazing out a rainy window – like we said, a lot of people are trying to be the protagonist.

TBH it seems slightly counterproductive that everyone is doing the exact same things to try and stand out. Now none of us are going to be the main character. Well, except Beyoncé.

At the end of the day, while you may be the comedic relief side character or overexcited extra in another person’s Lana Del Ray fantasy, take comfort in the knowledge that you are most definitely the main character of your own life. And that’s all that matters.

Related stories